How to Make More Money: The Complete Strategy Guide
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A survey conducted by Adobe in 2016 revealed that out of 1000 adults questioned, up to 80% of them wouldn’t quit their jobs even if they won the lottery. Of course, that might be easy to say when you’re speaking hypothetically! Regardless of whether you believe you’d stay put despite a 7-figure win, or you’d love to find a creative way to put in your two weeks notice once they cut you that big check, we can probably all agree that none of us would ever say “no” to the option of making more money than we currently do.

For some, making money is its own kind of hobby. Maybe you enjoy investing, or have a successful side-hustle that you use to supplement your income. For others, increasing your salary or otherwise bringing more money into your life can feel like an impossibility.

Thankfully, it’s far from impossible to make more money through several different avenues. In essence, the way to make more money boils down to two different paths: making more money while remaining in your current job, or leaving your job for a higher-paying new role. Let’s explore both options in more detail.

How to Make More Money Without Changing Jobs

Changing jobs can seem incredibly tempting to people who feel they’re being overworked or underpaid (or, commonly, both). We’ve all had bad days at work that left us fantasizing about our dramatic exit to bigger and better things – that cushy salary, corner office, or those sweet employee benefits. But before you start drafting that resignation letter, think long and hard about whether quitting your job is the best option for you right now. Is your industry growing? Do you have specific skills that employers are looking for? Maybe you have a family or other responsibilities that require a more stable, guaranteed income stream, so leaving a job is trickier. Beyond that, once you’ve gotten through the job hunt and you have an offer in-hand, you’ll then have to adjust to a new environment, complete with new responsibilities, new co-workers, and a new work culture.

After all that research and soul-searching, you might decide changing jobs isn’t right for you at this point in your life. But that doesn’t mean you’re out of luck in your desire to supplement or increase your income! There are plenty of ways to make more money without changing jobs.

Ask for a Raise

The most obvious, and most long-term option for making more money without changing your job is by asking for a raise. There are several benefits to this option, the most obvious being that a permanent salary raise is, well, permanent. You won’t have to maintain an extra income stream – you’ll just need to keep performing at the high level that merited the raise in the first place. Have you been taking on additional responsibilities lately? Maybe you’ve trained new employees, or you’ve had new projects to manage. All of these reasons are excellent jumping off points when it comes time to discuss raises with your manager.

If you’re hoping to ask for a raise, you’ll have to do plenty of preparation ahead of time. The more prepared you are when you walk into that meeting, the better your chances of success become. According to a study by PayScale, only 37% of respondents have ever asked for a raise during their career. It can be an awkward conversation to have – and you should go into it knowing what your options are if the conversation doesn’t go as you hoped it would.

How to Ask For a Raise

Before you can ask for a raise, you need to know your worth. Do your research on websites like Glassdoor to determine what the average salary is for people with your job title, in your area, with your level of experience. You may find that your salary is significantly lower than average – if this is the case, deepen your research to confirm your findings and determine how much more money you should be making. If you feel comfortable, speak to colleagues about their salaries and experiences – you may discover a pay discrepancy, or band together with other colleagues to discuss similar raises.

Take the time to compile all of your best work achievements, so you’ll have evidence to back up your request. An excellent way to gather this information is to keep a career journal – this way, each piece of positive feedback, promotion, major project, and accomplishment is right there waiting for you when you need it. It may be wise to wait for a scheduled performance review to bring up the subject of a raise; especially if your company has traditionally provided raises during these reviews. Otherwise, you may consider asking for a raise after you’ve wrapped up a major project that went well. That way, your recent success will be fresh in your manager’s mind, and you’ll be able to speak authoritatively about the project’s success because you remember it clearly.

If your company doesn’t have a specific performance review structure or schedule, you’ll need to arrange a meeting specifically to discuss a raise with your manager. Let them know ahead of time it’s what you’d like to discuss, and come to the meeting cheerful, professional, and armed with your long list of what makes you a great employee.

Before you enter that meeting, though, you’ll need to consider what might happen if your manager tells you a raise isn’t possible. Are you prepared to continue working at the same salary level? Would this be a dealbreaker for you, meaning you’d have to start job searching? What timeline would you deem acceptable – would you be okay if your manager promises you a raise in six months? A year?

If it makes you feel better, think about asking for a raise like practice. You’ll only get better at asking for what you want and advocating for yourself the sooner you start to do it, after all!

Learn a New Skill

Having an additional skill to offer your company (or your industry at large) can be a way to bring in more money. You may find that becoming certified in a new practice or technology, for example, is a great bargaining chip when you enter that raise negotiation we just spoke about!

Learning a new skill takes time and, if you’re hoping to receive a certification in the skill, money. As the saying goes, you have to spend money to make money, right? Because of this, learning a new skill may serve as more of a long-term strategy, and not an immediate solution. However, it’s never a bad idea to add to your skill set! Whether you use your new skill to make more money at your current job, to contribute to a side-hustle, or as a way to find a new, higher paying role, more often than not the pros far outweigh the cons.

Before deciding what new skill you might like to take on, you’ll have to do two things. First, do research on your industry and job title to see if job postings are asking for a specific skill or certification that you don’t have. You may find that technology has progressed since you were hired, and learning a new software or programming language, for example, could set you up for greater success down the road. Think about what you do every day in your job – are the opportunities for you to grow from there? For example, let’s say your role involves data analysis. Even though you perform this task every day, becoming certified or simply completing some self-improvement to improve your analysis skills could be much appreciated by your coworkers and manager. Second, consider what skills you’d actually enjoy learning – it’s much easier to learn when you’re interested in the subject!

Once you know where you’d like to focus your education, check online for free resources first. You’d be surprised at how much knowledge you can gain simply from watching tutorials, reading articles, and speaking with your network! If, after that independent study, you don’t feel like you have a firm enough grasp of the subject (or if it’s common in your industry for people to have a specific certification in the subject), then it may be time to check out certification programs. Many of these programs run online and at your own pace, meaning you can complete classes, tutorials, and assignments on your own time without cutting into your daily work.

Get Promoted

Easier said than done, right? Depending on your job and the company culture, it may not be an option to simply go for a promotion (and subsequent raise). However, may companies across industries have a set career progression for employees. How long have you been working at your company? If the answer is a year or less, this may not be the option for you (however, every situation is different, and you don’t necessarily have to rule it out! If you’ve taken on significantly more responsibilities than initially planned during the hiring process, for example, you may have a good case for an early promotion). If you’ve been a loyal employee for a few years, though, a promotion might just be due.

Consider your job title. Does it have “manager,” “director,” or another marker of seniority in it? If not, the step from entry-level to manager might be in your future. It can be difficult to figure out where to go if you’re already in a senior position (and sometimes those moves can only reasonably or quickly be made with a change in company), but, in general, a promotion is a way to build your career and make more money without having to go through a job search.

Depending on your company structure, you might already know exactly when you’d be up for a promotion, and exactly what that position or title change would be. If this is the case, build your case for a promotion (you can use the same tools and strategy for asking for a raise we discussed earlier) and organize a time to speak with your manager about a promotion. You may find that the promotion is already in progress, or it might be that you’ll be given a timeline and action items to complete before a promotion can be solidified.

If your company structure is more opaque, and you don’t know when you might be promoted or to what level, you’ll need to sit down with your manager and have an open discussion about career progression in your current position. While often, companies appreciate an employee’s loyalty (after all, you’re not looking at other positions, you’re trying to figure out how to stay with your current company for as long as possible!), promotions may not be a common practice in your current organization. Just like with preparing to ask for a raise, you’ll need to consider what your next move might be if you’re told a promotion simply isn’t possible.

Take on a Side Hustle

While this option might not be for everybody, if you have the time management skills and drive to take on a side hustle project you can earn more money without quitting your main job. Keep in mind, however, that some side hustles tend to take on a life of their own – have plans in place for exactly how much time you can reasonably devote to a side gig before deciding this is your best course of action.

Generally, you can expect a side hustle to take one of two paths; working for yourself, or working for others. Let’s explore just a few of your options in greater detail.

Freelance Writing

Think about how many businesses and brands you interact with on a daily basis. Now think about how many you don’t – the list can seem pretty endless, right? The one thing all of them have in common is that they need to make their brand known to the world. A major way many of them try to do this is through marketing content. From blog posts to Instagram ads, the written word is a massive part of how businesses promote and grow their brands.

If you have a way with words, picking up freelance writing jobs could be a way to make extra money while still having time to dedicate to your full-time job. Many freelance writers develop relationships with brand or individuals who recommend their work for projects, but if you don’t have that relationship already, consider creating an account with a content company such as Contentfly where, once you’ve been approved as a writer for the site, you’ll have the opportunity to write for the brands that utilize Contentfly’s services.

Tutoring

Are you helpful by nature? Do you have a sought-after skill and the chops to teach it to others? Tutoring may be a great way to supplement your income. Often, you can tutor remotely, from the comfort of your home, and set your own schedule. If you speak more than one language, have experience in teaching school subjects, or have a skill that others want to learn (like a programming language, for example), you can share you knowledge with others – for a fee, of course!

Much like with freelance writing, many companies offer opportunities for tutoring on a platform that has clients already built-in, meaning you won’t have to spend as much time tracking down potential clients. While platforms like this often pay less or take a commission, if you’re only hoping to use your tutoring gig to put away a little extra money each month it might be worth it for you to not have to spend time and energy advertising your side hustle.

Service Industry

One benefit of living in a gig economy is that you’ll have plenty of opportunities to supplement your income if you decide to. Taking on a side hustle in the service industry, either to supplement your income or to provide yourself with a more consistent income if you’re currently juggling multiple jobs or freelance gigs, is an increasingly-popular option.

Depending on your circumstances and schedule, there are many different opportunities for side hustles in the service industry. If you have a car, consider driving for a ride-share service on evenings or weekends. If your area is particularly cyclist-friendly, you could deliver for a mobile delivery service like UberEats or DoorDash. While these side-hustles aren’t necessarily the most glamorous options, they get the job done and can have the added benefit of getting you out into the fresh air.

Sales

A lot of successful people have sales experience on their resume. Not only is the sales industry a great place to begin to build your career, the skills required to be successful at sales transfer extremely well to the rest of your career. You have to be personable, persuasive, organized, collaborative, and articulate – what hiring manager wouldn’t want to see those traits in a candidate?

Thankfully for everyone looking to springboard their careers with a sales job, there are plenty to go around – meaning they can also be a great side hustle to supplement your income. Working part-time for a company with a product to sell, even if you’re just cold-calling potential clients, can be a great learning experience that also pads your wallet just that little bit extra.

Freelance Your Career

In the world of distributed work, where companies are constantly restructuring to determine the most effective work structure, it’s increasingly common for them to outsource aspects of their work to independent contractors. In your current industry, do you provide a set service, or do you have a specific skill? You may be able to add freelance work in your existing industry to your repertoire. For example, if you edit videos as part of your job, you could offer your editing services on a freelance basis to YouTube content creators.

If your current job doesn’t quite have the same transferability, don’t fret. You might be able to freelance as a consultant in your industry, helping other companies understand industry best practices.

Regardless of how you choose to freelance your career (or take on a side-hustle at all), you should always make sure to carefully read your employment contract to make sure that you aren’t inadvertently in breach of it. Some companies expressly forbid employees from working an additional job. If in doubt, speak with your manager or HR department about your options; sometimes smaller side-gigs are acceptable, but being expressly on another company’s payroll is off-limits, for example.

How to Find a New Job with a Higher Salary

Sometimes, it’s just time to move on. Maybe you’ve tried to make more money at your current job, using any (or all!) of the options we outlined for you above, and you came up short. Maybe you’ve heard that your raise just “isn’t in the budget” one too many times. Either way, if you’re planning on leaving your job for a new one with a higher salary, it’s still a good idea to remain in your current job during the job-search process, if possible. The security of a regular paycheck will mean you’ll be less likely to take any job that comes up, which won’t necessarily be the best job for you and your situation.

If you’re ready to leave your current job behind you in search of greener pastures (and, of course, a fatter paycheck), read on for a quick runthrough of our best tips for success.

Determine Your Worth

When you think about it, starting a job search is just like asking for a raise or a promotion – after all, you’re asking a new company to pay you more money than you were making previously! That means that, just like before asking for a raise or promotion, you need to start by knowing your worth. How much money do you think you could expect to make at a new job? Will this be a lateral move to a company that offers generally higher salaries, or do you think you should be moving up the corporate ladder?

Compile your experience, successes, and skills (this is yet another awesome benefit of keeping a career journal!) and then do your research to see what people at your experience level in your industry and area are making per year, on average. If you have a particular skill (for example, if you hold an official certification in an area most people only have work experience in), you may be able to leverage that into an above average offer.

Update Your Resume

You knew this one was coming, right? It’s pretty obvious that one of the first things you’ll need to do when you’re trying to get a new job is make sure your resume is absolutely perfect. While the job-hunting market is hot in many industries right now, you’ll still need a stand-out resume if you want to get a hiring manager’s attention.

A good way to begin re-writing your resume is to create a bulleted list of all your responsibilities and accomplishments at each job you’ve previously held. From there, you can start reading job postings you might be interested to get an idea of the skills, experience, and traits hiring managers are currently looking for, and you can tailor your resume from there.

Thankfully for you, we have plenty of resources available to help you whip your resume into shape! From resume templates to easy sample content for inspiration, using VisualCV is the easiest way to perfect your resume. Plus, with a VisualCV Pro membership you can take advantage of our additional resume writing or review services, and let a professional do the heavy lifting for you!

Take Advantage of Networking Opportunities

What’s better than a job offer? A job offer that you didn’t even need to interview for.

While that may sound like a far-off dream, for people who take advantage of networking opportunities and nurture their networks it’s a very feasible reality. Even if your network can’t quite pull off a feat like getting you a new job without having to interview for it, you’ll still find plenty of opportunities for job progression and leads on new roles if you’ve been keeping up with your network.

Of course, you might be wondering how to even begin networking, if you’re new to your industry or simply haven’t dedicated the time in the past. Look online for industry or demographic-specific networking groups, and see if they have any events coming up. Many of these events will be available to you online (or, if you live in a major city, you can easily find in-person events to help you on your way.

Negotiate Your Offer

Once you finally have that long-awaited offer in hand, the work hasn’t finished; now is the time to negotiate your offer.

If the reason you sought out this new job was for a higher salary, be prepared to negotiate to receive the absolute best total compensation package possible. While your offered salary may be the highest the company can offer, that doesn’t mean there aren’t still points of your offer that may be up for negotiation. Things like benefits, time off, and other points of compensation such as stock options should all be discussed before you sign on the dotted line.

(Hint: if you’re looking for our best advice for negotiating your job offer, look no further!) )

While we’d probably all love to earn more money than we do right now, that doesn’t mean our options for making more money are limited! Whether you decide to embark on a side-hustle, have the tough conversations with your boss about raises and promotions, or decide to go for a big career move, you always have options to explore when you’re looking for extra cash.

Maggie Horne

Written By

Maggie Horne

Content Manager & Resume Expert

Maggie is the Content Manager at VisualCV, with years of experience creating easy-to-understand resume guides, blogs, and career marketing content. Now, she loves helping people learn how to leverage their skills to start their dream jobs.

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