The Myth Behind Salary

Spoiler alert, the #1 highest wage growth job according to the article I read this morning in the Philadelphia Business Journal is listed as bartender.

The more interesting part — after reading through the complete list of jobs with the highest wage growth, I am amazed at how little most of these jobs receive for a median pay.

Jobs like Business Consultant, Operations Manager, Project Manager, and even Accountant . Their median pay in Philadelphia ranged from $60k to $84k.

So maybe that is a result of the surveyed individuals. And I know, it doesn’t include benefits.

Well then I went down a rabbit hole and did a little digging because hey, that’s what I do. I wanted to find a higher level job than these Glassdoor examples to prove out how to beat the pay as a consultant. If I can prove it at a 6 figure salary than an experienced employee making $70-$80k is that much easier.

One of the top misconceptions about being self employed is that you make less money than if you had a job with a salary.

Since I left my job in 2018 and have had a ton of fun overcoming those expectations, I’m on a mission to show others that they can also free themselves from the soul sucking office..and make more money doing it.

I’m going to walk you through an example here using some data I pulled from for Philadelphia.

Senior Business Consultant

Median base pay $123,469

Median bonus $9,980

Benefits $32,349

Total comp $165,798

This person would typically have 8-10 years experience. Let’s say then that they are 35 years old.

For absolute simplicity let’s say they get a 3% increase every year and just put it on top of their total comp as a quick example. It would take until they are 42 for their total comp to exceed $200k.

Sure, along the way they may get bumped up and promoted, which means they would hit $200k faster. Yep, they put in those long hours, they gain some lbs at the office, work with people who are mostly trying to compete instead of collaborate, you know the story. If they want to earn that much, there is a pretty good chance that is the game they have to play. It’s called despise your job so you can earn more money so you can buy things because you despise your job.

Anyway.. Let’s take this person at 35 years old and make them a self employed consultant. Take away the “certainty” of a salary and see what happens.

Their goal starts as wanting to earn the same amount as their old job. So to earn the total comp of $165,798 so they price themselves at $85/hr. They are still thinking of it as a day job. That gives them two weeks vacation and 40 hours per week of consulting.

Of course, their business development is going to need to be worked in there. They quickly realize they may only get about 15 hours per week of pay and spend their rest of the time with business building activities.

It’s best this realization happens early. They react quickly and raise their rate going forward to $220/hr.

Here’s the fun part. They notice some people don’t pay it. But others do. Actually, clients who are a better fit pay the higher price and the ones that are a pain in the butt drop off.

Then they hit the step where they can get creative. They get some clients on retainer. They start pricing some items as projects instead of hourly based. They experiment a little with raising prices.

Within 6 months this person could be pricing themselves at $5k per day. Easy. That means a $15k or $20k month. That means they hit $200k by the time they are 36 instead of when they are 42 and they are only working a fraction of the hours doing projects that they enjoy and actually want to do.

OF COURSE this doesn’t work for everyone. You have to be resourceful, motivated, disciplined and resilient. But I will bet you that a 35 year old who is making 6 figures at their day job has those qualities.

And, now that they are only working a fraction of the time, what other brilliant things can this person now spend their time on and bring into the world?

Maybe you will call me an optimist, but I think the possibilities are endless.


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