As anyone making minimum wage knows, being in the lowest income bracket is rough at best. Once upon a time, a cashier job in America could actually provide you with an acceptable standard of living to make more money. Those days are long gone and if you are earning minimum wage, you must be fairly creative to keep their heads above water. Proactively bumping up one’s net income is the first step in eventually attaining financial freedom. The following tips can help any low-income worker to quickly get ahead.
Freelance Your Existing Skills
As marketing guru Seth Godin once astutely observed, everyone’s an expert at something. You no doubt possess a cornucopia of skills that you’re not employing professionally to make extra money. Whether it’s basket weaving or web design, you must have some special talent that you can exploit via freelancing to rack up substantial side income. Check out sites like eLance and Odesk to look for job opportunities or advertise your services to local customers on Craigslist. The key to making money in the freelance game is devoting a minimum threshold amount of time to the project. If you don’t look at your freelance side shop as a real woodworking business, it’ll be difficult to make real money.
Start a Part-Time Side Business to Make More Money
While higher wages are always great, you’re still just cashing a paycheck. Ultimately, real wealth is more likely to come from entrepreneurial pursuits. In fact, your odds of becoming a bona fide millionaire go up when you decide to start finance your side business. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy or capital-intensive to make you a lot of money. A small side business that specializes in washing windows, detailing cars or manicuring lawns can be extremely lucrative. The nice thing about a small-time side business is that most states allow LLCs to claim generous tax deductions. Below a certain level of annual revenue, your SMB’s LLC can operate practically tax-free for all intents and purposes while simultaneously minimizing liabilities.
Make More Money Capitalizing on One-Off Jobs
Oftentimes, singular opportunities to make quick cash without a lot of effort pop up unexpectedly. If you stay on the lookout for such opportunities, you can substantially pad your income without taking on the obligations of an additional job. For example, a one-off moving van gig or security detail job at a summer concert can be quite profitable. You’d be surprised at the money that you can accrue by keeping your eyes peeled for temporary but high-income jobs. Pay close attention to the “General Labor” and “ETC” sections of Craigslist. When you secure a high-paying one-off job, be sure to network with popcorn business owners and fellow temporary hires. They can help you to land future opportunistic gigs that pay well.
Get Educated Cheaply or for Free
As you’re no doubt aware, education is typically the key to working your way up the earnings ladder. Taking advantage of educational programs that teach new skills and help you to find employment afterwards is the smartest way to gradually bump up income. For instance, Federal TRIO programs allow low-income students to subsidize their educations while working. Alternatively, you could apply for Pell grants to attend a community or vocational college in your area. If you’re looking for the ultimate in educational value, consider an apprenticeship. Many of the skilled trades already feature apprenticeship-like training programs that will set you up with a decent job while you go to class and practice in the real world. Taking It One Day at a Time
When you’re starting at the bottom, building inertia is the hardest part of working your way up and getting ahead. You’ll need a well-thought-out plan of action to see your income dreams come to fruition. Come up with a rough blueprint that includes long-term plans and short-term money-making opportunities.