As 2016 comes to a close, we tend to take stock. And nothing seems more obvious than thinking about our earning potential.
As you start to think about what you want to do differently in 2017, it's natural to turn your goals toward earning more money. But, as we all know, goals like this are easier said than done.
Here are 10 actions you can take now to make a notable difference in your earning power next year:
1. Commit to owning your value in dollars.
How much do you value your skills? Do you feel that your compensation is equal to the value you provide? If the answer is no, then there is a disconnect between how you value yourself and your salary or your service pricing. Only you can dictate your value. Get clear on what this is and don't be afraid to make changes accordingly.
2. Get clear on how much money you need to live the lifestyle that is right for you, not the one that you think you need.
We are inundated with messages that say more is better. We think more money, more things, a bigger home, etc., will fix our problems and make us happier. The science of happiness has proven this is dead wrong. If you pay attention, you know that anything external provides a quick excitement spike but does not shift your overall happiness levels.
3. Assess how frequently your happiness is intrinsic (coming from within yourself) versus extrinsic (associated with external things).
Are you living for those excitement spikes that come from purchasing? Start to track your happiness. You may be surprised at what you find. Knowing that it's all coming from external things is a red flag that you aren't really happy. By knowing this, you can stop purchasing things that you think will make you happy. Focus more on time with friends, and choose activities and hobbies that provide lasting joy.
4. If you are an entrepreneur, reevaluate your pricing.
Are you charging enough? Most early-stage entrepreneurs struggle from imposter syndrome and don't charge enough. Pricing can only come from you. If you start feeling resentful of the work you love, it could be that you need to increase your prices. If you can't pay your bills or feel that you are constantly struggling to make ends meet, you aren't charging enough. Get clear on what your living expenses are, and then make sure your pricing is in line with your needs.
5. If you have a salary, evaluate how much you're valued at your organization.
Do the values of your organization speak to you? Do you feel deeply connected to how things get done and feel that you are valued without a doubt by your organization or your manager? If you aren't feeling valued, you're probably spending more money on outside distractions to make up for your lack of being valued. Being valued is a core human need, and you will struggle to be as motivated or disciplined with your spending if it's missing.
6. Track your spending for a month. Is your spending in-line with what you earn and your values?
This seems so simple, but most people ignore their spending and don't have a budget. If you aren't doing this, do it for a month and you will be surprised at how much more you're spending than you think. By building awareness, you can instantly start spending less and saving more!
7. Get clear on what your wealth consciousness is. Do you believe in scarcity or abundance?
Do you think you will always struggle to make money, or do you confidently believe you can always provide for yourself and others? It's good to know what your natural belief system is and see how it matches your current financial situation. If you believe you will always struggle, you probably will. Start building a more abundant perspective and see how it effects your energy and how others respond to you. You may be surprised at how much of a difference it makes.
8. Pick a few expenses that you can live without and cut them.
We think we are more addicted to things than we are. But we humans are extremely adaptable--especially if you can be creative with how you let go of things. You may love your Starbucks coffee but find that making it at home and creating a new ritual around that is just as satisfying as going out. Also, when you cut some expenses, you can really enjoy the ones you keep.
9. Track your negative mental messages about money. What are you telling yourself? Reverse it and practice believing you are capable of making the amount of money you desire.
We all have negative mental chatter. People who observe it and reverse it are the happiest and most successful. Try reversing some of your negative chatter as it relates to money. Do it for 30 to 60 days and you will be able to rewire your brain.
10. Start giving yourself a reward when you save money.
Saving may not sound very fun, but if you can reward yourself with something that you love and it's free or inexpensive, you create a game and it can be fun. Try it, and at the end of next year celebrate when you've created a nest egg for yourself.