Photo Credit: Redd Angelo

Your Salary Is Not The Limit Of Your Income.

BY JON WESTENBERG

Show of hands: who wants to have more money?

Me too. Money isn't everything, and it can’t buy love, but it’s still something I'm pretty set on acquiring. We are living in a material world, and I am a material girl.

Making money is not the hardest thing to do. It’s not. But you have to go about it the right way. You won’t make the kind of money that can set you up for life and let you design your own lifestyle if your sole source of income is the salary paid to you by your boss. You’ll always be limited by their perception of your worth and the value that you offer to their company. Those limits and perceptions may be fair, they may even be over-generous. But they will never reflect the value that you alone can place on your work, and they’ll always give you a ceiling.

As long as you approach money in the old fashioned terms of employment and income, you’ll not only fail to reach your potential, but you’ll end up miserably scrimping together your holiday time just to enjoy the cash you do have.


I met with a young designer recently. Let’s call her Daniella. Good sort, very talented, but struggling with her stress levels. She has bills to pay, and a limited, relatively low level salary, for a talented designer of her skills. Over the past few years, her drive to climb the corporate ladder and achieve success in her role has slowly petered out.

She knows what she wants to achieve financially and personally — acquiring investment properties, taking a sabbatical etc. The problem is, she couldn't see a way to ever reach those goals. Even if she could reach a 100% increase in her salary, she’d be way off.

Let’s look at the numbers. The average salary increase for a salaried professional is 3.3%. Even assuming that Daniella could get a pay rise every 1.5 years going forward, over 4 years will go by before she’s even making 10% more than she is now. That’s before taking into account the documented lower rate of salary increase and amount for female employees and any job instability.

After going through this with Daniella, I told her the same thing I'm going to tell you now.

If you want to generate controlled income, you need to retune yourself and take on the one rule of making big bucks. It was taught to me by my first mentor, back when I started a business of my own.

Making real money often depends on your own ability to set your own time and income.

There is basically only one way to accomplish this. Through entrepreneurship. It’s by starting and building a business, even a small and quietly profitable business, that you can reach a point of control and self determination. Starting your own business, whether it’s a small scale freelancing business or an accelerated growth start-up lets you set your own income and value/worth.


If you choose to avoid entrepreneurship and decide not to start a business, that’s a perfectly acceptable career path. You can work hard, shoot for the raises, put money aside and save. As long as you’re in a good career and you can stick to a savings plan, that’s a sure way to make a million. Good for you. But it might also mean 20 odd years (minimum) of working 5 days a week and living for Saturday mornings. And it might also mean failing to reach your goals because someone else, the gatekeeper, the ass-hole with the power to say no, just didn’t think you deserved it.

If you want to take control, you’ll need to do what Daniella is doing, what I’m doing and what some of the biggest cultural figures of our time did. Start something yourself. Build some cool shit. Take ownership and steer yourself through whatever the world is going to throw at you, knowing that even if you fail, you’ll have taken the best shot at happiness and success.

If you skimmed this whole article, take one thing away:

As long as you let your boss decide your quality of life based on his perception of your value, you’re never going to reach your potential income or lifestyle.


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Thanks for reading — I’m Jon Westenberg. I’m an entrepreneur, writer, 3 time failure and avid learner.

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