Fact: Nearly one in ten people in the U.S. do not have a job.[1]

The American dream isn’t looking so dreamy these days. We’re looking at a volatile economy – not just in America, but in Europe. Unemployment. Worldwide political tensions. Overwhelming national debt.

Not exactly the best environment for financial success, is it? In today’s world, many of us are barely surviving, so the idea of financial increase may sound a bit ridiculous. But let’s face it: A few extra bucks in the bank would be great.

Is it even possible for the average Joe? The resounding answer is yes! While there isn’t any magic secret to growing your income, here’s a few practical financial coaching tips to get you started (note: not all these tips will apply to everyone):

  • Set goals. Dream big.
  • It’s easy to get caught up in the drudgery of the daily grind and forget the big picture. But success doesn’t happen by chance. Set clear goals for yourself on a weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. And hold yourself accountable to them. Don’t just drift through life and expect to win big. Financial success requires hard work and diligence, so be very skeptical of “get rich quick” plans.

  • Value people. Find out what they want or need.
  • Whatever your career field, your job is ultimately about people. Critically investigate your job field to find out what people want. What they need. What irks them. Brainstorm ways that your company can go and above expectations to meet that need. Use the “wow” factor, and you will create customer loyalty.

  • Do excellent work.
  • Show integrity. Refuse to settle for shortcuts or half-decent work. Satisfied customers always pay off. Always. You will become known as an individual or company for your work…whether positively or negatively. People are generally willing to pay more if they have complete faith in your ability to do a quality job. Let your work push you to the competitive edge.

  • Surround yourself with entrepreneurs.
  • In a free market society, the guy with the most creative idea gets the money. Challenge yourself with the people you spend time with. When you have an idea, write it down, bounce it off a few other people, and identify obstacles. Don’t settle for the norm. Continually brainstorm better ways to get the job done, working smarter, not harder.

  • Get a second job.
  • In today’s changing economy, many people are supplementing their 9 to 5 career job with additional income, whether it be freelancing, consulting, a hands-on skill, or an hourly job. While you don’t want to overload yourself, consider ways to add to your income. Life coaches and economic experts predict that, if economic conditions continue, multiple jobs will likely become the norm. Multiple sources of income help guard bankruptcy…if one job falls through, there is another to fall back on.

  • Be smart with your money.
  • It’s easy to feel entitled to elaborate vacations or expensive dinners, but the reality is that some of the most joyful people are those who choose to live simply. Just because you have the money to spend does not mean that you have to spend it. Don’t succumb to the lure of instant gratification. Rule your money, rather than letting it rule you.

Maybe you’re a bit surprised at the ordinariness of these tips, but let’s be honest: The secret to financial success is hard work. Creativity. Determination. A willingness to take risks, fail, and try again. I say it’s time we stop blaming the economy, and approach money differently.

Growing your income starts with you, not Uncle Sam. Your decisions matter. So what are you waiting for?


[1]“Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey,” United States Department of Labor, March, 2013, http://www.bls.gov/cps/.