Everyone wants to make a little more money. You might be anti-materialistic, and you might value the atmosphere and conditions of your work more than your salary, but if everything else remained in equal balance, if someone offered you more money for the work you're doing, you'd almost certainly take it.
The hard part is finding ways to earn more money without changing jobs or going back to school for a more advanced degree. Old, traditional advice would tell you to "keep working hard" or ask for a raise during your next performance review, but most of us already know those staples. Instead of telling you how to make more money through these conventional routes, I'm going to show you 10 unconventional tricks to earn more money you might not have considered:
1. Sell your knowledge. If you have more than a year or two of experience under your belt, you can probably sell the knowledge that you already have of your industry. There are a few ways you can do this, depending on the stipulations of your employer. You could serve as a freelance consultant, collecting money from one-off meetings and strategy sessions, you could write and publish a book, or you could start your own blog and sell advertising as compensation.
2. Make things. It doesn't matter how creative or talented are; if you put your mind to it, there's something you can make that people will want to buy. It might be art, crafts, clothing, furniture, or something less tangible like business plans or social media profiles. Whatever you choose, there are more platforms than ever before to sell your goods, including major outlets like eBay, Amazon, and Etsy.
3. Aim high. This is the most general and traditional piece of advice on this list, but it's worth mentioning because it can be applied to any number of situations. Always aim a little higher than you think you can reasonably get. This means asking for a higher salary or a bigger raise than you would otherwise expect, charging higher rates for freelance or side work, or reaching out to people higher up in the corporate ladder. Even if you're turned away, you can always scale your targets back.
4. Get certifications. Certifications range in significance from granting you great new skills to being purely superficial. Yet in many cases, certifications are treated with high regard. The more certifications you acquire, whether they're for attending a free online class or achieving some milestone in your industry, the more money you'll be able to earn.
5. Concentrate your efforts (show accomplishments). This trick is all about how you work. Rather than spreading your efforts around your various tasks, concentrate them on core landmark achievements. It's better to have one fantastic achievement and an "okay" performance elsewhere than it is to have acceptable performances all-around. Your biggest achievements are where you're going to get the most attention--especially at your critical year-end review.
6. Meet people. Attend networking events, get involved on social media, and open up to talk to total strangers. The more people you talk to, the more you'll learn, the more opportunities for more money you'll have, and the bigger safety net you'll have if things at your current employer don't work out.
7. Live like you're poor. The concept of compounding returns in investments shouldn't be new to you--invested wisely, even a modest sum of capital can earn you passive income every year. But how do you get that capital to begin with? The secret is living well below your means--living in housing below your buying power, seeking cheaper alternatives for things like food and utilities, and generally cutting back on unnecessary expenditures.
8. Cut the fluff. How much do you currently own that you don't need or use on a regular basis? If you're like the majority of Americans, the answer is "a lot." Go through your things and sell anything and everything you don't need--it will get you some short-term money, but more importantly, it will help you prioritize your needs so you're less likely to spend money on frivolous things. Donate things you can't sell; you'll save money due to the tax write-off, and reduce your existential overhead.
9. Automate everything you can. Don't work any harder than you have to. Get more done and make more money by automating whatever processes you can--even simple tools like social media post schedulers and advanced note-taking applications can help you shave minutes off your day. Those small changes add up, and will help your productivity soar.
10. Recycle your work. Obviously, you can't reuse old work or old jobs you've already completed, but you can use them as jumping-off points or inspiration for future tasks and projects. Do you have an old idea that your boss once rejected? Try pitching it to a client. Can you use last year's report as a template for this year's? Do it! The more you recycle, the more productive you'll be--and that means you'll make more money (or look better to your boss come review time).
There's no guarantee that these tricks will earn you more money right away, but if you put effort into them and turn some of them into long-term habits, eventually you'll find yourself more likely to earn raises, earning cash on the side, and maybe even stumbling into a newer, better, higher-paying full-time position. Be patient, and remain diligent in your efforts.