When was the last time your income increased?
My income didn’t grow for years. I even believed I’ve reached my earning peak and that was that.
I believed this until, we found ourselves in a lot of debt.
Then I realised three important things:
- You can get far by making your money go further;
- You can get far by making more money; and
- You can get so much further by making more money and making your money go further.
In fact, doing this you can go all the way to building serious wealth, and fast.
I believe that anyone can make a living and make their income grow.
We did it and by the end of our debt paying journey our income was about 25% higher than when we started. I’m still watching my income grow!
And university professors are not supposed to hustle like street traders.
You can increase your income as well: you just need to follow some – or all – of these seven steps and watch your income grow.
Step One: Get Yourself Good Education
Some will say that ‘ignorance is bliss’. I say BS!
Ignorance is an affliction and education is the cure.
And I’m saying ‘education’ not a ‘degree’. My students’ main concern is what marks they will get; they care about their degrees not their education.
And they are making a big mistake Huge!
How you do in life (and labour markets) depends on your education not your degree. Even more importantly, it depends on how ready you are to learn and how you use different opportunities to do it.
What will get you beyond minimum wage jobs (if you’d like to break away from it, of course) is getting educated; learning new skills and competencies.
Step Two: Stop Selling Time, Sell Reputation
Okay, you can work harder or you can work smarter: it’s your choice.
Working hard is about selling time and time is a limited resource.
Working smart is about selling reputation and reputation knows no limits.
These are the main differences between ‘selling time’ and ‘selling reputation’.
|Selling time||Selling reputation|
|Being technically good
(A good seamstress can make you a black cocktail dress.)
|Being an artist
(Coco Chanel created THE little black dress.)
|You are in the realm of the replaceable
(Your competencies and skill are easy to replicate and there are many who can take you place/job. Copy writers, for instance, even good ones are easy to replace.)
|You are in the realm of the unique
(You have gone beyond the reproducible and your competencies are unique; there is no replacement. No one can replace Kurt Vonnegut.)
(You are likely to be replicate things and your ‘products’ are for the mass market.)
(You create something new and unique; you are not part of a trend, you are creating trends.)
(It is likely that people find you when searching for the product or service you offer; in other words, you rely on ‘passing trade’.)
(People look for what you offer.)
One can switch from ‘selling time’ to ‘selling reputation’ in any occupation.
You just have to decide to become ‘the best’; or at least to get to the top ten percent in your fireld.
Step Three: Learn to Negotiate
This is a bit more technical point but a very important one. Whether you sell time or reputation, whether you have a job or are building your own business you have to learn how to ask for what you want and get the maximum you can.
There are not fast and cut rules about learning to negotiate (there is some guidance around the Web but situations are very different). I believe, negotiating is a craft and as any craft is learned through trial and practice.
Step Four: Learn to Write
Whenever I mention this people have this vision of me asking them to become the next Jane Austin or James Joyce.
All I’m saying is that the advent of the network economy means many businesses move on the Internet and business success is becoming traffic dependent. What gets traffic is epic writing.
So, learn to write. Write anything, practice with persistence and focus. I won’t expect you to win a Nobel for Literature but this will certainly help you grow your income.
Step Five: Learn to Blog
Are you asking yourself what’s the difference?
After all, writing, building a website and blogging are often used interchangeably these days.
These may well be, but they are very different and blogging is the broader competence. Blogging is the cross-road between writing, technical understanding of websites and the ability to interact and build healthy communities.
Blogging is not a business; it is however the shop window of many businesses. Including unexpected ones. Did I mention that learning to blog helped me increase my reach and influence not simple as an academic researcher but also as a public intellectual?
So here you go!
Step Six: Learn to Spot Opportunities
Tim Ferris calls this ‘finding a MUSE’.
I believe that creating opportunities starts with a problem.
Many a time it is a problem you have or something that’s bugging you.
If many people share this problem and you offer a solution you’ve created an awesome business opportunity. And this is going to help you grow your income.
Step Seven: Focus on Value not Money
What I’ve found through experience is that when I focus on making money things don’t go well.
When I focus on value, on making someone’s life better/easier/fuller, money may be a by-product but it comes easy.
Try it; focus on value and see the money flow.
Do you want to know which ones worked for me?
Two, four and five! I’m working on mastering six.
Which one of steps have you tried? Have y