increase your income

“This blog post is completely useless. It either tells you to get a job to start a business.”

This is the comment someone left on one of my posts about making more money.

I beg your pardon? You want to make money but don’t want to work for it?

And this is a sure fire way to kill your opportunity to increase your income: failing to appreciate the straight forward link between the work you do, the value you contribute and the money that hits your bank account.

I’ve written about different ways to make money and I’ve discussed ways to increase your income. This is important, you see. Increasing your income and getting to a ‘prosperity profile’ is the fasted route to getting out of financial trouble be it large debt, no savings or meagre pension fund.

You can make money either by working or through (relatively) passive investments.

Still, for most people, most of the time the main source of income – the main way to make money – is work.

The important thing to remember here is that this source is not set. You can manipulate how strong – or weak – it is by minding three elements. These are:

  • Time;
  • Skills and competencies; and
  • Attitude

Many people completely miss this one. They think that their income is about ‘the job’. In fact, their income is determined by:

  • The work they do;
  • The work they wish to do;
  • The work they are qualified to do;
  • How much work they do (how long do they put into it); and
  • How they feel about the work they do.

Now, let me tell you how you kill your opportunity to increase your income.

#1. Killing Your Opportunity to Increase Your Income: Time

Are you careless with your time?

If you are, you should think again: time is THE most valuable resource you have. All other personal resources you can use for a happy, fulfilled and successful life can be expanded: money, skills, knowledge, worldview and attitude. The only resource that is truly limited is your time; it is even worse because you never know how much time you have.

This is why being irresponsible and wasteful with your time seriously damages your opportunities to increase your income.

These are some of the way in which you are hurting your chances; you:

  • Waste time;
  • Spend time on activities that don’t bring value to your life;
  • Procrastinate;
  • Spend your time worrying;
  • Spend your time being afraid;
  • Spend time on things that are non-essential or irrelevant.

There are techniques and hacks to deal with all those (and I have no intention to repeat these here).

What is less known and less discussed is that when it comes to increasing your income (and thinking about time in terms of your work) you need time for:

  • Doing the work you are supposed to do;
  • Developing the skills and competencies you need for your next job (promotion, new line of work);
  • Achieving a level of mastery that increases the value of your time (honing your craft);
  • Build reputation that will make you one of the top performers in your field (some people never get to this one).

Instead of killing your opportunities to increase you income by procrastinating and focusing on the wrong things, divide your time appropriately between these activities and just watch the awesomeness that will follow.

#2. Killing Your Opportunity to Increase Your Income: Skills and Competencies

To increase your income through work you really have to build and develop the skills and competencies you need.

Here, you are hurting your prospects considerably by:

  • Not knowing what you really want to do;
  • Not taking the time to figure out what are the key competencies for the work you do;
  • Not developing these skills and competencies all the time;
  • Not being curious about how far you could get;
  • Not talking to your ‘role-model’ (or not having one);
  • Working to your weaknesses not your strengths;
  • Over-estimating how good you are;
  • Not daring to follow your dream (or even being scared to dream.

#3. Killing Your Opportunity to Increase Your Income: Attitude

This is probably the most underplayed part of the ‘success at work’ triangle. In fact, it is equally, if not more, important than the other two.

Today, in most occupations what gets you the job (work) is not your technical skill (your skills and competencies) but your attitude.

Where attitude is concerned, you can hurt your opportunities to increase your income in the following ways:

  • You don’t have a dream;
  • You drift through life without direction;
  • You do what you are told;
  • You do only what you are told;
  • You deliver on or after the deadline;
  • You think your job is about tasks when it is about making people’s tasks easier;
  • You never go the extra mile;
  • You complain a lot;
  • You think in predicaments;
  • You never appear eager;
  • You look (and feel) miserable.


There are numerous ways to kill your opportunities to increase your income through work but these largely fit under three groups: one around your coping with time, one around your willingness to develop your skills and competencies and one around your attitude.

While dealing with the separate issues within these groups will help you improve your opportunities to increase your income, this gain can be multiplied when you start looking across groups.

For instance, are you putting a lot of your time to work on improving your weaknesses? (You realise that you’d get much further by putting the time into using your strengths, right?)

Are you drifting through life and wasting your time (procrastinating) because you don’t know what you want to do next?

Are you always late with deadlines because you can’t muster the motivation to finish a work project?

I suppose, you get where I’m going with this one and I’ll stop now. What I’d do though is, I’ll write another post about how these three elements intersect. After that, I’ll develop a test so that you can know whether (and to what degree) you are damaging your prospects to increase your income.

Take a good look at the three groups of issues. Do you find that you suffer from some of them? Which ones are the most serious and how you deal with them?