You may have heard the advice, “you shouldn’t trade time for money.”
While it’s true there are better ways to build wealth, early in my career I found that advice quite discouraging. That’s the only way I knew how to make money and apparently it was wrong!
You should trade time for money, especially early in your career when it’s the only option available with your current skill set. So rather than writing off entire methods for earning a living, let’s break down five examples of when you should trade time for money:
- When you are just getting started. Early in your career, the important thing is to make enough to pay rent and buy groceries. Don’t look down on any job that allows you to do that. Once you have a stable foundation you can start to pursue better opportunities.
- When you are learning a new skill. If you can get paid to learn a new skill that will grow your earning potential you absolutely should! Let’s say I want to be a YouTuber and are just getting started. Working as a camera assistant for an ad agency would be a great way to learn more about cameras and video while still paying rent.
- To save money to launch your next venture. It always takes time, money, or both to move up to a better way of earning a living (starting a business, selling products, etc). If you spend conservatively and save any extra money you can have enough to buy the tools, training, or time necessary to launch your next venture.
- To build relationships and find mentors. The right people will shape your mindset and opportunities. You should absolutely trade time for money if it means expanding your network to people who can help you jump to the next ladder.
- When the work is rewarding and meaningful in its own right. If you found work that is meaningful and fulfilling to you, you should do that work. Even if some expert says you shouldn’t trade time for money. A lot of money is far from the only kind of wealth.
The most important thing is that you aren’t just treading water as you work for a wage. Even if it’s just a few dollars per paycheck, it’s critical to be saving towards the next level in your career and financial stability. If you’re working hard and continually learning, ignore the people who say you are doing it wrong.
Once you have that baseline established and you have mastered a few hard skills, then you can start to look to more scalable ways to earn a living such as selling products or starting a company.