What would your life be like if you were making double what you are today? For most people, this would provide them immense financial relief as well as the ability to make rapid progress towards their financial goals. Well, fortunately, seeing large increases in your income is entirely possible and can be done in a shorter timeframe than you probably think — in fact it may only take 3 years!
Whenever someone talks about doubling your income, I’ll admit it can come off as a little fishy. We’ve been conditioned to think that anything that promises quick returns is a scam and rightfully so. In the money hungry world we live in today there are always people trying to make a quick buck off the desperation of others. However, this isn’t to say that making the right financial moves can’t allow you to see exponential gains in your income if you understand the steps to take and execute as necessary. I can tell you first hand that it’s possible because I’ve done it myself!
The 9–5 Bind
I started my career just a few years ago making less than $50,000 a year and have now strung together consistent 6-figure years. Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t easy. Doubling your income takes A LOT of work and a solid game plan for doing so but it is entirely possible so let’s walk through the steps I took that you can emulate to see the same financial progression in your own life!
For most people, your starting income in your quest for future prosperity revolves around your 9 to 5 salary. For Millennials and younger, society has conditioned us to see the path of post-secondary education as the only one out there and as such most of us grind out a 4-year degree, enter the workforce and hope and pray that we get a good boss and that the coffee at our work isn’t terrible. Because this is the path that most people take, I think it’s fair to set our income starting point at the average American salary of $35,000. This means that our goal is to get you to the point where you’re earning $70,000 a year in the next 3 years which would have you in the 75th percentile of all earners in the country. Not bad for 3 years of work. So, how do you get there? Here’s where the fun begins!
I wish I could tell you that all you had to do to double your income at your 9 to 5 job in 3 years was to show up on time, smile a lot and never disagree with your boss but that isn’t the case. In fact, if you’ve never read up on wage progression then you should because it is quite shocking and very indicative of why you can’t put all your income eggs in the job basket. Recently income studies in the United States found that Americans are earning just slightly more per hour than they were more than 50 years ago after inflation is factored in. Needless to say that only banking on your job to double your overall income in 3 years is probably not going to cut it but let me share with you a more practical demonstration of this point.
Let’s say that you start your career earning $35,000 and every year for the next three years you get some sort of pay increase; the first two years are raises and in year three you get promoted. The average raise in the United States is around 3% so that’s the figure we will use for this demonstration.
This means that after year one you’d be earning $36,050 and $37,130 after year two. Then, in year 3 you get a promotion that offers you a 10% pay bump to go along with all that extra responsibility your boss wants to offload onto you. This puts your new salary at just over $40,000. That’s a far cry from the $70,000 you’d have to be earning to have doubled your income right? This income progression model that is associated with most jobs is exactly why you need to branch out your income sources early in your quest for a greater income because a job alone, in almost all cases, won’t allow you to double your income in 3 years let alone probably 5 or even 10!
Now, just because I’ve painted your current job in a bad light doesn’t mean it isn’t going to be critical to doubling your income in the next 3 years. In fact, your current job is going to act as the stepping stone for your next big leap in income and here’s why. You see, most people focus on what a job pays you rather than what skills and experiences it can offer you. I see it all the time, people taking a bit more money from a job that will have their scope of responsibilities being so narrow that they never learn anything past the first day. This is a huge mistake if you are trying to see noticeable gains in your income.
Your Income Doubling Strategy
Your goal at your current job should be to learn as much as you can so that you become more valuable as an employee. I want to make something very clear right now, how much you make isn’t about how long you’ve been at your job, it’s about how much value you offer your employer. As such, while working your current job you should be doing two things: getting as much experience as you can in terms of work variety and complexity and leveraging as much free training as you can. For me, this was having my job pay for my CPA and CIA designations and for you this could mean getting leadership training, learning new software or even taking night school to broaden your knowledge.
Now, you may be thinking, “why do I want to learn more if the raises it will grant me access to are so minimal?” and this is a fair question to be asking. You see, the reason you are working to become the most knowledgeable person you can be isn’t to be able to negotiate an extra percentage point on your next raise, it’s to make yourself significantly more appealing to your next employer. Yes, you heard me right, to double your income in 3 years you will have to change jobs — there’s no way around it.
Kind of like when you got a new toy as a kid, people get excited about new things and are willing to pay a premium for them. This is great news for you and here’s why. Once you become the best employee you can be through taking on more training and having a plethora of experience, the next employer who comes across your CV is going to want you and they’ll want you bad! You can hear the money flowing in already I bet! Some of the best advice I ever received around career progression is “if you want to move up, you need to move out” and by continuing to monkey branch to new, higher paying opportunities, doubling your income becomes much more feasible.
In my own experience, I was able to jump from making $40,000 a year to over $70,000 a year simply by employing the learn and earn model I just explained; however I’ll admit that my case was rather anomalous for two reasons. First, I started my career at a very low income level hence making it easier to scale up my salary from where I first started. Second, I obtained experiences and designations that few people ever get so this allowed my jump in income to be more extreme than most people can expect to realize and this gets us into the other tool that must be employed if you want to double your income in 3 years time.
You may not want to hear this but if you want to double your income in the next few years you’ll need to work outside of your 9 to 5 job. Given the salary increase statistics I just shared with you I am sure this comes as no surprise but it’s still a tough pill for many people to swallow.
Now that I’ve broken that tough news to you, how do you go about making more income that will have your cash flow doubling in the near future? Simple, you work more but some forms of work will be more rewarding than others. When most people want to make more money, they only consider negotiating more overtime hours at work or picking up a second job. Will this make you more money? Of course. Is it the ideal way of doing so? I’d argue it isn’t. The problem with this approach is that it is very short-sighted. Sure, you can work more overtime or a second job and raise your income a bit but you’ll only ever be earning a very low rate whenever you clock into work.
This means that if you are making the average $35,000 a year and want to be earning $70,000 a year — assuming you make $10 an hour it would take you working an extra 3500 hours a year or 67 hours a week — that’s 67 hours on top of the 40 you’re already doing at your regular 9 to 5! It’s for this reason that this approach for making more money is futile because it turns your life into one perpetual work shift which I would guess isn’t how you want your life to be. Fortunately, there’s another way! Actually, there are two ways I can stand behind and I will get into those now.
The first approach you can take to double your income in the next 3 years is to cultivate a high-income skill. A high-income skill is any skill you can use to make $10,000 or more a month and if you’re serious about making bank down the road then this is something you should look into. When I had my own income epiphany a few years ago where I realized the limitations that raises and promotions placed on my overall income I knew I had to couple that income with other sources and freelancing with a high income skill was one how I went about it. I’ll admit that it took me a couple years to get to a point where my skills in animation and copywriting services developed enough to be making this kind of money. Fortunately, you’re not trying to double your income tomorrow, your goal is to get there in 3 years time.
The other approach you can take to make meaningful amounts of money outside your 9 to 5 job is through starting an online business. I can guarantee there are people half as smart as you making 5 times your income through an online business and the only difference between you and them is that they chose to start. I can tell you that without a doubt, starting my YouTube channel Betterment Boss was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Sure, it took years of unpaid effort to get to a point where it now earns me a sizable income but that’s how all businesses progress — you put in the work now to enjoy the rewards later on! The point I am trying to make with these two examples from my own life is that you need to have another reliable means of making money at a rate that doesn’t force you to work every moment you’re awake — which is generally the problem with working overtime or a second job. As you progress in your income journey, your main goal shouldn’t be to make more money overall but per hour of work you put in.
Speaking of working all the time, I know some people are going to be willing to grind it out in the short term in order to double their income but are concerned as to how they will keep up their efforts when their lives become busier. Let’s face it, it’s much easier to work 60 hours a week when you’re 25 and have no attachments than when you’re 45 with a partner and two screaming kids. Well, I have a solution for that too — not the kids part but the time that is!
As you start to see meaningful rises in your income, what you must do is direct as much of that cash as you can towards cash-producing assets. You should not be striving to double your income to go out and buy a fancy watch or a brand new car because if you are then yes you will be working crazy hours until you’re in adult diapers. Instead, put your money into cash-producing assets like real estate and dividend stock. Over time, your investing efforts will slowly replace the income you’re earning through your freelance or online business and as such will relieve you of many of your working hours.
And that right there is the formula for doubling your income in the next 3 years! Is it easy?
No. Is it possible. Absolutely!