- There are many ways to make more money – whether you’re looking for a salary raise or a side gig that makes you a little extra cash.
- Americans are always seeking out the secret to making more money, so I polled as many people as I could on the topic for a full week – here’s what they said.
Talking about money with others can be a strained experience. But at the same time, we’re all in search of more of it or advice on how to make more.
For an entire week, I decided to ask everyone I encountered how to make more money. Despite the uncomfortable stares, sometimes glares, and awkward laughs, I met with some pretty great answers.
While some stuck to the old, feel-good responses like “money’s not the answer” or “the best things in life are free,” others offered up tangible tips I’ll share with you now.
After my week-long public poll, here’s the gist of what people say will boost your bank account:
1. Do what you love.
In a surprising turn of events, it seems that most Americans (or at least the ones I spoke to) are eternal optimists and believe that if you do something you love, put in hard work, and stick to it, eventually it will pay off in the form of a financial reward.
Professional actor Alex told me: “You can find an intersection where you’re doing what you love but also something society is willing to pay for – this does exist.” Others felt that your dedication to a job you love would mean a longer tenure in that role, eventually leading to a higher salary.
2. Ask for a raise.
- Justin Sullivan/Getty Images
I know – easier said than done. But it seemed like every other person I polled made this suggestion. “You’re never going to get ahead if you’re not brave enough to value yourself appropriately,” said entrepreneur Nick. “The worst thing that can happen is they say no,” said Liv, a digital designer.
Think you’re up for the challenge? Ask for something on the high (but realistic) end to leave yourself room for negotiation.
3. Go above and beyond.
“Show your worth at your current company, then ask for the raise,” suggested Donna, an HR manager. “Learn skills that make you vital to the companies success and demonstrate that you can tackle them.”
Maybe your small business is looking to expand its social presence – offer to manage their Instagram and twitter. Or your company has an expectant mother going on maternity leave – offer to pick up some of the slack while she’s away. There are myriad ways (within your wheelhouse) that you can show and improve your worth.
4. Freelance in some capacity.
While many think freelancing is reserved for creatives, it’s actually not. Plenty of the people I spoke with had a steady side gig going. Cait, a special education teacher, said she walks dogs on evenings and weekends. Anna, a data analyst, babysits when she can. Geneva, a nurse, teaches Zumba on Thursday nights and Saturday mornings.
The key to their side hustles being a success? They’re opting for an activity they actually enjoy.
“I can kill two birds with one stone by teaching Zumba. It’s a workout, stress reliever, and I make a little extra cash,” Geneva said.
“I absolutely love dogs but don’t have time to commit to having one of my own,” Cait said. “By dog walking, I get my puppy fix without having the full-time responsibility, and make money.”
5. Go back to school.
Another mass response? Go back to school. Accountant Adam insisted that his Masters degree helped him secure the promotion he was seeking out. “Higher education is valued in certain industries and can lead to a better job,” he said.
Most companies increase an employee’s pay grade based on their level of completed education. Better yourself and your paycheck by heading back to school to earn qualifications that will translate well into furthered success at your day job. Your company might even be willing to cover the tab.
6. Don’t confine yourself to one location.
According to James, an engineer, flexibility and a willingness to relocate can be key to growing your net worth.
“In my industry, and I imagine a lot of others, there are a handful of companies always competing against one another. They will headhunt talent from rival brands,” he said. “I relocated more than 700 miles for my current job but received a substantial pay rise because of it.”
7. Don’t stay at one company forever.
- Rick Wilking/Reuters
Millennials have gotten a bad rep for company jumping but according to New York-based editor, Meghan, moving jobs is essential to earning more. “It’s hard to keep getting pay rises when you have no leverage,” she said. “You’ve got to stay nimble and move around.”
This doesn’t mean you should switch jobs too often, though. Moving companies after two to three years is a safe bet that shows you’re willing to work hard and commit but also value yourself and your desire to grow your career.