How to make it to the next tax bracket as a designer
Once you've decided your course of action, set some milestones. Have career/financial goals placed at 1 month, 6 months, 1 year, etc. This will help keep you on track and motivated. Once you've put in enough time, seen the results and tracked your successes, be able to present them to your bosses/clients... or even another employer. If they can see your value, then you can start to charge more.
Also, just keep your mind open to projects. You never know, the project that puts you on the map might be just around the corner!