There are lots of things that hold us back in life.
Sometimes finances. Sometimes relationships. Sometimes insecurities.
And sometimes – often – it’s our mindsets.
Our all-or-nothing, black-and-white thinking. The pervasive and decidedly untrue idea that there’s option A and option B and nothing in between.
Last June, I started a new series that’s all about combating that nonsense. About seeing all the different options laid out in front of us. About understanding life isn’t just success or failure, but a thousand paths in between the two.
The first article in the series was about traveling more. Today, I thought we’d talk about money.
Because money is something so many of us struggle with. Something so many of us see as black and white. So many of us feel trapped about.
So let’s break down a bunch of different options for making more of it.
Not every option will work for every person, of course. This isn’t about suggesting a specific path to anyone. It’s about showing that there are more options. Not just job vs. entrepreneurship or part-time vs. full-time. There are always a thousand options in between.
So, without further ado, 10 Paths to Make More Money:
1. Ask for a raise.
Quite possibly the most obvious option for those who are happy in their jobs is to ask for more money.
There are dozens of ways to approach this, but what’s been successful for me in the past is coming into the meeting with some hard numbers. When I was working at the ad agency, I did the math on how much money I’d made for the company based on the hourly rate they charged clients for my time x the actual number of hours I’d billed in the past year (it helped that I was friends with the accountant, so she helped me pull up my total billable hours and I didn’t have to do all the math by hand). I also did some math on how much I’d saved the company by implementing some new systems for their customer support (which was losing money when I arrived).
You can ask for a raise for dozens of reasons and obviously not everyone has billable hour figures at their fingertips, but using the numbers – how much I’ve made the company, how much I’ve saved the company – is a really compelling way to make the big ask.
2. Get a new job.
Unhappy in your job or running into bosses unwilling to offer you a raise? There’s always the option of changing jobs.
And before you say “but, Gigi, the economy!,” let me just ask: what do you have to lose? Looking around and applying for new jobs could either land you a new, higher-paying job (in which case you win) or result in nothing (in which case, you’re in the same position – not worse off). If you want/need a raise and you don’t want to stay at your current employer, what do you have to lose?
3. Learn a new skill.
Coding. Management. Graphic design. Mechanics. Engineering. Sales.
There are tons and tons of new skills that can make you eligible for a promotion and/or a raise, that can help you argue your value when you ask for a raise, or that can help you land a side gig or create passive income.
4. Go freelance.
Now, keep in mind it takes time to build up a freelance career, to get enough clients to make ends meet. It also takes a certain personality: you have to be okay with having big ups and downs, especially at first; you have to be self-motivated. You have to wrangle your own health insurance and quarterly taxes and all sorts of little administrative stuff employees don’t have to think about. But if you can handle all that, freelancing can be really lucrative.
Junior copywriters I know charge $50 per hour. I’ve seen senior-level people as high as $150. Programmers can command even more. Graphic designers tend to fall into that same range. And sales can also earn you a pretty penny as a freelancer.
So, could you go freelance and start slowly increasing your rates?
5. Diversify your income.
If all your income comes from one place (your job, for instance), if that one place crashes and burns (downsizes or goes out of business), then all your income could be gone in an instant. If, however, you’ve got a day job and a side gig or three different part-time businesses or a book, a blog, a consulting business, and a paid course you run, if one of those things crashes and burns, you still have income while you work to replace that portion of your incoming funds.
6. Create a product.
Love making homemade soap or cosmetics? Have an idea for a course or guide to something you’re really really excellent at? Are you amazing at knitting dog sweaters? Creating and selling a product could be a nice little on-the-side business if you have the skills and time to pull it off.
7. Share what you have.
Room rental sites, car-sharing services, EatWith…there are dozens of sharing economy sites popping up everywhere and they offer a unique opportunity to make money while sharing something you already own or already love doing. You can drive people places, sub-let your car, sub-let your apartment, cook people meals, or take them on tours of your city–all for a nice little fee.
This one can be tricky if you don’t know what you’re doing. But lots of experts recommend investing in Vanguard funds and letting your money sit and grow over the long-term.
9. Sell your stuff.
Most people I know have a bunch of stuff they don’t really need sitting around in a garage or closet somewhere. If you need a little extra cash, putting those old ski boots, board games, or unused treadmills up on Craigslist, eBay, or Facebook garage sales can be a quick solution (plus, for the win, it declutters your house and life).
10. Teach or mentor.
In person. Online. Via Skype.
Languages. Math. Science. Art. English.
There are about a thousand different ways to teach or mentor people who want or need it and you can feel good about helping someone else learn something while also making a little extra cash.
Now, to you, readerly friends: any other ideas for people thinking about making a change?
#1 and #2 are easier said than done. I worked for the government as a admin/clerical and raises were out of the question. I was stuck in a stagnant position for 13 years. I got laid off and am still having trouble finding another job. I have applied to many places. That’s another reason why I am trying to build up my online income.
The rest of the items on the list have applied to me. I have gone freelance and diversified my income. You are correct it takes time to make money from freelancing. I drive for Uber and pet sit/dog walk to boost my freelance income. I also have been investing. I use smartphone apps like Stash and Acorns. I am also building up a savings using Digit (www.digit.co)
Certainly! With #1 and #2, the point was that you don’t know if it’s possible unless you try. Sometimes the answer is no and you have to change your plan or approach. But sometimes the answer is yes (especially outside rigid governmental/corporate raise structures).
Good luck with your freelancing and all!