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The 3 easiest ways to make more money

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3 easiest ways to make more money
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In the seemingly infinite universe of ways to make more money, there are really 3 easy ways to make money that are relevant to you.

Learn these and you’ll know 90% of the basic options to make more money.

Most people who say it’s impossible to make more money don’t realize this. Some insist that it’s flat-out undoable, while others take an all-or-nothing approach. “You’re not going to invent the next Google, so what’s the point.” Yet, in reality, there are 3 easy models virtually anyone can use to make more money:

  1. Freelancing
  2. Productizing
  3. Getting a higher salary

Let’s cover them so we can have a shared understanding of how to earn extra money as we go into more detail.

3 Easiest Ways to Make More Money infographic

I’m a big believer in not making things harder than they need to be. Sure, you could embark on a long, frustrating (and probably fruitless) quest to invent “The Next Big Thing” in social media or online gaming. But if you’re looking for the EASIEST and BEST way to make money, most people would be do well to stick to these three models.

The false ideal of originality

Originality is greatly overrated when it comes to earning more. Famous copywriter John Carlton once said that, in marketing, “the pioneers are the ones laying by the side of the road with arrows in their backs.” He’s referring, of course, to the delusional dreamers who thought they were inventing the next hot product but got burned by lack of research. Nobody wanted what these people were selling (no matter how much the creator loved it) and their quests to make more money became huge failures.

Think about it: isn’t that why we see so many reports about companies like Google and Facebook in the first place? Precisely because it’s so rare for people to get rich that way – and so common for people to fail? If creating the next Internet phenomenon were a reliable way to make more money, it wouldn’t be newsworthy!

That’s why these 3 models work so well. Not just because they’re simple, but because they’ve been TESTED by thousands of people before you. You aren’t staking your future on some random scheme that you “hope” will work. Instead, you’re applying your own talents to a proven model – which cuts your risk dramatically.

Which model is best for you?

Your job (now that you know about these 3 models) is to identify which one fits YOU best. Everyone is different. We all have unique circumstances, opportunities, strengths and weaknesses in front of us. For example: a college student working at a local grocery store probably isn’t going to negotiate a huge raise…but he could absolutely freelance. Conversely, a recent graduate who is two years into a corporate job is PERFECTLY positioned to negotiate.

The best way to make more money will vary depending on these types of circumstances. In any case, you should now have a much clearer understanding of HOW to make more money. The seemingly endless possibilities that overwhelmed you before are really just variations on the 3 models.

Thanks to Rasteroids for the great design. If you’re looking for a designer, use them!

Next steps to make more money

Now you know the basics. So how do you turn it into a consistent side income of $1,000+/month? Join my private Earn1K insider’s list to find out:

(Can’t see the form? Click here.)


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  1. Hey Ramit, you spelled “generate” with an “m” in the first bubble of “productizing.”

  2. Ramit, you should consider those of us that work on salary plus earn overtime. With most companies “right-sizing”, asking to take on more responsibility and assignments allows for more hours to be worked, and also looks good in the eyes of management who ultimately control your upwards mobility.

    It has the upside of freelancing and a job, with less downside.

  3. Nice graphic Ramit and great information. Thanks!

  4. I’m happy for you that your blog and book have done well, Ramit. I own a copy of your book, and I like it. But your blog stopped being fun to read not long after your book came out, or maybe even a little bit before. It’s like it’s lost its soul or something.

  5. Clear and concise. I like it.

  6. Nicely presented!!

  7. I think freelancing is a good idea however unless your skills or portfolio are really good there is a lot of people to compete with, just do a search on elance to see how many graphic designers are out there… Need to have a unique selling point.

    With a bit of research, creativity and work a product like an e-book can be a great way to make money online.

  8. Sexy graphic, well done. I especially like the “most products are a piece of crap, especially online.” Low barriers to entry mean flooded markets. Obviously, someone can combine these strategies to make an income cocktail that gets stronger over time. Future post?

  9. A problem a lot of US freelancers face is competing with people from lower cost countries. One of my best tips for US freelancers is to look for clients who are making enough money to afford to pay for quality.

    If your clients are beginner Internet marketers, they are not going to be able to afford to pay you a lot. However, clients who are already malimg more money can afford to pay for higher quality services.

  10. My goal for 2010 is to beef up my freelance income to half of my office job by December 1.

  11. I just wanted to point out that doing one of these can often lead to doing another. I started out trying to productize knowledge (and still intend to do so), but was approached by a company wanting me to freelance…for 2.5x the hourly wage I make at the hellhole I currently call “my real job”. Yeah, guess who didn’t say no to that offer. :)

    We’ll have to see if it’ll be a one-off project or a more consistent relationship, but if we develop the latter I can replace my entire 9-5 income by working only Monday and Tuesday each week. In a currency that’s stronger than my own.

  12. Spot on for the big CON on getting a raise: make sure you can. Some people work their butts off the get better at their job, take on more responsibility, etc. And then they finally ask for a reward and are either told “no” or aren’t given what they thought they’d get.
    Massive letdown.

  13. rasteroids needs an editor.

  14. The spelling error pretty well cancels out the neat-o graphic.

    I was going for route #3, but yesterday my bosses informed me the company has no money for raises this year. I’m interested in #1 and #2 and will be checking out the new site.

    Thanks Ramit.

  15. I disagree that working for a raise is a con. Agreed, nothing is guaranteed, but doing better work with increase responsibility will make you more valuable. If the company you’re with doesn’t want to pay you your market rate, take your work somewhere else. Freelancing and productizing aren’t guarantees either. Ramit puts up a lot of free content on this blog in hopes that a small fraction of the visitors will actually pay for something. I imagine that when he started this blog, Ramit’s hourly wage was pretty low.

    Of course, the big caveat in working for a raise is that you are as valuable as you think you are. Unfortunately, as Ramit likes to point out, the odds are that you are average. And as an average employee, you will get average raises and bonuses.

    “But my boss has never said anything negative to me ever, he always praises my work!” Yes, you probably have an average boss too–one that likes giving out positive feedback and doesn’t like to give out negative feedback. Negative feedback is awkward and normally not taken well, so most supervisors avoid giving it.

    What’s worked for me… (your results may vary).
    1.) Talking to my boss and team lead about what they need.
    2.) Asking for negative feedback, then sucking it up and taking it when its delivered. Trust me, no one likes to be criticized, even when you ask for it.
    3.) Letting my boss know what my goals are. He knew I was looking for a supervisor job, and he actually called up one of his friends in the organization to get me into a slot. I did good work for him, and he’s helping me take that next step. I should also note that I’m not getting a pay raise in the switch either. I just know that its good for my career and future earning potential so I’m taking the job, even though its more work for the same money in the short term.

  16. I love the graphic. Images can convey ideas much better sometimes.

    Moving abroad to teach English can also easily add an extra $1000 per month.

    Incomes are not always great but taxes are low and you will drastically reduce your living costs and consumption living in a foreign country. Japan, Korea and Taiwan are the best choices to save money.

  17. I like green, looks aesthetically pleasing to my eyes. Anyways, I tried looking for the webstream that I missed last night. Seems to just be a 1:07 video of your frozen face where you end saying you’ll restart the video. Is there a different video up of last night? Thanks~!

  18. I want to do a combination of options 1 and 2 so that I’ll never have to bother with 3 again.

    I’m actually avoiding a promotion because it will mean no increase in salary and going from hourly pay to salary pay, which means I’ll be at work nights and weekends with all of the other people on salary. They really overload people on salary with more work than they can get done in a 40-hour week, and time with my family is more important to me. I don’t intend to be a “lifer” at my job anyway.

    Can’t wait to hear more on this series.

  19. tamiko@rasteroids Link to this comment

    Sorry, folks. The spelling error was my mistake, not Ramit’s. I’m usually super critical about grammatical and spelling errors, but missed this one on the fast turnaround. Hope you enjoy the valuable information Ramit presents here!

  20. I like the presentation, I understand the need to keep the product side heavy on the selling portion. I’m super happy you didn’t include an “investing” bubble unless it was going to be buying into a real business and working to make it profitable (like a franchise).

  21. This reminds me of an article back in 2007 called the “Hierarchy of Earnings” by Daniel Tenner. According to Daniel the hierarchy is 1) Employment 2) Consulting 3) Productizing 4) Managing 1,2,&3. Basically, it says employment is probably an evil necessity before you can think about 2, before you can think about 3, and finally, 4. These are the logical steps to “smarter earnings.” However, my suspicious is that most people in this world are happy with just employment, so they’re stuck with step 1 all their lives.

    Great post Ramit. I love your blogs, it resonates so much with what’s been on my mind.

  22. Great information and loved the graphic.

  23. I can’t wait for the new site, Ramit! I have already been planning and working on earning more money on the side, and have only now started to overcome some of the psychological barriers that have been stopping me for months. However, I’m planning on making my 1k (or more) per month by buying & selling on eBay. I’m not sure where this fits in, but it probably doesn’t matter.

  24. @Kevin M: had a similar situation with a small business I am employed by. Rather than a traditional pay raise I now own ten percent of the business. Might be an alternative option to consider if you are entrepreneurial and know your stuff.

    @Kat: I see your point on the pay raise. Could it also be that with the extra responsibility you lose the time you could otherwise spend diversifying your income? If you had five freelance contracts paying your annual wage for a year and you lost one, it would be a lot more manageable than if you lost your job. Personally, I think both are good exercises, but which is more of a priority to your personal circumstance?

    @Ramit: like the post mate! Keep up the great work. Definitely will be implementing all three in my various business involvements this year.

  25. This is really good stuff presented in an easy to understand way. I’ve conquered 3 but want to do more with 1 and 2. Also the thing with 3 is the possibilities are still limited in terms of the money. Sure you can make millions but a salary is usually capped.

  26. @Dave Overtime and extra hours are not really ways of generating an alternative source of income, and relying on this is often a misstep in personal finances because you can never rely on making those hours.

  27. The opportunity commenters are overlooking with #3 is the unexpected one. The standout employee in the group who wasn’t able to advance due to lack of mid level positions or get a raise due to budget will be the first one picked for a special assignment, transfer to a new program, or other “one time” opportunity. Don’t forget about these kind of opportunities! Similar to avoiding a layoff you need to have positioned yourself well (new skills, working outside your stated responsibilities, develop unique value, etc) before you know why you need it. Not to say you shouldn’t ask around and see what paths others have taken… just be aware that your company might have opportunities beyond traditional advancement. The lateral move is a power tool in your career both to escape a job you aren’t trilled with and to advance yourself.

    For people looking to get ahead at a 9-5 job, find a mentor! It doesn’t have to be an official thing. Just ask someone you connect well with who seems to have a job you might like someday out to lunch and ask them how they got there. Join a professional organization related to your field and ask someone at the next meeting about what they recommend for the next step. Ask your friends, parents, neighbors, etc if they know anyone who has done well in their field that you’re looking for some guidance. In other words tap into your network. If the first person you find gives you lousy advice find someone else! Also, a mentor can help you come up with the kinds of questions you need to be asking your boss and clear up confusing feedback.

    to sum up…
    1. don’t assume the obvious advancement path is the only path
    2. find a mentor!

  28. Ramit, great webcast last night. Thanks for the info.

    A point I think that should be mentioned is that each of these 3 ways to earn money can be viewed as stepping stones so that all strategies can be used, eventually. Freelancing is a great way to beef up your education on a particular topic, helping you define yourself as a guru. Your new-found guru status will most definitely be useful in productizing your ideas. Being able to deliver quality and value is key. Finally, a popular product may get you hired by a larger company where you can have a steady salary that increases over time.

    • Everybody read Vin’s comment because it’s excellent.

      Don’t think of these 3 methods as the “3 you MUST use.” I’ve used all three, but at different times. Now that I have experience in all of them, it’s like having deep experience with a set of tools — you know when to use a hammer or a wrench or simply get in there with your bare hands.

      How do you know which to start with? And how to get mastery of it? That’s what we’ll be covering in the coming weeks.

  29. I might be nuts, but I’m trying to do all three simultaneously. I’m an illustrator, and despite the starving artist stigma, I’m finding it to be an industry with a range of opportunities. I’m freelancing a children’s book (added 20% to my income), selling prints of my work through etsy, and I work full time at an animation studio.

    You’ve actually tackled the subject of women and money more than other blogs I’ve read, so any more ideas on that subject as it relates to full time jobs and raises would be helpful.

  30. I also like the idea of utilizing all three simultaneously or at different times of life. Will you also be speaking more to the business models proposed by @timferris in his books? More and more, in this economy, having your own personal brand and diversifying your profit centers is important. The key is not to become too scattered.

  31. I would like to let people know that I started receiving a lot of spam on my email account when I signed up for this web site. I do have a prof for it. So be careful when you give your email to this guy. I guess this is how you can get rich faster.

  32. Steve, I like the diversification of profit center thought. I guess it is similar or the same as the multiple streams of income but it makes me think about it more in the portfolio context.

  33. [Edit from Ramit: I deleted this comment after trying to reach out to the commenter and discovering it was a fake email address. I’m happy to have constructive criticism, but don’t hide behind anonymity — leave your real email address so I can get in touch, as I tried to do here, and learn how I can do better.]

  34. Nice work Ramit!

  35. It won’t earn you more money, but The Big Lebowski just came on and relaxing more will help you work up an appetite to get back to worrying about money!

  36. […] back to yesterday’s framework on the 3 easiest ways to earn money. In Elizabeth’s case, since the letterpress stationery is hand-made custom for each client, […]

  37. […] the original post: The 3 easiest ways to earn more money | I Will Teach You To Be Rich January 7th, 2010 in […]

  38. @Josh: I definitely agree with your point on diversifying income. In fact I had a friend who benefited from exactly what you brought up–she worked as a freelancer and had a part time job. When she was laid off from the part time job she still had income.

    Unfortunately, in the field I’m in (intelligence), and the field I’m interested in pursuing (law enforcement), freelancing is generally referred to as “espionage” and “vigilantism” respectively :-). Obviously, I could do other types of work on the side. However, I really want to become a senior manager in a federal law enforcement or intelligence agency. Therefore, it’s best for me to spend my time progressing that career, even if I could make more money spending that time elsewhere.

  39. […] I Will Teach You To Be Rich looks at the 3 easiest ways to earn more money. […]

  40. @Elliot True, overtime is not an alternative source of income per se, but supplementary to your salary.

    For me, I work more overtime then I have time for. 80 hours is a slow week for me.

  41. My goals:

    1) short term (by end of February)–find stable source of freelance event planning work to earn $1,500/month and cut my hours at the full time job by 1/3.
    2) mid term (by August)–earn min of $1,000/month w/ consulting business and cut hours at job by 2/3.
    3) longer term (by 2011)–maintain freelance earnings and earn $3000/month w/ consulting business w/ clts and speaking engagements. Quit Job.

  42. RoadToFinancialFreedom Link to this comment

    Once I finish the police academy I am going to look for a parttime job at a local security agency. Since I will be POST certified they have to pay me $22/hour. 20 hours a week can bring in an extra $1760/mo before taxes. That would be wonderful! I need to beef up my emergency savings fund.

  43. Based on my personal experience, the best way to increase your earnings is to earn a higher salary. This will vary for each individual, but if you are in the right industry you NEED to be aware of opportunities elsewhere in your industry. Chances are you will never see significant pay increases staying at your company for the long term. You CAN however see accelerated promotions and pay increases by changing companies, which is what I did 4 months ago. I ignored the recruiting calls for over a year, but when I realized my company was not willing to give me the promotion I wanted, I finally started listening to the headhunters. I leveraged two separate opportunities against eachother and got the promotion I wanted and better than a 40% raise. These opportunities are out there for the right people, you just have to be willing to consider leaving your company for the right opportunity, and possibly even relocate (which I did). It would have taken me 3-5 more years at my previous company to gain the position and salary I now have.

  44. I agree with Aaron.
    From my experience and others’ too, the best way to increase your earnings is to earn a higher salary.
    And usually this is achieved by changing companies.

  45. Wow, this post explained SO MUCH to me!

    I have a friend who is trying to get me involved in a ‘get rich quick’ scheme that would involve me selling products to family and friends. I’m not comfortable doing that, but felt really confused when she asked me how I would reach my financial goals without it. Now I know the answer!

    I’m planning on investing a lot of time and effort at my brand new full-time job (I start tomorrow!) and focusing on that for a while.

    Thanks so much Ramit, keep up the awesome work.

  46. Folks, I’ve been signed up here for six months, and never had a problem with spam [it also seems common sense to have a separate e-mail address for signing up to stuff like this/Scott Young/Amazon whatever- you can always download Windows Live Mail to have your various e-mail accounts to your desktop].

    Ramit, just bought the British edition of your book and loving it, although it is a bit disconcerting to see you write about having a few ‘quid’- guess I’ve just been reading this site too long [I’m sure it will be a big help that you’ve tailored the product to a British market].
    Thanks man!

  47. The internet has opened a lot of possible ways for us to make money online. I started my own free hosted blogsite and I also joined affiliate programs. Getting paid to write is also a good way to have a part time job. If you have great collectibles, selling on ebay is also a cool way to make money.

    Thanks for the share.

  48. […] The 3 easiest ways to earn money: An infographic. […]

  49. clear and concise I’ll put it to test

  50. Great post! Very clear overview of some feasible options.

    I just signed up for and can’t wait!

  51. embedding a link to ING within a popular article is pretty clever!

  52. Okay, I want to work on all three–but I did successfully go through point #3! Last year my salary was frozen; I leveraged for a new position (leverage is a very good word here , , ,), and got a 12% raise! Now to work on the other two points . . !

  53. […] of the 3 easiest ways to earn money, we think the easiest way to earn money on the side is to freelance. You can start earning money […]

  54. I agree Ramit, making money in your sleep is the way to go. In my free time I research keywords and create blogs and write good content for them. These sites can created residual income for me or what I can Websidual income.

  55. […] great resources, like those mentioned above on his site. For example, check out this graphic on the 3 Easiests Ways to Make More Money: Clean + Simple. Gotta love that […]

  56. I don’t agree with all of the cons listed for productizing. If you create a great product, it will shine among the crap products. Customer acquisition doesn’t have to be too pricey, either. Instead of payment processors, you can go with paypal like a lot of internet marketers do.

    Also, until you come up with your own product, you can try affiliate marketing. You can pick up a popular, highly converting product from a digital product marketplace such as clickbankl and paydotcom, download some nice free report related to its niche, and give that away as a bonus if they puchase from your affiliate site. You can gewt people to opt-in to get the freebies, collect their email addresses (an autoresponder such as aweber, which Ramit also uses costs about $17/month) and upsell other products to them later.

    Web hosting can be as cheap as $4.95/mo and a domain registration is less than $10. It costs next to nothing to set the whole system up and start selling. Once you build a sizeable mailing list, you can promote your own product to your list.

    You can also learn to do keyword research, find hot niches with very low competition, launch some blog sites related to those niches, post aa bunch of informative articles, monetize the blog by sprinkling affiliate links and adsense in it, once you get some traffic and $1-$2/day income turn it around and sell it for a decent profit on I have seen such sites sell anywhere between $300 and $1500 on flippa. If the site has potential to bring more income, you can sell it for the higher price. Rinse and repeat, make 50 sites like that, and you won’t need a day job again.

    You can take this very comment I wrote, add some more information to it, turn it into a nice pdf report and start building your list in the internet marketing niche, for example. All of the work will not take longer than a few hours of your time :)

  57. Ramit, you forgot one thing when taking into account working for a higher salary. Im not sure how the tax system works in the states, but surely you have to consider the tax implication for working more just to purely increase your disposable income.

    Since Im an Australian, we work off a progressive tax system i.e. you get taxed higher for the higher income you earn. I think people should also consider tax situation specially when considering doing freelancing and higher income.

    Is the extra 4 hours of work, worth an extra $2k a year i.e. $38 a week?

    Food for thought

  58. I agree, the best way to save more money is to EARN more money. My wife and I used to argue incessantly about all the little things we did that costed money. The funny thing about it is, the more money you make, the easier it is to make more money. I believe it is linked with what Ramit calls ‘barriers’, ie. when you make little money, you psychologically program yourself to not be open to making much more than that. Our income has increased almost exponentially from 40K to over 190K) over the past 4 years due to focusing on excellence, asking for more responsibility (my wife), and doing outside consulting (myself). Earning more money, while keeping expenses mostly the same, is the ticket to having LOTS of savings available.
    Great article Ramit!

  59. I loved your graphic and how you broke the topic into very clear and distinct areas.

  60. I’m really loving these articles so far. Thank you for the hard work you are putting into this. :)

  61. Hi Ramit, I can’t see the whole graphic – could you please re-post? Thank you very much!

  62. I have written over 100 lyrics and poems. I could use this talent to earn some money.

  63. Just wanted to say great stuff, just bought your book and love it : )

  64. […] The result? There’s amazing content in the course alright. Freelancing is not necessarily an easy route, but it is supposedly faster than productizing and more rewarding  than getting a higher salary. […]

  65. The easiest way to earn extra income is to have double income. This strategy is very simple. You marry a qualified woman and help her to get the job. You have great options as couple. If you are working full time then she can start home based baby sitting business.