What Do I Need to Do to Go from Earning $30k to $60k a Year?

Going from $30k a year to $60k a year is something I’ve been working on, spending a lot of time to do. To give you some insight, I’ve been earning $33k a year since July of 2011.

There were many options I could take to move ahead, but it doesn’t seem fair to discuss them with you until I give you my background, so you can better put it into perspective.

2004, I worked at Macy’s selling women’s shoes, earning maybe $400–500 a week. I was maybe 18 or 19, didn’t really care about money, spent every penny I made. I think I made $25,000 that year.

2005, I went into the auto industry to do sales. My first two months, I lived off of minimum wage while I desperately tried to learn the business. By month three, I started to earn $4k a month. I made $50,000 that year.

In 2006, I made $100k a year selling cars.

So I have a history of doubling my income, as I did it three years consecutively.

In 2007, I tried to make my own business and blew all my cash. I did some other things in 2007 after that happened, but they aren’t worth mentioning. I did have corporate housing at one point though, either this year or in 2008 somewhere.

In 2008, I went to go work in real estate. I was on track to make $50,000 a month in commissions. The real estate market died, and along with it went my commissions. Up in smoke. Poof.

In the latter half of 2008, I went to work with an investment fund. I thought hell, if real estate isn’t the way to get rich like the books preach, it has got to be the stock market then. My ex employer owed me a ton of money, but I will never get it as he quickly filed to bankrupt out his company.

In 2009, I was brought on by a company to do sales for people who were having trouble with their real estate. I was quickly promoted to VP of Marketing and was in charge of the whole floor. We pivoted from selling services to selling leads. I took that company from $0 to $50k a month in revenue in 3 months. Since the startup was underfunded, I made like 10–15%. My car broke, I couldn’t make it to work anymore, my employer promised he would fix it at his cost, so I stopped showing up while I was awaiting the fixes.

Months passed, he didn’t fix the vehicle. I couldn’t keep pretending that I could live off of the money I didn’t have, so I got any job I could. This was at the beginning of 2010. I got a job fundraising for political causes on the opposite end of what I believe in. I was paid $10 an hour to sell my soul to the devil, but I kept showing up because it was four blocks away from my home and I desperately needed to pay rent.

In that timeframe, I came to learn that my boss was full of it and wasn’t going to pay to repair my car at his dad’s auto body shop. So I went to the shop to check up on the vehicle. His dad tried to charge me a $5,000 storage fee. His son is the one who told me to take the car there, not to worry about a single thing and he’d have it all taken care of. That didn’t happen.

I told the guy who actually owned the car I was subleasing that I wasn’t going to make payments anymore and sent him to deal with the mess. He sued me for the $5,000 he paid to get the car released. In other words, I helped this one guy turn an idea into a $50,000 a month business and he repaid me by getting me sued for $5,000 and leaving me without transportation. Did I mention that he tried to have me live in his home that he wasn’t paying his mortgage on as a corporate housing package? Ridiculous.

Regardless, after that, my friend offered me a position with him working out of the Hollywood Production Center. I made friends with Jamie Kennedy and some other cool people. Got myself back on track. Acquired some assets. Mid 2010 I moved into artist management for some rich rapper. Went out for two bottles of blue label each night. One “friend” got jealous of my lifestyle, told his friend, that guy got wasted and beat me down on my other friend’s birthday for no reason then begged I drop charges so he wouldn’t go to jail. My employer told me that I couldn’t take care of myself so I couldn’t take care of him, so I did nothing and began the count down on the clock until I went homeless.

I was done. It wasn’t worth trying to do anything anymore. I just lost my golden opportunity for the stupidest reason in the world. I wasn’t even going to attempt to get back up, so I let them take it all. Lexus? Loft? Everything?

Gone.

I was ready to go homeless, I called my mom and told her I was going to start living on the street because I gave up on life. She called my grandma who bailed me out, even though she had decided to disown me at childhood. I went to live with her.

At the tail end of 2010, she was sick and tired of me laying around playing video games all day and forced me to find employment.

I went on Craigslist and found the first job I could. It could have been anything. Shoveling dead bodies away? Sure. As long as I didn’t have to search continually for jobs and deal with my grandmother’s nagging.

The guy hired me as an outside sales rep to sign on vendors who would accept his platform, along with 20 other people. I’m lazy, I wasn’t going door to door, so I emailed people and hit my quota in half the time. Everyone else except one guy quit. The company had like 100 vendors that accepted his service at the time, so my contributions of getting 30 my first 15 days basically brought up his initial number significantly. He told me he was days away from funding, gave me 5% equity into the company and told me I was his VP of Marketing, or his right hand man. We woke up at the crack of dawn to work in the office. He then called me every day at 10pm to talk business. I had nothing better to do, so I guess the time didn’t really matter. The company only raised a quarter of what he said it would four months after promised, so basically we all had to work with no money. At the last minute, the founder decided to pivot business models against my advisement, just because he saw what another startup was doing and tried to emulate them.

Well, even though I took the company to 1,000 vendors in that interim of time, I decided to walk away. Then I ended up where I am today, at my current job. The reason I provided the back story is so that you can see that I am a well capable person who knows how to get things done. With that in mind, I will explain all the things I have tried to do to double my income, so you can put it into perspective to see which may or may not work for you. Keep in mind, in this whole frame of time, I have personally refused to partake in sales jobs in any way, shape or form, which would have been the easy fix to the problem.

  1. I applied for promotions for a whole year at my company. I sent out over 100 resumes for various positions at this Global Fortune 100 company I work for. I got three interviews, but no promotion.
  2. I tried to get promoted from my current position by working twice as hard as everyone else. No luck there. Still performing at 150%, but now not even trying.
  3. I applied to other jobs outside of my work. I only got a few interviews over the phone but nothing panned out. Actually, I did get a few offers to work, but they were all outside of where I currently reside.
  4. I tried to start a business. My partners quit on me, or something absolutely ridiculous and completely out of my control would go wrong.
  5. I went back to school for four semesters to get a degree. I’m dropping out because the pace of this is too slow compared to what else I have going on in my life. This will work if you have nothing else going on in your life, but it’s the long game, and with how competitive the job market is, it may or may not work.

Basically, I tried all the general routes that most people preach about to double my income. My dream to work in middle management at a huge company slowly started to fade away, as I came to notice that nothing I was doing worked.

I have had this urge to write and share the stories of my life since 2011. I actually started a blog back in 2011, wrote 3 posts and gave up. In 2012, I wrote a few long formed Facebook posts about my life, and I got an above average amount of likes. In May 2013, I thought I could share some of the wisdom I had acquired in my life on the Internet with others. In the last year and a half, I have created quite an impressive resume that I am still adding to.

Yesterday, I was a contributor on the front page of the BBC. I have a full article in The Huffington Post. I was mentioned by The Los Angeles Times. I wrote a book that provides residual income. I have over 8 million views on my content. I have 20,000+ followers on the Internet, mostly on Quora. I did a Quoracast last year, I have another one releasing this year that I recorded last sunday and another Podcast on the James Altucher Show I’m doing next week thursday. I have guest interviews on multiple blogs. I was named as a Top Writer on Quora.

People are now approaching me and I am getting paid contract work. I’m currently working on my second book, partnering with one of my friends who has earned $10 million from the age of 17–27. We’re building our reputation in the market so we can do seminars, charging $99-$199 a person. I’m also working on another website that addresses the problems that Asians face in the community with Cammi Pham. We are bringing social awareness to that. I’m consulting a startup that builds portfolios. If that works, then there are a ton of benefits associated to it.

In other words, influential people are coming to me and I’m laying down the foundation to the future. So if we were to have this conversation a year and a half from now and look back in retrospect, I can’t guarantee if I will be able to tell you that I doubled my income. However, what do you think the percentages are of going this route, as opposed to any of the five standard routes I had chosen before? How do you think this can pan out for the next fifty years of my life?

Sure, it’s a long game, but it should give you something to ponder over for a while.


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Leonard Kim consults startups and write books. He also blogs at LeonardKim.com.

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