How to Increase Your Income
One of the most important factors when it comes to being able to reach your financial goals and dreams is to increase your income.
Whether that’s increasing it by working hard and getting incremental raises and promotions or by starting a side business, increasing your income over time is an important part of attaining financial success and long-term prosperity.
Though living within your income (spending less than you have) is also a crucial element of building wealth, you’ll be able to build that wealth much more quickly, and substantially, by increasing your income.
And the huge benefit that increasing your income has over decreasing your spending (though, again, that’s a necessary part of the equation) is that the opportunities for increasing your income are literally limitless! You can only cut your spending so far, but there is no limit to the amount of money you can make!
With the myriad opportunities brought to us by the internet, making extra money is easier than it has ever been before. Online or off, it’s a great time to make more money! Below I share 11 awesome tips for increasing your income to make more money.
1. Be a top performer at work in order to increase your income.
One of the simplest ways to increase your income can be to make more money doing the job you’re already doing. And the best way to make more money at your job is to be a high performer. Work while you’re at work. Put away your smartphone, don’t browse the web, and keep the water cooler chitchat in check. If you find yourself being overly chatty at work, follow the five-minute rule: make sure that you spend no more than five minutes per hour talking or otherwise being off task.
Know what your company is focused on, and help move those efforts forward. If your company is working on strengthening their market share, research ways to do that. If they need to reduce costs, write up a proposal with your best (and vetted) ideas. Volunteer to be involved with new, high-profile projects. Ask your manager or supervisor what needs aren’t being met or what gaps there are, and then work to help meet or fill them. Seek to get noticed—but more important, seek to make a difference.
When you give your best at work, people will notice. And you’ll be rewarded for that diligent and dedicated effort. And then, when it comes time for annual merit increases or bonuses or promotions that will increase your income, you’ll be at the top of the list.
2. Seek a promotion or raise to increase your income.
Another important way to seek to increase your income is to proactively seek a promotion or raise. When you know that you’re giving your best at work, you can ask for a raise or promotion with confidence. Even if you get a raise of only $1 per hour, that’s more than $2,000 per year. That’s a significant chunk of change in most households. If you make $25 an hour and get a 5 percent raise, that’s close to the raise you would get—a $1.25 per hour raise.
One effective way to seek a raise to increase your income is to start working on this goal at the beginning of the year. When you set your work objectives for the new year, talk to your supervisor about your desire to advance in your career.
Specifically ask what skills you need to acquire or tasks you need to accomplish to get a good raise or a promotion (formalize this discussion with written expectations on both sides, if you can), and then make sure you work on those things throughout the year so you accomplish those requirements.
Even if you’re not actively working toward your next promotion, you need to be continually actively working to advance in your career if you don’t want your salary to stagnate. I discuss the steps to take to get a raise or promotion in greater detail in an article specifically about seeking a raise or promotion, but here’s a summary:
- Be prepared by doing your research. Before you ask for a raise or promotion, you need to be prepared for the discussion. Do your research to find out if your salary for the work you do is on par for your area, career field, and amount of education and experience.
- List your accomplishments and the reasons you feel you deserve a raise or promotion.
- Make sure to show how you have helped your company make money or reduce costs.
- Choose the right time to make your request. Before you request a raise, be sure you’re aware of the current climate within your company. Have you had layoffs recently? Or have you been able to hire more people? Is upper management working to cut expenses, or is HR spending pretty freely? If there are signs that times are tight, be patient. You’re more likely to have success if you wait till the situation improves.
3. Get more education or training.
Depending on how much you’ve been able to learn on the job and keep up with technologies and trends in your career field, you may need to obtain additional education or training to really advance in your career. If you don’t have a college degree, earning a degree can help you to significantly increase your income. But that’s true only if you go about it the right way. If you want your education to be a good return on your tuition investment, you’ve got to study a subject that will give you a set of marketable skills.
And even though you should study something that you love and not study something only for the income potential, what you really should do is find the highest point where those two things converge—where you have a high level of passion for the work and where you have excellent income potential. Because let’s be honest—you may be working for 40 years or more. That’s about 80,000 hours you will work in your lifetime. So you will want to do something you’ll love and that will be personally fulfilling and rewarding, but you also should be looking to make a really good income. It’s really not worth it to work that hard for that long just to scrape by your whole life. If you’re going to work 40 hours per week, wouldn’t you rather earn $2,000 for that 40 hours (or $5,000, or $10,000, or more), rather than $500?
So do your research, talk to a career counselor or coach, do internships or mentorships or job shadowing (or all of the above), and find that career sweet spot. As long as you, again, choose a career with good earning potential, the time and money you put into it will be well worth it.
While you’re looking at educational opportunities, if you do decide to go back for more schooling or receive vocational training, pay for it as you go. Don’t fall into the trap of getting student loans. Instead, plan to work, seek scholarships and grants, live on a tight budget, and take a little longer to graduate if needed so that you avoid being saddled with debt that could follow you for literally a decade or more. Remember that the way to build wealth is to get and keep control of your income, so don’t let it get taken over by Sallie Mae!
Check out this article to find information on how to pay for college without going into debt.
4. Switch to a different company or sector.
In some situations, the best way to earn more income may be to switch companies or even sectors. For example, I work (for my day job) as an editor for a nonprofit organization. And I love what I do—it’s one of the best jobs I could have. Honestly. But though I really enjoy it, I realized about a year and a half ago that the potential for income growth there isn’t great. I’ve always worked hard and been a good, responsible, diligent employee, but a couple of years ago I wanted to work toward a promotion (which I felt I was ready for, and which given the—admittedly somewhat vague—guidelines we have for job levels I felt I deserved).
So I worked extra hard all year, really working to expand my skills even more than normal and to accomplish my work in the best way. And I worked a lot of overtime (which I didn’t get paid for, because I’m on salary). And I did that not just because I wanted a promotion but because I really wanted to show my value. And guess what happened?
My manager agreed that I had earned a promotion, and he made the request to upper management for me to be promoted. I was told that our team was currently too top heavy (too many senior-level editors), and there was no room at this time for advancement. So I tried to take that all in stride and be a good sport, and I figured I would at least get a good raise. But that didn’t happen either. You want to know the difference in the percentage of merit increase I received that year from the year before (and now the year after)? It was .5 percent.
Now, I’m not mad at my company because they are a nonprofit and they have to be fiscally responsible and they don’t make a huge amount of money like for-profit companies sometimes do. And I’m grateful for the opportunity we have to receive annual merit increases at all—I know that’s not the case in many companies. And I’m also grateful to be able to love what I do and have a job that I love. Really, I am. But that experience taught me a valuable lesson: sometimes hard work and dedication and just really giving and doing your best and being passionate about your work aren’t enough. You also have to go where the opportunities are.
So though I don’t intend to leave my company for a full-time, corporate job elsewhere, I am pouring all of that passion and energy and extra effort into this blog. Because personal finance is something I have been passionate about for over 10 years, and when I learned that blogging could actually be profitable (who knew?! Check out these blogger income reports), I decided I’m going to give it my all and see where it takes me.
But it’s not just about the potential for earning a great income—it’s about being able to help people change their lives, which is an opportunity that is so amazing! And it’s about being able to create something with your own two hands in order to do that. And it’s also about the flexibility it offers to work when and how I want and the opportunity to work from home so that I can be with my three beautiful young children. For all of those reasons and many more, I’m hoping and working and praying to make this blog a success.
So if you’re in a situation where you feel stuck at your current job, then your best bet may be to look for opportunities elsewhere. And particularly if you are in a situation where you feel you are underpaid or underappreciated, it’s probably time to make a career move. Be careful, though, that this is in fact the reality and that you’re not just looking continually to greener pastures.
Note: Do you think blogging could be a good fit for you? If you are interested in becoming a profitable blogger, read this article to learn about how to start a profitable blog.
And then if you decide blogging would be a great opportunity for you, I recommend the Blog by Number course and ebook by Suzi Whitford to get you started. It’s the course that I took to get started as a new blogger. You can complete the course in less than three hours (not all in one sitting! :)) and have an excellent introduction to how to start a blog and how to begin monetizing it in order to earn money. This class, like everything Suzi teaches, is fun and engaging. I have taken four of her courses now, and each one has been super helpful, where I have learned a ton of great information.
5. Consider switching to a different career field in order to increase your income.
The somewhat harsh reality is that some career fields pay way more than others, and in order to increase your income, you may need to switch to a different career. A couple of examples of careers that can pay really well are movie stars and star athletes. While on the other hand, teachers (most unfortunately) and veterinary’s assistants, for example, generally don’t get paid very high salaries. Corporate executives, doctors, and lawyers generally do. Computer programmers, engineers, accountants, and nurses also get paid quite well. If you’re in a career field that in general doesn’t pay very well, it may be time to retool and pursue a different career track. If so, see the section above about seeking additional training and education.
6. Do freelance work to increase your income.
If your day job lends itself to freelance work, then you can get additional experience and increase your income doing something you’ve already been trained to do. I’m a full-time editor and I’ve been doing freelance writing and editing since before I graduated from college. In the first few years after I graduated from college and before we had children and while we were working to pay off a lot of debt, I was making close to $1,000 a month doing freelance work. A lot of that work I was doing on the commuter bus (my daily commute was more than an hour each way) to and from my regular job, so it was really great to have something to be doing during that time that felt really productive.
If you have an excellent eye for detail, being a professional freelance proofreader or copy editor might be just the job for you! If you’re interested in this line of work but don’t have any former training as a proofreader, check out this free workshop to learn about becoming a professional proofreader from Caitlyn at Proofread Anywhere, which I have researched and read great things about.
In addition to freelance writing and editing, you can do freelance teaching, freelance illustration, freelance photography, freelance graphic design, freelance transcription work, freelance translating, and more. Just check out Upwork or indeed.com to see the many opportunities available.
7. Offer consulting or coaching services to increase your income.
Doing consulting or coaching related to your full-time or primary job is another great option to earn extra income. Many jobs also lend themselves to this kind of work, such as those in the business and IT fields. Popular areas for consulting include human resource (HR) consultant, public relations (PR) consultant, marketing consultant, business management consultant, accounting consultant, business transition consultant, sales consultant, technical consultant, cyber security consultant, organization consultant, environmental or conservation consultant, and style consultant. You can get an idea of some of the many options from this nonexhaustive list.
Related to consulting is the area of coaching. Popular areas for coaching include financial coaching, job coaching, personal fitness coaching, business transformation coaching, and leadership coaching. You can also do coaching in areas like business strategy, business planning, resume writing, life coaching, career coaching, business coaching, organizational performance coaching, and much more.
If you’ve gained expertise in any of the areas listed above or areas related to them (or one of many other areas not listed here), then consulting or coaching may be an excellent fit for you. To explore consulting and coaching opportunities, visit indeed.com, one of my favorite job sites.
8. Start a profitable side hustle or business to increase your income.
Here are just a few ideas:
- Start a business. You can also start a business or do freelance work in areas totally unrelated to your regular job. Do you have a hobby that could be a good money maker? Maybe you’re excellent at sewing and could take on some projects while the kids are napping or playing or at school. Or maybe you’re great at fixing cars and could do some auto mechanic work in the evenings and on weekends. Or you might be an excellent crafter or quilter or gardener or dog trainer or dog walker or house sitter. When it comes to opening a profitable side business, the options really are endless.
- Drive for Lyft or Uber. Another great option for those who have automobiles and enjoy driving and meeting new people is to be a driver for Lyft or Uber. With these companies, like the opportunities listed above, you can decide when you are available to work and when you’re not, which offers great flexibility and makes this work ideal for those looking for a part-time extra job.
- Do data entry. If you have a good eye for detail and are a good typist, a data entry position (where you enter information, generally by using a computer, into a company’s data system) may be a good choice for you. Many job opportunities are available in this area and the job can often be done from home, so check out com or your favorite job board site to see what positions are currently available.
- Become a real estate agent. If you love to work with people and are a good salesperson but don’t want to work in a traditional office, being a real estate agent may be a great option for you. The income potential is great, and the job can be a lot of fun if you like getting out and being around people and keeping up on current trends in the real estate market. Though you obviously can’t do everything needed for this job from home, you can do the legwork at home and do most of the showing of homes in the evenings and weekends (or whenever you need to to fit your particular schedule best).
- Become a virtual assistant (VA). And if you enjoy doing administrative work or helping to run social media setup and campaigns, for example, then being a virtual assistant (VA) may be the perfect opportunity for you. As a VA, you work remotely doing tasks such as online research, business writing, data entry, basic bookkeeping, creating or updating databases, preparing presentations, creating infographics, editing in PhotoShop or Canva (a free design program) or other design programs, marketing, setting up or managing webinars or podcasts, and so on. To learn to be a virtual assistant, I recommend taking the course 30 Days or Less to Virtual Assistant Success, which has excellent reviews. And if you love Pinterest, the course Become a Pinterest VA Today! by Kristin Larsen and Gina Horkey might be a great option for you.
- Be a search engine optimization (SEO) evaluator. A search engine evaluator is someone who reviews search engine results to determine if they are relevant to a particular search term that a person types into a search engine. You can read this article to find out more.
- Earn a little extra money with Ebates and Ibotta. Ebates and Ibotta are apps that let you get cash back when you make purchases. They’re both a good way to earn a little extra income without a lot of effort. (Why not get the free money?) You can sign up for Ebates here. And you can sign up for Ibotta here.
9. Become a blogger or create a website to increase your income.
Both blogs and websites that monetize are examples of ways to earn passive income, which is one of the best ways to increase the amount of money you earn. Passive income means that you are able to earn money without having to actively work for it (or at least, not continually).
I love blogging (what I really mean to say is, I love, love, love blogging because it’s one of the best jobs ever!) because of the limitless earning potential and, even more, because I love to write and to share my thoughts about personal finance and help people win with their money! And I love it because you totally work on your own schedule, from anywhere you want! Read this article to learn how to start a profitable blog. You can also read about some fascinating income reports of bloggers here. Some of these bloggers make $20,000, $50,000, $100,000, or $200,000 or more a month. It’s amazing!
If you’re interested in creating a profitable blog, I recommend the Blog by Number course and ebook by Suzi Whitford. It’s the course that I took to get started as a newbie blogger. You can complete the course in less than three hours (not all in one sitting, unless you want to! :D) and have an excellent introduction to how to start a blog and how to begin monetizing it in order to earn money.
Here are some of the ways that bloggers and website creators earn (a potentially amazing) income:
- Affiliate marketing. You can earn an amazing income through affiliate marketing. It was actually through reading the blogging income reports of Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who makes over $50,000 a month through affiliate marketing, that I first realized the incredible earning potential of blogging in general and affiliate marketing in particular. And when I decided that I was going to go all in and give blogging my best effort to see if I could become a full-time blogger, Michelle’s course Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing was the first course that I bought. In the course, Michelle walks you through the basics of affiliate marketing and the best ways to make money through affiliate marketing. If you believe that starting a blog (or even using Facebook or Twitter or Pinterest or other social media sites) to earn additional income is something you would enjoy and be good at, then I strongly recommend that you take Michelle’s course and incorporate affiliate marketing as one of your methods of generating income. For more information on what affiliate marketing is and how it can be used to earn an amazing income, read this article.
- Email marketing. As an email marketer, you use email marketing as an effective way to sell your own products or services or those of others. Email marketing is still one of the best ways to generate sales. One effective method of email marketing is to create a product funnel using a series of emails that provide helpful information to your audience, where you teach them and encourage them and also gently lead them to buy products or services (either your own or someone else’s, in which case you get a commission through partnerships or affiliate marketing). For a couple of great resources (that I have and use myself) on how to do effective email marketing, I recommend Rachel Newcomb’s Smart Email List Building online course and Rosemarie Grover’s ebook Date Your List.
- Books and ebooks. Since bloggers write for a living, authoring a book or ebook is of course naturally a good fit for many of them. In fact, many bloggers create the content for their book largely from the content of their blog articles. I graduated with an English degree, and I’ve always had the idea of writing a book in the back of my mind. And because I love personal finance and have for almost 15 years now, I have definitely thought about writing a book about personal finance. And that’s one of the reasons that I started writing this blog, was to have a way to work to put out great content and gain an audience so that I can write and sell personal finance books that will really help many people to change their lives. For an excellent resource for how to create your first ebook, I recommend Suzi Whitford’s Ebook by Number course, where she walks you step by step through the process.
- Online courses. Online courses can be another great method for online income. Once you have written one or more books, you can look at expanding that content into online courses using platforms such as Teachable and Udemy. To learn how to turn your book into a course, I recommend Suzi’s online Course by Number that walks you step by step through the process of creating and launching your first online course.
- Another way to earn passive income from your blog is through creating a podcast. A podcast is a form of on-demand talk radio. It comes from the words pod (from the portable listening device the iPod) and broadcast. Podcasts can be about virtually anything, from personal finance to business to travel to fitness and so on. A podcast is often a conversation between a host and one or more other individuals, but it can be just the host sharing his or her thoughts and ideas on a particular topic. Podcasts can be used for earning income through advertising, sponsorships, affiliate marketing, promoting your own products and services, and networking. To learn more about how to create a launch a successful podcast, I recommend the book Market Domination for Podcasting, by Seth Greene.
- YouTube channels/vlogs. You can also earn income through creating your own YouTube channel. If you have a website or blog, a YouTube channel may be a natural complement to your site. If you have enough traffic, you can earn substantial money through YouTube. In order to monetize, you have to have a certain number of subscribers and viewed hours. Once your channel reaches the necessary threshold, your site will be reviewed, and you’ll be notified via email to know whether you qualify or not. You can learn more on YouTube’s account monetization
- Also known as a web conference, a webinar is a seminar held over the internet. Creating webinars can be another great method to earn online income, either through the webinar itself, or by using the webinar to introduce people to you and your brand and in that way drive sales of a product or service that you offer. If you get really good at selling (your own products or someone else’s) through this medium, the income potential is incredible.
- Physical products. If you have sufficient capital and a great idea, you could create (or have someone else create) products for you and sell them for a profit on your own website or through a platform such as Amazon’s FBA (Fulfillment by Amazon) program. And once you have the equipment purchased or the processes in place to do so, the expenses and required management often diminish and your profit increases. You can choose how involved you want to be in the whole process, but you could choose to simply oversee the work, and let someone else take care of all of the details in order to make it a very passive means of earning income.
10. Earn passive income in other ways.
In addition to the methods mentioned in the list above, there are additional ways that you can earn passive income. Here are some of them:
- Mobile apps. If you have the technical knowledge (or are willing pay someone who does to build it for you), you can create a new app unlike anything in the marketplace. Or you could create an app similar to others but work to make it even better by offering more features or better functionality. Even if you don’t achieve the wild success of an app like Angry Birds, you could still make a wonderful income from your efforts.
- Dividend income. One very popular form of passive income is dividend income from individual stocks and bonds and from mutual funds. My husband and I have retirement and nonretirement investment accounts through both Schwab and Vanguard. Personally, I like Schwab a little more, but both are great brokerage firms that make investing simple and affordable on even the smallest budget. To learn more about how easy it is to start investing a small amount each month in mutual funds, read this article.
Once you begin investing for long-term wealth building and retirement, you should sign up for a great free app called Personal Capital in order to track your progress toward reaching your retirement and other financial goals. With Personal Capital, you can see not only all of your bank checking and savings accounts and even your credit cards and other finance accounts, but you can also link your retirement and regular nonretirement brokerage accounts. This allows you to have a complete, overall picture of your current financial situation. And you can also view your account history to see how your accounts and overall portfolio have done over time. It’s a very helpful tool that I use regularly! Sign up for your free Personal Capital account here.
- Earned interest. Another form of passive income, this one quite low risk, is to earn interest from high-yield checking accounts or CDs. The rates of return these days aren’t very high, but if you have a very low tolerance for risk, then this form of income earning may be a good fit.
I recommend that you use Capital One 360 or other online account if you’re interested in opening a high-yield checking account or savings account. We have been banking with Cap One for 14 years (since the time they were still ING Direct), and they have been a great bank, even after being acquired by Capital One (which I admit I had my reservations about). We have more than 10 savings accounts for our different savings goals and irregular expenses, and it works great because we never accidentally spend money that was supposed to be allocated for one thing on something else. Iit also helps us very easily track our progress toward our various financial goals.
- Items for rent. If you have equipment that you are willing to let others use, you could earn extra income by renting out your ATVs, snowmobiles, watercraft, boat, RV, party equipment, chainsaws, garden and landscaping equipment, and more. You can advertise these items through your local classifieds, through Craigslist, or by fliers, posters, and word of mouth.
- A hands-off business. Another option is to buy or create an online or traditional brick and mortar business, and then pay someone to manage it for you. Though you’ll have to pay that person’s salary, you could still make a great income in the right situation.
- Online store. Similarly, you could create a website to use as your online store and become a drop shipper.
- Rental property. One more way to earn passive income is through rental property income. You can do this by buying a piece of residential or commercial property and by finding renters to occupy it. Earning income from rental properties is more work and is far riskier than the other options mentioned above (with the possible exception of creating a business), but it can be very profitable. If you don’t mind paying a company to manage the property for you (and you pick a good management company), then that can make being a lessor (landlord or landlady) less stressful and less time consuming.
11. Rent out space in your home, or rent out your car.
Another way that you can earn income is to rent out space in your home or to rent out your car.
Rent out space in your home.
One way to increase your income that can be a lot of fun if you have the right personality is to rent space out in your home.
- Rent out spare bedrooms for guests to stay in. If you have one or more extra bedrooms in your home (or have a second or vacation home), renting them out on Airbnb, Booking.com, and similar sites can be a great way to earn extra income. We’ve been using Airbnb for the last couple of years for virtually all of our travel accommodations (when we’re not camping), and they’re awesome. The hosts have been so great, and we’ve really felt welcomed and at home. And of course the savings can be substantial! Sign up for Airbnb here and receive $40 off your first stay with them! And I just have to include a shameless plug for my angel mother, who has been renting out spare rooms in their beautiful southern Utah home (not an affiliate link :D) for the last couple of years. If you’re in the area to play at Lake Powell or need a place to stay while you hike in one of the beautiful national parks or other scenic areas nearby, look them up!
- Rent out storage space. Referred to as the “Airbnb of storage,” places like Neighbor, Store with Me, and Store at My House can be another great way for you to earn extra income from your home. If you don’t want to have to worry about being a host for guests but have empty bedrooms in your home, you should look into this peer-to-peer storage option.
Rent out your car, or rent out ad space on your car.
Another way to earn extra income is to rent out your car. Especially if you have a vehicle that doesn’t get used very much, this could be an option for putting it to good use through car-renting services such as Turo.
And if you don’t want to rent out your car but don’t mind turning your car into a portable billboard, you can use a service such as Carvertise to earn some extra cash.
The opportunities that are around in our day for increasing your income and especially earning extra money are literally limitless. If you want to increase your income, it’s really never been easier than it is now.
By increasing your income you can more easily save for future expenses, stash away money for emergencies, pay off your debt, help pay for your children’s college, invest for your future comfort, and reach your financial goals and dreams. But remember that reducing your spending is an equally important part of the equation. 🙂
Comment below and let me know how you’ve been able to increase your income. Has this article inspired you to do something that you’ve never tried before? I’d love to hear your ideas!
Invitation to Share
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