If you are not making the money you need, now is the time to start thinking about why. I was forced to stop and consider the answer to this question in 2011. I was in a very low place emotionally due to my recent divorce, my best friend invited me to a birthday party to lift my spirits. When I returned home from the party, I discovered that someone had broken into my home. My glass patio door had been shattered with a brick, a few things had been stolen and my bedroom was ransacked. I felt so violated, angry and vulnerable. The children were scared, crying, and confused. I wanted to take my children to a hotel so they would feel safe. Unfortunately, I was doing so bad financially that I could not afford to get a hotel room that night. That night was literally the worst moment of my life as a mom. I felt like such a failure.

It was this painful experience that drove me to make a promise to myself and my children. I vowed to find a way out of the area we were living in. I vowed to find a way to be self-sufficient and free from government assistance. I vowed to find a way to make more so that I would never have to be without options ever again. 

The next morning, I concluded that to keep my vows, my situation had to change. I knew that if my situation was going to change, I had to change first. That realization helped me see need to take a personal inventory of the good, the bad and the ugly within me. I started asking myself hard questions like, “why am I broke?”, “How can I make more”, How did I get here?”. The answers I discovered were quite enlightening. So I’m going to share 5 top reasons that many people are not making more money based on my discovery and experience.

Failing to Upgrade Their Skills

There are many reasons people choose not to upgrade their skills. Often times it boils down to confidence. Robert Greene said, ” “The future belongs to those who learn more skills and combine them in creative ways.” If you want to remain marketable and positioned to ask for more money, you must upgrade your skills! Recall that when you were a child, you had no knowledge and yet you learned. If you did it then, you can learn now. Don’t be afraid to upgrade!

Discomfort with Asking For a Raise

Many of my clients struggle with salary negotiation. In 1:1 coaching, I often have to guide clients through the process of taking the emotion and neediness out of negotiating a job offer or asking for a raise. You must realize that asking for a raise or negotiating a salary offer is simply a business skill you must master if you want to make more money! It’s never personal.

The Inability to Communicate Your Value

It is vital that you are able to explain what makes you valuable in a way that aligns with what is important to your organization or clients. This requires great self-awareness and confidence. You can do it with a little focus…..dig deep. Failing to do so leaves money on the table.

Not Knowing When and How to Ask for a Raise

Knowing when it ask for a raise is just as important as how. Here’s a hint, at your performance review is NOT the time to ask, by then it’s too late. Build a case 6-8 months before then. When asking, leave your needs out of the convo. Focus on facts and proof that you deserve what you’re asking for!

Staying in the Same Role Too Long

Pay raises are typically 3% per year which does not keep pace with inflation. On the other hand, taking a new opportunity gives you the chance to bump your salary significantly (if you negotiate correctly). Also, staying too long can cause your skills to stagnate which lowers your marketability for a new position.

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Shannon D. Smith