Our Salary Paths series aims to give fellow Elphas a reference point for salary negotiations and encourage more women to talk about compensation. We hope that opening up the conversation will contribute to more pay transparency and equitable pay.
Interested in sharing your Salary Path with us? Please fill out this form here and we will get back to you (can be posted anonymously, too! 😉 ).
Our personal growth and professional journey are not linear; they're filled with unexpected turns and daunting challenges. However, every step taken forward – even if it's sideways or backward at times – contributes to our success. Today, I want to share my journey from a junior recruiter earning $30K to a successful business owner with an annual salary of over $300K and a revenue of 7 figures. My hope is that my story will inspire you, provide some concrete advice for your journey, and ultimately, give back to the community that has nurtured me throughout this journey.
In 2011, fresh off the university stage clutching a Bachelor's degree in Biochemistry and Psychology, I had one dream in mind - Medical School. The MCATs had been my faithful companions during late-night study sessions and in the white-knuckled grip of test anxiety. But despite my best efforts and passionate aspirations, the doors to Med School remained firmly closed.
Taking this setback in stride, I redirected my path and found myself in Fort Worth, TX, pursuing a Master's degree in Medical Sciences. Resilient and hopeful, I braved the MCATs once more, armed with the wisdom and knowledge gained from my Master's program. Success came, yet it brought an unexpected revelation: this was not my path. I stood at the threshold of a dream realized only to find that it wasn't my dream after all.
With this realization came an onslaught of emotions: discouragement for seemingly falling off course and a sense of failure as I grappled with what felt like surrendering a long-held dream. Yet amidst this whirlpool of uncertainty, a tiny yet steadfast voice of intuition emerged. I decided to listen, pressing pause on my academic pursuits and entering the workforce as I strived to understand where my true path lay.
Thus, I embarked on my first professional journey as a junior recruiter at a medical facility, matching temporary workers and contractors with short-term positions. And as I navigated this new chapter, I realized that sometimes, our paths are not straightforward - they twist and turn, demanding patience and resilience as we uncover our true purpose. The initial salary was modest, barely enough to cover the bills, but it was the invaluable experience and foundational knowledge that was the real payday.
My first piece of advice, and one that served me well, is to see the value beyond the paycheck in your early years. Invest in learning and understanding your field. Build relationships, soak up knowledge, and focus on growth. The wealth of experience is an investment that pays dividends in the long run.
As a junior recruiter, I encountered various personalities, industries, and work cultures, giving me a unique lens into the professional world. Each experience, whether rewarding or challenging, shaped my perspective on what works and what doesn't in the business world. In an unexpected twist of fate, an opportunity with an Oil and Gas company called me back to my roots in Houston, TX. It was a call to homecoming that I couldn't resist, stirring a sense of eagerness and nostalgia within me. The corporate sphere of the energy industry was new terrain, but I embraced the challenge with open arms.
However, the journey took another unforeseen turn. Merely eight months into my tenure, the company fell victim to the volatile tides of the 2014 oil and gas market crash. This grand endeavor, my welcome return to my beloved hometown, had swiftly come to an abrupt end.
Like many, I found myself grappling with an uncertain future. Yet, I chose to see this as an opportunity rather than a setback. It was a chance to reevaluate my direction, redefine my goals, and take the plunge into something I had only dreamt of before: starting my own business.
This brings me to my second piece of advice: Embrace adversity. Life's challenges are often catalysts for growth. They shake us out of complacency, forcing us to think outside the box and push our boundaries. Don't fear the difficult times; instead, use them as stepping stones toward your goals.
Starting my own business was both terrifying and exhilarating. It meant leaving the comfort of a steady paycheck and stepping into a world of financial instability. But I believed in my vision, in the lessons I had learned, and most importantly, in myself.
I started with small steps. I leveraged my network, approached potential clients, and slowly began to build a roster. There were months of struggle, self-doubt, and even thoughts of giving up. But the tenacity that got me through the financial crisis kept me going.
In this phase of my life, I learned the art of delegation. With the arrival of my baby boy and my business both demanding my time and attention, I was juggling two critical roles - that of a new mother and a dedicated entrepreneur.
The challenges of motherhood, paired with the growth of my business, made me quickly realize the importance of delegation. It wasn't merely a survival tactic; it was an empowering tool that allowed me to effectively manage my roles without sacrificing my sanity.
Investment became my mantra, not only in my business but also in my personal growth. I understood that to evolve into an adept CEO while cherishing my role as a mother, I had to delegate. It was through this balancing act that I began to cultivate the art of leadership, nurturing both my professional venture and my precious new role as a mom.
The third piece of advice: Trust your journey. Success rarely happens overnight, and there will be moments of self-doubt. Believe in your vision, stay committed to your goals, and trust that your efforts will yield results.
Today, as I look back on my journey from earning $30K as a junior recruiter to owning a successful business with a personal salary of over $200K, I am filled with a sense of profound gratitude. Not just for financial security, but for the journey that has enriched me personally and professionally.
Sharing my story and advice with you is a way of giving back to the community that supported me. My journey is a testament to the fact that your beginning does not define your end. Regardless of where you start, the only direction you should look towards is forward.
In conclusion, maintain an optimistic outlook. Each challenge is an opportunity for growth; each setback, a setup for a comeback. Don't be disheartened by your modest beginnings or the hurdles along the way. Instead, take each day as a new possibility, and remember: your journey is not just about the destination, but also about the growth that happens along the way.
Thank you for being a part of my journey, and I hope that in sharing it, I can inspire and assist you on your own path to success.