The following blog post is part of The Road to Financial Wellness blog tour. The Road to Financial Wellness is a three-month, grassroots campaign promoting financial empowerment on a national level and encourages people to pursue their dream lifestyle. Find out more about local events near you.
If you're in the Nashville area, reserve your spot for Pit Stop #18 on June 30th!
My earliest memory of trading my time for money was working as a “mother's helper” with my sister for .50 an hour.
A total steal, right?
We were under 10-years-old and promoted our services through flyers we hand-delivered to the mailboxes of the families in our neighborhood.
We weren't old enough to babysit, but we offered parents something invaluable—more time back in their day. And at .50 per hour for two helpers, our summer vacation was booked up pretty quickly.
Even with my limited understanding of money, it didn't take long to start feeling disappointed by my lack of earnings. After all, chasing someone's toddler around all day wasn't easy. And a good day was only yielding $2-3, to split.
I longed to be old enough to start earning babysitter wages.
My Teenage Years
At fourteen, I was finally old enough to get hired in the kitchen of a local Italian restaurant. For minimum wage, I mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, and made a ton of cannoli filling.
I loved my free plate of pasta every shift, but I knew tipped employees earned more, so I kept my ear to the ground for opportunities to bus tables.
For the next few years, I worked as a hostess and bus person. Plus, I picked up some hours at a local dry cleaner. Making just above minimum wage, the dry cleaner gig was a constant reminder I could be earning more per hour.
I celebrated my eighteenth birthday by applying for server jobs all over town.
My College Years
Working as a server during college was the perfect job — a high hourly rate, relatively flexible, and constant opportunities to pick up additional shifts.
For two summers, I was able to balance unpaid internships with a server job at a local seafood restaurant. I saved about $5,000 a summer, which helped a lot during the school year.
I earned $25,000 at my first full-time job.
I loved working for a classical record label so much, I barely noticed I was earning less per hour than my restaurant jobs.
To supplement my income, I sold beer at Tennessee Titans Stadium on the side, usually earning $50-100 per game.
I spent the next several years working for an independent concert promoter. I started at $11 per hour as the temporary receptionist, and was quickly promoted to a $28,000 assistant job. After a couple of years, my salary was bumped up to $40,000. And eventually, I earned $52,000 as a talent buyer.
I never minded the lower salaries in my early twenties because I was working my “dream job,” traveling all over the United States and Canada, producing concerts. But by the time I was earning my highest salary I was immensely burnt out from the stress, life on the road, and complete lack of self-care.
My current job, social media marketing for a tech company, earns less per hour than my job as a promoter. But I'm working far fewer hours and I'm sharpening my digital marketing skill set a little more every day.
At 32, an hour of my time is worth a lot more than what I accepted as a mother's helper, kitchen worker, busser, server, a marketer for a record label, beer seller, concert promoter, and a lot of other jobs.
There's an opportunity cost attached to every hour of our lives we trade for money. I've worked a lot of jobs, and I'm just beginning to understand this.
My time outside of my full-time job is sold at a premium because it reduces my time for resting, exercising, or spending time with friends and family.
I don't accept work below a minimum price, and I only agree to side gigs that propel me closer to my long-term goals. Plus, I'm actively working on building additional streams of revenue, especially passive ones.
Our time is a precious resource. Because the more hours we've lived, the more valuable our remaining hours become.
Readers: How much is an hour of your life worth?
I'm really proud to be co-hosting The Road to Financial Wellness Pit Stop #18 in Nashville on Thursday, June 30th at The Bistro at Emma!
The event is FREE and features:
Jason Vitug from Phroogal
Kristin Larsen from Believe in a Budget
Travis Johnson from Millennial Money Coach
Tim Gray of Grayscale Entertainment Marketing and Grayscale Entertainment
Ayumi Bennett from Startup Southerner
Courtney Webb of Hey Rooster General Store and Y'alls Balls
Corey Davis from Emerge Financial Wellness
Oh, and I'll be speaking, too!
The event is already 90% sold out, so please RSVP here if you want to go.
Did I mention there will be free food and drinks? 🙂
Thanks to Emerge Financial Wellness and Startup Southerner for their support!