Sometimes in order to achieve the big-bucks salaries you have to make sacrifices along the way. I know a couple of people who wanted to break in to the DBA profession from their previous jobs, and took a pay cut in order to do so to gain the necessary experience. They're now building up to the level where they could take on a more independent role and become contractors if they wished, and I imagine would be very successful at that level.
I think if you're willing to put in the graft, and are prepared to make some sacrifices along the way then it will pay dividends in the end. No one should expect to receive large salaries as a matter of course. You have to work for them!