As a life-hacker who retired at age 28, here are 4 strategies that ANYONE can look into right away to increase your earning power in 2017.
#1. Raise your wages by:
(a) Negotiating with your current boss on salary. This is by far the easiest strategy. If you work in a somewhat specialist job in which your labor is not too easy to replace by automation or outsourcing or another human with minimal experience, you can start making a case for your salary to be brought up to or above market rate. This helps when you’re likable and rank above your peers. It will be hard to negotiate if you are NOT a high-value employee. Doing well on the job is worth it if solely for this purpose.
DG TIP: If you can or have already added further value by doing activities outside of your job requirements, then you can make a strong case for an expanded (cough, pay me more) role that incorporates your additional firepower.
(b) Switching jobs for a higher-paying one, internally or externally. This could mean going from project management to sales. In most businesses, commission-based roles earn more money than fixed-rate roles, especially if you have the desire to one day be your own boss. You’ll definitely need sales training at some point, why not sooner rather than later? No matter what technical experts say, marketing and sales always runs the show when it comes to who’s getting paid when. Thus, this could be a role that pays higher personal dividends than just higher salary numbers.
Furthermore, you can also consider joining either competitor A or B for a role at a higher level and pay. At the end of the day, your personal incentive will be to always take care of number one, meaning yourself. I won’t be the first or last person to tell you that times are a-changing; the key strategy to career success these days is to think for yourself instead of being chained to one employer. Learning from multiple employers makes you a more valuable employee as you’ll have various approaches and deeper market/competitive knowledge versus someone who only worked at one firm.
DG TIP: Be careful here, one jump every 3 years is a good amount of time. Any shorter than that, if sustained (i.e. one jump EVERY year or less in every single role), you’ll start to look pretty flaky, no matter how volatile your industry is. UNLESS, you are a career contractor, in which case, you can design your resume in a different way to incorporate your contracting business.
(c) Striking it out on your own as a contractor. If you’re in a role in which there is a constant market requirement for contracting services, consider if you’re ready for this step. Listen to my podcast to learn more about contracting vs. full-time employment. I’ve seen it work out really well for people who want more flexibility and freedom in their pay, schedule, and career. This also creates an opportunity to grow your business through sub-contracting, then eventually starting an outsourced solution.
#2. Learn how to create income on your own through investing and/or entrepreneurship. Options to produce income are: self-run businesses, franchises, funding other business ventures for equity, stocks (through dividends and market appreciation), annuities, life insurance, real estate (my personal favorite!), etc. As with all types of businesses, there is risk to everything, so the first step is truly understanding what you’re getting into. There is no doubt that many people fail, but that should not deter you. The trick is to truly understand what you’re doing, NOT relying on luck or copying others’ actions (many of the best investment strategies are contrarian).
#3. Budget like crazy. Most people feel as if life is in control of them instead of being in control of their lives, mainly due to lack of financial resources (no matter what their income is!). Although it sounds boring, that’s why personal financial planning is the most crucial part of all of our lives. Look at your financial budget, spending habits, and evaluate, do you really need that pair of designer sunglasses or would a generic pair for under $10 work for you? All these things add up, as I discuss in this article. Ultimately, it’s your money philosophy that will impact your future growth.
#4. Protecting and growing your assets. Making money is not the problem, spending money IS. The worst way to spend money these days is pursuing a dead-end academic degree. Do NOT waste your assets (cash) or risk incurring additional liabilities (student debt) for the HOPE or EXPECTATION of “making more money”. Most degrees (other than some STEM degrees) are made up to steal your hard-earned money. If you haven’t invested in personal growth, no amount of academic achievement will propel your career. Interviews are won off of likability and real-world capability, not pedigree nor your ability to procure certifications and degrees.
ONLY EXCEPTION: you’re looking to pursue your undergraduate degree to get into white-collar work, escaping from blue-collar work. Even for that purpose, arguably, formal education may still not be the best way forward for you, especially if you haven’t EVER experienced whether or not you can (a) procure a white collar job (lots of prejudice and unconscious bias in the white-collar world) or (b) know that you LIKE white collar jobs. Plenty of college graduates realize they hate their corporate jobs or are unemployed. They have to start over, the only difference is that they’re now saddled with student debt. Read this article for more logic on why formal education is the worst thing to “invest in” especially if you’re unemployed.
These 4 tips helped guide me to achieving a financial and personal lifestyle that sustains me so that I no longer have to work in the corporate world. What have you found to work best for you? Comment below!
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