Let’s be real, we’d all love to earn more money.
You’re not being selfish or greedy for wanting to have some extra money in your pocket.
For a lot of people, earning more money would help relieve them of student loan debt, support their family, buy a new home, and cover medical costs. And who doesn’t want a little extra cash to help fund their vacations or support their hobbies and interests?
Fortunately, there are lots of different ways that you can earn more money these days. In addition to traditional ways, like seeking a promotion or asking for a raise, more and more Americans are turning to side gigs to earn additional income. You too can tap into your existing skill set to grow your earnings.
Below, we’ve rounded up tips on how to earn more money, plus exercises you can do to identify your skill sets and turn them into a side hustle.
Turn your skills into extra income
If you’re trying to figure out how to make more money, the first thing you want to do is assess your skills.
Your strongest skill will create demand for your work.
The author of Deep Work and Georgetown professor Cal Newport talks about the importance of mastering a skill for your financial future. In a podcast interview he says,
"You could generate more money. You could generate much more autonomy and leverage over how you generate that money. You get much more flexibility about when and how you work."
Here’s a simple exercise you can do:
Break out your notebook and start exploring. Look back on your internships, previous jobs, and even academic experiences. Identify the moments when people praised you for a job well done. Now’s not the time to be humble.
Was a professor impressed by the way you edited a paper? Or organized an event at school? Did your colleagues always come to you to look over a presentation or manage a client?
Even if it seems trivial or mundane, write it down. You’d be surprised—what comes easy to you, might be a headache and a source of stress for others. And people will gladly pay you money to help relieve their burdens.
As personal finance writer Ramit Sethi says: “People have problems. They want solutions.”
In the next part of this exercise, take a look at your skills and brainstorm ways that you can transform them into a side hustle.
For example, if you did a great job organizing a special event or a talk at your school, this might be a sign that you’d be great at producing or managing projects.
Not everyone can handle logistics and manage a bunch of moving parts with ease. You could produce videos or special events or be a freelance virtual assistant or project manager.
So when you’re doing this exercise and brainstorming ideas for possible side hustles, ask yourself: What are all the ways that you can make someone’s life easier?
What do people ask for your help on?
Still not sure what your strongest skill or superpower is? Then look to your friends and peers. What are they always coming to you for? What do they seek your advice on?
Maybe your peers are always asking you to take a look at their writing.
Or asking you to take a look at their resumes and cover letters.
Clearly, they value your writing/editing skills and see you as someone with expertise in this area. Perhaps you could look into freelance editor roles. Or have people pay you to polish their resumes and review their cover letters. Looking for a job is stressful enough, and people will gladly pay you to make them look as good as possible and grab a recruiter’s attention.
Or maybe your friends are always going to you for photography help or asking you to photograph special occasions for them. You could take this existing skill to the next level and start a side hustle as a family portrait photographer or even a wedding photographer. Tap into your existing network to get your first clients. Through their word of mouth and referrals, you’ll be able to take those next steps to build your side business.
Look at your hobbies
As we’ve seen from the popularity of Etsy and lifestyle blogs, people have found a way to turn their hobbies and lifestyle into a lucrative career.
Do you have an artistic side? Maybe you could turn your passion for watercolors or photography or pottery into a side gig.
Or, use your talents to find a side gig as a teacher. Remember: just because a skill is second nature to you doesn’t mean that it’s not valuable to others. There are tons of people who would love to know what you know. And with so much work being done from home those days, you don’t have to limit yourself to in-person teaching. You could teach a class online and reach people outside of your local area.
Ask for a raise
If you have a demanding full-time job, carving out the time and energy for a side-gig isn’t always an option. Another route you can take is to ask your manager for a raise.
It may seem intimidating to ask for a raise, but if you start preparing in advance you’ll feel more confident when you’re ready to have that discussion.
Here’s how you can start gearing up now to have that talk with your manager.
Keep a log of your accomplishments
When asking for a raise, you’ll want to support your ask with a list of your accomplishments. This way, your incredible performance will be fresh in your mind and your value and contributions as an employee will be undeniable.
It’s hard to keep track of all the work we do throughout the course of the year, so it's’ good to keep a regular log and and enter it every week or month.
Keep track of projects, reports, presentations, meetings, etc.
Be sure to take note of compliments you received. You can even keep a separate “compliment” file so that you can remember when you were recognized for your work. Not only will it help you jog your memory later on, but it’s also a nice way to give yourself a big boost and remind yourself that you deserve this raise.
Arrange a 1:1 meeting
Our managers are so busy that it never seems like the perfect time to ask for a raise.
One thing is clear though: you’ll want to have this conversation in private and during a time when your boss won’t be distracted or called into another meeting.As for when to ask for a raise, the general consensus is to do it at the end of the fiscal year or during your performance review. A performance review could be an opportune time because you’ll already be on the topic of your work and performance, and it will feel more organic as you bring up all the significant projects you worked on, and contributions you made, and then segue into the topic of compensation.