Unless you’re in the top 1%, like Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos, you can always use the extra cash, whether it’s for a much-needed medical procedure or a new washer and dryer. Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to increase your income in 2021. Keep in mind, however, that these income-generating ideas are not created equal, with some avenues requiring a greater deal of time and effort than others. By taking the smartest paths to make money, you can consistently grow your net worth without having to use a commensurate amount of time and effort. Here are five smart ways to bump your income up this year.
Embrace the Gig Economy
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, an estimated 55 million people were involved in gig economy work in 2017. This number accounts for roughly 34 percent of the country’s labor force and is only projected to increase over time. Some popular gig economy jobs include driving for companies, such as Uber and Lyft, walking dogs for Rover and Wag, and running errands for platforms, like TaskRabbit. While these jobs don’t generally pay high, the hours are flexible enough and the complexity of the tasks involved is simple enough that you can do it with minimal training and experience. Walking for Wag, for instance, can make you an average of $17 an hour while driving for Uber can net you $12 an hour after expenses.
Start Investing Your Savings
The financial markets give you a number of potentially lucrative trades every day. And with online brokerage platforms, like Robinhood, it’s relatively easy to sign up for an investment account and start buying your first shares of company stock or trusts to a real estate. That being said, investing is not a surefire way to make money. In fact, in most cases, investors end up losing money to the unforgiving wiles of financial markets. Start by opening an investment account through a trusted broker, like TD Ameritrade or Interactive Brokers. Next, develop a strategy for finding low-risk investment positions, such as dividend-paying stocks or cheap fixer-uppers in promising locations. You should also learn as much as you can about your chosen asset/s. For instance, if investing in real estate, understand concepts, such as annual yield and DST meaning.
Start a Side Business
There are a number of business ideas you can pursue, depending on your budget, amount of time you can dedicate, interests, and technical expertise. For 2021, some relevant business ideas include dropshipping, virtual tutoring, virtual consultation, app building and publishing, medical transcription, copywriting, and so on. Over time, a business can supplement or even supplant your existing income source. Have a methodical approach when building a business – use KPIs to predict future revenue, draft a business plan that encompasses marketing and brand growth, and create a timetable to stay on track of short-term and long-term milestones.
Add to Your Professional Credentials
Going back to school is another option to increase your earning power. By pursuing a master’s degree within your respective field, you make yourself more valuable to employers. You can leverage this newly earned credential to get a promotion at your existing company or apply for a more prestigious role in a new company. If a master’s degree is too long or expensive, consider completing shorter and less expensive certification courses. These let you specialize in a specific niche, such as data science with Python for a web developer.
Improve Your Personal Financial Habits
This is a no-brainer. If you want to keep a bigger chunk of your take-home pay, it makes sense to start by lowering your current expenses. Any purchases that do not align with your financial goals should be purged, especially recurring expenses i.e. monthly subscriptions to magazines or content streaming platforms. Reduce your cost of living by moving to a smaller apartment, using public transportation instead of ride-hailing services, and buying generic goods instead of name brands. Adopting these new habits can culminate in greater savings, which you can put towards your retirement and investment accounts.
Earning more doesn’t necessarily mean putting in more hours and sinking all your energy into your job. By taking calculated risks, letting your money work for you, and changing how you manage your finances, it’s absolutely possible to increase your income while still leaving time to enjoy other pleasures in life, including family and hobbies.