Do you think you’re making enough money? About half of American employees believe they are underpaid, according to a recent survey done by Salary.com. Yet the same survey found that only 22 percent really were underpaid as compared to industry standards.

Although your salary may be “fair” in terms of the national average for others doing similar jobs, I’m guessing it’s still not as high as you would like. Fortunately, you can boost your earnings by taking a few simple steps.

Step one is to convince your boss that you deserve a big, fat raise. And the way to do that is by turning yourself into an invaluable worker.

Consider this section from Michael Masterson’s hit book Automatic Wealth for Grads… and Anyone Else Just Starting Out:

  • An ordinary worker works the way most workers do.
  • An extraordinary worker does substantially more than the average worker.
  • An invaluable worker makes such a significant contribution to the company that losing him or her would be considered a major financial misfortune.

How do you become an invaluable worker?

Start by developing a skill that directly affects your company’s bottom line: sales, marketing, product development, or profit management. And while you’re working on mastering that skill, prove yourself to be an exemplary employee. That means coming in early and staying late. Asking to take on extra duties, responsibilities, and projects. And generally exhibiting a can-do attitude. Your boss is sure to appreciate your efforts – and will reward you in your pay envelope.

So, if you want to make more money, that’s the first step.

The second step is to start your own business. And the smart way to do it is with Michael Masterson’s “chicken entrepreneurship” approach. In other words, instead of quitting your job, get a second stream of income going in your spare time. If your business idea is a hit, you can enjoy a double salary or quit your nine-to-five and become a 24/7 entrepreneur. If your business idea is a miss, you’ve still got your steady job to fall back on.