Let's get something clear right now: there's nothing wrong with working for wages. I've heard the myth that working for wages isn't considered successful, or that it is some plateau in their career and the only way to rise up is going self-employed. There is no golden rule that says self-employment is the only path to making a living. That's egotistical thinking. Why? Because if you do become a business owner, chances are that you will still bring with you the same negative mental belief that you can't make a living working for someone else!

Look, I know this sound harsh, but making a living has nothing to do with where the dollars come from. Making a living is more about a successful mental attitude. Ask yourself these questions: What are you doing to reinvest in your personal or professional life to become a more valuable asset?Do you have all the right tools? The right truck? What are you doing to improve your talent? Are you reading books or taking classes? Where's your integrity level? And so on. Believe me, any good employer will notice and respond positively.

I know this firsthand. As a young carpenter, I had the opportunity to be hired by a local company framing homes. They were looking for someone who had at least three years' experience, and I had only framed one home as an apprentice on my father's crew. They hired me anyway—probably because they were looking for anyone who would just show up! I remember using this new position as a learning experience. In the evening I would hit the books and learn everything I could about framing. I would usually show up about 30 minutes early and start making cuts with my newfound knowledge. It didn't take long to get noticed and pretty soon I not only had a raise, but was also in charge of a framing crew of five guys!

The point here is that if you're a contractor, and you don't feel like you're making a living, then you need to learn everything you can about business—like marketing, sales, communication, and customer service—and apply it. Improving yourself, your craft, and your business will only improve your life.