How to Increase Your Income: 5 Actionable Strategies

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "The Success Principles" by Jack Canfield. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to make more money without piling on overtime? What is the best way to increase your income?

To build your wealth, you can either spend less of your earnings or earn more. Earning more is better because it allows you to save money for retirement while not having to forgo things you want to buy in the present.

This article offers some suggestions for how to increase your income.

Three Basic Steps to Earn More

Do you want to know how to increase your income? Here are three steps to earn more money:

  1. Determine how much you want to earn. 
  2. Brainstorm what you can do to get it. The three main things you can do are provide a service, make a product, or add some kind of additional value to your company.
  3. Develop and deliver it. Once you’ve decided what you’ll do, make a plan and follow it.

Optional: Consider developing additional streams of income. This could allow you to earn more money on top of full-time work. Plus, if demand for one of your income streams fluctuates, you have your other income streams to fall back on. Aim for sources of income that don’t require a large initial investment of time or money. That said, don’t be shy about developing the skills you need to reach your goals and build new income streams. This includes taking online courses or going back to school. 

Five Strategies to Earn More

There are five strategies to earn more money. You can choose some or all depending on what suits you. 

Strategy #1: Help Your Company Make More Money

If you want to learn how to increase your income within your current company, find a way to increase your company’s revenue in exchange for a cut. Companies are increasingly open to employees doing this. Here are three ways to increase your company’s revenue:

  • Offer work that your team is especially good at to other departments in exchange for additional pay.
  • Identify a customer who isn’t buying extra goods or services from your company, and spend time convincing them to buy, or buy more.
  • Find an underappreciated asset or service your company offers that you could maximize in some way for extra cash.

Even if you work in your off-hours to make this happen, having the extra cash could make it worthwhile.

Strategy #2: Start a Network Marketing Business

Network marketing jobs are another way to make extra cash selling specific goods. You become a representative of the company and work to grow the network of people buying your product. Products include toys, cosmetics, and vitamins. It can be very lucrative: Approximately 20 percent of all new millionaires in the U.S. achieved their success through network marketing. 

Visit the Direct Marketing Association’s website (www.dsa.org) to browse companies. Because some direct marketing companies don’t last, find one that has been around a while and is widely liked. Try the products to make sure you like them, as it will be difficult to convince people to buy them if you don’t like them.

Strategy #3: Solve Problems or Fill Needs

One of the best ways to create a new income stream is to think of a problem you’d like to solve, and devise a product or a service you can provide to address it. Ask yourself:

  • What is something you or others need or want?
  • Is there something you need to get rid of or address in some way? 
  • Are there any activities you’d find more enjoyable with some kind of new good or service?

Example 1: Ira and Linda Distenfield decided they wanted a career change. They asked themselves what need they could fill in their community. One thing they identified was reasonably priced legal services and paperwork: Often, law offices charge hundreds of dollars for paperwork or services that take them only minutes to do. Getting a divorce can cost between $2,000-$5,000 while bankruptcies cost around $1,500. The Distenfields decided to start a business that offered legal paperwork and some services for less than $399. They called their business We the People and have now served 500,000 customers across 30 states.

Example 2: While surfing, Nicholas Woodman realized that athletes were interested in a low-priced camera that could attach to their bodies during sporting adventures. He decided to finance the company by buying shell necklaces for $1.90 in Bali and selling them for $60 in the states. With some additional help from his parents, he founded GoPro and made his camera a reality. When Woodman was 38 years old, a Taiwanese company bought 8.88 percent of the shares for $200 million, which lifted the total market value of the company to $2.25 billion. Woodman, who owned the majority of the shares, became a billionaire.

Strategy #4: Start a Web-Based Business

These days, it’s easy to sell products or services online from the comfort of your own home. Here are a few ways to do it: 

  • Sell goods on Craigslist. Craigslist offers a completely free advertising platform, allowing you to hawk your wares without paying a membership fee.
  • Create an online shop through sites like Etsy and Yahoo Stores. These sites let you set up your own online storefront which allows you to virtually display any products you make or acquire, such as antiques or clothing. When a customer visits the site and searches for a certain type of product, the results they see could include products from your shop that match their search.
  • Create your own website and subscribe to a shopping cart service. If you want to sell goods or services through a personal website, create a website and subscribe to a shopping cart service, which allows you to accept credit cards and other forms of payment. This method can work well for selling knowledge products—digital learning materials such as online courses or audiobooks made by you.
  • Sell someone else’s product. Find a product you like and sell it in exchange for a portion of the proceeds.

Example: Shane Lewis wanted to support his wife and two children while he attended medical school. He decided to find a product he could sell to make some extra money and set up an online storefront through www.StoresOnline.com. He found a rapid urine testing product that he could market to people who wanted rapid drug testing. It took a few months for orders to start coming in, but he was soon exceeding his goals for sales per month. Lewis began selling two other products and now earns enough so that his wife doesn’t have to work and he can afford medical school without having to depend on student loans. 

Strategy #5: Be an Occasional Entrepreneur

You don’t have to make a full-time or even part-time job out of your side hustle. Becoming an occasional entrepreneur allows you to make products or sell services only when you need extra cash. Here are some methods that Janet Switzer, author of the book, Instant Income, recommends:

  • Sell specialty goods. This could include crafts that you’re adept at making, such as fishing flies or jewelry.
  • Offer consulting services. This works for any kind of expertise you may have. To find potential customers, identify who would need your services and develop advertisements that target the websites, publications, and other media people in that group consume. You can also find people or companies that offer similar services and negotiate a referral.
  • Provide any other kind of service. Almost anything you enjoy doing could be something another person would prefer to hire you to do so they don’t have to. For example, you could plan parties, mow lawns, haul garbage with your truck, or redesign people’s living spaces.

Exercise: Plan How to Earn More

Evaluate how you might supplement your current income.

Which one to two strategies appeal to you most to increase your income? Why?

What additional information would you need to consider pursuing each of these strategies?

Focus on the strategy that appeals to you most. What kind of adjustments would you need to make to your schedule, lifestyle, and so on to implement this strategy? For example, if you decide to become an occasional entrepreneur selling handmade pottery, but you’re still working full-time, you may need to dedicate some evening or weekend hours to this work.

How to Increase Your Income: 5 Actionable Strategies

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Darya Sinusoid

Darya’s love for reading started with fantasy novels (The LOTR trilogy is still her all-time-favorite). Growing up, however, she found herself transitioning to non-fiction, psychological, and self-help books. She has a degree in Psychology and a deep passion for the subject. She likes reading research-informed books that distill the workings of the human brain/mind/consciousness and thinking of ways to apply the insights to her own life. Some of her favorites include Thinking, Fast and Slow, How We Decide, and The Wisdom of the Enneagram.

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