For the sake of this post, let’s assume you’ve already optimized your spending habits, and found any leaks in your income stream.
That’ll allow us to focus solely on ways to increase your income.
A lot of people, when faced with the need to make extra money, take the advice of so-called financial experts, and go the safe and conventional way of just getting another job.
They put in a few hours, and get paid a wage for it. End of story.
Sure, it’s honest work, and it’s pretty easy to find a job like that, but to me it’s silly unless you’re in a desperate situation.
Because unless your other job is in the field you want to make your living doing, or it teaches you some unique and marketable skill set, it’s basically just a time for money trade.
You’re not increasing your worth in any way, and it’s probably something you’re not really going to enjoy doing. At the end of the day it’s going to stress you out and decrease your capacity to reach your goals.
In other words, it’s not an optimal use of your time.
Disagree? Feel free to post your reasons in the comments. I’d love to hear them.
As a reader of Academy Success, you’re all about challenging convention and finding a better way, right?
So to do that, instead, I’d like to focus on creating income through either improving existing circumstances, or following a passion.
Both will allow you to increase your income without adding a long-term level of stress to your life, and you may even end up finding an opportunity you never knew was there, kind of like my buddy Justin over at Limitless365 did with his website.
If you’re interested in doing that, check out this awesome guide on The Penny Hoarder about how to start your own blog.
There’s no empty generic fluff here. These are all legitimate strategies you can start working on tomorrow.
First up, making a good situation even better.
Negotiate a Raise
A lot of people are in what I call the “wantrepreneur” category, which is basically someone who wants deep down to be totally in control of their life and business, but hasn’t yet found a way.
It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Being an entrepreneur can certainly be glamorous and have its advantages, but the fact is, the vast majority of people work either full or part-time jobs for someone else.
And if you fall in this category, negotiating a raise at your day job is the easiest and lowest investment way (in terms of time) to increase your income. Here are a few tips to do that:
You probably deserve it
Most people are scared to negotiate. It’s an awkward thing to do. But here’s the thing. The worst that can happen is your boss will say no. You’re not going to get fired. You’re not going to make a bad impression by wanting to perform better.
If you’re not being paid a fair rate, and you feel like you’ve been working hard and increasing your worth, you certainly have the right to ask.
It’s not about you
A lot of people will go into a salary negotiation with a big list of things they’ve accomplished. They run through their list, spout off all kinds of acronyms and statistics, and their boss has NO IDEA what they said by the end of things.
This is a big mistake.
Make sure you put your accomplishments in terms that your boss can understand clearly.
Figure out what metrics your boss cares about, then report your accomplishments to them in those terms.
Again, this goes back to your boss caring about what you do. If you accomplished a ton of awesome shit, but your boss has no idea what any of it means to the business, then you have basically accomplished nothing.
Make it a habit to meet regularly with your boss and agree on the projects you should be working on to increase the value of the business. This will make it much easier when negotiation time comes around, because you already have your manager’s buy-in about what your key accomplishments should be.
As long as you have focused on these areas, you’ve done a good job, and hopefully you’ve done some extras as well.
Documentation is key
It certainly helps to have documentation to back up your claims of what you have accomplished.
Put together a list of what you have accomplished and how you have increased your worth to the company, and bring this to your boss’s attention. Also do some research on sites like salary.com, indeed.com, and glassdoor.com to gather industry data about what you should be paid based on your skill set, education, and level of experience.
Have a conversation
The tendency going into a negotiation for most people is for it to feel like a back and forth battle. Don’t make this mistake.
This should be a mutually beneficial situation. You are providing your services to the company in exchange for being paid fairly. If your value now outweighs the services you are providing, it should be a no-brainer to your boss to give you a raise, and they should be happy to do it.
If not, ask what you can do better and ask for input along the way to accomplishing those goals.
Provide a Service
Freelancing is an awesome way to earn extra money while also keeping the skills of your profession sharp, and having a little creative freedom along the way. This can often be very relaxing and fulfilling for a lot of people.
The tech space is booming right now as well, especially if you’re the creative type. If you have any technical skills at all, odds are your services are in high demand.
Toss up an advertisement in a local publication, post a listing on Craigslist, or just tell your network about your service and you’re likely to get a few leads.
Differentiate yourself from the rest out there by creating a cool brand, providing a unique angle to your service, or by going above and beyond for the customer. You don’t want to be just another schmuck fixing computers or sealing driveways. Make sure there is a reason people are coming to you other than low cost.
A word of advice here is… don’t waste your time on doing low-value tasks like mowing yards or cleaning gutters. Leave these to the neighborhood kids. Your time is much more valuable than that.
If you’re going to trade your time for money, set a high benchmark of what you’d like to earn per hour of work, and stick to that. If a project isn’t going to earn you that much, pass it up and look for more lucrative jobs.
And be sure to stay in the true productivity zone while you’re at it. You’ll have much more time to work on other projects that way.
Sell a Product
A great way to increase your income that begins to separate time spent vs. money earned is by selling a product.
If Penny can sell Pennyblossoms, you can find a way to either create or source a product you can sell.
It’s never been easier to create a website. You can literally have a website up and running in 10 minutes these days. And if you’re not that tech-savvy, websites like Etsy and eBay can easily house your wares until you can create something more permanent.
I’ve seen people buy fake flowers on Etsy for hundreds of dollars. I’ve seen people resell things on eBay for 4x what they paid. And there are thousands of online entrepreneurs crushing it selling digital products like software and training programs online.
In fact, that’s part of what my productivity course, Output Overdrive, does for Academy Success.
Rent Your Extra Space
Want to get someone to pay your mortgage or rent for you? You got it.
This one freaks a lot of people out, but if you just take a few precautions it can work out really well, without a lot of extra effort, especially if you live in a city that attracts a lot of tourists.
Airbnb.com is slowly revolutionizing the vacation industry by allowing people who have extra space in their home or apartment easily play landlord.
Just list your extra space, when it’s available, and its amenities on their website, and Airbnb hooks you up with folks looking for a quick place to stay during their trip. You can even provide services like transportation and tour guiding to increase the value of your space.
For many people in the life hacking space, especially travel hackers, this is the preferred way to travel. It’s a pretty legit business and I’ve used it many times myself.
This is a great way to take advantage of your extra space and bring in a few hundred bucks a month. It can even be a lot of fun.
Of course you could go the Craigslist route too, but I’d recommend Airbnb because they have background information on all of their tenants, and also handle the payment arrangements for you. This takes a vast majority of the concern out of the equation.
By even doing one of those things, it can make a huge difference in your life. And maybe the most important point of all here, knowing how to generate extra income when you need it can even save your ass in a time of need.
So if you don’t do it for the money now, do it to acquire the ability to know how to generate income when you need it the most. That’s a powerful thing to be able to do.
A Quick Favor…
99% of the content I share with you at Academy Success is free. I write to create a following so I can make a difference in the world, and I hope I’ve made a difference in your life.
If you found this post helpful to give you an idea, or if you’ve already experienced a result from it and are back for more ideas, I’d like to ask you for a favor.
Open up your email program and send this link to someone you think might like to read it. They’ll thank you for it and you’ll have done your good deed for the day. If you could do that, I’d really appreciate it.