How could you make $100,000?

I’m challenging you to think big about your income, so big that it’s beyond what you might ordinarily think is possible.

The median household income in the US, as of 2018 is around $63,000.

Source: St. Louis Fed

The median personal income (since households typically have more than one income-earning person in it) is a little more than half that, so around $34,000.

Source: St. Louis Fed

I don’t know how much you make, but let’s assume that you’re somewhere near the median. (You’re obviously greater than the median in good taste and attractiveness, but we’re talking about income here. 😘)

There is a pernicious reinforcing situation where you can be led to believe that you are deserving only of the money that you make. “Those other people, they can make more, but I couldn’t possibly make more than $50,000. It’s just not possible in my field.

Indeed, I have long held a theory that the amount of money we make is often tied to the amount of money we believe we deserve to make.

I’m not going to go all The Secret on you and claim that this is true. I wouldn’t be that forward.

I will say that, at least in my case, I used to believe that I was a poor person. Not that I was poor, but that I was a poor person. One was a situation, one was an identifier.

And now, I don’t believe that I’m a poor person, and I make more money than my 20 years old self would have believed possible. I’m not the only person for whom I’ve seen this transformation.

Cause or effect?

But let’s put all that aside for now. Let’s test your preconceived notions of what you believe is possible.

Let’s talk about $100,000.

Because you have to make that next year.

Run Income Run

In the 1998 movie Run Lola Run, the protagonist has just 2o minutes to find 100,000 Deutsche marks (about $50,000) to bail out her boyfriend, who is about to be killed.

So in the same vein of urgency (but maybe a little less dark), I ask you: If you had to make $100,000 next year, how would you do it?

Pretend this isn’t an idle question. Pretend that there was no option. Get yourself in the mindset that this is a make-or-break situation.

Okay, what’s coming up for you?

Instant defeat

“I can’t do that.”

Raise your virtual hand if that’s the first thing that came to your head.

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It’s okay to have your initial reaction, even if it’s a little bit of annoyance. “Why get my hopes up, Mike?”

I’m certainly not trying to make you feel hopeless. And I want to assure you that even if you’re only making $7.50 an hour today, that this thought experiment is still for you.

But if you’re feeling dejected right now, then adjust the thought experiment slightly.

Pretend you’re advising a friend. Someone who makes as much as you do, who has the same skills as you, who knows the same people as you. Someone you care about.

Pretend that they came to you and said, “how would I make $100,000 next year?”

What would you tell them? I bet it wouldn’t be, “don’t get your hopes up.”

That’s where you start.

Why $100,000?

I chose $100,000 because, assuming you’re somewhere in the median income range, it’s a big jump. A very big jump. This isn’t a get-a-raise-at-work jump. This is radical.

This is a jump designed to change your usual patterns of thinking.

All too often, we think of changes in income in small, incremental steps. A 3% raise at work. A cost of living upgrade. Maybe a promotion if we’re lucky.

But I’m suggesting something like a 100% change in income.

You can’t ask your boss for that.

(Actually, you can.)

This is not a thought process you’re used to. This is uncharted terrain for you, most likely.


Some ideas to help you get started

Because you’re in unfamiliar thoughts now, it’s understandable if you are blocked and don’t know where to begin.

So here are a few starting points.

  • Someone in your industry makes this kind of money. Do you know anyone you could reach out to? Who can you ask for help?
  • Do you see an easier path forward in a different industry than the one you’re in? Daunting or not, do you think it’s worth pursuing?
  • Do you have to do just one thing? What if you were to try work in a number of different domains?
  • If you’re a freelancer, could you get a salary job? If you’re a salary person, could you start freelancing? Could you do both?
  • What seeds could you plant today that would get you somewhere in a year’s time?
  • Divide this goal in twelve parts. ($100,000 ÷ 12 = $8,333 ) What would you have to do each month to meet this goal?

Not all these points will resonate for you. That’s okay, they are just starting places.

It is possible

If you don’t see yourself as “someone who makes a lot of money”, and you walk by a $100,000 opportunity, are you even going to notice it? Probably not, because you won’t see that it applies to “people like you”.

Making radically more money than you currently make is possible. It’s not easy, and for almost everyone it won’t fall into your lap.

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But you also have to be looking for it. If you don’t see yourself as “someone who makes a lot of money”, and you walk by a $100,000 opportunity, are you even going to notice it? Probably not, because you won’t see that it applies to “people like you”.

But the only person who is saying that today (who matters) is you.

We’re less than three months away from the new year. What can you accomplish?

Start running.

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