Imagine earning six figures (if you don’t already). What would that amount do for you? Would it help you meet your goals? Would it ensure a comfortable retirement? Would it simply leave you feeling less stressed and more confident about money? If you don’t think you could benefit from earning six figures, then go ahead and skip this post, but if you’re interested in making the jump from a modest income to a big one, read on.
$100,000 has always been my magic number. It seemed so fantastical, like a sum I could never spend. Turns out, it is as non-fantastical as it is spendable! Earning six figures is just scratching the surface of your income potential. It’s a big hurdle, but once cleared, it catapults you into a new mindset. One where you start asking how to make seven figures.
I know many personal finance blogs focus on hacking your budget and limiting your spending so you live within your means. I want you to increase your means. The journey from earning five figures to earning six figures doesn’t happen overnight. But there is a strategy you can employ to get you started right now.
The 5 Secrets to Earning Six-Figures
Earning six-figures might be easier than you think, especially if you get creative!
Niche or specialize in your career
The more specialized your skillset, the more likely someone will be willing to pay big dollars for it. One of the primary goals of your career should be limiting how replaceable you are. The best job security is to make your presence count in a way that would cause your employer or clients significant pain to choose someone else to fill your role.
This is one of the reasons higher education is still one of the surest paths to high incomes, and why the higher the education, the more likely you are to earn big bucks. Most people aren’t willing to spend 6-8 years getting a post-secondary education, but if nets you a high-earning degree like an MD or MBA, you’ll reap the financial rewards for the rest of your working life. Higher education is NOT by any means the only route to riches, but if done correctly, it can be a serious short-cut. Even less specialized degrees like engineering or teaching can lead to six-figure incomes in your lifetime if the right career opportunities are pursued.
I really believe it is possible to earn six-figures in any industry. Obviously some are easier than others, but there’s no reason why you can’t hack a solution to serve your customers, or people just like you, better than what’s already out there. All that matters is you find something that people are willing to pay money for that you can do that few others can, and seize it.
Diversify your income streams
I didn’t learn about cultivating multiple income streams until I started reading personal finance blogs. Prior to this, I always understood someone’s income as coming from only one source. But it seems no wealthy person relies on only one source of income because you can’t get rich like that!
Even the wealthiest I know earn money outside their primary job from consulting services, board seats, and private investments. Rich people know how to make money in a myriad of places, so the first step to becoming one of them is to hack multiple income streams that drive money to your bank account.
As soon as I learned stocks pay dividends, I opened an account with Questrade and started investing.
Scale-up all income-generating efforts
The bigger your enterprise, the harder it works for you. How you scale is up to you: work harder or smarter or both. Scaling up can mean working more hours at work, or it can mean taking a side business to the next level.
Whatever you’re doing to earn money, do more of it. Focus on getting more customers and selling more products. Drive more money into your investments to earn bigger returns. It’s difficult to double your money, but it is pretty easy to get 10% to 20% more of anything, so start striving for 10% to 20% more of everything.
Scale-up each of your multiple income streams. Ask for a raise at work, get three more clients in your contract role, buy another dividend-paying stock for your portfolio, and so on. You might be surprised how easy it is to grow your income.
I bet you can increase your income by $10,000 in the next 6 months if you set a goal to do so and then follow through. The number of people that are earning less than they want to because they haven’t tried to is too depressingly large to think about. Get moving.
Hustle even harder
Want lots of money? Work really hard. You don’t have to grind forever, but the idea that anyone comes to earning six figures lounging by a pool is ridiculous. Even inherited wealth was earned by someone at some point. And you could be that someone for your family.
Anyone that earns a high salary likely has to work many hours for that income at one point or another. Don’t shy away from the struggle. You also have to be open to potentially working for a low wage or even for free for a while if it’s necessary to “pay your dues”. Whether this means staying out of the workforce while you get your degree, spending a year in an underpaid internship to get experience, or not taking a salary for yourself while you build your business, chances are you’re probably going to have to work REALLY hard for VERY little or even nothing.
This is temporary and so very worth it. Tough it out and work harder.
Rinse & repeat
Do the above, and then do the above again. While some people can go from very low to very high incomes quickly, it will probably take you a few years to build up to earning six figures. And that’s ok! Seriously, the time is going to pass anyway so might as well make it count.
You will likely find that every subsequent $10,000 gets easier to earn as you grow your income. For example, it’s hard to go from $20,000 to $30,000 but it’s very easy to go from $90,000 to $100,000. Don’t panic if your progress is slow or sometimes seems stagnant, just keep pushing for new ways to grow your wealth and your earning potential.
The race to earning six figures is all in your head, so you’ve got time. Whether you’re on a 15-year plan or a 2-year plan is totally up to you. Even if you hit $80,000 you’ll be happier than you were at $40,000, so don’t quit.