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24 Jan 2016 Austin Belcak

How Destroying The Myth Of “Paying Your Dues” Landed Me A $70,000 Raise

“The idea of “paying your dues” is a lie told to us by people who want our ideas, effort, and labor on the cheap.” – James Altucher

Do you ever wish you worked somewhere else? Somewhere better? A place that lets you challenge yourself and paid you what you were actually worth for work that you actually enjoyed?

I graduated from college with the mindset most people have – find a steady job in a field I'm interested in and prepare to pay my dues. That lasted for about 6 months – I was miserable. I was getting paid next to nothing, had 10,000 in credit card debt, and was eating Ramen for breakfast. Why did I have to wait to find a job I loved that paid me what I was worth? I was determined to crack the code – traditional requirements be damned. But how?

I spent the next 2 years studying top performers and earners who worked at some of the best companies in the world. Then I went on over 50 interviews, testing and tweaking their strategies each time. By the end I had interviewed at Google, Uber, Twitter (and many more) and was handed the offer of my dreams, along with a $70,000 raise before I was 25 years old.

I'm not saying this to brag. I'm saying this to show you that it is possible and you can do it! Hell, you deserve it!

Screw “paying your dues” (I hate that term) – this is a myth that smaller companies push on you because it allows them to get away with hiring top talent, like yourself, on the cheap. We're brainwashed into thinking that you need to have X amount of years of experience, that you can only develop skills inside the 4 walls of your office, and that you must accept a 3% raise every year (and 2+ years in between promotions). I'm here to tell you that this is complete BS.

What You Don't Need To Land The Job Of Your Dreams

  • You don't need to have connections – I will teach you how to create them
  • You don't need money – everything you need to know can be learned for free, the currency is time and discipline
  • You don't need to be 100% qualified for the job that you want – you must take risks to reap rewards!
  • You don't need to have a fancy degree from a brand name school – many of the people working at Google and Apple didn't even go to college
  • You don't need your degree to be in the same field that you want to work – I have a BA in biology and my dream job was in search engine marketing

So, what do you need?

  • A desire to be a better you, every day
  • The belief that you truly are worth more than what is being offered to you right now
  • The determination to put in the time and the effort required – this is not a get rich quick scheme
  • Persistence

If you have these 4 things, you have everything to you need to land your dream job at any company in the world (with a salary to match). I promise.

Now, this is not a get rich quick scheme. My promise to you is complete and total honesty. It will require time and effort, but it will be 100% worth it. By the end you will be able to:

  • Earn enough money to travel the world, live in your own place, pay off debt, SAVE, and buy a round of drinks with friends without worrying
  • Be flexible – work your own hours, from anywhere (yes, even the beach)
  • Make connections that will help you succeed in any walk of life
  • Give you the freedom to start your own business or pursue your passion without worrying about additional loans or losing everything!

Why Do Companies Hire In The First Place?

In order to understand how we can bend to corporate system to our will and make the bullets above a reality, we need to understand one basic question: Why do companies hire in the first place?

Companies hire people to fill a need that will bring them more money than it costs to hire that person. If the amount of money coming in from that hire is substantial, then the person being hired can demand a higher salary. If the person being hired has a track record of generating above average amounts of revenue in a certain field, they can demand even more money! Simple right?

So how do you become that person?

The Best Companies Are Dying To Hire You

As I mentioned before, the top performers I studied (myself included) came from all walks of life – different races, different levels of intelligence, and different levels of income. Every single one of these people share one common thread. They didn't all have 4.0s from Ivy League schools, they didn't have wealthy families with extensive networks, and they certainly didn't have the “required” of experience. What made each one of them successful was this:

They researched and identified real needs that top companies had, and then they spent their time building their skill sets to match those needs using real world applications (read: side businesses and projects).

How To Identify Real Needs

Finding these needs is not hard. Assuming you already have a basic idea of your “dream job,” all you need to do is Google [Company Name] Careers and look at the job description of the position. Everything you need is right there. Go ahead and ignore the X amount of years required (still don't believe me? When I started, I was the youngest person on my team by 6 years), as well as the basic fluff (these are taken from real descriptions):

  • A passion for technology and its use in driving revenue and customer satisfaction
  • Infectious sense of enthusiasm, fun, and imagination associated with a group committed to developing the best search sales experiences in the world

And focus on the concrete skills:

  • Experience Editing Vectors in Adobe Illustrator
  • Successfully managing a Google AdWords campaign with a positive return on investment
  • Coding proficiency in C#, Java, and HTML

This is your roadmap, now you just need to begin building experience.

The Side Hustle: Getting Paid To Perfect Your Skills

Now that you know what skills your dream company is dying to pay you for –  its time to learn it. The best way to learn is to do and, hey, you may as well get paid while you're at it, right?

Many people hinder themselves by believing that you need to have fancy credentials (that cost lots of money) or money in the bank to start a businesses. An “expert” is not someone who knows everything, but rather someone who knows more than the person they are teaching.

You'll need to take a course or two and read a few books and blog posts to get acquainted first. Most of this materials is available for cheap, if not free. I recommend starting on Udemy because they are almost always offering 90%+ off their courses for first time users. If you like learning by reading, head straight to your local library.

Once you have a enough understanding of your skill to speak to it confidently, it's time to get customers. This is MUCH easier than it sounds, you don't need a company name, a logo, or an LLC. Start by:

  • Reaching out to local businesses who could benefit from your skills
  • Get on a web-based freelancing site like Upwork
  • Speak to your friends and family and see if they know anyone who needs the kind of help you offer

Using these avenues, you should be able to land one or two clients. Remember, right now we are looking for experience – not premium pricing (that will come later, especially once you have your job). If you're having trouble at first, don't be afraid to offer your skills free until you have one or two clients who can vouch for your work.

Landing Your Dream Job

You are now the ideal candidate. Not only do you have the skills the company is looking for, but you've proven that you know how to drive revenue without a brand name and all of the fancy sales resources and marketing behind you. However, you still need to get your foot in the door and crush your interview – two very daunting tasks.

This is where I come in – I'm going to show you:

  • How to get a referral for the job even if you don't know a single person at the company
  • How to get your resume read by a real person and never have to submit it online again
  • Word-for-word scripts I used to breeze through the initial rounds of Google, Uber, and Twitter
  • One simple tactic that will help you stand out from every other applicant
  • How to negotiate a massive raise with no negotiating experience
  • How to start a side business that allows you to learn the skills you need while generating income you can use to pay off debt, travel the world, or simply live a higher quality of life

Are you ready to love what you do, get paid what you're worth, and begin living the live you deserve? The only thing stopping you now, is you!

Start Here

If you're ready to get started, click the link that's most relevant to your current situation:

How To Get A Job Anywhere Without Applying Online

How To Land A Career In A Different Field (Even If You Aren’t “Qualified”)

Austin Belcak

Austin is the founder of Cultivated Culture where he helps people land jobs without connections, without traditional experience, and without applying online. His strategies have been featured in Forbes, Business Insider, & Fast Company and has helped people just like you land jobs at Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, & more.

One thought on How Destroying The Myth Of “Paying Your Dues” Landed Me A $70,000 Raise
  1. Gloria says:

    Wow, this is great and insightful



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