So often, when we think about saving money and reaching our financial goals, we tell ourselves that we have to review every line of our budget and cut back on expenses. Certainly, reducing our largest expenses when possible such as housing, transportation, and food can make a significant difference in cash flow, but it can be really difficult to do, especially when it seems like the cost of everything has skyrocketed lately. After all, we need a place to live and food to nourish our bodies, and depriving ourselves of all fun activities because they aren’t free isn’t the answer.
It is actually a lot easier to focus your time and energy on increasing your income. There is a definite amount you can cut out of your expenses, but your earning potential is unlimited. How exciting is that? Check out these ideas to level up your income and advance toward financial freedom.
1. Negotiate a Raise
If you like where you work, start by asking for an increase in pay at your current job. First, do your research by checking online search sites, such as Glassdoor or PayScale, to have a better idea of what those in a similar role to you are making. The salary ranges on these sites are often self-reported and can be wide, so consider your overall responsibilities and skills. Networking with those in your industry can also help you get a better idea of what to ask for.
Next, make a list of your greatest work accomplishments, specific skills you bring and future projects you’d like to handle. Spell out your total compensation package, including bonuses, retirement plan contributions, insurance, etc. After doing your research, be prepared for the dollar range you are asking for, and consider any other benefits you can negotiate, such as working from home, vacation time or a professional development budget.
Once you’re ready to state your case, reach out to your manager to schedule a meeting, either in person or via video call. Bring the research you’ve prepared and a confident but rational attitude to the meeting. You’ve got this!
2. Change Jobs and/or Careers
If you are unhappy in your current role or there are no opportunities for advancement within your company, it’s probably time to start interviewing elsewhere. According to Zippia, a career search portal, the average salary increases when changing jobs by 14.8%, compared to 5.8% when staying with a company. Before you start your job search, take time to note what you like and don’t like about your current role. Write down your core values and nonnegotiables when it comes to your next job. What is important to you about the company culture, day-to-day responsibilities and benefits provided? Be prepared to talk about your achievements, strengths and desired salary, which should always be a range above your minimum expectation.
If you find that your current role is not providing the satisfaction, growth or pay you need, contemplate the switch to another industry or career. Take the time to reflect on your assets, goals and previous jobs when mapping out your future. Now is a great time to revise your resume and build your network, whether at networking events or online, such as LinkedIn. You may consider taking educational courses or job shadowing to explore your interests. No matter what you decide to do, always make sure you are surrounded by a strong support system and track your progress to monitor how far you have come.
3. Start a Side Hustle
There are an endless number of ways to make additional income, aside from just getting a second job. Do you have a hobby that you could turn into a business? Is there a profitable skill that you’ve been wanting to learn? What can you teach others? The key is to find something that you enjoy to avoid burnout, and who knows, it could become a full-time gig!
Here are some opportunities for extra income to evaluate:
- Virtual assistant
- Uber or Lyft driver
- Dog walker or pet sitter
- Personal trainer
- Online tutor
- Graphic designer or social media manager
- Sell old clothes and items on Facebook Marketplace or Poshmark
- Sell craft projects on Etsy
4. Create a Passive Income Stream
Although building a passive income stream can be one of the hardest and most time-consuming strategies on this list, it also can have the biggest payoff. Passive income is revenue earned without a lot of day-to-day work. How nice would it be to make money while on a long vacation? Generating passive income can make that dream a reality! Creating a passive income stream typically requires a lot of upfront work, so take this option very seriously.
Technology has made it easier than ever to profit on your knowledge and skills online. Generally, income is generated from advertising revenue, partnerships, selling of a product, etc. by creative avenues, such as:
- Creating a blog
- Teaching tutorials on YouTube
- Developing an online course
- Writing an e-book
- Building an app
- Becoming a brand influencer
If that doesn’t interest you, you may consider renting out a room, investing in real estate or buying stocks as other forms of passive income.
The overall goal of increasing your income is to give you more flexibility and freedom in your life. Explore your passions and work to find a balance that allows you to enjoy time away from work while still funding your financial goals. There is never only one right way to do something, so find what works best for you!