Personal Finance

The Simple Truth About Why You’re Struggling to Make Enough Money

Expertise: Commercial Real Estate, Personal Finance, Real Estate Marketing, Business Management, Landlording & Rental Properties, Real Estate Investing Basics, Personal Development, Real Estate News & Commentary, Mortgages & Creative Financing
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Earning more, getting better returns on your investments, and enjoying more financial freedom all starts with this one truth. It can be hard to swallow, but it will change your perspective and life.

There is a famous quote that says, “In this moment, you are earning what you are worth.” Most of us have a problem with that at first. We feel more capable, that we deserve more. We crave more, and we often compare ourselves to others who appear to not be putting in the work or may appear to be less deserving. But until we accept this, we probably won’t see the change and financial gain we crave.

Are You Doing the Right Things to Earn the Income You Desire?

For example, if you are working at flipping burgers (which is a perfectly respectable job and harder to do well than some think), you probably aren’t making $100k a year. In fact, unless you are a celebrity TV chef, you can work 100 hours a week, every week, and you’ll probably never come close to that figure. You might cook better than the chefs on TV, you might put in more sweat, but you are doing a minimum wage job. It’s not necessarily about you. It comes down to the complexities of the job and difficulty of replacing you, as well as problems you can solve associated with the job.


Related: 12 Reasons You’re Poor

The same applies to real estate. Are you doing all the manual labor of rehabbing houses or acting as a DIY property manager or landlord? If so, you are probably earning what a good construction worker, handyman, or property manager is earning. Maybe you own a real estate business, but are doing all the admin tasks an assistant or bookkeeper does. The same applies here. The hours you spend doing those tasks will drag down your overall income potential.

Perhaps you’ve been investing in the stock market and publicly traded REITs or acquiring rental properties. Yet you are getting barely break-even returns when you count fees and taxes. You aren’t making what the big deal makers are.

Try Something Different to Achieve More

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results. You can become the best line cook Burger King has ever had, but it’s unlikely you’ll ever make $100 an hour. Or you can switch up your earning and investment strategy and get to a whole new level.


Related: How to Earn More Money at Your 9 to 5 (So You Can Invest It in Real Estate!)

To achieve this, you have to do something different, take different and bold actions, and perhaps be someone different.

If you recognize this and want change, here are the 6 power steps:

  1. Identify your higher aspirations for your paychecks, wealth, work, and lifestyle.
  2. Write those figures and goals down on paper when you wake up and before you go to bed.
  3. Be the person you want to be already. Own that identity now, and walk out the door looking, feeling, and acting like that person.
  4. Learn the best practical moves to get you where you want to go, i.e. finding a new investment solution or applying for a job in a new field.
  5. Find someone who is where you want to be and emulate what they are doing.
  6. Start receiving more of what you want, knowing you’ll be worth it.

How have you upped your income?

Let me know your tips with a comment!

Sterling is an multifamily investor specializing in value-add apartments in Indianapolis and other Midwestern markets. With just under a decade of experience in the real estate industry, Sterling w...
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    Douglas Skipworth Rental Property Investor from Memphis, TN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Sterling, I am not over exaggerating when I say that I think you just wrote one of the best articles I have ever read on BiggerPockets. There is little doubt that we are the masters of our own destiny when it comes to what we get out of life economically. I think you wrote it before, if you want to be a billionaire, help a billion people. It is really that simple. But, it’s sure not easy.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Wow, thank you for those kind words! I am so appreciative that you find value in the content. We are the creators of our lives! Very simple, but yet so powerful.
    Kim Martin Rental Property Investor from Wenatchee, WA
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Sterling – I think this is your BEST POST thus far. Initially, it is a bitter pill to swallow, but the truth is staring me right back in the mirror. I increased my income by hiring a bookkeeper and a handy man, as counter intuitive as that may sound. I used that extra time I had to work on private money lenders, which in turn, enabled more deals.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    That is great to hear Kim and luckily you figured it out. Any other hires that allowed you to scale your operations and free up time?
    Malik Roley from Houston, Texas
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Great post. Exactly what I needed to read.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Glad you enjoyed it, Malik. What was the biggest takeaway for you?
    Joe Canfield Contractor from Cleveland, OH
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Income and wealth is about creating value, not trading time for money. If a million people can do what you do, your income level will reflect that. If only 500 people can do what you do, your income level will be higher if your particular skill set adds value to the people who have that need. I have built a great career in the food business, and that career feeds my real estate business. I started in the food business 25 years ago making a little over $5 an hour. I have seen a consistent raise in income level throughout my career because I add value that others can’t or won’t. I don’t get promoted or compensated better for showing up, or even just for working hard. I add value by making the other people around me and the overall business better – and I get compensated accordingly. If you want to become a better person and create wealth, you need to change your mind set and your actions. No one is owed anything – you have to earn it. You don’t earn it just by showing up and working hard. You have to get better. You have to add value. If not, you will continue on the same trajectory you are on. I worked for a multibillionaire who loves to say you can only coast going downhill. I fully agree with that mindset. Always look for ways to improve yourself, your life, and your business. Decide what’s important to you and go after it with everything you have. That will mean you sacrifice other things that you may want. You have to decide what is important because you can have anything in life you want, but you can’t have every thing.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Thank you for the insight Joe! Any other pieces of insight you learn from your multibillionaire colleague?
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Glad you enjoyed the read. Have you ventured into the real estate industry, John? I completely understand your viewpoint on troubles with leaving a higher paying job to jump feet first in a new venture.
    Ashley Beekhof
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Sterling, This is a very straight forward, cut through the fluff article on how to take ownership of where your life is and how to escalate it to where you want it to be. If I could read this article every morning before walking out the door, I think it would give me that kick to go after everything I want! So much of our lives are surrounded with comparing ourselves to everyone around us but if we don’t take steps to get there we will never reach our actual worth. Very Inspiring! Ashley Beekhof
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Very simple but yet so powerful. I’m glad you enjoyed the article Ashley. Reno is a lovely place! Enjoy your holiday.
    Ken Scarbrough from Indianapolis, Indiana
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Time for me to make some changes.
    Sterling White Rental Property Investor from Indianapolis, IN
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Go out there and be great Ken! Thank you for your attention.
    Darren Coull
    Replied about 4 years ago
    Stick to the basic’s initially, and they will take care of you later. The right choice(calculated risk) at the right time and the time will always be right to move forward and grow.
    Allen Fletcher Investor from Colorado Springs, Colorado
    Replied almost 4 years ago
    Sterling, I read a quote that goes very well with what you have written. I have no idea who said it, but the principle really applies. It goes like this, “If you want to become (fill in the blank), then live your life like you actually are (same word as before); and you will soon truly become (same as before)”. This is very true, as an example, if you want to be more fit, live as if you are fit, and soon you truly will be fit. Thanks for your article, Allen Fletcher