Saving money by cutting your expenses is a great way to help improve your finances. It’s a simple step in theory but much harder in practice or all of us would do it and we’d be right on top of our money. But controlling our expenses and cutting them is only half of the equation. If you can increase your income at the same time you’re cutting expenses, you’ll meet your financial goals even faster. So what are the simple ways to accomplish these goals and improve your personal finances and income?
Earn More, Just Like You Always Planned to Do
Earn more money? Yes, it’s easier said than done. Of course you can pick up a side hustle today fairly easily if you want to spend even a few extra hours of your free time as so many are doing today to add money to their pocket. Think of a need and fill it. It may not be quite like the need that Bill Gates thought of, but earning any extra money helps, especially in these times.
The best way to increase your income is at your regular job. Right now you may not even be working steadily or at all, but that will not be a forever situation. So now is the right time to think about your job and career and what you can and will do to ease your financial concerns for the long term.
10 Things That Can Advance Your Career and Increase Your Income
Getting a raise or a promotion at your 9-5 job means making more for the time you’re already spending there. And the majority of us want to be successful at what we do and maximize our opportunities to earn promotions and more pay when we find the job we really want to have. I know that it’s not always easy to find a job you love, is fun, and pays super well—but that why it’s called “work” and not “fun”.
I’ve had a long career in management, and I can testify that those who get promoted are not always the best at what they do. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t aspire to do your best by working hard and training in new skills, but there are also other, more simple ways you can help to advance your career and increase your income.
So how do you do it? How can you make sure you’re growing and maximizing each day to lead to success, especially in a corporate environment? It takes just a little common sense and attention, and is almost always easier than you’d expect it to be if you do some very basic things. Things like these:
1. Don’t dwell on your co-workers’ “bad attitudes”
In almost every office, there are those that have issues. Mary is habitually late to work and John complains about his work assignments. Don’t ever be a part of that kind of office chat and focus on your own work and job. Unless these problem people are affecting your performance directly, it’s best to ignore them and let others, like Human Resources, deal with it. As the song says, don’t worry, be happy. It will pay off for you.
2. Allow your boss their pet quirks
The boss just doesn’t like long hair on men or he frowns on jeans worn on casual Fridays. They’re not against the rules, but it’s his thing. Adhere to it, and just do it. It’s not a big deal and you can live with it, can’t you? Know when to fight the fight and when to let it go. Getting the boss pissed off at you for this kind of thing isn’t smart.
If you want to be rewarded down the road as the “good employee” and not the one constantly annoying Mr. Quirky, just overlook his little annoyances whether he is right or wrong.
3. Always be on time!
Does this really have to be explained? By being on time, the boss will just assume that you are performing better than everyone else. I’ve heard the words, “he’s very good at the job, when he’s here” being said over the years and that means no matter how good your work is, being there when you’re supposed to be is just as important.
Face time with the boss is also critical. What better opportunity than arriving just before she does, so you can share a cup of coffee and get on a good communication level with her before the wheels begin to grind. Even if you arrive one minute before she does, it will work.
4. Speak up when you have the opportunity
When in a group meeting, be proactive with ideas, suggestions, problem solvers, and your opinions. It is a risk to speak up, but those who just sit around tapping pencils and drinking coffee never get noticed. Just make sure your comments never undermine the boss. Soon, they may come to you for your input and ideas. Your suggestions show that you’re a forward thinker and creative. It’s a good thing to be seen that way.
5. Be positive
When bad things happen at work, always remain positive. There’s always a lesson to be learned and that knowledge can help prevent a bad situation from happening again. Even in tough times, you want to be seen as part of the solution and never part of the problem. The boss has enough negatives and you are now seen as a plus, not a minus, in their eyes.
6. Expand your horizons
Always try to learn new skills or take on new assignments that make you more relevant. It may mean taking a class, or volunteering for a training assignment. If you’re an older worker, it can help show that the younger people are not the only ones who have the drive to learn new things and that you’re just as up-to-date as the most recently graduated prospect.
7. Take your vacations
It’s not goofing off or neglecting your job when you take a vacation. You have earned them and they are part of your compensation. You need a bit of R&R every so often so that you can recuperate and be ready for that daily grind again. Taking your vacation restores some balance in your life, even in the most pressurized work environments. Don’t feel guilty about taking them. And if the office realizes that they can’t get along without you, so much the better.
8. Handle criticism well
It happens to all of us. When confronted with some kind of mistake or issue, you’ll be called in to hear about it. It’s very important to react with attention and good listening skills. Don’t be defensive and offer a long-winded explanation. In almost all cases, you can recover by a simple thank you to the boss for explaining your error and bringing it to your attention to correct now. Hearing about it during your performance review isn’t the way you want to learn about it. Your reaction to the information can make the mistake a learning experience and reverse the damages.
9. Look the part
Have you ever noticed that the really successful managers look almost presidential? By that, I mean they’re well-groomed and dressed. They don’t look like they just rolled out of bed as some in the office might. They’re often healthy and active people who exude energy. Now I’m not saying you have to go on a diet, join the gym, and be dressed in designer clothes, but know that you are always being judged on your appearance and health. It’s human nature and no matter what the laws may be, it happens. Do your best to look your best.
10. Let the boss know about your career goals
The boss thinks they know everyone well. Sally is a mom of three and doesn’t want any more responsibilities than she already has. Bob doesn’t like to fly so he wouldn’t want that promotion. Jim doesn’t like people so he can never be a leader. Bosses assume a lot and unless you let them know how you feel about the job, advancing your career, and the commitment you can and will make, they may be making assumptions about you that can keep you from advancing. Pick the right moments (maybe over that early cup of coffee) and let them know what you are interested in career-wise.
While these ten simple things alone may not be enough to get you the next promotion, they will go a long way toward your being taken as a serious contender.
As rough as your finances may be right now, today is always the best day to begin to recover and do something about it. The old expression, “A penny saved is a penny earned” is true, but earning them is sometimes seems harder than saving them. That’s why my “simple” list to increase your income is so effective. It’s simple and everyone can do it when they try.
Have you tried? What simple ways have you stood out at work or made your boss’ life easier which resulted in you earning more and your success?