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Success Is Not a Mystery, It's an Action

How I went from $68k to $300k in 3 years


I’m pretty confident in saying that I have built a successful life, but if you line up my failures and success side by side, it would most certainly not appear that way.


And if you take away my failures, you also take away my successes.


The two are mutually exclusive.


People see the gold, but they don’t see the smelt.


Here’s a story:

In college, I had several jobs. I would set my classes for Mon-Thur, work an on-campus job in between and on Fridays I would work all day in a machine shop.


My first job out of college was an animal technician at Pfizer. I was making $18/hour in 2012 plus overtime and thought it was amazing.


After six years, I had advanced a little bit (or as much as you can within a large organization) and in 2018 I was making $58k/year after some promotions and negotiations.


That year, I applied for a remote job as a data scientist and had my final interview at the Cheesecake Factory in NJ. Over sangria, I was offered the job on the spot and negotiated the salary up to $68k/year.


In December of 2020, I started interviewing for a new remote job overseeing drug development strategy. After two months of interviews, I was offered the job at $120k but negotiated the salary up to $130k/year plus stock options.


In March of 2022, I was approached by a head hunter for a Director level position. After only two weeks of interviews, I negotiated a $190k/year salary plus stock options plus a $10k signing bonus plus an 18% annual bonus.


That same month, I started my first LLC as a toxicology consultant for oncology companies. With my experience and board-certification, I charged $300/hour.


Now here I am in 2024. Between my full-time job, my bonuses, my consulting LLC and another LLC I’ve created since, I rake in almost ~300k/year.


And I have failed every single step of the way.


The Takeaway:

I went from making $68k/year to nearly $300k/year in 3 years, and it still blows my mind.


But the only way I was able to do it was by taking one step back to get two steps forward.


Here are the top three things I had to fail at to succeed:

  1. Imposter the imposter. When we get into roles or jobs that we don’t think we are qualified for, good enough for or paid too much for, imposter syndrome starts to kick in. If we can treat imposter syndrome as an imposter, we can bring ourselves back to an unrelenting confidence in ourselves that we belong just as much as anyone else.

  2. Always ask. Always ask for more - more money, more vacation, more bonuses, more stock. People with less qualifications or experience are making twice as much as you. The worse they can say is no, but more often than not they always say yes.

  3. The best promotions come from other companies. It is incredibly rare for someone to make the same big jumps within their company that they would make from going to a new one. When you don’t feel valued, leave. You owe nobody anything, but you owe yourself everything.


You will inevitably fail when you attempt the three tips above for the first time.


THAT’S THE POINT.


You will fight through imposter syndrome, you will be too afraid to ask and you will be told no when you do, and you will be worried about leaving a place of comfort to go somewhere you have to “re-fit in”.


But one day, you will ask for more money and you will be told yes.


One day, you will be head hunted for your dream job where you hold all the cards.

One day, you will know you belong.


It’s not a mystery, it’s action.

Do. Fail. Learn. Achieve.


You can have the world, and own it too. Take it.



Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.
Hellen Keller

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