One Simple Thing Could Earn You A Massive Promotion & Raise

Are you ready to kick start your career? Need more money? One simple thing can lead to a massive job promotion. Get a raise at work by following this one simple pay raise tip shared on around you is getting promotions and big raises. Unfortunately, you just got news that you will be receiving the standard 2% raise and no promotion this year.

You’re bummed because you worked really hard this year. You even worked harder than some of your coworkers that got promotions, so what gives? Why didn’t you get the promotion?

One small detail might be holding you back.

Professional Designations and Certifications

These things are key in advancing your career in many fields. If you don’t have the professional designations or certifications, you’ll get passed over constantly by those that do. It doesn’t matter if you are the best employee in the world.

Some companies simply won’t promote you or give you that fat raise you deserve unless you join the club and get the professional designations or certifications.

In my career field, that designation is actually a license. As an accountant, getting a Certified Public Accountant license is a huge key to unlocking the door to your career growth. If you don’t have a CPA license, you could easily be left in the dust.

When I worked in public accounting, you would never be promoted to the manager position and you would definitely never make partner if you didn’t have your CPA license. It’s a sad truth, but without it your career would hit a brick wall after just 5 years out of college, if not sooner.

Have You Figured Out The Simple Step Yet?

The step is to find out what professional designations, licenses or certifications your superiors have and get them yourself.

If you’re not sure what licenses your superiors may have, you can try searching for them on LinkedIn and see if anything pops up. If that doesn’t work, chances are your superiors will have certificates hanging in their office or you’ll see the designations they have on their business cards.

Once you know what licenses your superiors have, find out how to get them and see if it is worth the time and cost involved to obtain the designation. For example, the CPA exam required 150 credit hours of college courses, a $2,000 study course and countless hours of studying. 

It didn’t result in a raise or promotion directly related to my new license, but I did get a small bonus that covered my costs. However, it paid off in bigger ways.

Certifications and Designations Provide Instant Credibility

While I didn’t get a raise from my then current job when I earned my CPA license, it gave me instant credibility when I was looking for a new job closer to home. Having my CPA license immediately opened doors for other accounting positions because people knew I was serious about my field of study.

Having my CPA license allowed me to get a big bump in my pay, too. A CPA license can be worth an pay increase of 10%. Of course, everyone will have different experiences based on their work history and current company.

Earning a license or professional designation might be a quick process or a long endeavor but most will pay off in the long run. Just do your research and see what designation you might need to get ahead in your career.

Do you have a professional license? Did it help you get ahead in  your career?

Photo by: Joebeone Text added by: Lance Cothern

Why Being Self Employed Doesn’t Make You An Entreprenuer

It’s time for a quick reality check for many so called “entrepreneurs” out there today. News flash! You aren’t an entrepreneur just because you’re self employed. Sorry… wait, no I’m not!

It’s time to learn a bit about what differentiates self employed people from entrepreneurs and figure out which you really are.

What Is Self Employment

According to Wikipedia, self employment is…

the act of generating one’s income directly from customers, clients or other organizations as opposed to being an employee of a business (or person).

The best way I can describe self employment is self employed people perform the same tasks that people with a similar job may do, but they do it independently and are not directly employed by their clients. Some examples of self employed careers are freelance writing, freelance photography and contracting.

Self employed people may work with one client or many clients and may work more or less than a similar person employed to do the same job. They may be paid by the project, paid by the hour or some other arrangement, but they do not receive a paycheck.

Someone who is self employed may have to invoice their clients, but they do not run a business per se. They do not employ anyone to work for them as a formal employee. They don’t create a widget to sell. They simply complete work for others, whether that work is a written article or a painting. Self employed people sell their labor.

What Is An Entrepreneur

According to Google, an entrepreneur is…

a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

In my mind, an entrepreneur runs a business. The business may not employ anyone directly, but work is not always completed by the business owner. The business owner may hire others or contract out work to be completed for them. They must invest in their business in order for it to grow, which may require a significant amount of capital.

Entrepreneurs want to growing something bigger than them. They don’t want to simply sell labor. Instead, they want to grow their business to a point where it can make money beyond what they could do as a single individual.

Why Are Self Employment and Entrepreneurship Different?

The definitions above should make it obvious why self employment and entrepreneurship are different. If you don’t get it yet, it’s time to dig a bit deeper.

Self employed people and entrepreneurs both want to make money, but they’re very different in how they make money. Self employed people are limited to what they can produce themselves to make money while entrepreneurs are not. Entrepreneurs outsource and hire others in order to grow their business while self employed people are their only resource for getting work done.

Self employed people are restricted by their small client base, while entrepreneurs can grow their businesses to the point where they don’t have to rely on a few core customers. Entrepreneurs are often looking to grow their businesses to a bigger level while self employed people must stop when they reach their personal capacity for work.

Which Do You Want To Be?

Do you want to be self employed or do you want to be an entrepreneur? Do you want to grow a business and expand beyond yourself, or just simply complete what only you can work on? No matter what your answer is there is one question more important than what you want to be.

Which Are You Actually?

Are you actually self employed or are you an entrepreneur? If you aren’t an entrepreneur but you wish to be, there isn’t anything stopping you from escaping self employment and joining the ranks of the entrepreneurs. Figure out how you can expand beyond yourself and grow into a true business.

There Is No Right Answer

Whether you’re currently happy to be self employed, happily an entrepreneur, someone who is self-employed and wants to be an entrepreneur or an entrepreneur that wishes they were self employed, there is no right answer to what you should be.

Some people are perfectly happy being self employed while others can only be happy as an entrepreneur. It doesn’t matter which you are as long as it makes you happy and you can financially support yourself.

Just do yourself a favor and know which you really are and don’t confuse the two. Entrepreneurship and self employed are two very different things.

Time to share in the comments below! Do you think it’s better to be an entrepreneur or better to be self employed? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Is Job Hopping Worth The Risk? The Benefits And Downsides Explained

Job hopping has a lot of negative connotations in the workforce today but there are some real benefits that can pay off handsomely. Job hopping can lead to giant promotions and huge raises that could otherwise take years or decades to earn.

The benefits to job hopping are obvious to some, but they have more far reaching impacts than you might initially think. Yes, big promotions and raises are awesome and they’re the main benefit of job hopping. The problem is they come with a down side, too.

The Benefits Of Job Hopping

Changing jobs provides the largest opportunity for an increase in both responsibility and compensation due to the ways that many companies are run. Not all companies can give big raises or promotions even if they see great talent within their ranks. By changing jobs every couple of years, you can greatly accelerate this process in companies that are bogged down in corporate red tape.

Another benefit to job hopping is the fact that you’ll constantly be in a new environment. You won’t have a chance to get bored. If you stay in the same job too long, it is easy to get into a groove and get bored completing the same tasks over and over waiting for someone to retire so you can be promoted.

Promotions and raises are awesome, but you need to make sure that you put that extra money to good use! If you have debt, you can accelerate your debt pay off plan. If you’ve already killed all of your bad debt, your raises and bonuses from your new job can easily be put toward increasing your emergency fund or your retirement contributions.

In addition to monetary benefits, you’ll learn how to deal with many diverse situations. Companies are run by people with very different management styles. Since you’ll likely be working at many companies in a short period of time as a job hopper, you’ll learn how to deal with these different styles which will increase your worth to future employers.

Job Hopping Can Backfire

Job hopping has its downsides, too. It’s easy to see the big promotions and raises without seeing how you could be making yourself unhireable. Companies can quickly catch on to your plans after just a couple of short 1 or 2 year jobs. You’ll need to have good reasons for your moves and be able to show how much value you added at your previous employers. It costs a lot of money to train new employees and most won’t want to risk that money on someone who constantly changes jobs.

Another risk of being a job hopper is the fact that you could be the first to get let go if your company needs to downsize. Since you’re likely one of the newest additions to the team, you could easily be one of the first cut. Combine that with the fact that you likely are one of the higher paid people in the position and you have a recipe for disaster at the first sign of a major economic down turn.

The risks listed above a pretty major, but you can incur a lot of financial strains in your personal life by job hopping as well. Some major costs you might have to pay for out of your own pocket include relocating yourself, breaking a lease and selling a home. You could end up losing out on some major benefits like 401(k) vesting, health insurance (during time between jobs or during probationary periods) and many other common job benefits.

As you can see, job hopping isn’t something to be taken lightly. At the right points in your career, hopping jobs can catapult you to higher levels in both the organizational chart and in your finances. However, if you job hop too much then you could commit career suicide.

Do you think job hopping is ever justified? Would you take the risk?

A Raise Or More Vacation? Which Would You Choose?

When it comes to increases in compensation, almost everyone focuses on how big of a raise they can get. But what if your yearly increase was a bit more negotiable and you could choose benefits, such as more vacation time, over salary? Would you do it?

The Plus Side Of Taking More Benefits

Very few people consider negotiating benefits when it comes time to discuss your annual increase, but it is something you should seriously consider. Why? Some benefits can be more valuable than the tiny or even large raise you might be getting!

What are some benefits you can negotiate? You can negotiate educational opportunities, health benefits, retirement benefits or, my favorite benefit of all, vacation time! Many of these benefits will continue to help you either financially or emotionally for the rest of your tenure with your current employer.

Extra vacation time, my favorite benefit to negotiate instead of a raise, is very important to me because you can find plenty of ways to make more money, but you can’t make more time in a year. An extra week of vacation is almost 2% of a working year, so you could consider it very similar to a 2% raise.

With an extra week of vacation, would you feel less constrained by the choices you have to make in order to make your limited amount of vacation last the whole year? The extra week would give me just enough play room to where I wouldn’t have to feel like I have to save some of my vacation just in case something happens. Instead, the extra week would provide the wiggle room and if nothing happens I can enjoy some time off at the end of the year!

Finally, it is important to note that extra vacation doesn’t cause you to pay more in taxes like a raise would. Since you’d still be earning the same salary, your taxes would remain the same. Luckily, you aren’t taxed on the number of weeks of vacation you get!

Benefit increases aren’t for everyone though. Here are some considerations for the raise side of compensation.

Why Everyone Loves Raises

Everyone loves raises and for good reason. A raise will show up in your paycheck each and every time until you either get another raise or find yourself in a different job. Even if you switch jobs, there is a good chance you’ll take your raise with you.

Raises are awesome because they show up as part of your salary. That means that your raises can compound themselves as you get more raises in the future! If you consistently get big raises, your salary will skyrocket in no time at all! Another benefit of a raise is most employers ask for your most recent salary when you’re interviewing, but they rarely ask how much vacation time you used to get. You’re more likely to take a raise with you than extra vacation.

You should also consider that some of your other benefits, such as your 401(k) matching, are based off of your salary. Whenever you get a raise in your salary you get a raise in your 401(k) matching contribution as well. It’d be a bummer to miss out on that by taking extra vacation.

Either way you go, if your total compensation is increasing you’re doing something right! The real question is, which way would you go? Would you go for some extra benefits, such as vacation time, or would you prefer to get the raise? Let me know in the comments below!

WARNING! Returning To Work From Disability Can Be Difficult!

After months of being on short-term disability for her second foot surgery, Tori was recently approved to head back to work with no restrictions. YAY! To say we were both excited would be a massive understatement.

Tori was excited to get back to work and the challenges that her work as a nurse provide her every day. After all, sitting around the house for months, many of which she couldn’t put any weight on her foot, is not as fun as many would think it would be. Unfortunately, she’d run into a challenge before she even made it back to work.

Naturally, we were both excited about the financial benefits of Tori returning to work, too. While Tori was on disability she only received 80% of her technical 0.83 Full Time Employee status (which equates to 26.56 hours pay per week)  despite the fact that she often worked 40+ hours in any given week. We were fine financially, but it will be nice to be able to pay more toward her student loans when her income gets back to normal. But that didn’t happen as planned either.

Now that Tori was cleared to go back to work, we thought she’d be making money and taking paychecks to the bank as soon as her back to work date arrived. That’s where we made our mistake and we’re going to share our story so that you won’t fall into the same trap.

The Red Flags We Missed

Tori met with her human resources department prior to her second foot surgery to see how it would affect her job. The meeting was successful in our opinion. Her HR department said that they would reemploy her at her place of work upon her return from surgery in a nursing position of some sort, but her current position wasn’t guaranteed.

Her HR department said to simply inform them 2 weeks before her return to work date and she’d be able to start on her return to work date. We didn’t get anything human resources said in writing and that was the first red flag we missed.

If you’re out on disability longer than FMLA leave allows (12 weeks), then your job is not guaranteed to be there for you when you return. Due to the nature of Tori’s foot surgery, she was out for longer than 12 weeks. In fact, she was out of work for nearly 5 months! That was the second HUGE red flag we missed.

Getting Your Job Back Isn’t Guaranteed

In case you didn’t get the drift, Tori didn’t get to go back to work on her return to work date. Tori was proactive and told her human resources department of her return to work date as soon as she found out, which was nearly a month and a half in advance.

Despite the generous amount of time Tori gave to her human resources department, her return to work date came and went and she was still at home on the couch with no position and no pay. She had to use a week of her paid vacation time in order to receive any money at all and she definitely wasn’t taking a vacation.

In fact, her human resources department was treating her like any other person interviewing for a job, rather than giving her the promised position. Tori had to take another drug test, pass another background check and actually interview for multiple positions within the hospital. They even made her interview for the same exact position she left. She wasn’t guaranteed to be picked for any of the positions, including her old position.

Another week went by, this time there was no more vacation time to take and there was no pay. Luckily, this was the last week Tori would have to go without pay because, at the end of the week, she was offered a couple of different positions which she gratefully accepted. Two full weeks after her back to work date, Tori was finally back to work.

Lessons To Learn From Our Experience

Lesson #1: Just because you’re cleared to go back to work doesn’t mean you’ll have a job waiting for you. We’re lucky that Tori was offered a position only two weeks later than we expected. If there were no open positions she could have had to wait even longer!

Lesson #2: Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Once we knew that Tori wouldn’t be able to take any more vacation time, we knew her pay was no longer part of our income for the foreseeable future. We didn’t have a crystal ball and had no clue when she’d return to work.

Lesson #3: Have an emergency fund. We do have an emergency fund which would have covered us for quite a while, but we immediately cut back on any extra discretionary spending. We were preparing for the worst case that she might not work for months.

What would you have done if you were in our position? Would you have had some savings to get you through the time with no income?