How Do You Plan To Get Ahead? Ways To Increase Your Income

by Silicon Valley Blogger on 2007-11-2049

There are many means to the same end, and many roads to financial independence. Here are several ways to increase your income.

Wouldn’t it be a great feeling to finally realize you’re financially independent? I know I would be. But to get to that point, we all need to build up enough of a nest egg that would be substantial enough for us to live on for the rest of our lives. In the absence of such a boon, we continue to rely on our own labor to keep us going from day to day.

I look around me and find that lots of people are taking their destinies into their own hands. A couple of co-workers have begun investing in real estate. Someone I know “day trades” during his spare time (at his own risk) — well, he actually does “night trading”, since he does it after work and into the wee hours of the morning. Someone else has an eBay store or two.

What’s great is that there are many ways to make a living and to earn an income. I’ve always functioned with the thought that if I find myself “stuck” in any one position without progressing or moving forward in some way after a bit of time, then I need to evaluate where I’m at and see if there’s any way I can break the monotony of my situation. If you’ve ever asked yourself “is this all I’m cracked up to be?” or if financial and economic progress is important to you, while you find yourself scraping by, then you may want to look into some ways to change your situation.

Driving, how to get ahead
 
Photo by ziza.ru

Here are a few approaches that I or some friends have taken to get ourselves growing professionally, creatively and financially. You can also consider these as ways to increase your income, improve your cash flow and build your wealth:

Ways To Get Ahead: Professionally and Financially

Get skills.

If you have any of these things: talent, skill, knowledge, energy, then you are employable. I know too many folks who are worried they won’t be able to find a job that they enjoy. If you’re one such person who demonstrates these personal assets, then there is always work out there that fits your capacities. If you feel that you don’t have such skills, you may either be underestimating yourself or your ability to gain these skills. Consider upgrading what you already have in order to qualify for better opportunities.

Become a career or corporate worker with an eye towards job advancement.

If you are happy with your line of work, and see that you have a solid path for advancement in your company, then investing your time, energy and talent at your company may help reward you with a better position after sometime. Can you see yourself becoming a leader and do you enjoy working in a team? Can you manage people? If so, you may be a fit for management.

In reality, with dedication and solid performance records, very good worker bees can find themselves promoted to higher levels whether or not they have the management skills. But like anything else, management ability can be learned, provided that you like working with people to begin with.

Investor, don’t waste another moment. Start investing early.

The one thing that we shouldn’t waste is another moment not being invested in the market. If your financial house is in order, with your savings accumulating steadily, expenses under control and debt on its way out, then you can work towards the goal of having your money eventually building up enough so that it can do most of the work for you (instead of you having to work for it).

You can open accounts in mutual fund companies or in popular online stock brokerages.

Sign up to automatic investing programs at your investment institutions. The automatic investing programs allowed me to commit to a savings and investing routine and also made it easy for me to invest even if I didn’t have much to start with. This way, I was able to begin investing early. All these years being in the market has paid off as the returns generated by the stock market behave as its own income stream, supplementing any job income we’ve pulled in.

At a dead end? How about job hop till you drop.

What do you seek? When looking for a job, you probably have many things you’re looking for: good position, lucrative pay, benefits, great commute, interesting work, great bunch of people to work with, stability. You name it. But one thing you cannot predict is how things will turn out after the “honeymoon” is over — that period of time after which you’ve settled in and figured out how things work at your new company.

Unfortunately, you may realize that reality doesn’t match your ideal picture after sometime and the question then haunts you: do you “settle” for the job you have at the moment or take the risk and take flight for the seemingly greener grass on the other side? I’ve seen it work both ways: when job hopping yields higher incomes and better matched positions, but I’ve also seen regret from employees who left a decent job for something less appealing. Then again, no guts, no glory.

If you’re going to job hop, maybe these online job resources can help.

Moonlight, with dual jobs and quadruple incomes!

Many families make things work by taking on multiple jobs amongst the breadwinners of the household. I’ve even heard of households where both parents maintain two jobs each. This must be the toughest way to try to get ahead, but people do it for several reasons, including: preparing for a career change by testing the waters before making any job switch, to make more money (or just to make ends meet), or to pursue work they actually enjoy. A second job can offer the opportunity for someone to decide which work is worth pursuing in the long run, as well as the chance to acquire new skills. But it can also burn you out, and cause high stress when you find that all your time is spent juggling work obligations. This may not be a good idea in the long term but could work out if you can take on secondary work on a per project or temporary basis. Having a primary, stable job and combining it with some freelancing could be a more feasible combination.

Are you a budding entrepreneur? Consider building alternative incomes with side businesses.

Here’s a thought: why not build a side business instead of working a side job? If you have a hobby you are passionate about, it may not take much to turn it into a business, especially if you’re in the creative field. There could be a market for something you’re doing and it’s just a matter of discovering and responding to that demand. Many of us are “accidental entrepreneurs”, people who never knew that a fun diversion actually can pay. In fact, lots of incredibly successful businesses simply started that way — as somebody’s part-time project: an experiment that turned into a lucrative venture.

If you’re a risk taker, become a full-time entrepeneur.

Finally, there are those who have entrepreneurship in their blood. They don’t crave stability, and money isn’t necessarily their primary goal. What they care about most is the nurturing of an idea that has consumed their waking moments and that they’re convinced will “change the world” in some way. Who cares about a steady paycheck? They don’t. They’re aiming for the sky and nurturing grander dreams. There are also those who’ve decided to strike it out on their own because they love the independence of working for themselves, of being in control of their own plight and who have decided that the only way they can work is if they’re their own boss.

-ooOoo-

It’s a question we’ve all pondered over: what else can we do to get further ahead? Some try to specialize and concentrate on one avenue for increasing their income — say, through career advancement, where they pour all their energies into getting that promotion or big raise. Others diversify and try out multiple ventures to develop various income streams and reduce the risk of income loss from any one channel. How about you? I’d love to hear what other things you’re doing to get closer to your personal and financial goals and what other schemes you’re implementing to propel yourself forward.

My Other Thoughts On This Subject:
Top Wealth Building Ways of Ordinary People
How Are You Building Your Net Worth?

Image Credit: ziza.ru

Copyright © 2007 The Digerati Life. All Rights Reserved.

{ 25 comments… read them below or add one }

Mrs. Micah November 20, 2007 at 9:48 am

This was very encouraging to read. I’m doing a part-time job or two along with freelancing (hopefully) and a side sewing projects. I’m very nervous and very excited and hopeful. We’ll see how it goes.

plonkee November 20, 2007 at 12:33 pm

I’m a very boring person really, I don’t want to get into people management – preferring to pursue technical excellence in my field. I’m sure that means that I’ll never make a £ sterling inflation adjusted 6 figure salary. But I think it will make me happy.

Of course I blog on the side and that makes a little money, but I’m doing that for fun, it’s just nice that it pays for itself. If I ever have a side project take off in a big way, I think it’ll be the most surprising accidental success ever.

the baglady November 20, 2007 at 12:41 pm

cool article. I guess some people think I’m a job hopper because I just started on my third full time job since graduating college in May 2005, but I really think it will help me in the future. I have met a lot of very interesting people and if I stayed at my first job my raises couldn’t have possibly gotten me to where I am now. Additionally I am learning a lot of new skills through different jobs.

Silicon Valley Blogger November 20, 2007 at 1:33 pm

@Mrs. Micah, I like hearing about your personal experiences on entrepreneurship and home business on your blog. I did read about some of the new projects you’re getting into and am eagerly anticipating more details about your venture! I’m also cobbling together different projects and opportunities myself so that I can leave the corporate world soon.

@Plonkee, I find that being a “people handler” can be more challenging than technical work sometimes! I find myself often more stressed dealing with politics and management issues than when I work on a technical project single-mindedly. What’s great is that technical ability can often translate into a lot of “accidentally lucrative” projects down the road.

@The Baglady, during the earlier years of my career, I found that I switched jobs once a year on average, only to secure higher pay each time. These days, my goals at work have been focused on stability, predictability and flexibility — the hallmarks of a “lifer” rather than a “careerist”, the biggest reason for this being that I wanted to prioritize my young family over the job. Of course now, I’d rather give up the “lifer” role to be my own boss.

thewild1 November 20, 2007 at 2:40 pm

Great post and you always get the perfect picture to go along with it

david November 21, 2007 at 12:07 am

Entrepreneur blood here! I’m trying to perfect the art of war into a grand poem for unlocking people’s potential.

Andrew November 21, 2007 at 4:11 am

Dear Silicon Valley Blogger

Thank you for these tips.

If I may, I would like to raise one additional point.

I think that the starting point in deciding which direction to take in life is to work out what your dreams and goals are. It’s working out what exactly it is you want to achieve with your life.

I like your illustration of the car driving down the road. I assume that the driver of that vehicle knows where exactly he wants to end up. If he doesn’t, then he will not know what to do when he reaches an intersection and has to make a decision.

Too often, I think people (myself included) try to make decisions without a clear vision of what they want to achieve. This makes decision making very difficult – if you don’t know where you want to go, it’s difficult to decide how best to get there.

Knowing clearly what you want to achieve does not make decision making an easy task. But at least it provides a roadmap which can be used to evaluate alternative courses of action.

Cheers

Andrew

Sally November 21, 2007 at 6:44 am

Wow, what an inspirational post. I’m trying to go the route of generating multiple income streams. Right now, this consists of selling books online and recycling the beer cans my friends leave in my apartment when they come over to watch football on Sundays, but I’m hoping to branch out into something a bit bigger and steadier.

makemorespendless November 21, 2007 at 1:56 pm

I really enjoyed the article, I am right in the middle of some of your ideas.

I think a lot of people underestimate their abilities and skill level.

The hardest thing is to actually get the nerve to start. Once started, passion will take you the rest of the way. I think if you start out with passion, the money will follow.

dong November 22, 2007 at 10:09 pm

Even if you’re not taking big riks, I think it’s still important to keep in mind that’s it’s ok to fail. Sometimes two jobs is one job too much. Othertimes hobbies can’t be turned into alternative income. That’s ok. Life’s about giving different things a shot.

minimum wage November 24, 2007 at 3:31 pm

I have no skills, no money, no credit, and no plan to get ahead.

gaic November 30, 2007 at 4:40 am

Hello,

Interesting article. We have to remember that we always tend to fall to a state of becoming.

I am trying to build an Entrepreneurs Investors community. Our idea is to bring to entrepreneurs advice that will help t hem in the growth process (without crawling and begging for help). They can post their needs. Most entrepreneurs are too isolated and just don’t know what to do. They also do not have all the financial resources to ask for advice. We will be honored if you can participate to our community.

I leave you the decision to publish the address of the website (thestreetmarket.com).

Thanks and good work!

J.C. Carvill December 6, 2007 at 3:36 pm

We need to keep in mind that the financial return for each action may be different — like blogging may take a longer time to yield a return compared to freelancing or double jobs.

J.C. Carvill

Dividends4Life December 11, 2007 at 11:38 am

A very thought provoking article! I plan to include a link to your post in my weekly carnival review next Friday.

Best Wishes!
D4L

Jason December 11, 2007 at 8:36 pm

I knew a guy that worked two full time jobs to get his family debt free in 11 months. They were paying off something like $5500 a month on their debts and wound up paying off $60k in credit card/car debt in less than a year. Now that’s dedication!

sommer February 5, 2008 at 7:52 am

Wow! Great Post! I think getting ahead is in having your own business and being your own boss. That’s why I do what I do and I’m getting way ahead. I also don’t believe in doing something I can pay someone else to do. If I can make $50 dollars while paying someone $15 to mow my lawn then I’ll pay them and go make the $50. I’m a MLM fan though and it’s working for me!!!!

entrepreneur blog August 10, 2008 at 10:43 am

Great post you have here. I agree with the description of full time entrepeneur: to gain large sums of money you don’t have to think about money at the start, but you have to be obsessed by an idea that you have to make come true. Then, if the idea is good, cash start flowing in!

JVG Consult October 23, 2008 at 4:12 am

I have followed your advice and I am taking the professional engineer certification test this week after many years of school and required work experience. One caveat to your advice: money isn’t everything. Yes take care of the necessary things but don’t forget to live a balanced life.

Lokes October 24, 2008 at 5:22 pm

This is a really useful article for job new comers, new income earners and those who’ve just begun to live on their own. Though a fixed permanent income job is a good thing, I feel that it can be a plus to have freelance jobs to earn and plan for the future. Though I have put up 20 years of service, this article is motivating me to do something. Thanks.

Isaac Yassar February 4, 2009 at 6:42 am

Before reaching financial independence, one must faces enough failures to gain him / her self some experience and skill. Once he / she has got what it takes, financial independence is surely obtainable through many means. Don’t you agree?

Left Behind January 22, 2010 at 10:51 am

I am unemployed, unskilled, over 50, and can’t afford to go to school (no money, can’t get financial aid).

How do I get ahead?

Laughing at You June 8, 2010 at 11:36 am

You don’t get ahead. You’re screwed.

Dave Johnsen January 6, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Great post! I really enjoyed the part about taking your hobby and making it a side business. I am about to try the blueprint project black edition has anyone heard of it? or any previous course training from these guys?

Great Post

Thanks

Silicon Valley Blogger January 7, 2011 at 12:27 am

@Dave,
No, haven’t heard of that. I don’t usually do online courses. I just take action and experiment with my own ideas. I also get all my info for free on the web.

Josphine Mcaboy January 14, 2011 at 1:15 pm

I’ve got to write about this for a class I am taking, well similar to this. This actually made it easier for me , so thanks you A LOT. Regards, Josphine Mcaboy

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