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5 Things I Wish I Knew AS A TEENAGER

Written by Danielle Woolley


Collecting experience and skills can be more valuable than monetary compensation, especially at a young age. I turned down opportunities in my teens that I was excited for because the pay wasn’t great. I also used to spend all of my money on CDs, overpriced clothing, movie tickets and half-priced appetizers at Applebee’s. When I got my license I put everything into my car. What do I have left to show from my hard work early on? Nada, not even the car!


I ran “businesses” with neighborhood friends and on my own doing babysitting, leaf raking, house chores and even stacking and moving logs. I remember a specific lesson I learned and its that your time is valuable.  Make sure you are getting equal pay or experience for the services you are rendering and have an agreement before you start. I remember when I was getting paid per bag of leaves I raked. I started the job and was only a few bags in when I realized how long it was going to take and how little I was making from it. When I approached the neighbor about it to negotiate my rate I was told a deal is a deal. I got upset and refused to finish so as a result I didn’t get paid at all. I’m grateful the neighbor didn’t pay me because it’s a lesson I carry to this day. I didn’t deliver, I didn’t get paid. But I think it’s the first time I realized the value of my time.


Here is where we can spend some of the money we saved! Well, not to say you shouldn’t enjoy yourself, but ask yourself what would be something you can invest in for you that won’t go away? Something to help make you a better version of yourself? Something to help you peak your curiosity about a passion or an idea? Invest in yourself and you will see a return in that investment for years to come. Even if it’s something like a notebook to track your ideas and brainstorm in. What do you feel you were put on this planet to achieve? What excites you that you would love to get paid to do? Spend your time and money on that!


I had so many ideas that I didn’t pursue earlier on because I worried about money. Growing up without it did something to my mindset that made me feel like I had to go where the money was to feel accomplished. I gave up my business ideas for awhile to work strictly in jobs until I realized I wasn’t fulfilled. My experiences brought me to where I am today, but I wish I had been given the advice to stick with my passions earlier on. Decide to follow your passion and commit. The money will come. 


Lastly, I wish I had a role model or mentor to tell me I can be and do whatever I wanted. Not what someone else or society wanted. Looking back now, I needed someone to tell me to figure it out when times got tough. I’m grateful for the FemCity® community and wish it was around 20 years ago. I hope this piece assists you in figuring things out!

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