BY STEPHANIE O’CONNELL
Everyone wants to make more money, but not everyone knows how to do it — much less how to do it quickly. If you’re tired of the annual standard cost-of-living pay raise, know that, with a little strategic action, it is possible to significantly boost your earnings.
––Double your output. The most obvious way to make double the money you’re making now — particularly if you are a freelancer or business owner — is to double your output. Now, that might sound impossible, but it’s not when you go about it strategically.
Entrepreneur and blogging expert John Rampton offers this example: Say you’re a freelance writer who sells e-books focused on social media techniques for small business owners. It would be a challenge to suddenly double the number of e-books you’re writing. But you could repurpose related e-books to create a course or subscription service that teaches social media strategies to small business owners.
With just a little more effort, you greatly increase your product offerings and, therefore, your revenue sources.
––Track your progress. Tracking your progress can help prove your value to your boss or clients, Rampton said. You can measure your progress by using the following techniques:
Track daily goals with iDoneThis, which sends emails that describe what you accomplished during the workday.
Use the “Seinfeld Strategy,” which involves crossing off a day on a calendar every time you accomplish your daily goals. After a few days, you’ll have a chain that you won’t want to break.
Have a weekly show-and-tell of all the goals that you completed.
Schedule a monthly meeting with yourself to review what you’re most proud of, notes on experiments, goals for the next month and a progress report of what you achieved in the previous month.
Rampton also suggested using a time-tracking tool so that you and your boss can see how long it took you to complete a specific task or project.
––Get certified. “Increase your employability with a degree or certification,” said certified career coach Cheryl Palmer. “That degree can be a good reason for an employer to give you a raise and maybe even a promotion.”
After finishing his MBA, Jason Vitug upgraded his job as a credit union branch manager in New Jersey to a senior executive position at a credit union in California — making more than double his former salary while enjoying better benefits and bonuses a year later.
Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates the lifelong value of higher education. The median usual weekly earnings for workers without a high school diploma are just $504. Those with a bachelor’s degree earn $1,156 weekly, and those with a master’s degree earn $1,380 weekly. Of course, there are exceptions: Some high-paying jobs don’t require a college degree.
While the numbers are favorable, note that certifications, licenses and degrees don’t carry guarantees. “Research salary rates before investing in a degree or certification so that you can calculate your return on investment,” Palmer said. Depending on your profession, your research might reveal that the money you spend for your degree won’t be worth the pay raise you receive.
Certifications and degrees can serve as pathways to raises, promotions and higher-paying jobs, but be sure the investment is worthwhile before committing to any program.
––Leverage your experience. Dan Demus found his income tripled when he was recruited for a position in the defense contracting business requiring government security clearance that he had gained during his military service.
Drawing upon past experience, skills and relationships can prove highly valuable, said career coach Iola Yhap. “Employees can speak, train or do consulting on the side with the expertise they have developed from the workplace.”
Technology makes it easier than ever to showcase your unique skills and experience to a worldwide audience. Create a basic website or LinkedIn page — even if you’re not looking for a new job. This proactive approach can help develop a steady stream of side income while you position yourself for advanced roles at higher pay.
––Become an entrepreneur within our job. Brandon Turner, VP of growth and communications of the online real estate magazine BiggerPockets and co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast, found another way to profit from the value he added to his company: in-house entrepreneurship. By proposing new revenue generators and negotiating a commission on each unit sold, Turner doubled his salary in a matter of months.
Introducing performance-based pay opportunities scales income, allowing for unlimited individual earning potential that also benefits the company. As Turner found, it’s a win-win.
––Set up a salary negotiation. If you’re a top performer in a competitive industry, you don’t have to wait the standard year to schedule a salary negotiation. You don’t need to limit yourself to the typical 3 or 5 percent increase, either.
While working in community outreach, Tonya Rapley used her impressive performance record to increase her salary by $20,000 in two years. She recounted one performance review, “I exceeded expected revenues by $11,000 and made mention of it. How can you resist someone who makes money for you?”
“Too many individuals request raises based on their situations — I have a mortgage to pay, I have mounting medical bills, I have two children in college,” said career expert Lori Rassas. “The conversation should be about the employer. Find out precisely what the employer needs, then do whatever it takes to provide it.”
Track your work progress to tangibly show your employer the value you add to the company, then request pay raises in line with your accomplishments.