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Daniella Flores I Like to Dabble how to increase income

When you graduate and start to find your way in the world, no one tells you how much you should ask for when you accept a job. New graduates are often expected to take low-paying jobs or even unpaid internships.

I did an unpaid internship at my first after-school job, which landed me a $30,000-a-year job as a web engineer within weeks of the gig starting. At the time, I thought that was enough because I was busy learning. Then student loan repayments started, I got an apartment, and I was spending money without much of a plan.

On top of that, I fell into the trap of working 80 hours a week for a start-up, which destroyed my sanity and burned me to the point that I didn’t want to work anymore.

Thinking back to my exhaustion when I left this job, I have a bit of resentment. Too few people talk about trauma at work and how it affects your ability to negotiate higher pay throughout your career, defend yourself, generate income outside of your job, and grow your financial life. around you.

I was lucky enough to find a freelance coding job after that and continued to work in retail IT. I was only making about $40,000, but I grew it to $60,000 in two years.

After experiencing back-to-back layoffs, I moved into government contracts, then into fintech, while growing it to $141,500 in four years and being able to work wherever I was.

Through freelance writing, design projects, my blog, branded offerings, and the digital products I sell on Etsy and my blog, I brought in an additional $60,000 in 2021. In total , I made over $200,000, a far cry from that first $30,000 a year job in 2012. Here’s how I did it.

I started putting myself first

Much of my early tech career was just going with the flow. I didn’t have many goals other than that I wanted enough money to support myself. Since I didn’t know how to manage my money, I didn’t know how to get there.

Over the years I have become more familiar with burnout than what I really wanted to do with my career and where I wanted it to go. Going through two layoffs in the same year made it clear to me that I was disposable.

All those times I dropped everything I was doing at the whim of someone in upper management who had a problem. All those times when I was on call nights, weekends, and the two years when I was on call all the time with no backup, working through the holidays and picking up the phone at 3 a.m. because if I didn’t didn’t, there would be consequences. And all those times I gave up looking for other opportunities that would suit me better because I thought my current job couldn’t go on without me.

All that work was for a company that could replace me on the fly. I was manipulated by the corporate culture of always being able to step in and “help” because “that’s what you do”. Why?

I realized that what I was doing was not for me and that it was hurting me. I had to start putting myself first.

I was clear about my goals

It was time I figured out what I really wanted and how I was going to get it.

I started by thinking about my goals outside of my professional life. I had no interest in climbing the corporate ladder, getting a big house, and acquiring empty status items. My idea of ​​a dream life was to move somewhere near the west coast, get a piece of land with a decent sized house close to hiking, and live out my days in peace dotted with travel and adventure.

In fact, none of my goals included work, even though I knew I had to work somewhere to earn money and achieve the life of my dreams. I knew what I was doing right now wasn’t going to cut it. I also want to create a working life where income wouldn’t be an issue, even if I lost a job, which was going to be tricky.

I needed to find better paying jobs that supported geographic independence, which would allow me to work from anywhere. In addition, I had to learn to do something that always scared me: negotiate.

I learned to negotiate

Initially, I took a free online course on negotiation to prepare for a job interview and used some of the tips I learned, like:

  • Don’t give past salary numbers when they ask and it’s actually illegal in 21 states for employers to ask that question. Instead, respond with something like the market rate or the rate you expect to be paid rather than your current salary.
  • Always give more than you are willing to take.
  • Negotiate more than just pay, like remote work options, flexible work hours, and more PTO.

I moved when my job no longer served me

One of the biggest lies I was told early in my career was that you have to stay at one job for at least 5 years before moving on to the next. If employers saw too many jobs in a certain time frame on a resume, that would be a red flag.

Wow, that was bad. I don’t think I’ve ever held a job for five years. The one thing I’ve been with consistently for five years or more is my wife and my crush.

With every job jump I made, I was able to get a raise of $20,000 or more. I’ve never been able to get that kind of a raise at a job unless it’s through a bonus.

When a job no longer serves you, take notice and start looking elsewhere. If a manager won’t give you a raise, look elsewhere. Give yourself a raise. Your skills development, your paychecks, your bank account and your sanity will thank you tenfold.

I explored ways to increase my income outside of my job

My first experience with side hustles in my career was those years of freelance coding. This experience opened up the world of freelancing and creating multiple streams of income.

Even after getting another corporate job, I remained independent for a while. I loved the flexibility of a side hustle and of course, the extra pay.

Today, I’m still freelance, but not in coding. I moved away from secondary tech-related activities because I wanted to use creative skills like writing and designing.

When I was going through those back-to-back layoffs, I started a blog that became a two-time award-winning sideline money and bustle resource for other creatives and LGBTQ+ people. Creating blogs and websites was actually what I did as a freelance coder, just for other people. It wasn’t necessarily a new hustle for me, but it was a new experience for me to be able to be business-oriented about it.

Video by Courtney Stith

I added several streams of income as I built this new side hustle, including freelance writing, design projects with other bloggers, brand partnerships, and implementing streams of semi-passive and passive income, such as placing ads and affiliate links on my blog and creating and selling digital products through Etsy and the shop on my website.

Due to my freelance writing, design projects, blog, brand offerings, and digital products I sell on Etsy and my blog, I brought in an additional $60,000 from my brand in 2021 .

Other ways I’ve focused on increasing my income outside of my job have been to try flexible and fun apps, like Rover, and to make investing a priority through my 401(k) , my IRA and my brokerage account. And if you want to know what kind of income streams you might be able to incorporate into your own life to increase your overall income, start with this free quiz.

You never know how pursuing a passion or developing a skill set through a side hustle might make a difference.

Daniella Flores is a software engineer, serial con artist and creator of the I Like to Dabble blog. Daniella has grown I Like to Dabble on top of her full-time job to reach 100,000 monthly users between website and social media and is a two-time Plutus Awards finalist which has been featured on Business Insider, Huffington Post, CNBC , Refinery29, LA Times, and more.

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