When I worked in the corporate world, it was always great to get a raise. Now that I am an entrepreneur, raises are replaced by increases in revenue and profits. More revenue and profits are nice, as long as we’re not working correspondingly more hours. So how can we give ourselves a true raise: work the same amount of hours or less and make more? Here are ten strategies for your consideration:
- Take on more profitable work by knowing your opportunity number. In order to do this one, we need to know our gross margins by service or product line. When we know our numbers, we can figure out what projects we can take on that increase the margins rather than lower them. One example of this is to know your opportunity number. Right now, my opportunity number is about $3,000. I can’t easily take a new client in the door for less than that or I don’t give myself a raise. When you know what kind of work you should be going after, you can give yourself permission to stop chasing after the small stuff and pursue the work that will give yourself a raise.2. Create new revenue streams. This might sound hard, but it can be really simple. Let’s pretend one of your core skills is writing, like it is for me. At first when I sold my writing, I did it by selling articles. Lately, I have had to get more creative. I now sell my writing half a dozen ways: I offer products in the form of binders I have written. I perform marketing copywriting services for client’s websites and marketing materials. I offer a client newsletter. See how I can take one skill and make several different products out of it? What skill do you have that you can make different products out of? By thinking about what your clients need that you can offer, you can create new revenue streams and give yourself a raise.
- Upsell to current clients and improve your revenue per client. Can all of your clients list every service you offer? I know mine couldn’t! My web design clients probably don’t know about my coaching services, and my copywriting clients probably don’t know about my speaking services. That’s something I need to do something about! How about you? Do all of your clients know about every service you offer? If not, you’re probably missing out on some revenue opportunities.
- Boost your marketing skills. OK, I realize this one is a bit self-serving, but increasing the effectiveness of your marketing will lower your costs and give yourself a raise. Every lead lost because of a miss in your sales call, a poor website, or an ineffective elevator speech makes you go after more prospects, which increases your costs and time. Just getting an effective elevator speech can allow you to collect about 10 times as many cards for your time spent networking, and that’s a nice pickup in productivity.
- Use your time better. By implementing some advanced time management techniques that aren’t all that well known, you can improve your productivity, increase you billable hours, and make more by working less. Your stress level will also go way down, and you will have more energy.
- Work on your mindset. The world we live in, and especially the U.S. culture, sure does a number on our poor brains. It’s a surprise any of us are still sane after we take in the horrific news stories, negative or controlling people at work or in our lives, and advertising designed to make us feel inadequate. No wonder 85% of Americans suffer from low self-esteem. If you feel you lack confidence at times, you’re not alone. It’s an epidemic. We need tools to help build our confidence so we can live up to our potential and become all we can be, as the army says.
Are you ready for a raise in 2012? Try these tips and watch your income grow.