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5 Ways to Increase Your Earning Potential

Not earning enough money can have serious implications on one’s life. When you’re strapped for cash, you may be unable to afford major life milestones like a car or a house, or may even struggle to afford basic necessities such as food and shelter. What’s more, income inequality in the U.S. continues to widen. While the rich get richer, low and mid-income households remain stagnant. A decline in job security is another reality for workers in easily replaceable jobs, such as those that can be automated.

For this reason, you may be looking for ways to increase your earning potential. Thankfully, there are a few different options to consider. Below are 5 ways to make more money in your career:

1. Explore Advancement Opportunities

Don’t just ask for a raise — look for ways to advance your position and influence. If you’ve been in the same position at your company year after year, it may be time to look for new opportunities within that company. That could mean taking on new work or even taking on a new position.

What you need to do is decide what you want out of your career. Once you have a clear direction, set your sights on key positions and develop the skills necessary to open those doors — if you haven’t already. You may even decide that furthering your education or acquiring applicable certifications is the best step in your career path.

Actively pushing yourself to perform your job better, in and outside of work, will show management that you’re serious about your role in the company.

2. Switch to a New Employer

If there aren’t any advancement opportunities at your company, you may wish to switch to a new employer. Make sure you have no contractual obligations and then start looking. You don’t have to up and switch employers immediately, but it is a good idea to begin your job search.

You’ll know it’s time to switch employers when you’ve gone a while feeling undervalued, like you’re wasting your time, or that you’re more unhappy than happy. You may even notice changes in your behavior, uncontrolled stress, or a physical ailment as a result of the stress. These are warning signs that you may be in a stagnant position with your current employer.  

It’s important, however, to recognize whether these are recurring feelings or merely temporary episodes. Everybody has a bad week at work now and then. Determine whether or not you’ve been unhappy with your current employer for quite some time now or if it’s a passing feeling.  

3. Relocate

The reason you aren’t earning enough may be bigger than just what company you’re at or what position you’re in. As you probably already know: where you live has a big impact on your earnings. Relocating could be your best option.

According to the Brookings Institute, “workers in the top 30 locations earn an average of 20 percent more than the median worker in the United States and 37 percent more than workers in the bottom 30 locations.” While you still have to take into account educational requirements and attainment, among other factors, it is clear that geography does matter. The average salary of a position is also relative to where you live. For instance, nursing may pay a lot in one city, but not so much in another.

It’s important to remember, however, that cities with higher average salaries may have higher costs of living. Before relocating determine the average cost of living in addition to the average salary of the city or town you are considering.  

4. Start a Side Hustle

Another way to earn more money is to start a side hustle. In other words, you could get a job that you work in the off-hours of your day. There are many potential side hustles to pursue and the growing gig economy welcomes that kind of work. Below are a few side hustles to consider:

  • Sell items on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook Marketplace: If you have furniture, clothing, or any miscellaneous items, there are a bunch of places to sell them. You could also check out local consignment stores and see if they’re paying for used items.
  • Sell items on Etsy: If you are artsy, you could always sell homemade crafts on Etsy. The site boasts tons of hand-crafted artwork from paintings and sculptures to clothing designs and jewelry.
  • Become a rideshare driver: Driving for rideshare services like Uber and Lyft are good for people needing flexible side hustles. For services like these, you decide when and where you’re driving.
  • Deliver with Postmates, Instacart, or Shipt: For delivery services such as these, you’ll act as someone’s personal shopper. You could pick up anything from groceries to clothing for them. Similar to rideshare services, these delivery services let you work your own hours.
  • Rent a spare room on Airbnb: If you have a spare bedroom and are comfortable renting it out, Airbnb is a potential site to use.
  • Provide lessons: Whether you have a talent in piano or in tennis, you could provide lessons. You could also tutor if you have strengths in a certain subject.
  • Take online surveys: Lastly, get paid to take online surveys. Although it is not the most lucrative way to earn money on the side, it is one of the quickest and easiest ways to do so. Companies want feedback and you can give it through sites like Survey Junkie.

5. Consider a Career Change

Some career fields will naturally have lower pay and fewer advancement opportunities. Think about all the careers being replaced by technology — mail carriers, newspaper reporters, flight attendants, and librarians, for instance. Those are a few examples of careers that are disappearing due to innovations in technology. While flight attendants are being replaced by personal video screens with safety instructions, librarians are being replaced by search engines and online databases.

If your job is similar to these, changing careers may be a necessary requirement for earning more money. Entering a field such as technology or healthcare, for instance, is a great idea for those looking for a career change. Healthcare is a field that is likely to always need people — and it pays well. You can get your foot in the door by becoming a CNA. Completing CNA training and getting certified can be done in less than a year depending on how you go about it, and it opens the door for many different careers in healthcare. From there you could go on to become a registered nurse, doctor, or nurse educator, among other positions.

A career in technology, on the other hand, is another platform for you to increase salary potential and open the door to many different fields and specializations. Coding, in particular, is in demand, while software engineering, cloud engineering, and app development are other high-paying tech careers to consider.

Charting Your Career Path

The most important thing in charting your career path is finding one that leaves you happy and healthy — not necessarily one that provides you the biggest paycheck. Of course, money is essential, and paying bills an unavoidable part of life. But finding a job you enjoy is just as critical. Think about what you want in life, whether you’re balancing work with parenting, and where your career may take you.


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