Professional Development

How to triple your salary in 5 years

Written by Kate Lopaze

There’s a lot of debate about what the “American dream” entails, but if you ask a bunch of different people from a range of backgrounds, I bet you’d hear a common theme: making more money. More money in our chosen career path is a goal (unspoken or not) for just about all of us. Sure, we can be content with what we make now, assuming it meets our lifestyle needs, but wouldn’t it be nice to make more?

So what steps can you take to make that goal a reality? We’ve got some actions you can take now that are likely to (literally) pay off later.

Change jobs.

If you stay in one place, chances are your salary increases will be incremental: a raise here, a cost-of-living bump there. Increases tends to be modest over time, the longer you stay in one place. One of the best ways to create financial opportunity is to change jobs, and make sure you’re negotiating at full power when you receive a new job offer. It’s unlikely you’ll double your salary in one job jump, but if you make smart decisions and are open to new (and potentially more profitable) opportunities over the next few years, you can start building that upward salary trajectory.

Boost your skills.

One of the best ways to make more money is to be worth more money. In this case, that means proactively building skills that you know add value in your field. That may mean taking online courses or attending seminars related to your job or professional development.

And be sure your manager knows you’re taking steps to enrich your professional self, learn new skills, and become even better versed in your field. It shows that you’re building value and gives you a good base for negotiating a raise.

Create your own business.

This can be done on the side of your regular job, channeling a particular skill or hobby into a moneymaking opportunity. It’s also a good test run to see if this is something you can do full-time (eventually), while making extra income in the meantime and increasing your overall take-home pay. If you find that your new business is solid and you can not only maintain it but also grow it into a full-time job, it takes your earning potential and puts that power back in your own hands.

Make money for others.

Sounds counterintuitive, right? You want that money coming back to you! But if you make money for others (like your company, or a client), it gives you specific numbers related to the value you add and provide for that client. It gives you an excellent metric when it comes time to negotiate more money for yourself. I increased sales 13% last year. I charge X dollars for my consultation fees because I help clients exceed previous sales goals by an average of 22%. Having a reputation as a money-builder lets you charge more, or negotiate for more.

There’s no magic way to dramatically increase your income overnight (at least no magic legal way), but if you put in the diligence and effort, you can make sure that your salary is moving steadily upward over time.

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About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.

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