What would you say if I told you that there is a money hack that can help you increase your income tenfold and more?
You’d probably say that I’m either a charlatan belonging to the Tower of London or a raving lunatic with a special place reserved in Bedlam.
I’m neither. I have nothing to sell, and my mind is clear as a church bell.
I do have something to share with you, though – a little-discussed money hack that can help you lift the lid of your income.
Before we go any further, I have a warning for you. To some of you, this hack will sound deceptively simple; to others, it will be like finding your way through a misty forest.
Please try it seriously. If you don’t understand what this money hack means, try again, or even better – write to me, and I’ll help trough the fog. If it doesn’t work immediately, you must persist – I do not promise a miracle. (I’m no charlatan, remember?)
So, here it goes.
One Money Hack to Lift the Limit to Your Earning: change the trade
During our working lives, most of us trade their time for money.
It doesn’t matter whether you flip burgers for £8.50 an hour or you get up every morning, go to your cubicle and spend the day behind your computer – you are trading your time for money.
Heck, I’m a university professor and, despite appearances, I also trade my time – my ‘work allocation model’ is based on time lecturing. Here is something you certainly don’t know – most academics and teachers in the UK work for below minimum wage (when their pay is normalised by the hours they must put in).
To increase your income tenfold (at least) you must:
Stop trading your time
Start trading your reputation.
Trading time in a nutshell
You trade time when your salary depends on the time you spend on a task; or set of tasks.
As I said, you don’t have to be in a low skill, low pay occupation to be in the framework of trading your time. For instance, most online writers are paid for the time they put into crafting a piece of text. In return, they produce formulaic texts. (And you were wondering why mediocre writing and un-inspired stories dominate the internet.)
Trading time is a feature of industrial capitalism. I don’t want to get all political here, but industrial capitalism is the time of ‘fragmented’ workers at all levels and in most walks of life.
What is a ‘fragmented’ worker, you ask?
Have you seen Chaplin’s movie ‘Modern Times’? Do you remember the guy who spent eight to ten hours per day tightening two bolts? This, my friend, is a ‘fragmented’ worker.
Today, the work has changed somewhat. You may be spending your days writing parts of code, or ghostwriting for SEOs who don’t have the time, or skill, to write their texts (we’ll get back to why they don’t have time to do that). You may be spending your working life selling insurance on the phone, following a script. You are still a ‘fragmented’ worker trading your time.
Five characteristics of trading time
There are many features and implications of trading time. Here, I’ll tell you about its five key features:
#1. Technical proficiency
Your technical proficiency may range from non-existent to medium or even high when you are trading your time – it is not the preserve of low skill occupations.
People who trade their time trade their technical proficiency. Sounds familiar?
I thought so. You have already checked some of the advice on how to increase your income, right? Did you notice that most of it tell you to develop your skills and to improve your competence set?
It is about trading time – brushing up your skills and keeping up to date with developments in your industry increases the value of your time. But you are still trading time.
When you sell time, you are very likely to be replicating products through repetitive tasks.
You don’t work in a factory? Likely, at its core, your job is still akin to the work that the guy in Modern Times did. (Even rank and file writers are not immune to that.)
What you offer is not somehow inferior – high-quality goods for the mass market are highly valued.
Your pay still depends on time, though.
#3. Competition for jobs and work
When you trade your time, you compete for jobs and work. Sometimes you may compete on skills. Often you compete on price, you’d find. Other times, you compete on how fast you respond to an advert, or how humble and malleable you appear at the job interview.
#4. You are replaceable
Here is the biggie about trading time: it doesn’t matter how good you are or what heights you’ve reached in the organisational hierarchy.
You are completely replaceable because, with a bit of brute effort, 90 percent of the people in your industry can reach your level of competence.
Yep, in some occupations, it is harder to be replaced. You are still not unique.
#5. You are found
When you trade time, you are usually found, not sought.
It is probably best explained with an example. What do you do when you want to learn about how to create habits for success?
There are two ways to approach this:
- You either go on Google, search for ‘habits for success’ and read the top five-ten articles.
- Or you go in a browser and type ‘Addicted2Success’.
You are found when you rely mostly on Google to tell people that you’ve written about ‘habits for success’.
‘Being found’ beats complete anonymity anytime. It still leaves you, and your income, very vulnerable (and replaceable).
Trading reputation in a nutshell
Trading reputation is as different from trading time as China is from Switzerland. See, most production may happen in China, but most creation is in Switzerland (and clean air, and distributed wealth and…).
Trading reputations has always been around, but it has become possible for more people during post-industrial, or digital, capitalism. Do you want examples?
Dyson’s income doesn’t depend on trading time making vacuum cleaners; it depends on his reputation as the creator of THE Dyson vacuum cleaner.
Coco Chanel changed female fashion forever by establishing rules of simple, timeless elegance (and created ‘the little black dress’). Vidal Sassoon didn’t cut hair ten hours per day – he was an artist who focused on hair.
Five characteristics of trading reputations
Here are the key characteristics of trading reputations.
#1. Imaginative artistry
Shifting to the mode of trading your reputation, and lifting the lid of your earning potential, means that you must reach beyond the technical competence needed when you trade your time.
You need to develop the imaginative side of you and become an artist. (This may sound scary, but don’t let it put you off. Imagination and creativity are like muscles – you can train yourself to think, learn, and behave differently.)
In other words, to be an imaginative artist, you don’t make better hoovers; you create the Dyson. You don’t work to increase the storage on a laptop; you create ‘the cloud’. You don’t write formulaic blog posts regurgitating trivial advice; you create pieces of writing art to make a difference.
Trading reputations means that you’ve built a reputation for being unique in something.
There are many variants on creation, but it must be present; imitation won’t normally cut it.
#3. Competition for reputation
In this mode, you don’t compete for work based on skills; you compete for reputation. It means that:
- Competition is much less severe: you either compete with the leaders in your industry (about three percent), or you create a new industry (yourself).
- You are not simply competing on what you do; you are competing on what others believe about what you do.
- Reputations are fragile. They take a long time to build and a second to destroy.
#4. You are unique
Trading your reputation, not your skills, means that you are hard to replace. Think Vidal Sassoon, think Steven King – they are unique.
#5. You are sough
Remember the Google search, I told you about?
When you trade your reputation, people look for you. People don’t want a good or even a great haircut – they want a Vidal Sassoon haircut.
Trading time vs. trading reputation comparison
Here are the key differences between trading time and trading reputations at a glance:
|Trading your time||Trading your reputation|
(A good seamstress can make you a black cocktail dress.)
(Coco Chanel created THE little black dress.)
(You replicate things and your target is the mass market.)
(You create something new and unique; you are not part of a trend; you create trends.)
|Competing for work/jobs
(You compete for a job in a top fashion house, or to be the SEO of established company.)
|Competing for reputation
(You compete to be the name in your industry; you compete to become the top personal brand.)
|You are replaceable
(Your competencies and skill are easy to replicate and there are many who can take you place/job. Copywriters, for instance, even good ones are easy to replace.)
|You are unique
(You have gone beyond the reproducible and hence your competencies are unique; there is no replacement. No one can replace Kurt Vonnegut.)
|You are found
(It is likely that people find you when searching for the product or service you offer; in other words, you rely on ‘passing trade’.)
|You are sought
(People look for what you offer.)
What is wrong with trading time?
Trading time is a perfectly legitimate way to make a living – most of us spend our whole working life doing exactly that.
There is a big problem with trading time; however when it comes to substantial increase in your income.
Your time is always limited!
It means there are strict limits to how much you could earn when trading time even when you increase your technical proficiency and can command higher rate of pay.
If you are serious about increasing your income tenfold or more, you must implement this money hack and shift from trading your time to trading your reputation.
Money hack practical guide: how to transition from trading time to trading reputation
You can transition from trading your time to trading your reputation in any work area.
Do you do gardening? When you stop just pruning and tidying up gardens and start creating living pieces of landscaping art you no longer sell time, you sell your reputation.
Do you write for online publications? When you stop writing regurgitated number posts stuffed with worn our wisdom and start creating insanely valuable, and enjoyable, stories you have started trading your reputation.
Here are some of the rules for building a reputation for being an imaginative artist delivering the outstanding results they’ve promised.
#1. Choose an area meaningful to you
You can choose any area to transition; you must make sure that it is meaningful to you and that you can develop a passion for it.
#2. Become the expert
Learn what there is to know about the area you selected. It is not so that you could follow the crowd; this is because all creation builds on what is already there.
#3. Become a maverick
Becoming an expert is only one side of the matter. To transition from trading time to trading reputations, you must become a maverick – a creator whose knowledge spills over into many different areas. You must become an unconventional creator whose creations contribute insane value and disrupt whole industries.
#4. Never stop learning
Don’t see learning as an act; see it as a process.
And don’t stop learning because the world is changing very fast.
#5. Be creative, not simply imaginative
We often equate being imaginative and being creative.
These are very different. While imagination is entertaining (and satisfying), it is unlikely to yield productive results.
Imagination is about generating ideas; creation is about implementing these ideas.
Be a creator.
#6. Develop the patience of a saint
Building the kind of reputation that will unleash your earning potential and take your income to heights you find hard to imagine, take time.
Learn to be actively patient.
#7. Develop the focus of a hunter
Once you’ve made your choice stick with it.
Keep focused and pursue your desires with the single-mindedness of a hunter. Avoid destructions at all costs.
#8. Cherish your relationships
A good friend told me once that all relationships must be cherished, not exploited.
He is right.
Approach all relationships in your life – working and personal – with respect and warmth. Good things will happen, you’ll see. (And your reputation for professionalism and trustworthiness will grow.)
#9. Master the art of self-promotion
You could create unique products, but you won’t be sought if people don’t know about it.
Which brings us to the importance of mastering the art of self-promotion, which is encapsulated in the following:
Don’t tell people who and what you are; show them.
It is the difference between telling people that you are ‘passionate about X’ and demonstrating your passion through your creations. Self-Promotion is a great tool for reputation building when done with finesse and evidence.
I told you that there is a money hack that will help you increase your income tenfold (and more).
I told you that I’m not a charlatan and I’m not delusional.
What I didn’t tell you is that I know about this money hack first-hand – I did make this transition from trading time to trading reputation in one area of my life. Now, I’m experimenting with a second area.
Here I shared a money hack you won’t hear from other personal finance experts; they’d usually tell you about specific ways to make more money.
Others give you fish; I’ve given you fishing rode. Working on transitioning from trading your time to trading your reputation will open money-making opportunities about which you couldn’t even dream today. You must want to try it and get serious about it.