Something I have noticed that holds many 20-somethings back from earning as much money as they’d like is fear of “not being ready”.
So many 20-somethings are trying to make their resume look perfect, or obtaining unnecessary degrees, or waiting until they have enough experience to start applying for jobs that will boost their income.
They’re waiting for the perfect time, the right opportunity, the exact moment when the stars align to pursue their dream job or start that side hustle they have been thinking about for months.
Quite frankly, this is a terrible strategy.
I recently wrote about how I landed a job this past month that increased my salary by over 50%. That was a major win. But what I don’t tell most people is that I applied to 10 other jobs and got denied, was told I wasn’t qualified, or was flat out ignored by all of them. So technically my success rate was 1 out of 11. A pathetic 9%. But I still got the result I wanted. All I needed was for one company to say yes to me to completely cancel out all my failures.
The trick to making more money in your early 20’s is to make a ridiculous amount of attempts. Try more than anyone you know.
Submit your resume everywhere.
Send cold emails to companies.
Attempt to make connections with alumni from your college.
Make a LinkedIn account.
Just take action. If you fail, nobody cares anyway.
Us early 20-somethings hold a major advantage: we have so much less to lose than 30 and 40-somethings. For most of us, even if we fail there are no major consequences.
Get rejected by a company? Move on to the next one.
Get hired and do a terrible job on your first assignment? No one cares, try again.
Get denied after asking for a promotion? Don’t sweat it, it was good experience asking anyway.
Most young people don’t actually need another degree, or another skill to add to their resume, or another online course certification. Instead, they’re better off just getting work experience. Try a bunch of stuff. Apply to a bunch of places. Just get going. Get started. Put yourself out there.
Once you get started, you’ll inevitably gain experience, pick up new skills, and build your professional network. This leads to income. Which leads to savings. Which leads to investments. Which leads to dividends, which leads to more income…and the wealth snowball begins to take shape.
But you’ll never start making money if you sit on your laptop all day, obsessing over the font size on your resume, or waiting until you have the courage to apply for jobs, or waiting for the perfect opportunity. Take action. Hit send. Embrace failure and treat it for what it really is: a valuable learning experience.
To all my fellow 20-somethings: don’t let your ego hold you back. Nobody cares if you fail. Heck, most people won’t even know if you fail. Allow yourself to be vulnerable. Apply for positions, start emailing people, ask for opportunities, and build connections. This is how to open doors that will allow you to start making good money in your early 20’s.
Zach is the author behind Four Pillar Freedom, a blog that teaches you how to build wealth and gain freedom in life.
Zach's favorite free financial tool he's been using since 2015 to manage his net worth is Personal Capital. Each month he uses their free Investment Checkup tool and Retirement Planner to track his investments and ensure that he's on the fast track to financial freedom.
Although the bulk of his net worth is invested in index funds, his favorite place to invest in individual stocks is M1 Finance, a site that allows you to build a custom portfolio of stocks for free.
His favorite way to save money each month on his recurring bills is by using Trim, a free financial app that negotiates lower cable, internet, and phone bills with any provider on your behalf.
His favorite micro-investing app is Acorns, a free financial app that takes just 5 minutes to set up and allows you to invest your spare change in a diversified portfolio.
His favorite place to find new personal finance articles to read is Collecting Wisdom, a site that collects the best personal finance articles floating around the web on a daily basis.
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