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9 Ways to increase your income

Discover actionable strategies to boost your income, from side hustles to skill development. Unlock financial potential and achieve your goals.

Vivian Tejada
March 5, 2024
Updated:

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Whether you're striving for financial freedom, aiming to reach a specific goal, or simply want to improve your quality of life, boosting your cash flow is a crucial piece of the puzzle.   

If you’re wondering how to increase your income, consider establishing new income streams or growing your current salary. Implementing income-generating strategies can help you overcome financial difficulties and reach your monetary goals faster. In this blog, we’ll discuss nine practical ways to increase your income.

Package and sell your expertise 

In today’s digital age, it’s easier than ever to package and sell specialized knowledge online. Whether you’ve gone to college, participated in the workforce, or simply acquired a great deal of life experience, there’s something you can teach someone else. 

The Internet makes it easy to monetize subject-matter expertise by selling digital products, such as ebooks, online courses, and memberships to subscription-based content. You can market these digital products for little-to-no money by creating a blog or sharing posts on social media. 

Become an affiliate marketer 

If creating a digital product isn’t for you, consider monetizing your online presence through affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketers include product links on their blogs and social media profiles to drive traffic for a third party. The key is to partner with companies and brands that align with your niche. 

For example, you can partner with companies such as Booking.com or Couchsurfing if you have a travel blog. If you’re a photographer sharing your skills on YouTube, you may want to partner with brands such as Sony and Nikon. 

Offer freelancing services 

Another advantage to living in the digital age is the ability to provide services online in exchange for monetary compensation. The gig economy has become increasingly popular over the last few years, especially among stay-at-home moms and individuals who prefer to work from home. In 2023, 64 million Americans performed freelance work in some capacity, representing 38% of the U.S. workforce. 

Freelancing allows skilled workers to make an extra $1000 a month from the comfort of their homes. It’s also a great way to start a business with no money. All you need is a reliable internet connection, the ability to render a specific service, and clients. 

Services

As a freelancer, you don’t need to be an expert in your field, but you do need to have transferable skill sets that will help you provide quality services. Take a look at some of the most in-demand freelance services below.

Software development and programming

Businesses are relying on technology more than ever, creating a strong demand for skilled software developers. Professionals who know how to work with programs such as Python, Java, JavaScript, Ruby, and PHP can help companies develop mobile apps and other types of custom software to support their business goals. 

Web development and UI/UX design

Establishing a strong online presence and user-friendly experience is important for businesses across all industries. Companies need web developers and UI/UX designers to create customized websites and optimize user experience using programs such as HTML, CSS, and JavaScript. 

Graphic design

Many businesses need to develop custom logos, branding materials, and website graphics. Graphic designers proficient in Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign can sell these services online to a wide range of businesses. These services are especially useful to companies that have just launched and want to establish an online identity. 

Digital marketing
Another critical need for businesses is the ability to connect with their target audiences. Freelancers with skills in email marketing, pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, search engine optimization (SEO), and Google Analytics can help businesses generate leads and communicate their offers to potential customers. 

Social media management

Many businesses and individuals need someone to manage their social media presence. Social media platforms are constantly evolving and require targeted strategies to continue producing results for companies and personal brands. Understanding how to leverage social media tools on various platforms, such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, can help you secure freelance clients. 

Freelance writing 

Writing is a versatile skill set that can serve a wide range of clients. Writers can create blogs, website copy, and other marketing materials for businesses. If you have specialized knowledge in certain industries, such as legal or medical writing, you can get paid extremely well writing for law firms and healthcare providers. 

Photography and videography

Another in-demand skill for businesses and individuals is photo and video creation. Unlike the services mentioned above, this often requires freelancers to work in person. However, photographers and videographers are still able to work on their own time. If you know your way around a camera, you could be hired to photograph or record a special event. Companies could also contract you to create photographic content for a line of products.  

Consulting and coaching

Professionals with an abundance of knowledge in a particular field are well-suited for a freelance career as a coach or consultant. You can offer one-on-one or group coaching in several areas, such as business development, financial planning, and health and wellness. 

Translation and language services

In today’s globalized economy, knowing how to communicate in more than one language is a highly desired skill set. Freelancers who are fluent in two or more languages can provide translation, interpretation, and transcription services to a wide range of clients. 

Virtual assistance

Small business owners are always looking to outsource simple yet time-consuming tasks to freelance virtual assistants.  As entrepreneurs begin to scale, they often need to hire administrative support so they can focus on high-priority tasks. Virtual assistants help businesses streamline their activities by providing scheduling, customer service, data entry, and email management services. 

Platforms

Savvy freelancers can make an extra $1,000 a month by providing local businesses with one of the services mentioned above. However, getting started in the freelance economy isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t have an established network. Luckily, you can find clients on freelance marketplaces such as: 

  • Upwork: A popular freelance marketplace offering a wide range of freelancing services.
  • Toptal: An exclusive freelance marketplace connecting businesses with the top 3% of freelancers in software development, project management, design, and finance.
  • Upstack: A platform geared towards the best freelance developers and engineers. 
  • 99designs: A platform geared towards graphic designers who can participate in design contests hosted by businesses seeking talent.
  • FlexJobs: A subscription-based platform specializing in remote and flexible work opportunities. 
freelancer

Take up a side hustle 

Freelancing is a great way to maximize your working potential. However, it’s not for everyone. Creating a profile, developing work samples, and pitching clients takes time. If you would rather hit the ground running, consider a part-time job for a few hours a week.

  • Home repair: Laborers skilled in home maintenance tasks such as landscaping, plumbing, and electrical work should sign up for platforms like Handy and Thumbtack. These apps connect homeowners with service providers who can conduct home repairs. 
  • Moving assistance: If you enjoy helping others assimilate into their homes, consider charging for moving assistance. Platforms like Task Rabbit connect movers and cleaners with people who need help with furniture assembly, moving, and cleaning. 
  • Driving and delivery: Signing up to deliver food or for a ride-sharing, such as Uber or Doordash, allows you to make some extra cash while on the road. You can easily do this after work or on the weekends. 
  • House sitting: People with large properties in secluded areas often need someone to watch their homes while they’re away. If you don’t mind spending a few days or weeks on someone else’s property, house-sitting may be a good option for you.
  • Pet sitting: Pet owners can’t always take their four-legged family members on trips or to certain events. Watching someone’s pet while they are away, either at your house or theirs, can help you earn quick cash.
  • Dog walking: Some pets are low-maintenance, while others require a lot of attention. Dogs need to be walked at least twice a day. Busy dog owners can hire you to walk their furry friends regularly. 

Sell unused items 

You’d be surprised at just how much stuff you have that never gets used. 

Take a look at all of the items. Are there any belongings you don’t need but could be useful to someone else? Furniture, cookware, and home appliances are good places to start. Consider letting go of clothing, shoes, and accessories in good condition. 

Take quality pictures of these items and post them to online marketplaces. Amazon and eBay are good for all kinds of items, while Etsy is a great place to sell crafty decor and gifts. Poshmark and Depop focus on fashion items. Facebook Marketplace caters to used furniture and appliance sales. Depending on where you live, selling unused items to thrift stores may be an option.

Invest 

If you’d like to increase your income well into the future and are willing to invest some money upfront, consider establishing a passive income stream. Investing in stocks, real estate, and businesses are three ways in which you can make your money work for you.

Investing in stocks allows you to acquire shares in a company and claim dividends every quarter. How much you earn in dividends depends on market appreciation and the success of the companies you invest in.

Investing in real estate allows you to generate profits from an asset that appreciates over time. Property investors often benefit from rental income, tax benefits, and financial stability during economic downturns. Purchasing a property does come with its share of expenses and hands-on work since you'll be liable for maintaining the home. 

Alternatively, you can invest in real estate indirectly through a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT). A REIT is a company that owns and operates real estate investments on behalf of multiple investors. As a REIT investor, you can purchase shares in the company and receive dividend payouts.

You can also invest in specific businesses as a shareholder. Shareholders can provide their opinion on how the business should be run, but they don’t have direct responsibility in terms of business operations. When the business becomes profitable, shareholders can claim a cut. 

Boost your primary salary 

Raising your salary is one way you can increase your monthly income without taking on extra work outside of your 9-5. There are three main ways employees can boost their primary salary.

Ask for a raise

Try negotiating your annual salary with your current employer by emphasizing valuable contributions you’ve made to the company in the past 6-12 months. Use specific metrics when mentioning work achievements to support your request. If an immediate raise isn’t possible, ask your boss what steps you would need to take to obtain one in the future. 

Upskill

Earning additional certifications in your field helps position you as a competitive employee. Ask your current employer what educational tools would help you obtain a raise or promotion at the company. They may even offer to cover your education costs. 

Explore new job opportunities 

If you’ve tried to negotiate a fair raise and expand your skillsets but are still unable to improve your current salary, consider moving on to new opportunities. In some cases, no matter how much you improve as a professional, your employer may not have the funds available to increase your salary. Updating your resume, creating a LinkedIn profile, and reaching out to your professional network can help you land a higher-paying position. 

Rent out unused space

Another way to boost your income is to use the space you already have. If you have an extra room in your apartment or home, consider bringing in a roommate on a sublease. You can also rent out a spare room on a short-term basis using platforms such as Airbnb or Roomster. 

If space inside your home is limited, leverage other areas on your property. Could you rent your garage for parking or storage? Do you have an ADU on your property that could be set up as a home office or rental unit? 

Make your home equity work for you

Homeowners with at least 20% equity in their property can tap their home wealth for extra cash. Leveraging your home equity provides you with a long-term solution to limited income. Here are three ways you can make your home equity work for you. 

Home equity loan

Taking out a home equity loan allows you to receive a lump sum of money upfront. The loan is then repaid every month at a fixed interest rate over 5-30 years. 

Home equity line of credit (HELOC)

A home equity line of credit allows you to withdraw funds as needed during a draw period that lasts 5-15 years. Once the repayment period begins, the borrower’s outstanding balance is converted into a loan principle with a variable interest rate. The loan is then repaid over 10-20 years. 

Home equity investment (HEI)

A home equity investment is a great option if you would rather not take on new debt. An HEI allows you to access a lump sum of cash in exchange for a share of your home’s future appreciation. Unlike HELOCs and home equity loans, HEIs have no monthly payments; you repay your investment anytime during the 30-year term. 

Final thoughts on increasing your income 

Whether you’re tight on cash or want to achieve specific financial goals, earning extra income is a sound idea. If you want to take a trip, taking up a side hustle on the weekends or selling unused items to thrift stores can give you the extra cash you need. 

If you want to improve your income long-term, consider investing in passive income streams or leveraging your home equity. Whatever income-generating strategy you choose, be sure to budget well and reap the benefits of your efforts.

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