When you don't make enough money, it can feel like a never-ending rut. No matter how much you work, it seems like you'll never catch up to your bills and expenses.
Being underpaid has a ripple effect on your lifestyle. From rent increases and hikes in car insurance to fluctuating utility fees, your expenses continue to increase each year. As you try to make your money stretch, even managing your finances can feel like another job.
While being underpaid is never fun, you have options to increase your income significantly, whether as an employee or business owner. Read on to discover four ways you can improve your monthly income, whether you're working as an employee or decide to become an entrepreneur.
4 ways to increase your income
It's time to create a plan and get serious about making money. Make this the year that you start paying down debt or finally take that family vacation you've been eyeing. But first, you have to increase your income.
1. Ask your employer for a pay raise
If you're doing excellent work or putting in extra hours at your job, then you deserve more money. Take an inventory of your current responsibilities. Does the list significantly differ from your hiring job description?
Do your research. What are others making for the work that you're doing? Use data from salary surveys and sites like Glassdoor. Remember that it's more affordable for employers to retain than replace talent. Replacing an entry-level employee can cost a company 30%-50% of their annual salary and as high as 400% for upper-level positions.
Schedule a meeting with your supervisor or human resources director to negotiate a higher salary or maybe even a new job title. Present valid reasoning for a salary increase or promotion, backing it up with facts and numbers to effectively communicate your position. Be sure to highlight any big projects in your performance review where you've exceeded expectations.
While salary negotiations can be an intimidating process, it's a necessary first step, as it will help you determine which path to take next. Practice your talking points and keep in mind that you're asking for compensation that matches your output, not a handout.
2. Find a new job
If you find that your current job is unwilling or unable to meet your salary demands, then it may be time to find a new job. Even if your current employer is offering more money, they still could be underpaying you.
Consider meeting with a career coach to determine your next steps. They can help you create a plan of action that works best for your goals. Whether you're working your first job or preparing for a career change, they can help direct your career path.
If you don’t have the money to invest in a career coach, here are three steps to help you get started finding a new job:
- Before jumping into the game with both feet, be sure that you take a hard look at the job market. The job search process can be trying, and you need to create a plan to position yourself to stand out among other applicants.
- Now it’s time to update your resume. Consider hiring a resume writer who can write to the employer needs in your industry. Read examples online or reach out to friends to see what has worked for others.
- Look for new opportunities daily on job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor. LinkedIn is another great source since it gives you direct contact with recruiters who are looking for talent.
When considering potential workplaces, you’ll want to look at more than just salary. Compare company culture, work-life balance, and the general work environment to find a good fit.
3. Start your own business
If you don’t want an employer to put a cap on your income, you might want to start your own business. You can buy a business, apply to a franchise, build a business from the ground up or partner with an organization like Main Street to launch your own company. We’ll explore the last option below in more detail.
Being your own boss gives you the freedom to take risks and push the limits. This includes being able to:
- Control the success of the business and the financials, from expenses to salaries
- Advance and take on new challenges as you guide the direction of your company
- Pay yourself the salary that is comparable to your efforts and talents
- Maximize all earning potential
When starting a business, consider the potential startup costs for permits and licenses, building fees, equipment needs, and estimated maintenance. This approach will ensure that you choose a business that matches your visions for how you want to work.
4. Raise your rates
Employers aren't the only ones who may sell you short. Sometimes business owners end up underpaying themselves. It’s easy to charge what you think people are willing to pay instead of what your service or product is worth.
No matter how many hours you put in, if you're not charging enough, it will be challenging to turn a profit. If you're already charging market value but feel you provide more than your competitors, try targeting a niche group. When you focus on a specific customer segment or offer a premium product or service, your audience may be willing to pay more.
The great thing about operating your own business is that you don't have to wait for annual reviews to give yourself a raise. Your salary can be whatever you choose — it just needs to be supported by the business so it makes sound financial sense.
How Main Street can help you make more money...
Now that you know your options, it's time to say goodbye to low salaries. With Main Street, you can make the leap from an underpaid and undervalued worker to a successful business owner.
Here’s how it works:
- Starting simplified: Main Street can help you jump into full-time business ownership with no startup fees and one-on-one support throughout the process.
- Innovative technology: You’ll be able to leverage our cutting-edge technologies to help your business grow. Business owners benefit from custom-built websites and access to tools that help you track clients to bring in more revenue.
- Business development: As you progress through each stage, you’ll learn how to market and brand your business to drive optimal success. Our experts will provide training and resources. Plus, you’ll be immersed in a community of like-minded entrepreneurs.
It’s time to say goodbye to being underpaid. You now have the blueprint for getting a raise or transitioning into a new role, whether working for yourself or someone else. While it can be scary to take a risk, it’s worth the investment to reach your goals.
Make sure you do your research, and rely on the wisdom of others who can help you throughout the process. That might be a career coach, someone in your network, or our team here at Main Street. If you opt for a new job, it’s not a guarantee to overnight wealth, but you can improve your finances.
If you’re considering business ownership and want to evaluate more ideas before you take your leap, read our article to learn the top startup ideas you can begin today.