How much are you worth?
I’ve heard over and over again that self worth or the value that you give yourself is in direct correlation to the value you give money. The relationship you have with money is the same as the relationship you have with yourself.
Now I’ve always been ok with money. When I was young, I had “Lucky Money” that I didn’t really need. When I was a teenager, I saved up my “Lucky Money” and really paced it out for the year (going out with friends, taking sticker photos, movies – all social, hardly ever about buying stuff). When I got my first job, my first paycheck I used to buy a pair of khaki pants from Dotti (which then, was an awesome store) that cost $80! When I was in uni, all my money was spent on uni – books, material, whatever I needed to for my education.
When I finished uni and got a real job that’s when it started. I never really knew how much I should be paid. I was always just told what I was going to get paid. My first job was tutoring – $100 a day which wasn’t so bad for a first job. My second job (which ran along side with the tutoring) was customer service at Myer – I think it was $18 – $20+ an hour which then made a few extra bits and pieces.
The first time I had a negotiation about pay, I was struggling to negotiate how much I would get paid. My lecturers had said that the minimum pay I should be getting is between $35 – $40k a year. I didn’t know what that meant. When asked why I was asking for $35 – $40k, I said, “I dunno, my lecturer said so”. They ended up pulling it down to $20k in US dollars with the promise that I would get bonuses, travel, accommodation and food taken care of. That job didn’t last long.
The next time I had a negotiation about pay was for the counselling job I worked in. Then I was still a student so I took the less than administration/reception pay of $20/hr. The bonus was that everytime I ran a course and wrote an assessment, I would be getting paid between $50 to $70 an hour. So I was ok with that. The reality is that on the whole, it didn’t work out. I was making less than people at Myer or Coles.
This wasn’t an issue until recent years when I started to grow up and think like an adult. I didn’t realise how important it was to be paid a proper salary. No actually, it didn’t occur to me how much you got paid was important until i met my boyfriend.
I’m beginning to wonder whether I just don’t value myself or I have that mindset of money is not important unless you have fun doing what you like doing.
Though, the turning point was having a debt from taking out courses that I couldn’t afford. Well, in the beginning I could afford it, but being a contractor means that my income varies month to month – taking time off for studying, the decrease of clients, not having a proper “title” in the office means I don’t really have a purpose being in the office except to do stupid shit. The only good shit I did in the office was writing tender applications – which was also on a project basis. And even then I was still not getting paid enough but I kept on with it with the prospect that we would win the tender and I would have work.
From having money to not having money. It’s not like I was a multi-millionaire, but I’ve never asked for help in that sense before. It took me ages to finally walk into Centrelink to ask for help. It took me even longer to call up a bank and ask for a loan to consolidate my debt. And the day I went to get a new phone and they denied it at first because of “bad credit”, shit me. That was embarrassing. I was 18 when I got my first phone and I didn’t even have a job and it went through.
Everything was fine. I got my phone. I knew I didn’t have bad credit. I always paid my bills, even if it wasn’t 100% paid, I made a fair dinkum payment. The only reason I was pinged with bad credit is because I had been going through my debt consolidation process and they ran through credit checks every time they put in new terms to try to get me that loan. And because of being checked so many times, so companies see that as bad credit.
But I have to say, in that moment of being told that I couldn’t get the phone because of bad credit, I felt lower than dirt. I felt so bad about where I have taken my life. I felt lower than most people. I felt like I just couldn’t compare. Yes, I’m so educated. I’ve had so many opportunities to see and experience things that most people wouldn’t even want to do. But how could I get to that point.
I noticed it in my body. I started to lose confidence. I started to hunch more. My boyfriend noticed it a few weeks back and said that he didn’t like it when I hunched. I knew why though. Just before I got to Canada to see him, I did a seminar that I worked hard for, and it didn’t get anywhere. I had the credit phone thing. Now I was going away for a few months and I didn’t have anything set in stone.
That was a month ago. Although it still puts tears in my eyes just typing it all up, I know I’m also feeling the power within me to go and do something. This value thing is a problem. If I had stuck to my guns about how much I’m worth and really thought about it – I would be in a different position.
If I sat back and thought about all the things in life that I wanted to experience, that I wanted to own, the holidays that I would’ve had – I’d be in a different place right now.
And you know what, it’s ok. It’s not too late to make that change. Instead of leaving this issue aside and getting to 1 year down the track and thinking, Oh if this and that… I can start to think about it now.
The starting point is to think about what I want to do or be doing in a year’s time. My yearly goal is to pay off my education (and it will be over in a few months IF I continue with it), to pay off my debt consolidation loan, to save up for a deposit for my first home.
My three month goal is to have some stamps in my passport – one from Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, New York, Toronto, Quebec, Montreal, Winnipeg, Portland and Italy and Spain.
The only way I can see this happening is to keep it up with my business. I have to stick to my guns you know. Like really stick to my guns about how much I’m charging. If I make a slight change, it won’t be fair to my clients who have paid the price. Really, my business goal is 2 clients a month. I’m happy. ONE breakthrough client is already enough for me to quit working when I get back to Melbourne. Two is comfortable.
And this the new learning that I NEED to remind myself everyday. Is that I AM worth it now. I AM WORTH $3500 for 10 hours work. That I AM WORTH $10k a month. That I AM WORTH $200k a year. At the end of the day, money is just numbers and I NEED to get used to saying my name next to a higher value than just $20/hr, $20k a year as I’ve done in the past.
This is all mindset.
To set it in stone, I’m going to remind myself each morning. Just saying it out loud,
“I AM WORTH $20k a month. I AM WORTH $200k a year. I AM WORTH 1 million a year”
and see what happens after a month.