Does the Amount of Money We Earn Define Our Success?

In our latest podcast episode, we explored the common issue many freelancers face: the obsession with earning more money.

At least, in the personal finance community, it seems to be an obsession.

Many freelancers publish income reports, and it’s tough not to have an emotional reaction to them, whether it’s jealousy, inadequacy, or the need to compete.

The feeling of inadequacy is a big one. Of course, if you see someone earning more than you, you feel like you’re doing something wrong; like you’re not earning enough.

But should we base our feelings of success on what other people are doing or earning?

The logical answer is no, but when it comes to money, most of us are guilty of thinking with our hearts instead of our heads.

We wanted to further the discussion on earning more by asking an important question: does the amount of money we earn define our success?

Many of us define success by the amount of money earned by someone, including ourselves. But is that a good measure of success? The answer is complicated.

Money Isn’t Everything

This issue is something I’ve wrestled with for the better part of a year. I’ve seen many friends and colleagues rocket past me in terms of income, and I’ve been left thinking I’m doing something wrong.

But another part of me wonders why I should care. After all, I’m happy with my life. I’ve been able to move twice, travel to see my family, travel to see friends, pay extra on my student loans, and afford the things that matter most to me.

Why do I need to earn more and risk burning out because I’m working so much?

The answer has eluded me for the most part. My friends who are outside of our community and who aren’t freelancers don’t seem to be chasing the Benjamins, so what gives?

In the podcast, we discussed the prevalence of income reports and how they perpetuate this “issue,” but we still couldn’t arrive at an answer.

So for now, I’m trying to tell myself that money isn’t everything. How much you make certainly shouldn’t define you as a person, and it shouldn’t define whether or not you’re successful.

As I said on the show, I’ve been self-employed going on two and a half years…that’s more than I ever thought I would achieve. I’ve had great clients, learned a lot, grown my business, and explored many options within my niche.

By most standards, I’m successful, but I have this nagging voice in my head telling me it’s not enough, so I think I need to hammer this message into my head a bit more to actually believe it!

At the end of the day, I have a healthy bank account, I’m on track to pay off my student loans early, I have wonderful family and friends who I enjoy spending time with, and I don’t have much to complain about.

Obsessing over earning more and sacrificing time I could be spending with others to work isn’t very appealing. I’ll just have to choose to be different.


If Money Is All You’re After, You May Never Feel Fulfilled

Erin did a great job summing up how you should learn to be happy with your own situation and not compare yourself to other people and their financial success because it can make you feel inadequate when in fact, you’re not.

I don’t like comparing myself to other people because I know that everyone had their own unique start and some people got started way before I did so it makes no practical sense to compare my beginning to someone else’s middle.

With that being said, there will always be someone who is earning more than you or seems more successful and if you constantly compare yourself to them, you may never really feel fulfilled which is a shame. I don’t like when success is measured by how much you earn because I feel like it’s a comparison between people who earn more than you and people who earn less than you.

Just because you make more money than someone else doesn’t mean you’re more successful or more important and it’s just an all around bad way to define success because it will just leave you craving more and more.

Instead, success should be measured by what you accomplish, how you achieve your dreams, and how your dreams positively affect and help others and make a difference in their lives. When you stay true to yourself, set goals that have meaning, and follow your dreams, you’ll feel successful and fulfilled no matter how much money you make.


The Best Things in Life are Free

I know the iconic statement didn’t really mean you don’t ever need money, but I think it’s a good reminder that we can all stand to hear from time to time. I like earning money and I do find myself caught up in it at times, but when I slow down and remind myself that money isn’t everything, I find that the free things in life are what make me happier.

I’ve been happier in my business and my life when I’ve done things for free to help others. That’s not to say that money can’t help people too, it definitely can, but there’s only so much money that you actually need. After you reach that point, there’s no reason to continue prioritizing how much you earn other than to compete with others.


Do you have a hard time separating your success from your income? If you’re a freelancer, do you find it hard to turn down money-making opportunities? 

FCP043 – How to Deal with the Obsession of Earning More Money

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation Podcast!

This week’s episode is about the obsession of earning more money.

While the ability to earn more money is one of the nice things about being self-employed, it can also be something that’s tough to deal with.

When you are self-employed, you have the flexibility of working whenever you want, as much as you want, and you can charge as much as you want for your services. This means the sky’s the limit when it comes to how much money you can earn.

But that flexibility can also drive some entrepreneurs to work longer hours, harder than ever, which isn’t good news for your work-life balance.

In our niche, there’s also a lot of pressure to hustle, work hard, and earn more money continually, especially if you find yourself trying to “compete” with others who share all of their income information online. This can quickly lead to business burnout.

So how can you deal with the obsession of earning more money? Here are some of our tips.

As freelancers and side hustlers, there's a lot of pressure to be earning more money, but this leads to working more. Here's how to create a better balance.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 1:10 – Side hustling: What is it?
  • 7:40 – Skipping the side hustle: How Erin started freelancing from scratch
  • 27:30 – Finding motivation to keep working and earning more money
  • 35:50 – Seeing the potential to earn more money
  • 37:45 – Defining success with things other than money

Related links to check out:

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We would love it if you subscribed via iTunes or Stitcher, or if you left us a review! While we love getting together and chatting each episode, it’s great to know people are listening. =)

We want to hear from you! Do you have suggestions or questions? Comment below, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

3 Free Ways to Indulge in Self Care

This week we discussed the importance of self-care on the podcast and how to prioritize it even if the cost does add up. While self-care is super important no doubt, sometimes working around the cost factor is easier said than done.

It’s easy to say that you should take care of your mental and physical health at all costs, but when the costs start to add up and you can’t afford it with your current budget some issues can arise. Luckily, there are plenty of free ways to prioritize your health and well-being by providing self-care. Indulging in a few free options can lighten the financial burden you feel when trying to manage other expenses you might have like debt payments, housing expenses, and so on.

The next time you’re deciding on how to provide some much-needed self-care, consider some of these free options combined with your other preferences which might cost more.

Think pampering yourself needs to cost a ton of money? It doesn't. There are plenty of way to practice self-care for free. Here are 3 ideas!

1. Get the Proper Amount of Rest

I’m a huge advocate of sleep because it’s the best way to allow your body to rest and recharge. When I don’t get enough sleep at night, I’m not only cranky and irritable but I’m also unproductive, easily distracted, and sometimes I even get headaches when working.

Since I spend a lot of time looking at a computer screen allowing my eyes and body to rest is a must.

When your schedule is busy and you’re trying to please everyone, it can be easy to put off sleep and prioritize other things. When you do this, your body will start to work against you.

Arianna Huffington, the founder of The Huffington Post, recently published a book called The Sleep Revolution and talks about the sleep deprivation crisis and how sleep can transform your life.

It’s important to make time for sleep. It does wonders for your body and it’s free. If you need to wake up earlier to get more things done, make sure you don’t stay up late and vice versa. You can also schedule time throughout the day to takes naps to recharge.

Now that I’m working from home, I do that quite a bit and back when I was working a traditional time, I loved coming home on Fridays and taking a 2-hour nap.


2. Find a Free (Almost) Way to Relax

I’m pretty much the world’s worst person at relaxing. As a self-proclaimed workaholic, I usually answer with “work” when someone asks me what my hobbies are.

Unfortunately, I’ve realized in the past year or so that I need to find other ways to spend time besides just working as I’ve had my work and stress level take a toll on my health.

These days I try to relax and step away from work by doing things like taking a bubble bath at the end of a long day, especially in the winter when it gets cold.

I also do things that make me feel good, like painting my toenails. I don’t usually shell out for a pedicure at a salon or spa, but even just painting my nails myself makes me feel prettier and happier.

Self care doesn’t have to cost a bundle. These things I do for myself cost only the price of a bottle of bubble bath, some hot water, and a bottle of nail polish. Plus, the nail polish and bottle of bubble bath will last for many, many uses before you have to buy more.


3. Take a Hike

Besides not getting enough sleep, many of us also don’t take the time to distance ourselves from technology or screens.

That’s why I love getting outside and taking a hike (or a walk).

It might sound silly or cliche, but there’s something about being in nature that’s so refreshing after a week spent sitting in front of a computer non-stop.

I went on a hike last weekend and I felt my happiness levels go up while my stress levels went down. Being in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery, is something I’ll take any day over work.

I know I’m not the only one who doesn’t get enough “outdoor time,” but I think it’s almost as necessary as sleep when it comes to taking care of yourself.

Staring at a screen all day isn’t healthy for you at all, and I often get headaches because of it. Sitting all day also isn’t that great for you! Plus, a change of scenery is always nice.

Going for a hike or a walk can help you get fresh air, exercise, and it might also help you clear your mind so you can come back to work refreshed and ready to go.


What are your favorite free ways to indulge in self-care?

FCP042 – Why You Shouldn’t Skimp on Self-Care

Welcome back to the Financial Conversation Podcast!

In this episode, we are talking about something that is very important for everyone no matter where you live or what you do: self-care. 

There’s no doubt that the costs of personal care can be expensive, but there are ways you can reduce your self-care expenses and budget for it so it doesn’t take you by surprise.

Many people sacrifice self-care from their budget because they don't think it's important, but doing so can be detrimental to your mental health.

In this episode we discuss:

  • 1:45 – Why is self care important?
  • 6:00 – What gets in the way of self care?
  • 13:45 – What is worth it and what isn’t when it comes to self care?
  • 20:20 – Frugal ways to fulfill self care needs
  • 29:15 –  Splurges and guilty pleasures
  • 38:50 – Are self care costs higher for men or women?

Related links to check out:

Like It? Subscribe!

We would love it if you subscribed via iTunes or Stitcher, or if you left us a review! While we love getting together and chatting each episode, it’s great to know people are listening. =)

We want to hear from you! Do you have suggestions or questions? Comment below, or follow us on Facebook or Twitter.

3 Networking Tips To Make The Most of Any Conference

Our podcast episode this week was recorded live from the Tradeking stage at FinCon 2016 – otherwise known as the Financial Blogger’s conference. We all enjoyed getting to record face-to-face, which did make staying on topic a bit of a challenge at times.

During the conference, we all did our best to network and make connections to help us grow our businesses in the next year and beyond.

Attending conferences and networking is essential for business growth and to foster new and existing relationships with people. But it isn’t always easy to network.

If you are struggling with networking, here are some tips to help you make the most of any conference or other networking event you may attend.

Have you been thinking of attending a conference, but are too overwhelmed by everything involved? Here are our best networking tips you can follow.

Introverts, Hitch Your Wagon to an Extroverted Friend

Most of the time introverts can benefit from “working the crowd” at a conference with an extroverted friend. Extroverts aren’t afraid to walk up to people and start conversations, which can help them meet lots of new people and take advantage of all the networking opportunities at a conference.

As an introvert you may still need more “down time” than your extroverted friend, and that’s ok, but having someone to walk around with may help you meet more people than if you tried to go it alone.

I’m definitely an extrovert and I like hanging around with my introverted friends at a conference as it also gives me time to do my extroverted thing without having to compete. 🙂

When an introvert and an extrovert pair up for networking events, it can help both succeed!


Have a Plan and a Goal Beforehand

Now that I’ve had some time to reflect on how FinCon went, I can say without a doubt that having a goal can make a HUGE difference in your conference experience.

I didn’t have a concrete goal this year. My previous two FinCon’s were centered around networking and getting more clients, but this year, I didn’t have any need to really network. I just wanted to catch up with friends and meet new and interesting people.

Unfortunately, that probably wasn’t worth the money I spent attending. You should be smart about any business, career, or side hustle investment (if it’s not being paid for by your employer) – that means making sure it pays off.

Having a goal makes that possible. I highly recommend thinking about why you want to attend the conference or convention you have in mind, and writing down at least three things you want to accomplish while you’re there.

If you’re going with friends or coworkers, share your three goals with them so you can be held accountable. Check in on your progress throughout the conference so you can get back on track (conferences can get crazy busy – it’s very easy to forget your purpose while there!).

Also, make sure these goals are specific. Don’t just say “I want to talk with 10 possible connections.” Look at the attendee list, if it’s available, and pick 10 people you want to “target.” Send them emails and see if they’re available to meet while there.

This makes your plans and goals much more concrete, and if you’re an introvert, it also gives you an extra push since you can’t really back out of a meeting once it’s scheduled!


Don’t Be Afraid to Stand Out

Like I mentioned during this week’s episode, introverts can benefit by standing out from the crowd at networking events which will allow people to come to you instead of the other way around.

You don’t have to change your hair or your clothes or buy a new pair of shoes if that’s not you, but just embracing your own individuality can help.

Erin dyed her hair purple (not for the conference of course, but because she wanted to), and we ran into a guy who wore neon yellow jeans at last year’s conference and a man who wore light orange shoes at this year’s event. Maybe you might want to wear your favorite pair of shoes or your favorite colorful dress instead of wearing typical business casual clothing to a fun networking event.

Maybe you can design a unique type of business card, or wear a shirt with an interesting saying on it. Some people create merchandise with their brand or company’s name on it like bags, t-shirts, and other swag. This is just an option and can get pricey if you do it often but my point is that there are plenty of ways to stand out.

Another simple way you can stand out is by putting your picture on your business card so people can put a face to your name when following up. You can also make sure you’re having memorable conversations and taking notes right after them.

If you talk to someone who tells you a funny story about their daughter’s ballet recital, make sure you jot that down and store it in your back pocket so you can tie it into your follow up if need be.

As long as you are having unique and memorable introductions and conversations with other people, you’ll have a better time growing your network.


Do you have any networking tips? Which one of these tips would you be most likely to try?.