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How would you like to make more money? I did a presentation a few months ago on the three reasons why some people make less money than their peers. The attendees shared some incredible stories of how they found out co-workers were making more money than them. The best was a story of an employee who was supposed to hire someone beneath them. When they asked their boss what the salary range was for the job, the boss quoted a range HIGHER than what the employee was currently making. Yikes! That must have been an uncomfortable moment, huh? The fact is, there are really only three skills we need to make more money. They are:


  1. Ability to negotiate more pay.
  2. Know how to market our brand effectively and consistently.
  3. Believe we deserve it.
It doesn't matter if you are a pro-athlete, a movie star, or an hourly-worker at the local sub shop - the same skills apply if you want to make more money. Now, that doesn't mean possessing these skills will guarantee you'll get more money. Among other things, you still need to have talents in demand and a personality people can get along with. But, I can tell you talent and nice demeanor won't get you more cash all by itself. Just ask the millions of kind and talented people out there who are underpaid. The reality is nobody is going to just hand us more money because we are good people and do nice work. We need the three skills above to earn more money or we can spend a lifetime being underpaid.

Your Turn

What's the worst way you ever found out you were making less money that your co-worker? Have you every successfully negotiated for more money? What tips can you share to help others develop these important skills?
Learn how to land a career you love


Everyone needs to feel their voice is heard and their contributions are important. Something as simple as sharing a drink the last hour of the day on a Friday with the team to recap wins and give praise can build camaraderie within the team.


All of the above are fairly simple to implement but can make a huge difference in morale and motivation. Have any of these tips worked well for young the past? Do you have other tips to motivate your creative team? If so, please share them with me!

Encourage curiosity. Spark debate. Stimulate creativity and your team will be better at handling challenges with flexibility and resourcefulness. Create a safe space for ideas, all ideas, to be heard. In ideation, we need the weird and off-the-wall ideas to spur us on to push through to the great ideas.

Sure, there are a ton of studies done on this, but here is my very unscientific personal take. When team members can make decisions about how they work on projects, they are more engaged and connected to the project outcome. When they see how potentially dropping the ball would affect the entire team, they step up. When they feel like what they are doing is impactful and valued, they are naturally motivated to learn more, and be even better team members.

Rarely does a one-size-fits-all style work when it comes to team motivation. I have found that aligning employee goals with organization goals works well. Taking time to get to know everyone on your team is invaluable. What parts of their job do they love? What do they not enjoy? What skills do they want to learn? Even going so far as to where they see themselves in five years career-wise. These questions help you right-fit projects, and help your team see you are committed to creating a career path for them within the company.

Most designers I know love a good challenge. We are problem solvers by nature. Consistently give yourself and your team small challenges, both design-related and not. It will promote openness within the team to collaborate, and it will help generate ideas faster in the long run. Whether the challenge is to find a more exciting way to present an idea to stakeholders or fitting a new tool into the budget, make it a challenge just to shake things up.

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