Are You An Underearner?

I was on the phone the other day with my friend, rock star teacher, and author Barbara Stanny, who lights fires under women regarding their money issues. I was lamenting the fact that, since I quit my fancy six figure job four years ago, Iíve been working my ass off and not getting paid much. Sure, Iíve gotten some low-paying book deals, some corporate sponsorships, and some one-on-one clients. But Iíve had to take everything Iíve earned to invest back into running my business. (Well, I say ďbusiness,Ē but the very word reminds me of something my friend Marie Forleo says in her killer B School program. ďNo offense, but if itís not making money, itís not a business.Ē Ouch.)

Barbara dug in a bit in a very gentle way, picked my brain, asked me some insightful questions, and diagnosed this:

You donít trust that youíre worth more. But you are. If youíre really truly ready to change that, give me a ring. Itís easy.

Whoa, Nelly.

So I yanked out her book Overcoming Underearning and started really paying attention this time around. Iím so enthralled with what Iím reading that I want to share it with all of you. Here we go.

Are you an underearner?† Hereís how to find out.

10 Traits of Underearners

  1. Underearners talk as if theyíre trapped. (Um, not exactly trapped here. But not perfectly liberated. One point).
  2. Underearners give their power away. (Yup. Yup. Yup. Been learning that one the uber-painful way. Two points).
  3. Underearners underestimate their worth. (But wait, is my new Get Out Of Your Own Way e-course – the one Iíve spent nearly a year developing- really worth a retail price of $347? Yes. It is. It rocks. Three points.)
  4. Underearners crave comfort. (Oh yeah. I regularly whine about how I crave the illusion of certainty. Four points)
  5. Underearners are self-saboteurs. (Why do I keep giving away free coaching sessions, even when I need the money? Five points).
  6. Underearners are codependent. (Refer back to #5. Six points).
  7. Underearners live in financial chaos. (Donít even begin to look at the receipts Iím supposed to be organizing for tax time. If I donít think about it, it will go away, right? Seven points).
  8. Underearners are vague about money and success. (What, avoidance and magical thinking wonít solve my problems? Eight points).
  9. Underearners are anti-wealth. (Okay, so I was raised to believe that rich people are the devil because only evil people keep their money when so many others need it. And even though my Dad earned a boatload of money, my parents gave most of their money away and had little to show for it when my father died. Noble? Maybe. Financially sound? Not so much. Nine points.)
  10. Underearners are controlled by fear. (My number one fear = fear of success. Remember Marianne Williamsonís quote? ďOur deepest fear is not that weíre inadequate. Our deepest fear is that weíre powerful beyond measure.Ē Yup. Ten points.)

Sheesh. And Iíve earned six figures as a doctor. Iíve earned six figures as a professional artist, even! I clearly know how to do it. And yet, here I am, working my ass off, racking up book deals, being invited to speak all over the country, running Owning Pink, and underearning. WTF?

Iíve had it. Iím done. Finito. No more. 2011 is my year to overcome my money issues and skyrocket to the stratosphere in my financial life.

Why? Because I got skills baby. I’m talented. And I’m worth it, damn it!

Barbara Stanny has promised to help me make this happen, not by giving me business advice, per se, but by helping me change my thinking.

What about you? You want to join me? This is part 1 in an Overcoming Underearning series, and Iím going to share with you what I learn from Barbara. But if you want to get a head start, go buy her book Overcoming Underearning and letís start raking in the dough, darling!

You in?

Whatís your skinny, my love? Are you an underearner? Are you sick of it? Are you ready to own your money and start rocking it — because youíre worth it? Oh yeah, gorgeous. Thatís the ticket. Tell me your story.

Related Links:
5 Ways to Get Out of Debt
Create Financial Independence in Your Life


Mary B.
Mary B7 years ago

I'm afraid they're alot more people who are under paid than there are under earners. But somebody's got to do those hard, gross jobs. We all get the benefit of their work and need to support the social programs the working poor need to make ends meet.If you havent done so already I highly recomment reading 'Nickle and Dimed'[on not getting by in America] I have worked at some of the jobs Barbara Ehrenreich discribes and it's amazing how people go on for years doing this kind of labor and living in what ever is available at minimum wage jobs, and then they suffer the indignity of being villified by ignorant people who think they're lazy, uneducated and unskilled.

Bon L.
Bon L7 years ago

Thanks for the info.

Loo Samantha
Loo sam7 years ago

thanks for sharing.

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

Also there is a group similar to AA called Under earners anonymous for this specific issue. It is just as relevant as any other issue on this site. If it doesn't resonate with you, kudos for you: You either make enough money or are happy with what you make. Fact of the matter is woman STILL don't make equal pay. Period.

Jewels S.
Jewels S7 years ago

You seem to be parallel to me in all of your ponderings. I am always amazed when I see an article from you because you seem to be reading my mind. I had just decided to do my 40 day prosperity plan by John Randalf Price. It helped me ask for the raise I needed two years ago so I am going to try it again.!!!

Kathleen S.
Kathleen S7 years ago

Why do I feel like this article is one big plug for your ebook? Isn't that a little unethical.

Sally M.
Sally M7 years ago

Under-earners? People are loosing jobs out there with staggering statistics, and now we are supposed to worry about being an under-earner?
How about just putting our efforts into making this planet a better place, or helping out someone who has just lost their job, or putting a meal on the table of a family who is really struggling, or giving time and compassion to unwanted animals, or being thankful that we have a job at all?
Since when are we supposed to be focused on the almighty dollar to determine our self-worth?
A person may love what they do as work but get a pitiful salary....isn't happiness 'worth' anything?
This is not the focus we should have in the 21st century...this is the focus of the "me" generation who place their value as a human in the same category as their money.
What is that going to do for their joy? Or is joy the same as money for these people who want it all, and want it now?
And, what exactly is it that they want.... and power? The two evils that have brought our planet to its demise?
I always thought that happiness, joy, compassion and fulfillment, in our person, was what we were supposed to strive for in our lives...........not more money, more self-worth garnered from a higher paycheck.
If we, as women, equate our abilities, talents, and joy...on the market of money...we will all be doomed.

Ernie Miller
william Miller7 years ago

I guess it is all a state of mind. there are days when I consider myself an over earner. I have a job that supports my family good. and I have hobies that I enjoy that make more money than that. However I only apply myself as I feel like it often tossing that money at endevers I know will never produce anything but my own happyness. I dont want a big house or fancy car and newest gadgets. I do want to leave the world better than I found it.

Janet C.
Janet C7 years ago

Funny, I was thinking yesterday that I work my butt off for minimum wage and zero appreciation. I'm killing my body and my spirit. I'm sick of it because I know somewhere in my being I'm worth way more. Thank you for the little nudge.

Julie W.
Julie W7 years ago

All too late for me, I'm afraid - I'm retired. The work I chose/wanted to do was notoriously underpaid, so I didn't get far financially. But I get by.