When I first started designing my Find Your Dream Job class, I was praying that the average salary of IWT readers would be $80,000. Because I know if someone makes $80K, I could get them to 6 figures in one job search.
Unfortunately, the average was lower, and I can’t realistically promise to take someone earning $40K or $50K to $100,000 with one jump.
But there are exceptions — like the subject of today’s case study, Marc, one of my Dream Job students.
It always feels good when IWT readers use my material to go from $100,000 to $110,000, or $130,000 to $160,000, or even $39,000 to $41,000. But nothing makes me more excited than $30,000 to $50,000, or $50,000 to $100,000. It’s an entire step up in socioeconomic status, with access to all kinds of resources you would have previously never had.
That’s why I’m thrilled to tell you about Marc, a graphic designer who went from being grossly underpaid at a job he liked, to nearly double his old salary at a job he loves. After just three months of Dream Job, Marc increased his income from $57,000 to $100,000 (that’s a $43,000 increase, or 75.44%).
Here’s how he did it.
“I sent out my first resume the day Lehman Brothers crashed…”
Marc studied the visual arts in college. Now 29, he is engaged and has a fulfilling career as a graphic designer.
“After graduating I did some freelancing. I wanted to move to a bigger city, but I knew I needed to up my game a little bit and I thought grad school was a way to get into the very specific world I wanted to enter. After grad school I was ready to conquer the world, and then I sent out my first resume the day Lehman Brothers crashed. That was a nice little bit of reality that happened — everyone had hiring freezes on.”
Eventually one of Marc’s contract clients offered him a full time job. “When I was hired on they just did traditional print media. So over 3.5 years I built out that role to be more of the position I wanted. I took on video editing, flash, creating websites.”
But the job had it’s limitations. “It’s a nonprofit, and it came with a nonprofit salary.”
Marc started at $50,000, and by his third year was making $57,000. Not bad, but not enough. “I was still supplementing my income with freelance work.”
Interested in psychology, finances, and systemization, Marc found out about my book via an Amazon comment. “It was a review on this other finance book. The guy was like ‘this is just a compilation of all these other books. If you want to actually learn something read Ramit Sethi’s I Will Teach You To Be Rich.’” (Thank you anonymous Amazon troll.)
After following my site for about a year, Marc was ready to invest in his next step. “I remember writing to Ramit asking about his course. He just shot me back that Earn1K was not appropriate, and that I was definitely more of a Dream Job student. At that point Dream Job was still 2-3 months from starting.”
When the course was ready, Marc signed up. “At that point there was no hesitation, I basically trusted the guy. I was pretty happy with what was offered in the middle package, and it was very smartly priced. When I invest in anything I want to see returns on it, whether it is $1,000 for a good guitar, or $60,000 for grad school. So Dream Job seemed like a drop in the bucket for what I thought would come of it.”
How to negotiate a $43,000 bump
Marc knew that earning more money meant he had to find a new company to work with. “There was only so much the nonprofit could do for me. They were trying to come back from a $3 million deficit, so when the topic of raises came up they would just say ‘we will see what we can do.’”
He dug into the Dream Job materials, “the first part on overcoming your 5 hidden scripts opened my eyes to what I had been doing wrong”.
Marc narrowed down his job search, crafted his narrative, and used Dream Job’s advanced “Natural Networking” techniques to connect with people in his industry.
“I’d say the most important part was the negotiation videos. The course uses all different types of media, but it is the video that sets it above all the blog posts and books out there. Ramit’s enthusiasm. Being able to watch that on video, and see him interact with people, tear it down, constructively criticize them — I could see how I would answer certain questions and how they would be deflected. It’s the kind of thing that unless you take a professional negotiation course, you don’t see all that often.”
Marc connected with a recruiter, and they scheduled an interview. “I had never negotiated before, but after the Dream Job videos I felt like I could walk in and own the conversation.”
How the negotiation went…
“The recruiter kept asking me the salary from my last job, and I’d tell her I wasn’t comfortable disclosing it. She said to tell her because she was fighting for me, but I just repeated myself. I knew that was important. Then I told her the range I had researched, $90,000 to $110,000, and she put me right in the middle – $100,000.”
Do you see what Marc did there?
He knew that disclosing his old salary ($57,000) would be fatal to the negotiation. The recruiter would have seen even $60,000 was a bump up, negotiated hard, and earned a fat bonus check for herself. Instead, Marc used techniques from my negotiation videos to deflect the recruiter, and leveraged the market range to earn a huge increase in pay. Another $43,000 – from $57,000 to $100,000.
“It was fast. Like three months. And it felt awesome. I should have been making $85,000 for the year or two beforehand. I finally felt like I was being respected and valued for what I bring to the table.”
What a Rich Life means to Marc
What kind of impact can a higher salary have on your life?
Here’s what it meant to Marc:
“With my last salary, after fixed expenses were paid, I had $300 every two weeks. That was for eating, buying something, whatever – I had 300 bucks. Jumping from that… I’m still careful with my spending, but I don’t have to always check to make sure I’m not going to get an overdraft fee. And I’m getting married soon, I can help my partner and I get on our feet. I feel like I’m able to step up to the next level of adulthood. We are putting money away for savings, retirement, and things we want in general.”
His career prospects have improved too. “This job has enabled me to be choosy. The next stop I can pick another brand or company that I’m dying to work for — I don’t have to worry about the next bump up in salary, because I’ll be starting from a very good place. It’s the holy grail for a designer.”
“Plus, it’s nice to be able to pick up the check for everyone once in awhile.”
What would you do with another $1000 on EVERY paycheck?
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