I remember it like it was yesterday.
I was standing in my bedroom and had the epiphany of a lifetime (que the dramatic music):
“I’m a social worker. I figure things out; that’s what I do. And if other people have figured out how to build massive wealth from their knowledge then so can I.”
Well, it was an epiphany to me.
See, up until that point I was deep in debt and had subconsciously bought into the idea that being a social worker disqualified me from the world of wealth and, by extension, using that wealth in my practice. So when that idea struck it was for me transformational. I vowed then and there that I would learn all I could about creating wealth as a social worker and that I would pass on what I learning to fellow professionals who might be struggling with their own money issues.
Fast forward eight years to today and though I’ve seen evidence of more social workers taking the matter of wealth-creation into their own hands, there’s still a huge knowledge gap as to how they’ve done it.
But I hope to change that. How? By getting several of the wealthiest social workers I can find (I’ve even got two millionaires; yippee!) to spill the beans on how they’ve done it, what it means to their practice, and what advice they can give to the rest of us on how it can be done in a book called Six Figure Social Worker.
Here are my top seven reasons why I’m writing a book about really wealthy social workers and why you need to read it.
Because it’s not about the money
I know it may seem disingenuous to claim that a book entitled Six Figure Social Worker is not about money, but hear me out.
By and large social workers don’t pursue the profession for the money. Why would they when all they ever hear is that there is no money to pursue in the first place? Yet over and over again we hear social workers complain about the lack of funds. From salaries to program budgets there’s lack and limitation. How are we supposed to follow best practice when our intervention funding is strapped and we can’t afford the self care to keep going?
Want to know what social workers do when they’re financially empowered? They do more. They serve more, they take better care of themselves and, because the lack of money no longer consumes their best energy, they use more of their creativity to address the most challenging problems.
How’s that for a win-win?
To change the common narrative that social workers don’t make any money
We all know it, we’ve all heard it, and we’ve probably all said at some point on our social work journey: “Social workers don’t make any money.” But is that always the truth?
In fact the truth is that there are thousands of social workers who actually do earn above an average wage, but the more we rehearse the narrative that we don’t, the more we can expect to reap the same lackluster “rewards.” It’s the definition of insanity at its best.
Just as the introduction of terms like “hearing impaired” and “African American” have carried with them the mandate to recontextualize the populations they define, so will a book about social workers who defy the average wage standards of their counterparts help to redefine the experience of more social workers, thus helping to change our conversation about what a social worker’s contribution is worth and, by extension, our financial results.
To give social workers permission to strive to earn more
Quiet as kept, social workers don’t actually want to be wealthy – not overtly, anyway.
Now I know that’s a blanket statement, but I’ve spoken to enough social workers to know that part of the underlying sentiment is that being wealthy is considered somehow anti-social work or unethical.
The truth is that social workers have always been able to earn as much as we’ve wanted to but too often have been told to settle for less. Luckily the professionals being interviewed for Six Figure Social Worker don’t have those same limiting beliefs, and after reading it you won’t have them either.
To provide real-world examples of wealthy social workers for the rest of us to look up to
Just like children need positive role models to emulate, the social worker who would aspire to live and serve in the most responsible ways possible needs them too. This idea is not new.
What is less common, however, is this concept within the context of social work practice and financial freedom for the worker. Could it be that without a more common narrative of wealthy social workers the status quo will remain the same?
I expect that if more financially empowered social workers were highlighted as the norm in social work practice that more of us would follow suit. Sure, we’ve got the example of Brene Brown (a great example, I might add), but hers is not the only path to financial freedom. Perhaps the more examples of these seeming anomalies we have to model, the more “anomolies” we can create.
To provide a blueprint for the unique ways in which helping professionals can earn more income
While having examples of wealthy social workers to emulate is one thing, understanding their methods and how to put them into practice is quite another. One of my favorite mentors, Tony Robbins, often says about life: “Success leaves clues. Find someone who is successful and copy what they do.”
Let’s put some things into context: Every model home has a blueprint for building. Every winning team has a blueprint for winning. And every solution-focused social worker has a blueprint for understanding and intervention in their unique arenas of practice (only we call them theories and we use them in every area of our work).
Blueprints help to cut out the guess-work for accomplishing your objectives and are indispensable for the mission-driven social worker who doesn’t want to spend 20 years in pursuit of a truly fulfilling practice and life. To that end Six Figure Social Worker will provide that how-to blueprint for social workers to earn more, experience more, and do more without sacrificing more of our self care and well-being to do it.
To contribute to social work education and advancement
Social work prides itself on being an empirically-based profession; after all, the qualification by scientific data is how we became validated in the first place.
Not to be disqualified, Six Figure Social Worker is based on a Grounded theory model to guide its development. This way we can qualify “from the horses mouths” what it all really means.
Not only that but because the content is specific to social workers, I and my team hope that it will be embraced by enough students and professionals that it can influence and improve our perceived value and real earnings overall.
To help remove the shame that many social workers have about the desire to earn more money
Just think: once there exists an entire study dedicated to highlighting social workers with the same skills that you have who are earning six and seven figures a year and serving in exponential and meaningful ways, you’re bound to walk a little taller and dream a little bigger – assuming the findings are positive, of course.
Hearing the journeys of wealthy social workers helps to remove the shame that many of us feel for wanting to be wealthy ourselves. Not only do we gain confidence when we hear these, but we get to find support and encouragement for our own empowered journeys as well.
One more thing
Want to know the “real” reason why I’m writing this book?
Because I’m compelled to.
See, when I found myself cash-strapped and struggling to live the calling of social work I wondered how could I help others when I couldn’t even help myself! So now if a band of really wealthy social workers is willing to share their decades of knowledge and experience for creating a truly rich life that includes service, self care and wealth then you bet I’m going to write a book about it – and I’m dedicating it to YOU!
“This book is dedicated to you. You’re smarter than you imagine, braver than you think, and richer than you can truly conceive. May the stories and strategies contained within inspire you to live full out and share more of your value with the world that needs you” (dedication excerpt from Six Figure Social Worker).
Six Figure Social Worker is scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, but you can pre-order a copy today, and when you do please pass it on.
I believe that the more we social workers can learn how to earn what we’re worth, the better we can take care of ourselves and our clients as well, and any book that can do that I can’t wait to read!