Sooner or later, an entrepreneur has to confront this fact. It’s an ugly fact because of all the things we do with it.
For me, I felt that this was a fundamental injustice in the world. If I’m working my ass off to better myself, my skill set, and to really take on my life and live out in the realm of uncomfortable, why should someone who hasn’t done all of that be able to make more money than me?
That seems fundamentally unjust. Like there’s a way it should go, and this doesn’t align with that.
This is opposite what the world sells us. The world sells us the story that if you put your head down, go to school, do your work, be good, stay in line, make some waves (but not too big), and behave, you’ll get your just desserts. You will be entitled to an income commensurate with the work you’ve done.
And so consequently, we act in accordance with this made up rule. We say things like “I’m not experienced enough yet to ask for that kind of salary, so I’ll wait a few years. I’ll ask for this lower salary — that’s more reasonable.” Never mind what you want — what you can ask for is dictated by the rule.
Part of the challenge here is that the world collectively buys what it sells.
Which means that our world is set up to agree with the made-up story that you get paid based on how good/experienced etc. you are at something.
What we believe becomes true, since we align our actions with our beliefs and our actions create our environment.
Most organizations will hire on this basis, and most salaries in any kind of corporate structure will be based around the idea that the more experience you have under you, the better you will be paid.
And the consequence of that is that it’s really hard to break out of the story from within. People buy into the story that that is the way our remuneration works, and so that is the way things work.
I’m inviting you to consider that it doesn’t have to be the way you work.
Becoming an entrepreneur means that you get to make up your own rules.
And even then, this isn’t necessarily a problem, except when it remains undistinguished — when you hang on to the belief that it’s “true” instead of seeing it as one of many games you could be playing.
In that case it becomes a yoke you tie yourself too, delaying the scary actions and potential for possibility until you have enough experience, success, social proof, or whatever else you think is required.
When you really get that your ability to earn is untethered from your skill or experience, you are freed.
You can become indignant about that fact. You can argue that you should still charge a certain amount because you don’t feel it’s “fair” or “in integrity” or “authentic” to charge more until you’ve been in the game for longer (or whatever the reason is). And that’s fine to do — just be clear that it’s unnecessary. It’s actually not the way the game has to work.
When coaches really get this, something magical shifts. Usually there’s a period of mourning — anger, frustration, righteousness. But then there’s a freedom. They’re freed up to take a look at what’s really getting in their way, rather than continually pouring more energy and resources into one thing in the hopes that it will get them back a different thing.
I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t continually invest in your own training and betterment. I’m not suggesting that you shouldn’t continue gaining more experience.
I’m not even suggesting that you shouldn’t wait to charge more money until you’ve got more experience.
What I’m doing is inviting you to drop the belief that one is tied to the other. Get more experience because you want more experience. Invest in more training and development because you want to be masterful in your craft.
All of those things serve to bolster our belief about what we can earn, and that is the crux of all of this:
Your ability to earn a certain amount of money is, more than anything else, a function of your belief that you can earn that amount of income.