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Make Money
Growing Your Income 101: Your Starting Strategy
The Feminist Financier

More money. We all want it, don’t we? Sometimes, it can feel like our income isn’t in our control — but nothing could be further from the truth. There are two big levers to creating wealth — income and expenses. Taking ownership to increase the money we earn covers half the equation! 

Income growth is particularly important for women, as we generally face a wage gap relative to men. We’re also more likely than men to take time out of the workforce — often to serve in highly valuable but non-paying caretaker roles for children or parents.

Here are three ways to grow your income and accelerate your path to wealth. 

Get more from your current job. A pay increase in your current job is a logical place to start, and technology is your friend in this effort. Just a few years ago, we had to rely on general industry studies, government data, or asking colleagues (yikes!) to benchmark our salaries. Today, pay data is increasingly accessible. The Fairygodboss salary database gives you much more precise data on what your role is worth.

If you’re gunning for a pay increase, you need to document the heck out of the business value you deliver to your employer. Decide the exact amount you’re worth, and then increase it by at least 10%, because women don’t ask for enough

Prepare at least three other non-salary items (like more PTO or a better expense account) that you will negotiate for if you don’t get the full increase you’re requesting. Practice by negotiating with a savvy friend who can role-play your boss’ reaction. 

Don’t wait for the next review cycle. When your case is ready and you’ve practiced your pitch, confidently approach your boss with the business case for why you have earned a raise.

Create a side hustleSites like EtsyTaskRabbit, and Care.com make it easier to set up a side hustle. A hustle allows you to create an additional income stream from applying your skills to the hours in which you’re currently not working. You’ll want to carefully consider any associated costs to ensure your side hustle actually brings you income, and doesn’t deliver a costly headache.

Unsure where to get started? This post lists 99 ideas for your consideration. Ask neighbors and friends if they have small tasks they’d like help with, for a fair hourly rate. Most importantly, save the money from your side hustle (or put it towards debt) to get the maximum return from your extra effort.

Pursue a job or career change. Your position today might not be ripe for income growth, or you’re ready to move on. Whatever the case may be, changing jobs can result in higher income increases than sticking with your current employer. Explore careers that are recognized for higher-than-average pay, and identify which companies receive high ratings from female employees

Next, start networking. Ask friends, neighbors, and former classmates whether they have contacts in the industry or company you’re looking to move into, and offer your support to them in return. Consider investing in a group like Ellevate Network, a global network of women supporting other women to advance in the workplace, or joining a Lean In Circle.

Think about the last time someone asked you for career help. I bet you were happy to offer your support! The vast majority of those you reach out to will feel the same, and networking will increase your odds of landing a new, higher-paying gig.

Each idea to grow income will take time and planning. Start by deciding which is right for you.  So - which are you going to prioritize to grow your income over time?  Or, is there another approach you’re going to focus on?  I’m curious to hear!


The Feminist Financier is on a mission to help women build wealth and own their financial independence, by improving financial literacy and taking the mystery out of money. Ms. Financier is also a shoe addict, travel fanatic, and wine enthusiast.


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