I don’t particularly like jobs, but I’ve had a couple dozen of them, and I can tell you from experience how to squeeze more out of them.
You see, a regular paycheck is just a start if you expand how you think about your place of employment. Some of the usual suggestions for making more money from your job are to maximize your 401k, get a raise and work more hours.
Yeah, those are okay, but they aren’t on the list here. You need some ideas you haven’t heard of. I suspect you’ll be able to use a couple of them to boost your income…
1. Team Up With Coworkers
Jobs are one of the premier places to network, and the people you work with each have special knowledge and skills. Why not team up with them to make some money? For example, years ago a coworker wanted to buy an old Corvette for $2,300. He came to me for $3,300 to buy it and prepare it for sale. I couldn’t imagine why anyone would pay so much for an old plastic car, but then he showed me a price guide. Okay, so people like old stuff. Two weeks later he sold the car and returned my $3,300 along with an extra $500 — my half of the profit. I never even sat in the vehicle (it was just a car).
Think creatively. Perhaps someone at work knows how to use Amazon’s Kindle platform and you have a book you wrote but never got published. Offer a percentage if she’ll format it and get it listed for sale as a Kindle e-book. Maybe you’ve had luck as a vendor at weekend craft shows, and a fellow employee makes wooden birdhouses but doesn’t know how to sell them. Help out and split the profit! Or just team up with the smartest most efficient coworkers to quit your job and a start a business, which brings us to my next suggestion…
2. Use Your Job as Training
People spend years and pay big bucks to get a business degree, and recent data shows that business majors don’t even learn much. But what better way is there to learn about a specific business than paying attention to what’s going on where you already work? If you’re an accountant for a restaurant you can learn everything you need to know to start your own. If you work in the kitchen you can start your training there. Ask questions of everyone around you and investigate every part of the business. Study how your boss financed her company. You’re getting paid while training and you might double or triple your income when you eventually have your own business.
3. Recruit Affiliates at Work
Here’s a simple explanation of an affiliate program: A link on my backpacking website says “Get Backpacks Here,” and goes to a supplier. When someone clicks through and decides to buy something I get a 5% commission. There are thousands of affiliate programs you can join, and you can put the links on your personal blog or your Facebook page. If someone buys something after clicking on those links you get paid.
Once you’re set up get your coworkers to help. Find a good list of affiliate programs and search for those that have a second tier. That means if you refer another affiliate you’ll get paid for their sales too. Put a page on your blog (or start a free one) to explain how the program works, have a link to a signup page (the company for which you’re an affiliate will provide it), and start telling your coworkers how they can make money, sending them to your page explaining it all. When they sell something through a link on their Facebook page or blog you might get 1% or 2% of the sale amount. Get enough people under you and these little streams of income could add up to something substantial.
4. Get a Second Paycheck
Nobody knows what employers need as well as those who work for them. Back when I was a blackjack dealer, I was on temporary layoff during a slow time, and I knew that the casino had bought new felt tops for the gaming tables. They hadn’t yet hired anyone to install them, so me and another employee got our staple guns and offered our services. They paid us cash for a few days’ work. If your employer needs software installed and you can do that, start an LLC for $100 and sell your service on weekends or days off. Look for anything that your employer needs which you can provide.
5. Refer Other Employees
I worked as a security guard for a company which paid a $100 bonus to employees who referred job seekers who were hired. I mentioned the position to a few people, including a guy at the register in a local drug store. He ran right over to apply. But I realized later that I could have advertised the openings for free on Craigslist (my employer had not been doing this), saying, “Tell them Steve sent you.” That might have motivated a few people to apply. What if your employer doesn’t pay for referrals? Suggest that they start.
6. Lend Money to Co-Workers
When I was young I made “payday loans” to fellow employees at the fast food restaurant where I worked, collecting $106 on payday for a $100 loan made a week earlier. I charged $2 more to cash their checks and took a stack of these endorsed checks to my bank each week. Who knew that charging 6% per week might be illegal? I wasn’t familiar with usury laws. I was just being helpful.
A safer strategy, if you have enough to invest, is to find coworkers who need serious money at an interest rate that gets you excited, yet isn’t in violation of usury laws. They should have a home you can put a mortgage on (use a lawyer) or a car you can put a lien on, but it can be worth the trouble (I’ve done these kinds of loans too). You’ll make more than the bank is paying.
7. Find Things at Work to Sell
Sometimes there are things you can get free or cheap from your employer. A banker friend of mine once bought a large loan from his bank at half-price in order to sell for a profit later, but I’m thinking on a smaller scale. I worked for years at a business which had a soft drink machine in the break room. Because it was in Michigan, there was a ten-cent deposit on every can, most of which the employees left on the tables or threw away. I collected more than $1,500 worth of empties in about a year before the machine was (sadly) removed. I once salvaged a perfectly good door that an employer was throwing it away. I used it for an addition I built on my house, but I could have sold it.
Keep your eyes and ears open. If your employer is changing computers, see if you can take the old ones and sell them. Look for any opportunity to get something cheap or free that you can sell.
8. Cut Your Costs
You probably have to work or pay to take a bus or train. You might buy work clothes and necessary tools and supplies. But the less you spend to have your job, the more net income you make, so look for ways to cut those expenses. Ask your employer to provide any necessary things that you ordinarily buy. Ride with coworkers to save on gas. A friend had her schedule changed from five eight-hour days to four ten-hour days per week. Commuting one less day saved her about $12 per week and more than an hour of her time.
9. Work Better Hours
Not all work hours are equal in terms of pay. If you get a higher rate for working weekends and holidays, why not work those days? Overtime usually pay 50% more per hour. But what if you don’t want to work more hours? Remember, I said that one wasn’t going to be on this list.
The solution is to creatively arrange your schedule. Take a day off one week and work an extra day on overtime the next week. You’ll work the same number of hours for the two weeks, but get paid more. Do this with holidays and weekends too if you’re paid more for those.
Just cut your regular hours (use unpaid leave, sick days, whatever works), so you work the same amount of time over the course of a month or year but make more money.
10. Connect With Better Employers
Your boss isn’t going to like this one, so you shouldn’t be reading this at work. He could be right behind you now looking over your shoulder. Sorry to scare you like that, but then who needs a boss who is scary? As part of your job you probably interact with other potential employers and their employees every week. Make polite conversation and ask people about their jobs. If you hear enough good things you can investigate a company to see if it pays more and when it might be hiring. Now close this window quickly if you’re at work… really.
Your Turn: Have you got your own tricks and techniques for squeezing more income out of your job? Please share them below…