Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Increase Your Income Without Working More


Lately, I’ve been assigning more value to my time.  I have big financial goals I want to reach, but I’m a bit tired of sacrificing all of my energy to reach them.  As a result, I’ve been looking at different ways to increase income without working more.


If you’re an aspiring millionaire, or if you just want to spend more time with the people and activities you love, try using one or any combination of the methods below. These are the most effective ways I’ve found of increasing the money that comes in every month without sacrificing the valuable commodity of time.


Invest



Investing can be one of the most hands-off ways to watch your money grow.  We’ve been regularly contributing to retirement accounts for the first time in a long while.  Watching that number grow has been a nice feeling.


There are more hands-on ways to invest, too.  Investing in real estate can bring in a nice stream of money every month, but you have to either set aside the time and resources to manage the properties or pay someone to do it for you.  


Investing directly in start-up businesses is another approach, though it can be a bit riskier. Depending on your level of investment, you may also feel more inclined to participate in activities that will aid in the success of the business.  This could end up defeating the purpose, costing  you more time.


Request More Money for Your Time



If you work a traditional job, ask for a raise.  Make sure you can justify why you deserve one.  When you go into negotiations, make sure to do just that:  negotiate. Another option for those in traditional jobs is to look at making a lateral move.  See if someone will pay you more money to do the same job somewhere else.  If you really want to stay where you are, the fact that you have another option on the table can give you the leverage you need to get higher compensation at your current place of employment.


If you work for yourself, raise your rates.  If you don’t value your time at a higher price, no one else is going to, either.


Apply the 80/20 Rule



The 80/20 rule is a pretty universal rule that says 20% of our work garners 80% of our results.  Therefore, you should spend 80% of your time on the 20% of your workload that is bringing you the bulk of your income.  By prioritizing your tasks, you can spend more time doing the things that will actually bring you results.


Automate



Along the same lines, automating aspects of your business can save you a lot of time.  The biggest time thief I can think of for those who run their own businesses, especially ones based online, is social media.  Dedicate a small portion of your week to automating (most) all of your tweets, pins, and posts so that you don’t have to spend time on it throughout the other six days.  Social media has a tendancy pull you down a rabbit hole, so the less time you actually spend on these platforms, the more productive you are likely to be. You should still participate and engage with your audience, but if you don't have to spend time promoting regular content daily, why would you?


Network



Looking for higher paying jobs?  Want better opportunities?  Get out there and network.  Networking has been the single best thing I’ve done for my income levels.  When people know you, see you around, and hear from you often,  you’re more likely to pop into mind when work opportunities arise.  The more people you know in your industry, the more likely you are to connect with higher paying clients, which can be used to replace the smaller income streams you are currently spending your time at.



Have you ever increased your income without necessarily working harder?

Saturday, June 27, 2015

$75 Target Gift Car Giveaway

One of our great blogger friends, Femme Frugality, has just hit 4 years on her blog! To celebrate she has combined with some other wonderful bloggers to give away a $75USD Target gift card.

  $75 Target Giveaway (blog birthday celebration) 

It’s open to anyone who has an email address, worldwide. Teaming up with me are some of my amazing blogger friends; be sure to check them out and follow them everywhere! 

It’s open for the next two weeks, so there’s lot of opportunity to win! Best of luck to all who enter! What would you do with a $75 gift voucher?

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

4 Reasons Why You Should Be Your Own Boss

Have you always dreamt of being your own boss? With a little resourcefulness and determination, there’s nothing to prevent you from turning that dream into a reality. With the opportunity for greater creative control and unrestricted independence, it’s plain to see why a greater number of people are choosing to take charge of their careers by answering to no one but themselves. Here are four reasons why you should be your own boss.


1. Flexibility

One of the greatest advantages of being your own boss is the flexibility it presents in terms of scheduling. You know your working habits better than anybody and can recognise when you’re most capable of being productive. Not a morning person? Plenty of people are at their most productive late at night rather than earlier in the day. If you’ve always struggled with the nine-to-five hours of a typical full-time routine, being your own boss comes with the flexibility to work to your strengths. Instead of being forced to adhere to an uncompromising timetable, you can sleep in later and then work into the night, if that’s what works best for you. Opening a business isn’t easy and will almost certainly require long hours, but as the boss of that business, you will have the power to dictate exactly when you want to work.

2. Creative control

How many times have you had one of your ideas dismissed by superiors or co-workers? What you consider a good idea may not meet the expectations of everyone in the office, and creative differences are inevitable when working in teams with varying levels of management. However, it can be disheartening to constantly see your work deemed not good enough. If you feel as though a lack of creative control is hampering your career’s potential, becoming your own boss could be the solution to your frustrations. With no one telling you what to do or making decisions on your behalf, you can have ultimate creative control over your work.

3. Opportunities for success

If you aspire to leave your current job in order to become your own boss, your first step is to access any resources that can make the transition less nerve racking. If you are seeking an example of how you can establish yourself in secure self-employment, read on. Say you wanted to start a telecommunications company, a great idea is to partner with a wholesale provider like Telcoinabox rather than trying to establish distribution deals with major networks on your own. This example is not unique to the telecommunications industry: it can be applied across a range of different fields. With such an abundance of support and resources available, becoming your own boss doesn’t have to be a scary or stressful experience.

4. Authority over your income

Despite the relative security that comes with working for a business on a contractual basis, the potential for income growth is often tightly regulated and placed in the hands of upper management. Being your own boss can be challenging at times, but it presents the opportunity for you to decide on your own income. Even if becoming your own boss means you have to make less money for a period of time, there is a certain level of satisfaction that comes from having authority over your own income.
In the end, it’s up to you to decide whether the benefits of being your own boss outweigh the risks. The power to change your career is in your hands alone. If you’ve made the decision to become self employed, what are some of the reasons that motivated you to do so? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

When to Say Yes, and When to Say No


When you’re trying to build a life for yourself, there’s tons of philosophies out there to help you reach success.  Two of the basest and apparently most contradictory are living a life of “Yes,” and being strong enough to tell people, “No.”  


Behind the “Yes” life is an attitude of adventure, acceptance, and pushing your boundaries.  When you say “yes,” you’re opening the door to unseen opportunities that can arise that you never would have thought existed.


Behind the “No” life is the ability to set boundaries, establish self-respect, and maintain some sanity without giving so much of yourself away to others that you have nothing left for yourself.


Neither is completely right when taken to the extreme.  Saying yes to everything can push you to do things that are detrimental to your values, but saying no to everything in order to insulate yourself can be its own form of limiting narcissism.  


Like most things in life, moderation is the key.  Finding balance will allow you to live a rich existence while still maintaining your sense of self.  Here are some examples of when you should say “yes,” and when you should consider saying “no.”


“I’m not comfortable with that.”
Why are you not comfortable?  Is it because it’s outside your comfort zone?  Or is it something that goes against your moral code?  

If it’s something that is pushing you to be brave, consider doing it.  Whether it’s going to a networking event to meet new people, or singing in front of a group of people, pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone opens you up to enriching experiences, and allows you to meet new people along the way.  When you say yes in these circumstances, you’re more likely to run into new opportunities than if you hadn’t.  Even if each and every experience doesn’t turn out well, life is for living, not for hiding.


If you’re feeling uncomfortable because it is against your moral code, don’t do it.  Just because there is pressure to sleep with someone after going out for a while doesn’t mean you should do it if you believe in abstinence until marriage.  Just because friends invite you to come hit the town with them doesn’t mean you should tag along if you know they are trying to get their sober friend to drink.  It might be a fun time, but if it’s something you’re going to regret it’s not worth it in any way, shape, or form.


The same goes for codes of ethics.  There may be a great opportunity that pops up in your business that you have no moral qualms with, but if it is against what you know you should be doing according to your professional ethics, it’s not only okay, but advisable to say, “No.”


“I don’t have the time.”
Why do you not have the time?  What will you be doing instead?  If you’re going to be sitting at home binge watching reruns of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, drop the excuses and go participate.  If, however, you’re being asked to make a commitment that you genuinely don’t have time for, know that saying, “No,” not only benefits you, but also those you’d be letting down when time constraints kept you from fulfilling your responsibilities.


“What’s in it for me?”
Whether in business or your personal life, people will sometimes reach out to you asking for a favor.  In either case, it’s usually best to say, “Yes.”  It’s good to help people, and doing so without the expectation of return is the most valiant way to do it.  If you need more than that, know that at some point in our lives we all need favors, and if  you don’t help others when they need it, there will be less people around to help you when you are eventually in the same boat.


If you’re being taken advantage of, it’s okay to say, “No.”   Maybe someone’s repeatedly come to you again and again. Despite your best efforts, you feel like your help is just putting them back in the same situation over and over.  Maybe you don’t have the resources to sustain the favor giving, whether that be time or money.  In business, maybe someone’s taking advantage of your reputation of lending a hand in order to build themselves on your name.  Help others.  Be kind.  But don’t let them walk all over you.

Live life whole-heartedly.  Say, “Yes!” to everything you can, even if it makes you uncomfortable or forces you to get out from in front of the TV.  But don’t become addicted to that three letter word.  Use “no” to set boundaries, and prevent from making commitments you can’t keep.  Life is about balance.  Balance the ability to fully enjoy all the world has to offer without letting the world compromise your standards or sense of self.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Why You Should Shop Around for Savings Accounts



As I talked about a little bit last week, our family is saving for a home.  We’re putting away large percentages of our incomes every month, and it’s gratifying to see the numbers add up.


But for a while we were doing something that was slowing our progress.  We weren’t letting our money work for us.  Instead, we were holding in it a savings account that garnered 0.10% interest.  It was an account we had opened up with one of our banks out of convenience.  When we got our checking account, we got a savings account set up for an emergency fund, and overdraft protection.  (We haven’t overdrafted yet, but it’s nice to have the free service there.)


One day I got to thinking about the numbers, though, and I realized we weren’t being very smart.  At 0.10% interest, we were barely building a profit of double digits per year.  There was a better way; I had just been too slothful to pursue it.  


The Better Way

What is the better way?  It’s pretty simple:  shop around.  Comparing interest rates has never been as easy as it is today with so much information at our fingertips.  Going online and checking out what your options are are is a very worthy time investment.  Because we shopped around, we were able to find an account with 1% interest.  That means that over the course of the year, we will have garnered 10x the interest we would have if we left everything in the older, smaller-yielding account.  Ten times is huge, and all we had to do was open a new bank account.  


Here are some tips to maximize your money while shopping for a better savings account:


Look at Credit Unions

Credit Unions typically offer higher interest rates on savings accounts.  This time around, our local credit unions didn’t pan out as advantageous, but I’ve had one in the past that was close to the 10x figure.  Your results will be local, so if you’re going to ask anyone for help with this one, make sure it’s someone who’s in your area.  You can, of course, do the leg work pretty easily yourself with a search engine.


Look at Sign-Up Bonuses

Some banks offer sign up bonuses via higher interest rates for a set period, or cold, hard cash.  These offers are amazing; why wouldn’t you open a bank account in order to accrue an extra $250?  Or a 20% bonus?


There are however, a couple of things you should watch out for.  The first is to make sure that after that promotional period is over (or the cash is paid out) you’ll still be getting a competitive interest rate.  Two hundred fifty dollars wouldn’t even come close to the amount we’re making by having an account with 1% interest.  The other thing to look for is minimum balance requirements.  Sometimes the largest cash bonuses are paid to accounts that have high minimum balance requirements, which could affect how you manage your finances.


Look at Online Banks

The route we took was an online bank.  At the time we were shopping, online options were beating even our local credit unions by leaps and bounds. They can offer these higher interest rates simply because they are not brick and mortar. The overhead costs of running one branch, nonetheless hundreds or thousands, cuts into profits.  Online banks are able to take that money and pass it on to their clientele.  


Shopping around shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours max.  If you can’t find any bonuses, don’t let that stop you from opening your account today.  Most savings accounts compound interest daily, so everyday you delay waiting for the perfect opportunity, you’ll have missed a chance to increase your savings effortlessly.  Maybe even by ten times.