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At the end of the day, becoming financially free is really just based around one simple concept.

That you save more money than you spend and save it to a point where you don’t need to worry about your income. This is the backbone of the FIRE movement that allows many young people retire decades early.

Increase your income as much as possible and invest it in a way that continues to generate passive income. Easy enough to understand, but a little more difficult to execute if you don’t have a plan.

Here are our top seven ways to increase your income and start making more money.

1. Ask for a Raise

If you already have a job with consistent income, this should be the first place that you may be able to find some extra income. If you can get a raise for doing your same job, it could be an easy way to make more money. Even a small raise could go a long way if the extra amount is invested wisely.

To see if you might be able to get a raise, take a hard look at your performance. Make sure that you are over-delivering and that your boss is pleased with your productivity. If you think you are a valuable asset to your company, approach your boss and see if there is any opportunity for a raise. Be prepared and have an outline of all the main points why you deserve a raise. With a little luck, you’ll be able to earn more money for doing a good job.

2. Get a Promotion

Sometimes, there just isn’t an opportunity to get a raise at your current job. If this is the case, don’t stress too much about things that you can’t change. Instead, look for a way to get a promotion or move to a higher-paying position. If there is an opportunity within your current company to move up, try applying for a new job. If you haven’t been promoted in a while, having a few more years of experience may make you eligible.

Your company may not have any open positions or the jobs just might not be the best fit for you. If this is the case, you’ll probably want to look around to see if another company has a better job. Don’t be afraid to apply to “reach” jobs if you have solid skills and then you’ll just need to sell yourself. Once you get an offer, negotiate the highest salary you can and don’t forget to sign up for all of their benefits.

3. Invest in Yourself

There are times when your current skills and experience have taken you as far as you can in your current career. If you’re feeling stuck in your job, it may be time to pursue additional education to give you a leg up. By investing in yourself through education, you could see a large ROI by increasing your salary every year until you retire. The best part is that it only requires a concentrated effort upfront to earn those skills and salary increase.

If you didn’t finish your Associates or Bachelors, you could go back to school to get that degree. Investing in yourself can include advanced degrees, like a Master’s in your field or an MBA, if you already have a Bachelor’s. Certifications in your field are a great way to set yourself apart and help you land a better job.

Besides formal education, there are plenty of online courses and free articles that you can use to improve your skills. Learn how to code, do SEO, analyze data, or run Facebook ads. Then, turn that knowledge into a side gig or to help you with your current job. Knowledge is power and continuing to learn new skills is a great way to make more money in the long term.

4. Find a Side Gig

Even when you have a full-time job, you probably have some extra time on nights and weekends. Instead of playing video games or watching TV, use that time to make money through a side gig. A side gig is generally any type of short-term project or product that you can charge money for. They differ from a job in the fact that they are usually transactional and you may not be working for the same person all the time.

For example, you could babysit, dog walk, shovel snow, mow lawns, drive for Uber, or tutor students. If you are a little artsy, you could sell custom products on sites like Etsy or Ebay. Fiverr is a great digital gig marketplace that can help you sell your services or buy from others. By having a few side gigs at the ready, you can earn money based around your schedule.

5. Start a Business

For even more financial security, try starting your own business and being your own boss. I would recommend not quitting your day job until you are sure it will be profitable, but starting your own business is a great way to increase your income. It can let you build a new income stream while outsourcing the work to other people.

Starting a business is not for everyone, but can be profitable with the right idea. Think about your skills, hobbies, and interests and build off that. If you have business skills, you could become a consultant. If you’re willing to roll up your sleeves, you could start a company cleaning gutters, landscaping, or power washing. There are also many ways to make money online, including blogging, digital marketing, web design, or graphic design.

6. Arbitrage

Arbitrage is when you buy something at a low price and then resell it at a higher price. Technically, this could be a side gig or a business, but is a great way to make money with almost everything. It can be applied to products and services alike and can be equally profitable.

Ever hear the story how this guy traded a paperclip for a house?

Think about things you can resell for a higher price. Refinish furniture that has been thrown away on the curb and sell to neighbors. Buy products on Ebay and resell on Amazon. Sell logo design to local businesses but outsource the work on Fiverr. Send cheap traffic to a website that can convert them into sales. Get creative, there are options everywhere.

7. Buy Appreciating Assets

Appreciating assets are anything that will go up in value over time. This is a form of investing but allows you to create value when you buy and sell them. When coupled with arbitrage, you can increase your profit by holding for a period of time.

Real estate is the traditional classic example since the value of property has historically gone up with time. Buy a piece of property that is undervalued, rent it out for a few years, and then sell it after the value has increased.

Besides just real estate, there are other assets that can appreciate over time. Artwork, fine wine, whiskey, and precious metals are great options to buy and hold. Buying stock in a company is a classic example and is easy to get started with online trading apps.

Buying a business or existing website that it making money is another great option. By investing a little time and money to grow a business that is already profitable, you could easily sell it for several times what you purchased it for later on.

Have $1,000 on hand to invest? Here are my top five tips on how to get started investing.

Bonus – Diversify

The key to making significant money is to diversify your income streams. Work hard to excel at your day job so that you can get the largest raises possible. At the same time, spend your extra time doing side gigs or building your own business. As you start to earn from those, reinvest your profits either into yourself or into appreciable assets.

By having multiple income streams, you’ll start to snowball and earn more quickly. And that will help you reach your financial goals faster than if you rely on just one source.

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