- Sebastiaan ter Burg/Flickr
- Some money habits prevent talented people who already make a good living from earning as much as they can.
- Two of these habits include: apologizing for wanting more money, or making needy requests instead of showing why you’re worth more.
- Telling yourself “I can’t afford to pay for things on my own” is a self-fulfilling prophecy – and stops you from finding ways of affording the things you want.
- Rejecting proven solutions and relying on lottery-ticket thinking are also two ways that people deny themselves the opportunity to increase how much money they make.
We’ve all got that friend.
The one who is talented, well-regarded, and accomplished at work or in business. She should be making boatloads – and she is.
But from adult responsibilities and tastes in travel, to good-ol’ inflation and social outings at more grown-up, expensive restaurants instead of college dives, her lifestyle needs increase from year to year. Her income, meanwhile, has flatlined.
And she insists there’s nothing she can do about it. She’s “hit an income ceiling,” her industry “pays peanuts,” or no one at her company recognizes the value of what she does. Or maybe she says there are two kinds of people in her business: the true artists and masters of the craft, and the “business people” – the types who know how to make money. You can be one of the two, she maintains, but no one is both.
Even if that friend is you, it’s possible to change. I’m not a money mindset coach, economist, or psychologist, but as a consultant to all different levels of entrepreneurs and corporate leaders, I’ve seen beliefs and patterns that separate the well-off from the broke – and they’re not tied to income level or potential.
This isn’t about people who live below the poverty line. It’s about those who could and should have plenty, but never seem to have enough. Here are five things that keep those people broke:
1. Apologizing for wanting money
Have you noticed how some people do back flips to justify wanting more money?
They say, “I’m not in this for the money,” or, “I don’t need to be rich. I just want to cover my basic needs,” or, “The reason to make lots of money is so you can give it away and help make the world a better place.”
That’s honorable. But why is it perfectly fine to want large quantities of everything else, from love to sleep to spaghetti, while desiring wealth makes us feel like Gordon Gekko (the ruthless money-grubber in the movie “Wall Street”)?
It’s OK to want to make more money – and to say so.
2. Making needy raise requests
In other words, trying to charge more by showing your financial need, instead of your value.
Whether you’re asking your boss for a raise or informing a client that you’re raising your fee, don’t justify the increase by rattling off why you need the money. Instead, point out why you’re worth the dough. Try something like:
“These changes I put in place have helped increase profits by 10% since last January; the Fiesta Fridays I organized have boosted morale; and I have several new ideas I’m excited to bring to you to make our company even more productive this year.”
“This new rate will allow me to devote extra time and attention to a select few preferred clients, including you.”
Remember: The person paying you doesn’t care nearly as much about your mortgage, childcare, and maxed-out credit card as they do about the results you provide them.
3. Being a mooch and freebie-grubber
It’s one thing to take advantage of free opportunities: scholarships, grant prizes, free courses, free shipping, free cheese samples at the farmer’s market – but it’s another to expect friends and professionals to offer you everything for free.
I know a few people who are always looking for something free. They want to pick my brain again and again. They want me to write their freelance assignment for them. They want to split a gym membership at Crunch, because we look similar enough to use the same ID card. (I admit it, I went along with this. It was decades ago. I’ve changed.)
Mooching, cheaping out, and cheating the system may feel like you’re saving money, but you’re actually telling yourself the defeating story, “I can’t afford it and I’m not capable of paying for things on my own.” And telling yourself that story makes it true.
4. Lottery-ticket thinking
Sure, who hasn’t fantasized about having to choose between a lump-sum of 150 million and an annuity of five million a year?
There’s a difference between that wistful thought exercise, however, and believing that some stroke of luck will come along and transform your life.
Whether it’s waiting for the winning Powerball ticket, counting on a surprise inheritance, banking on marrying rich, or just a feeling that “one of these days, it’ll all happen for me” – putting your wealth in the hands of luck is a ticket to sad-sack city.
5. Rejecting proven solutions
“I don’t have time for a side hustle…”
“All those online business courses are a scam…”
“The only reason that guy’s doing it is because he got in early. It’s too late.”
“No one like me gets a raise – only the people who kiss up and play the game…”
Some people complain all day about wanting to make more, but brush off every possible avenue with a knee-jerk excuse of, “That won’t work for me.”
True, some things will work, and some won’t. Some courses are legit, and some are garbage.
But if you’re not willing to try something new, you better get used to the same old lifestyle and the same old bank balance.
On the other hand, if you keep an open mind about what might work for you, you’re sure to see more opportunities. And, along with them, more money.
Laura Belgray, founder of Talking Shrimp , is an award-winning copywriting expert and unapologetic lazy person. She writes TV spots for clients like NBC, Fandango, and Bravo, and helps entrepreneurs and creatives get paid to be 100% themselves. For words that make you money, get her 5 Secrets to Non-Sucky Copy here.