I have increased my income quite a lot over the past few years. This post will highlight how I did that by exploring the following 8 things I did to increase my income:
- Start working early in life
- Start working early in the day
- Work hard, being an over-achiever
- Switch jobs
- Socialise and make friends
- Run a side hustle
Let’s dive into the first one right away!
1. Start Working EARLY in Your Life
I started working at age 13. Well, work… I guess you can call it work. Back then I was delivering advertisements and flyers (you know, these little newspaper like things in which retailers advertise their products).
In The Netherlands, it’s pretty common that children of age 13-14 have a job like this. It takes about 2-4 hours per week, usually on a Saturday or Sunday. It must have been funny to watch me have a go at it. I was a skinny (178 cm, 55 kg) kid, trying to wrestle my bicycle through town with 50 kilograms of paper strapped to the back of the bike.
It didn’t make much money, no. I believe I earned something like 2 cents per address I delivered to. It worked out to be about 5 or 6 euros for a couple of hours of work. But then there was the Christmas bonus, in which you would deliver holiday cards to people and they would tip you. I made about 300 euros in tips during the holiday season.
Of course, the above job didn’t make me who I am today. It taught me to work hard, but with working early I meant that I started working in my current profession at age 20, while I was attending university!
Honestly, that has increased quite a lot compared to my peers. After my first internship, I was asked to stay on board as a part-time consultant while finishing my studies. It paid better than the supermarket job I worked, plus it gave me relevant work experience.
Because of that, I have more relevant work experience than most of my peers, which significantly increased my salary.
2. Start Working EARLY in Your Day
Successful people are more likely to start their days early. It’s the only time of day you really get things done without being disturbed by e-mail, phone calls, or coworkers.
Arnold Swarzenegger once said in an interview that he wakes up, goes to the gym for about an hour, makes himself breakfast, makes his dog breakfast, plays with the dog, and then starts to work. It’s 6 AM when he starts working. Yep… Successful people are usually awake before 5 AM.
Retired Navy SEAL Jocko Willink wakes up at 4.30 AM every single day to do a strength workout first before starting work. As a special forces operator, he learnt that waking up before the enemy gives you a tactical advantage. In civilian life, it makes him super effective in getting lots of work done.
I personally am not as hardcore as these two guys. I would like to be, but waking up before 5 would make my nights really too short. Of course, the solution is going to bed earlier but that wouldn’t make my relationship with Girlfriend any better…
So I wake up at 6 AM every week-day, and around 8 AM on the weekend (sometimes I sleep in though). I use the early mornings to lift weights and work on my blog before work starts. On Saturday and Sunday, I wake up before Girlfriend does because that gives me some more time to work on the blog or podcast.
Because you get more done early morning, your income potential will rise. Plus, an additional benefit is your confidence will increase from doing something as badass as waking up before the rest of the world.
3. Work Hard, be an Over-Achiever
Working hard is something you can always rely on. Maybe you don’t have much talent to do something, maybe the stars aren’t aligned, but you will always be able to work your ass off.
Being on time doesn’t require talent. Neither does putting in some serious effort. Increase your income in the beginning of your career by putting in serious energy.
Work hard to make sure you’re in the top 10% of the work-force. Maybe someone else is smarter than you. But a lot of people waste their talent by being lazy. You’re not lazy. You’re extremely determined to increase your income.
For me working hard is the combination of a couple of different things. For one, it’s physically working hard. Make the hours, put in the time. But only when needed, of course, there’s no need in putting in 60 hour weeks if the job doesn’t require it from you.
Secondly, resilience and perseverance are what makes you stand out. If you can reliably deliver results every single time, without complaining, you will get noticed by management. They’ll come to you with more and more of their issues, and that is very good for your income potential. Quitting is not an option. Muscling yourself through a problem is.
4. Switch Jobs
Switching jobs, or job hopping, might be one of the most effective ways to increase your income.
Now we all know that while it’s probably a good idea to switch around every now and then, nobody likes the typical job hopper.
When you get into the habit of changing your employer too often, you might want to prepare for some tough questions.
When I switched jobs in March 2018 I had spent 4.5 years at my first employer. That’s plenty of time to show you’re committed, nobody would question your motives.
That switch has brought me quite the salary increase. I believe my regular raise at my old company from 2017 to 2018 was like 8%, so that was nothing to scoff at. But then on top of that, I bumped up another 17% in March at my new company. This is a total raise of almost 27% between December 2017 and March 2018.
5. Socialise, Make Friends
Being capable of talking to other human beings is a very nice skill to have. It’s not just about “networking”, but rather being likeable and making genuine connections with other people.
I like talking, that’s why I publish a
Being able to talk to people helps in a few different ways. One of these is that it makes you appear to be likeable whatever that might be. When you are proficient in having conversations, ask questions, and be interested in the other person, they are more likely to like you.
Now that he left his consulting job to become an entrepreneur he hires me here and there to do some consulting for him and his company!
That brings us to the next point:
6. Run a Side Hustle
Most people have only one income stream: their job. They feel secure, but when that job suddenly disappears then 100% of their income is gone. For entrepreneurs running seven different income streams, if one disappears then only 14% of their income is gone!
With that in mind, I started a side hustle to last year consulting to a friend of mine who’s an entrepreneur. In 2018 I didn’t make a lot of money, but in 2019 I expect to get some income out of this.
Actually, I started more than one side hustle. I have this blog, which is not bringing in a lot of money (just enough to cover the costs currently) but has the potential to make something. It doesn’t have to be much (although I wouldn’t mind!) but a couple hundred per month is a nice addition to my savings rate.
And then, of course, we just published the first few episodes of Goed met Geld Podcast, a Dutch radio podcast for the money-savvy millennial. For now, my co-host and I are just talking into the microphone, but maybe in the future, we’ll be able to monetise the podcast somehow.
You should think about how you could be using side hustles to increase your income!
I aim at a total side hustle revenue of 3,000 – 6,000 euros this year, netting me 1,500 – 3,000 after tax.
Which of these strategies to earn more money have you employed in your life?