Increasing Your Financially Valuable Skill

Today, you are going to make a commitment to make more money. That doesn’t sound like a bad idea, does it? If you are ambivalent, consider this: The only way to be truly independent — to not have to rely on relatives, friends, and the government for material support — is to have a lot of money sitting somewhere and earning interest. The only way you’ll be able to set aside a lot of money is to earn a lot of money — quite likely, more than you are earning now. So, let’s just agree that this year you are going to boost your family income — the amount of money you bring home — by between 10% and 25%.

If your family income is now $80,000, for example, set a target for making between $88,000 and $100,000. If you accomplish this goal this year, you’ll not only be richer, you’ll also be in a much better position to make more money next year. Each time you boost your income, you develop knowledge, strategies, networks, and habits that make it easier to boost your income in the future. You don’t need too many years of 10%-to-25% income increases before you are solidly on the road to financial independence.

In fact, at some point in time, and it will probably come sooner than you think if you get serious about this commitment, you won’t have to increase your income at all. It will be plenty big enough to take care of all your material needs and fantasies, and you’ll have enough going to savings every year to ensure a safe and comfortable “retirement.”

Increasing your income requires work, but it is not complex. There are really only two options when it comes to increasing your income.

1. You can develop your own successful side business — one that you will eventually be able to turn into a lucrative full-time career.

2. You can develop skills that will make you more valuable to your boss.

We’ll talk tomorrow about developing a side business. Today, let’s focus on your earning more money from your current business or employment. How do you get your boss to give you a 10%-to-25% salary increase this year?

There is only one way: You have to make yourself significantly more valuable to the success of the business. Businesses are built to create profits — so if you want to be more valuable to your business, you have to find a way to create more profits.

The three most common ways are: selling marketing producing profits. If you are a salesperson now, you know how to earn more money as a salesperson: Increase your sales. To do that, you must increase your selling skills, make more contacts, and provide better selling service.

ETR regularly talks about how to do each of those things. If you are not in sales, you should spend your time and energy this year improving either your marketing skills or your skills at producing profits. Take courses in advertising and copywriting. Go to seminars. Listen to tapes. Speak to the best marketers and profit-center managers in your business. Network with successful people from other businesses. Let your boss know right now that you intend to make a bigger contribution to the company’s profits this year — and ask him to give you some assignments that will help you do it. (No need to tell him you’re shooting for a higher salary. He’ll understand.)

If I were you, I’d back up my plan with some sort of freelance work. There are all sorts of ways to make extra money by practicing the skills you have now on a freelance basis. We have a program — the American Consultants League — that shows you how to do that. When I set a goal, I like to be sure I’ll achieve it.

The best way to do that, I’ve found, is to plan to do twice what I think I’ll need to do to achieve my goal and then do something else entirely as a backup. In this case, for example, if my goal were an income increase of $15,000, I’d figure out how I could do enough to justify a $30,000 increase — and then, besides that, I’d figure out how to earn an extra $12,000 or so on the side.

The main point is this: You are going to make more money this year, because you are going to get better at selling, marketing, or producing profits — both for the business that employs you and for another little venture of your own.

[Ed. Note.  Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]