It’s been six years since I graduated from college into a shit show of an economy. Time flies!
For those of you who don’t really know me or my story, I graduated from college in 2010 and went six months without a job. It was also a time when people were blaming millennials and calling them lazy and entitled for moving back home with mom and dad. I was one of those millennials and was like, “Uh, no dude. The economy is crap. That’s not me being entitled.”
It propelled me to look for additional sources of income and that’s when I started freelance writing and blogging about money. It was really all in an effort to learn about personal finance because Lord knows school didn’t teach me shit.
When I did find jobs I was pretty much underemployed. While I’m grateful for what those jobs taught me, I saw the opportunity to make more money as a freelance writer, blogger and coach – so I quit my job in 2013.
Fast forward a few years and I’m making more money than ever. I also actually know a thing or two about what to do with that money. In that time, I’ve realized that there are several things I wish someone would have told me about money when I graduated college.
I was so happy to find any job back then that I didn’t even bother to negotiate my salary. I was terrified of asking for more money because I literally thought there was no money.
I know realize that this sets you up for failure in the long term. I’d probably have more money to my name if I’d started asking for more from the beginning.
Running a business isn’t about having a great new idea.
We’re told that successful businesses are successful because they came up with some great new idea. I’ve since come to learn that this may be a conspiracy theory to keep people working in corporate. When I graduated from college, I didn’t even realize running a business was an option for me because I thought I needed to study it.
Guess what – two hundred years ago everyone ran a business. If you had a skill – like welding – you learned how to sell it. That’s all business is.
Some nasty people will try to screw you over with your money.
There are, unfortunately, people out there in all industries who will try to screw you over to make money for themselves. In finance, for example, you have people trying to sell you on some hot stock or the next great business investment.
It’s all bullshit.
That’s one of the reasons I’ve become so passionate about learning what to do with my money, because if you don’t know how it works, you might get played. Education can go a really long way in making sure you have sound finances, so do your due diligence. Read books, follow blogs and ask for help.
Finance isn’t that complicated.
I used to think that finances were so complicated. I’ve since come to realize that this is because some people in the industry make it seem complicated on purpose in an effort to get your money.
Don’t fall for this common money myth. If this totally right-brained girl whose hated math since the third grade can learn to love and understand finance, then you can too.
No one is going to fix things for you.
When I worked in recruiting I interviewed a lot of people who wished someone – the government, politicians, corporations, whoever – would just fix the economy. Or they wished they could win the lottery.
No one is going to fix anything for you. If you’re waiting for the government to fix a mess you’re going to be waiting a long time. And even if you win the lottery, if you don’t know what to do with the money it won’t fix anything either.
That’s why it’s important to realize that you’re the only one with any real power when it comes to your money.
You can make money as a creative.
I primarily identify as a creative. I was the kind who went to art camp, took theater classes and wrote for the school newspaper. I’d also been told my entire life by this society that creative pursuits don’t make money.
Well, they’re wrong. I create for a living and last month I brought in almost five times was I was making at my last job. I do wish I would have realized that creatives can make money sooner. I feel like I would have quit my job sooner and I’d be further along, however I do realize how fortunate I am to have figured this out in my twenties.
I hope you found these lessons helpful – whether you just graduated from college this year or have been out for a decade. We always need a little boost in the money mindset department and I hope this episode serves as a reminder of the power you have.