I also worked my ass off during high school, went to a public university with enough AP credit to graduate in three years with an English degree (gasp!) then received a Master’s in journalism (double gasp!) that costed next to nothing, because I moved back home with my parents and didn’t have to divulge their income on the FAFSA for a graduate degree. I went into tech marketing and was making six figures by the time I was 25.


MozBar – MozBar is a Google Chrome extension that lets you Google any keyword and see how competitive the search results are. The higher the DA (domain authority) and PA (page authority) the more competitive the keyword is. However you still want to click on the top results and browse the content to make sure you can creating an article/video that is better than whoever’s in the top results. That is really what “researching the competition” is all about.
Alright, so I started doing construction work for my parents as they remodeled their house. They paid me 10 an hour. This probably started when I was ~ 13. Then I started lifeguarding at 15 and did that until I was 16 (2 summers). I would work about 60 hours a week during that time + continue to work construction on my days off from lifeguarding. Between 13-16 I was able to stockpile ~25k. I used 10k to buy a BMW cash at 16 (which I still drive to this day). The car was a depreciating asset for sure. So I went into junior year of high school with about 15k in cash and a 10k BMW (which was worth 15k but the market was falling out under itself so the dealer sold to me because I had cash and he needed money).
I saw that and sort of snorted at the similarity between that and working in the arts and then laughed out loud when you wrote “we’re not artists, for Pete’s sake.” I have no idea why people think that noble or creative jobs are a reward in themselves. We all still have the same base expenses in life. If you’re working 40 hours a week in a job that provides any sort of value, you should be able to cover them.

Wow, these salaries and success stories are amazing, and making me wonder what I did wrong. I earned my BS in Computer Science in 1986. Now, after an MBA and an MS Risk Management, two lay offs, a few missed/blown opportunities, and the Great Recession, my 2013 annual salary is exactly the same as 1999 – well under $100K, in a mid-sized, mid-cost, coastal FL city.
In regards to the the oil industry and environment, the choice is made by the collective populations of the world. As long as the world demands energy, there will be a market for it and that may come at the expense of the environment. I’m not saying that’s right, but consumers share the same amount of responsibilities of our planet as oil producers. Without the consumers, producers will not exist.
Hey, Ari! I think you’ve actually inspired a blog post or two in terms of how I define success. Professionally, success is a student coming back a year or five or ten later and sharing what they actually learn. Of course, there are other markers. Professionally AND financially, I’m about there in terms of maxing out my salary schedule. But I still have a lot of success to try to cultivate in my classroom that matters more than dollars and cents. In my financial life, I feel like success is a moving target. I have to remind myself the fact that I bought a house at 26 on my own and my husband and I can do many things (within reason) to support ourselves and our son AND have fun means I’ve already had success.
As you can see from my abbreviated history above, I hustled. I’m in my 40’s now and glad I did and haven’t let up. Didn’t have the best SAT scores, not the best grades. Read business books voraciously including The Millionaire Next Door and realized my grades ages 14-22 didn’t define me unless I let them. Everyone else was drinking and parting, and I was busting my butt in my 20’s. Glad I did.
As for my young self’s income, I’ve told a few pieces of my story in comments for other FS posts, but here is some history that aligns with the content of this post and answers a couple of Sam’s questions: I can’t remember if I made over $100k by 25 or by 26, but was a millionaire by 27 due to a mostly lucky break with tech company stock options in the Roaring 90s. The path: I graduated high school as co-valedictorian, but will call myself #2 because the other guy took harder classes so deserves the #1 spot. I started college in mechanical engineering, hated it (and esp. one evil professor), switched to international studies, liked it. I got decent grades, partied a lot to make up for a choir boy high school experience, and worked all the way through college…full time my senior year…but just sweat jobs, no internships. Paid for college myself. After college, I traveled and partied a bit more, dabbled in a few different jobs and ended up convincing a small software company to pay for a basic software testing programming course in exchange for about 6 months of service (got that through casual networking inspired by a dose of nepotism). I wrote a test script they were able to sell, so negotiated an early break and landed a test engineer contracting job at a large software company via the worst interview in the history of interviews (the recruiter had to come get me in the parking lot as I was getting in my car to leave…the hiring manager’s closing question was an incredulous “…ummm…so, why should I hire you?” which I answered by jumping to my feet with both arms in the air to yell, “Cuz I’m the best!” He laughed and told me to get lost.). After a year at that job, I did a couple other tech contracting gigs, then converted to a full time gig with a pay cut for a junior mgmt job in exchange for lots of stock…which split 4 times in 12 months, thus the millionaire thing at 27. I lost 75% of that money via bad (a.k.a. zero) investment mgmt by 29, but had a fantastic time bouncing around the world adventuring and doing a little non-technology work (including teaching English in a Mexican university and training teachers in Los Angeles, both of which I liked). I eventually got married and went back to madam technology, but as I hinted above, this old whore (hey, “44” rhymes with “whore”..whaddyaknow..I’ll remember that for my birthday next week ;-)) has about run out of energy or interest for working the corporate red light district. I’ve created some other income streams, but want more of that before I leave tech and spend more time the way I now want to. This site is good inspiration for that.

I believe for many people including myself, the elusive passion that yields happiness and fulfillment is still unknown even well into adulthood. Personally, if money wasn’t a factor I’m not sure what I would be doing…and that’s what I’d like to figure out. In the meanwhile though, building financial independence can provide options down the road and keep you flexible.
I’m 29. I started a career in sales right out of High School and found my glass ceiling. I went back to school at 26, graduated with a degree in finance at 28 in may 2015, I just got my first offer as a securities specialist with a top 5 bank, (it’s an operations position in global market settlements) the pay is less than my draw was when I was selling, and I might as well live in my car because I’m going to spend about 2 and a half hours in the car everyday. I am trying to determine if I am selling myself short, or if this is a good place to get started. I ultimately want to work mutual funds. I’m trying to decide if I should keep looking for another position or hold out for more.

Hey Tiffany, how are you today? This is an excellent guide and I love all the information! It’s true many people who have blogs have no idea about affiliate marketing and it’s potential, but there is so much money to be made from affiliate marketing it’s unreal. One tip I could give is people who are building up blogs should get into affiliate marketing earlier! Great post, have a great day… thanks for the great information!
2. Back to #1: Other aspects. You must become educated in all facets of internet marketing. You need to watch a lot of instructional videos and read online articles and books. You MUST learn how to build a website, create a landing page, how to work with a large variety of traffic sources OUTSIDE of Facebook and solo ads. I’m talking about other resources such as techniques used with Reddit, for example. GET SMART.
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