Trading time for money has got to be the worst way to make a living.

Time is finite, so when you trade time for money, you cap your income. Whether you're paid $15 or $150 per hour, your income is limited by the number of hours you can put in.

So if you want to earn more or work less--or both--then the answer is to stop trading hours for dollars, right? And the way to do that is to stop being a salaried employee and be your own boss, right? Wrong.

Everybody trades time for money.

Even the entrepreneur. The only difference is, people in successful businesses trade their time for more money.

Everyone, And I Mean Everyone, Trades Hours for Dollars

People in business don't stop trading time for money. But they do translate each hour of work into bigger amounts of money.

For example, an online entrepreneur spends 800 hours building an information product and launches it four times throughout the year. If they make a total sales of $150,000, then their effective hourly rate is $187.50--way ahead of an employee, even someone who earns a six-figure salary.

Here's another example: a startup founder puts $150,000 into his company. He works 60 hours a week on it for the next three years then sells the business for $11 million. His effectively hourly rate is a whopping $1,159.19 per hour!

But it can go even higher than that.

Take the case of an expert speaker who bills $20,000 for a 90-minute keynote presentation. Her effective hourly rate is $13,333.33 per hour!

So why aren't we all ditching corporate jobs to become online entrepreneurs, keynote speakers, or startup founders?

That's because people who trade time for large amounts of money are trading off something else.

Why You Can't Leave Your Job Today

Going back to our previous examples, you'll notice that it takes time for them to realize their effective hourly rates:

The online marketer took several hundred hours to build the product, and it could have taken one year or more before they saw the money from it.

The startup founder worked nonstop for three years before cashing in (possibly living on ramen noodles in the meantime).

And the keynote speaker spent at least a decade collecting academic degrees, conducting research, and getting published to reach the caliber of a $13,000-per-hour speaker.

Most people can't leave their corporate jobs today because they don't have 800 hours, let alone 10 years, to wait for the money. Bills are piling up today. And what will make you money today (or in two weeks at the most)? A job.

How to Start Trading Time for More Money, Sooner

There are other paths you can take to trade time for more money--without waiting years. These take work, because you'll have to do them while you're still working the day job. And because you still have that day job, your progress will be slower than if you went into this full time.

One path is by doing consulting work that you can bill at least $150/hour for. When you're just starting out, it can take you one hour of work to generate each billable hour. This means your effective hourly rate is $75 per hour. Eventually, as your reputation grows and you get better at marketing, your effective hourly rate will increase even more.

The other path is by offering group coaching services. Find five group members each paying you $400 a month. In return, you provide a total of four hours of group coaching plus one hour each of email support per month. Your effective hourly rate would be $222.22 per hour.

It doesn't take long to set up a consulting or group coaching practice. Eventually, you'll be able to cut down on the day job, freeing up more of your time to go into even higher-yielding activities like online marketing, founding a startup, or getting paid to speak.

Or maybe you just want to replace your current income but work fewer hours. It's your call.

Just remember that you're always trading time for money. It's how much money you accept for your time that makes the difference.