Freelance and consulting myth: You’re missing the boat unless you earn $100,000+ per year
The beautiful thing about freelancing and consulting is that you set your own income goals. So why not give yourself permission to decide upon goals that work best for you?
Be true to yourself and you will be at greater peace with your work and your life. You can aim for the stars, but give yourself time—perhaps years—if you choose lofty goals. Or you may decide to set goals that are not such a stretch, especially if you have other demanding life goals in addition to producing income.
This figure may not match up with the should’s prescribed by others. The entrepreneurial and personal coaching newsletters I follow are almost unanimous in explaining why you should want to earn “six figures,” which translates as $100,000+, and aspire to “seven figures.” (Yes, that’s a million dollars a year.)
Of course some experts are expert at thinking big about how to live a life rich in material success. Other experts position themselves as “authentic” or “spiritual” or whatever; they present a different set of values but drop hints that they now make six figures and they see this as entry-level success.
Did you know that the median U.S. household income in 2012 was about $51,000? Yep, nearly one-half of the widely presumed success level.
So if your household brings in over that figure, you are ahead of the game, even if you lag behind the “rock stars.”
Another reality check comes in the form of comparing your income to what you earned at your last good full-time job. Actually, there are two ways to look at this: One is to compare your gross income with your stated salary. The second is to multiply your last “regular” income by one-third (1.334) to include typical employee benefits equal to an additional one-third of your salary.
Many success milestones along the way
One of the fun aspects of freelancing and consulting is that you keep enjoying the attainment of new milestones. The first time you get a check is a thrill—you are a real professional now.
Next, perhaps, comes conquering “five figures.” That’s $10,000 or more annually.
Down the line is earning ever greater shares of your expenses, followed by putting money aside for discretionary expenses, vacations and savings.
Having money set aside to pay income and any other taxes on schedule is pretty cool also. Ideally you should be doing this from the first dollar earned, but sometimes that doesn’t quite happen and you hope that money pressures will ease up a bit as you reach tax deadlines.
Then there’s the six figures and seven figures. (Plus all the additional $100,000 achievements in between.)
Success is relative. It’s relative to your own goals, not the lofty figures and glitzy possessions of the so-called rock stars. With reasonable goals that match your heart’s desire, you will achieve success and relish each achievement along the way.
Originally posted 2-11-14