Back when I worked a full-time job, I always looked for ways to increase my salary. More money, baby. That’s the key to everything in life, right? Money?
Not really. But, it’s true that most of us want a little more of those precious greenbacks. The raises and bonuses that I got throughout my career helped me to achieve financial independence much sooner in life – of course, that was after I figured out all the savings stuff.
Making money isn’t tough. Making LOTS of money is tougher, but even then, using a few techniques can increase your chances of continually bumping up that paycheck into something more and more life-changing.
Today, I have Nathan from Millionaire Dojo in the house to talk about 5 key ways to increase your salary that anyone can do, regardless of experience level or job position. Mr. Dojo, take it away!
Are you looking to earn more money?
Side hustles are a good option if you have time outside your job to devote to them. But even if you do choose to pursue a side hustle, it’s a great idea to look into how you can increase your regular salary.
Taking steps to increase your salary could result in millions of dollars more earned over your lifetime. Money isn’t everything, but if you’re going to work anyways, you might as well do what you can to get paid more!
Just a few short years ago, I was working part time making minimum wage and barely getting by. I’ve been able to triple my income in a few years and live much more comfortably these days. Hopefully, within the next few years, I’ll see my income double from where it is now.
Here are 5 ways to increase your salary that you can do today
1: Know Your Role
The first step to increasing your salary is to know exactly what is expected of you in your position. Just like creating a budget to start making progress with your finances, you need to know what your employer expects of you and compare it to what you’re actually doing so you can make adjustments if needed.
If you haven’t already, sit down with your supervisor to go over your role and responsibilities so you can know for sure what’s expected of you and what to work on. It’s even better if you can learn what is a top priority so you know what to focus on first.
You may find that what your employer wants from you isn’t exactly what you’ve been doing. You never know what could be in your blind spot and getting input from your supervisor can give you clarity.
Clarity will allow you to have a laser beam focus on the most important things you need to work on.
It’s also good to identify your unique skills.
Think about what you might bring to the table that no one else can and find a way to use your abilities to improve your workflow. You might be really good at something outside of work and haven’t thought about how you could use that skill at your job.
I bet if you think about it long enough, you’ll find a way to use it to your advantage.
Sometimes, simply doing what is expected of you can potentially be enough to earn a raise. If you actually work a full shift and don’t spend a large portion of time doing things unrelated to your job, you might end up being the most productive person at your workplace. It’s sad – but true.
2: Prepare Yourself
Now that you’ve got clarity on what is expected of you, it’s time to start developing yourself for success. Maybe you realized you aren’t doing everything expected of you and will need to make changes to your daily routine. It may seem trivial, but making small changes in your work habits is easier said than done.
Keeping a list of all your tasks/responsibilities in order of priority is a good way to remind yourself what you need to do if you find yourself falling back into old, bad habits. With enough discipline and effort, you can work to optimize your workflow to cut out anything unnecessary.
Preparing for your job can also come in the form of educating yourself on something new. Maybe there’s a need at your company for someone to learn specific software, but everyone has too much on their plate to take the time to learn it.
If you can be the person who has optimized their workflow to the point that you get your job done with time to spare, you could learn that software and set yourself ahead of your coworkers.
Even if you aren’t the only one educating yourself, ask around and see if there’s anything you could be learning so that you could do more for the company. If your supervisor sees that you’re doing everything you’re supposed to and that you’re asking how you can contribute more, you’ll be in a great place for a potential salary increase.
Learning new skills is also a great way to make yourself unique. You might find that you can complete everything expected of you with time to spare in your shift and there isn’t much left to do in your department.
If that’s the case, check to see if there’s anywhere you can help out that isn’t part of your normal responsibilities. You’ll gain skills you wouldn’t have if you only stuck with what’s expected of you and this makes you more valuable to the company.
The harder it is to find someone who can replace you, the more likely you are to be paid well.
3: Go the extra mile
The more you improve at doing a good job, the better and more efficient you’ll become. If you’re able to get to the point where you can take on additional work without it affecting your performance, it’s time to go above and beyond your responsibilities.
You might already see where you could help out, but if not, you can ask your supervisor if they have any more work for you. If they don’t, ask them if it would be alright if you helped another department out.
You don’t want to do anything before asking your supervisor because they might not take kindly to you working for another department without their permission. It’s probably likely that you won’t run out of things to work on in your department anyways.
If you don’t already know, find out what the company vision is.
Where is the company headed and what can you do to help it get there? Once you’ve asked around and seen where you can help out, prioritize the opportunities by choosing the tasks that will be most beneficial to the company and to you in turn.
With the right mindset and willingness to learn and improve, you could see yourself getting really high up in the company if you keep at it. Many people have worked their way up to managerial positions by going above what was expected of them at work.
4: Be Likeable
You can be a good worker, possibly even the most productive employee in the company, and if no one likes you, you’ll have a harder time increasing your income. Likeability is probably more of a factor in how much you’re paid than the amount of work you get done.
I was the new guy at a company and had only been there for a few months.
We lost some clients and that resulted in having to make cuts in each department. I thought for sure that I would be the first to go, but my boss actually decided to cut another person.
The only explanation I can think of for this is that my boss liked me more. A few weeks before the person was let go, he smarted off to my boss in a meeting and generally seemed to be in a bad mood all the time.
Sure, he was probably paid more than I was and it save the company money to let him go, but I know for a fact that he was more knowledgable and productive than I was at the time.
Being likable doesn’t mean to be fake.
Just be a genuine person and care about your coworkers. Avoid complaining at all costs. Encourage others to look on the positive side of things. Spread positive energy and be known as the person who lights up the room. You should view being likable just like anything else at work – a task that needs to be improved on each week.
I would suggest reading the book – The Magic of Thinking Big. It’s old, but the advice in it is still relevant today! With a can-do attitude, you can accomplish more than you ever dreamed of.
Trust goes a long way in your career as well. Getting people to trust you is a huge part of being likable because if people think they can count on you, they’ll open up to you and feel more connected. Your boss will have an easier time giving you more money if you’re a pleasant person who is trustworthy.
5: Ask for it
So, you know your role, you’ve optimized your work and have even taken on additional responsibilities. You’re getting along with coworkers and everything seems to be going really well. You should get a raise any day now, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.
Your supervisor might see that you’re doing a great job and all, but it’s their job to keep everyone happy and working as cheaply as possible. If you’re being nice to everyone and seem happy in your role, your boss might not know that you’re even looking for a raise.
It’s one of the more uncomfortable positions you’ll see yourself in at work, but sometimes you just have to simply ask to be paid more.
If you’re scared to ask your boss for a raise, don’t be! If you do it the right way, they should respect your request and hopefully even approve it.
I was able to get an 11% raise by asking for one and it wasn’t hard at all! The main thing I used as leverage when asking for this raise was the fact that the average salary for my position was considerably more than I was making at the time.
You can compare your salary to the average using this tool.
A more abrupt approach for asking for a raise would be to go out and get another job offer. This will put more pressure on your boss to give you the raise, but you may find that they still say they can’t do it. At that point, you will have to decide if you still want to stay with the company or if it’s time to move on.
Another thing to think about if you get another job offer is that even if your current company matches the offer and you stay, you might be looked at differently from that point forward. Your supervisor might see you as less loyal to the company if you’re willing to go out and get another offer from someone else.
And that’s it! If you start taking action and work these 5 steps, you’re going to be earning more money eventually. It’s a process, so just keep at it – even if you don’t see instant results.
Not much good in life comes easy.
About the author: Nathan is a systems engineer by day and a money blogger and eBay flipper by night. He started his blog Millionaire Dojo to track his progress to becoming a millionaire and share any tips he picks up along the way so that others can follow his path.
Steve is a 38-year-old early retiree who writes about the intersection of happiness and financial independence. Steve is a regular contributor to MarketWatch, CNBC, and The Ladders. He lives full-time in his 30′ Airstream Classic and travels the country with his wife Courtney and two rescued dogs.