Don't sell yourself short, learn how to make more money, the simple way

Let me guess, you hate budgeting just like me. You’ve been looking for ways to add more money in that suffocating “budget” of yours and you’re exhausted from spending far too long on the phone with the cable company asking for the retention department so you can attempt to negotiate that bill down. You’re feeling like you’ve tapped every resource for grocery store coupons and are completely overwhelmed because insurance is so. damn. expensive. Finding those extra dollars is causing more stress and time than it seems to be worth.

But here’s a novel idea: Why don’t you just make more money?

That’s right, the best budgeting advice I’ve ever read isn’t to cut down your spending or to improve your credit score to get better rates (though, that is still very powerful so you should definitely do it) but it’s simply to make more money.

“But Tess,” you might say, “how do I do that? Making money isn’t simple!”

I’m going to let you in on a little secret:

Making money is simple, it’s just not easy.

That’s right. Making money is simple. I found this to be exceedingly true when I quit my high-paying job and took the leap of faith into the unknown world of unpredictable income.

Making money is a simple exchange of value for dollars. You make something someone else wants, doesn’t have, or doesn’t have time to create themselves, and you sell it in exchange for their hard-earned dinero.

It’s that simple.

BUT, don’t get that confused with the fact that making money isn’t always easy. We have to work, invest (even when it seems uncomfortable) and create value to be able to make that simple money, and here, I’m going to give you a few ways you can do just that.

5 Ways to Make More Money:

1. Rent out your place on AirBnB

Last year, I made almost $7,000 renting out my bedroom on AirBnB for 6 months (psst that’s an extra $1,000 per month). It helped supplement my income that was “no more” when I left my job, and it kept me from digging a massive hole into my emergency savings. Renting your space has some consequences though:

First, if you don’t have a spare room like me, you get displaced and become really close and intimate with your couch.

Second, it’s much easier to do this if you own your place, which is why it’s not always the “easiest” way to make money. Owning a place is a big investment, and welcoming strangers into your home as guests is a risk you have to take upon yourself. If you live in a condo, you need to make sure it’s not against the association’s policies, check the docs, and if you do rent, you’ll have to convince your landlord to let you put the place up and most likely split the payout or you could suffer some major consequences.

Third, you have to play host, do the laundry, make the beds, greet the guests, make sure they’re satisfied, and clean up after they leave (unless you get a maid) which takes more effort than you realize. But in the end, home sharing is a ton of fun, you meet heaps of interesting people, can make business connections or just great friends, and the money is well worth it. Soon you’ll be saving up for that next big goal of yours.

2. Moonlight one of your hobbies

This is something I do as well. I’m sure you have a hobby that you could actually get paid for, even if it’s significantly less than your day-job salary. I am a kettlebell (fitness) trainer early in the mornings. Before I start my day job, I kick client’s butts into gear by putting them through a grueling workout. I love it, it gets me out of bed, I get a good AM stretch in, and I get paid. 

Another “dream job” I have on my radar is to become a barista at a cool coffee shop. It would be such a great way to surround myself with fun and interesting people, focus solely on the task at hand, then forget about it when I go home at night. 

You could do your own hobby moonlighting before or after your 9-to-5 or on the weekends, just find a spot that allows for that kind of flexibility and get to grinding. You don’t have to run yourself raged, but if it’s something you enjoy doing anyway, might as well get paid for it, right? 

Again, not easy to find these kinds of opportunities and definitely takes some extra dedication to start a money-making hobby, but it’s such a simple concept that helps pay the bills (and by bills I mean the treat yoself hotel billzzz).

3. Sell Your Stuff

There are a million online resources where you can sell your stuff, and lord knows we got a lot of it. My latest find: an app called Wallapop to sell and purchase used furniture and other items nearby. But you could also use Craigslist which tons of people have success with (just don’t sell yourself). 

I’ll be honest, I’ve attempted selling my stuff online and didn’t have much success, but I went at it from a “this is going to be easy” angle, and it wasn’t. 

Sure, it’s simple to pop an old Coach wristlet or outdated Forever 21 top up on a resale app, but getting it sold isn’t always quick and easy. It takes time and probably a lot more research on how to photograph, market, write the description and price the item—I just didn’t have that kind of attention to detail. 

No matter your method, it is possible. It’s simple, but it ain’t easy. Need some inspiration? Pick up one of my favorite books, #GIRLBOSS, all about how Sophia Amoruso went from slingin' vintage on eBay to running the multi-million (billion?) dollar company, Nasty Gal. Also, she is B.A. (warning: this book may have spurred my breakup with my last corporate job. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.)

4. Negotiate Your Salary

In the words of my new friend, Bridget Eastgaard (I just interviewed her and you guys are going to LOVE it!), 

“Your current job is the easiest place to get more money.”

This is so so true. If you can negotiate at your current job, you can increase the amount you make without having to add a side hustle, so you’re able to get more money for the work you’re already doing.

The best time to negotiate a salary is at the start of a new job. But, more than 60% of millennials fail to negotiate their salary when receiving their first job offers. (I know I was one of them.) Your starting salary sets you up for a baseline to negotiate from, but if you start too low, you can only improve incrementally from there. So it’s really important to approach a new job offer with your negotiating hat on.

However, don’t let this deter you from negotiating in your current job. Annual and mid-year reviews are a great time to do this. Though, I know this isn’t the most comfortable situation, and for some reason us women don’t particularly like it. It’s said that 31% of the time, women feel uncomfortable negotiating salary, compared to 23% of men.

Try this: Open up the conversation by just mentioning that you would like to discuss salary expectations and see what your manager has to say. They shouldn’t be surprised that you brought this up, especially if you’ve been kicking butt day-in and day-out. Once the conversation is open, make sure you do your research and be able make a case for the value you provide to the company. Brittney Castro, CFP, Found and CEO of Financially Wise Women (and Words and Money Episode 010 Guest) calls this your “Silver Platter”—Know the environment and monetary value you provide to your job and business unit. Presenting your silver platter will give you confidence in asking for the money you deserve because you’re able to show that value upfront.

5. Get Down with a Side Hustle

This might seem like moonlighting, but it’s different in the sense that you have to create the work for yourself. Side hustling is about honing your skills in an entrepreneurial way. 

For example: A friend of mine works at a commercial design firm during the day, but at night, she side hustles by working on a freelance basis with residential clients. She has honed her skills and put the word out for people to refer her as an independent residential interior designer—and she kills it. (Serious apartment envy every time I go to her spot.) 

I have a lot of blogger friends that do freelance writing on the side. They make $75-$500 per blog post because they know their market, have honed their skills, and know how to pitch themselves. 

Stefanie O’Connell, millennial money expert and future W+M podcast guest, wrote 3 posts about mastering the side hustle. Learn to earn your first $100, $500, and $1,000 a month by doing what she advises. Making extra money this way isn’t a get-rich-quick or one-time deal. It’s investing and dedicating your skills to start a scalable side hustle that earns you a little extra so you can start living that rich life.

Side hustling is again, not easy, but it’s a simple concept. It’s also a great way to start transitioning into the entrepreneurial realm as you realize that making money is simple and doesn’t just depend on your performance at work. It takes a little effort, but the return can pay off seven-fold.

So, making money is simple, it just isn’t easy. And when you finally make some extra dough on top of what you’re already used to living off of, you’ll be able to set yourself up for a financially free life, and that life, my dear, is the good life. Now tell me, how do you make extra money? Let me know in the comments below!