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Trying to save money isn’t always the reason you don’t have enough of it. After taxes, living expenses, retirement, security savings and the small splurges to keep your mental sanity (even with a good percentage set aside for savings/investing), that final number is still disappointing for many people. Why?
The answer is always in the math — to save more, you need to make more. It’s easy to see that 10% of a $100,000 income is $10,000 and 10% of a $200,000 income is $20,000, so you save more when you make more. Now you could indeed save 20% of $100,000 to put away $20,000, but saving 20% isn’t always feasible contingent on expenditures, inflation and factors that are out of your control. So we’re going to focus on what is in your control, and that’s your income.
The first thing many employees think of is how to get their current employer to pay them more. But that doesn’t always work, because businesses want low overhead so their profits can be higher. Making more money means taking things into your hands.
Related: Look at Yourself as a Business Rather than an Employee
1. Focus on what you enjoy and what you’re passionate about first
A good starting point is seeing what lucrative opportunities exist in spaces that you’re interested in or passionate about. Here are four steps to doing this:
- Research opportunities that exist in these spaces (listen to podcasts, interview people who have done it before, do your market research, understand the revenue model, etc.).
- Document your ideas and how you will make them happen (schedules with dates, the money you need to set aside to invest, people you need to work with and the time you will commit).
- Be realistic about what you find, because you can’t control market supply or demand.
- Don’t be afraid to try something, stop and then recalibrate. It’s good to be steady, but there needs to be a balance between rediscovering and building upon what you’ve discovered.
2. Understand where you’re considered good enough
Note that I didn’t say the best, but good enough. If you have years of experience and some form of formal education or training, you should be capitalizing on the fact you’re not just an employee, but a subject matter expert with knowledge and history.
- Understand the maximum you can make by working for any company, then go make it. Being comfortable in a role for 8 hours that makes you uncomfortable for the other 16 hours of your day, isn’t optimizing how much money you make. Start applying for new roles.
- Research all of the additional opportunities that exist in the space you’ve been trained in:
- Applying for part-time and project-based employment works well for those who have the time to do more of what they already do, such as consulting or coaching.
- Setting up streams of passive income such as posting pre-recorded videos teaching what you do to entry-level employees
- Identifying if you could set up a small business offering your services to individuals or companies (remotely or locally)
3. Understand the type of person you are
How often have you heard someone say “all you have to do is,” or “this is what I did”? This may sound great, but it doesn’t mean it will work for you. A good example is if someone asked if you’d be willing to take out a $400,000 loan and invest it to potentially make money. Those who say “no” might have a low financial risk tolerance, and they shouldn’t dabble in real estate, for instance. Maybe they should consider something with a low startup cost. You could go to 10 real estate seminars and read 18 books on the topic, but if you’ve never considered walking into the bank to start the process, it could be in conflict with who you are.
The same thing applies to waking up early, staying up late, working more hours, doing something that doesn’t involve talking to people, not going back for another degree, etc. If it conflicts with who you are, it can impact what you do and how you do it. Find things that are going to work for you.
Related: Make Yourself a Money Magnet with this Fun and Easy Exercise
4. Understand the type of person you’re willing to be
Sometimes making financial progress means making tweaks to your personality.
- Manage your personal growth with schedules and organizational tools, because accountability has better control with measurements, visibility and structure.
- Hire a life coach if needed, and make sure there’s consistency with your attendance.
- Document all of your goals, and make sure you link the dependencies to understand where you might be holding yourself back.
- Explore what new opportunities exist with the enhanced version of you.
Related: How to Unleash Your Creativity and Transform Your Marketing Strategy
5. Go find the most lucrative new areas that don’t conflict with numbers 3 or 4
There’s a lot of objectively correct and solid information that advises on ways to make money: real estate, stock market, supply chain and technology to name a few.
But if you want to make more money, it has to work for you. Attempting to execute without understanding who you are and how it will need to be done could serve as the biggest blocker to your success. Therefore, this requires patience to define numbers three and four thoroughly, so the discovery process is more seamless with the identification of what won’t work well and what will.
Related: How to Create a Mindset That Fuels Your Growth and Gets You What You Want