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READER CASE STUDIES: How Can I Double My Income?
Welcome to the 4th Reader Case Studies on The Humble Penny.
The goal of these case studies is to solve real problems.
If you’re new this, the case studies are a way for me to better interact with the subscribers of this blog.
I refer to the subscribers as The Fearless Generation because they’ve got to a stage in life where they’re seeking another path.
This generation wants to be debt free, create multiple incomes ethically, become financially independent, live fulfilling lives and ultimately Create Financial Joy.
These case studies are a way in which I can help to solve their problems via free coaching.
Solving such problems is what The Humble Penny was created and exists to achieve.
In addition, they get crowdsourced responses from other readers in the comments below.
Together, we can help ourselves and each other.
As these case studies are real-life situations, I commit a fair amount of my time to consider them and respond.
Case Studies will be published monthly. If you want your problems solved, simply write to me and tell me how I can help.
The key requirement is that you must be a subscriber of The Humble Penny.
Your problem has to be within one of the categories of this blog.
I.e. Money Making, Money Saving, Investing, Side Hustles, Debt Free, Financial Independence, Blogging, Relationships, Life etc.
You can also choose an alias for privacy reasons if you prefer.
If your case is chosen, I’ll write to you immediately and let you know.
Simply write in and I’ll attend to you personally.
Now let’s dive into this month’s case study:
LETTER FROM ANDREW:
I’d like to be considered for a case study. Our instance cuts across almost all of your themes, but I’d like to focus on money making (although I’m open to being told you think there’s a bigger issue here).
I’m married, in my late thirties, 2 kids. We own a 3-bed house outside London.
I work for a training company, a little over 100 people.
I set up their bidding team a year ago. We’ve won around £3 million in new business since then.
I’m paid a £45K basic, plus a (very small) percentage of what I win, plus some odds and ends.
I made £55K last year and I should make £65K this year. The training market has been tough in the last year, and the company has lost money this year but should be profitable soon.
I’m renegotiating my compensation package right now.
My base pay is going up to £50K, but it’s not really a raise, as another element of my compensation is being taken away (which was a legacy arrangement related to the job I did before I ran our bidding team).
I think it will work out close to even. My ability to make money is much more in terms of the percentage of business I win anyway.
I like my job. I like the people I work with. One thing I really like about my job, especially compared to my previous jobs, is that it’s clear how well I’m doing – it’s all there in pound signs.
I love the sense that I’m improving (my win rate has gone up over time), and I’m focused on learning to become even better.
My wife freelances as a wholesale-retail manager, working from home, for the last 6 months since coming off of maternity at her former company, a luxury retailer.
She takes home around £500 a month.
We don’t really want her to return to retail management, as her sorts of roles are shift-based, and it’s very difficult to raise kids when one of you works late and the other works shifts.
She loves luxury retail, but we suspect that getting into retail HQ jobs (which are 9-5) will mean a serious step down in terms of pay. Her last role was paying around £35,000.
Her family lives in Korea and mine lives in Canada. We visit each of them typically once a year.
Her family pays for some of our flight there, and I’m trying to convince my family that helping pay for some of the flight to Canada would take a lot of pressure off of us, as the flights are expensive, but seeing family is important to us.
Our only debt is our mortgage of £305,500.
We’re trying to buy a rental house in Canada with one of my brothers, who is into property.
We’ve identified a potentially great option, better than anything we’ve found in the UK, but are struggling a little with the process when we don’t live there.
Our monthly spend, based on 9 months of data (I had tracked it earlier, but really closely tracked it since January)
|Eating out/work lunch||£220|
|Drinking (just me, I’m afraid)||£82|
Including everything, we’ll take home just over £55K after tax this year.
We try to save £500 a month minimum, and more when my quarterly bonus comes in.
My employer offers a 3%+3% contributory pension scheme, which I’m in.
We’ve averaged a pre-tax savings rate of 10.7% and a post-tax savings rate of 15.2%, over the last nine months, and that should improve a bit in the last quarter of the year.
Our current Net Worth looks like this:
|Defined benefit pension||£95,805|
|P2P lending (1-year)||£2,000|
|Value of house less mortgage||£19,4574|
So! A little about what we want out of life:
a) We don’t have many friends with children around where we live, so we’re short on babysitting options – especially as our son is particularly clingy at the moment.
We’ve had around 6 date nights over the last 2 years.
We would really like a few times a month to just be with each other, when we aren’t exhausted, to chat and catch up and chill with each other.
b) We would love to see our families more, but on the flipside, we love London. This may be irresolvable without a serious amount more cash.
c) We don’t really like living outside London, and would love to move back in at some point. This is probably expensive.
d) I have been learning intensively about property over the year, and am very keen to buy a property before the end of the year.
If we could find a good deal in the UK, we’d buy it here, but the deals I’ve seen where I grew up seem much better. This will involve selling shares from our ISAs though.
e) We want to get our emergency fund up to at least £6K before the end of the year. Eventually up to £10K or so.
f) We could probably save more money, but we feel a bit stretched as it is.
g) Financially what I want most is to increase my income, but I’m also wary of being a high earner in a company with a stingy owner.
So I’d like to diversify my earnings a bit. Property is part of this. How do you think I can double my income?
MORE ABOUT ANDREW:
1) What are your dreams for the near future?
i. Buy a rental property with a strong ROI. Agnostic about the location, but the area my family's from is looking stronger than the UK (and I don't have to worry about the impact of Brexit)
ii. Get a good babysitter: partly for my wife and me to be able to hang out without the kids, and partly so I can reconnect with friends in London and play some board games
iii. Get some work done on the house: there are a few things that have gotten noticeably worse since we renovated 18 months ago, and we're getting ready to scratch one or two of them off the list
2) What are your hobbies?
I play video games (PC and PS4). Mainly strategy, but a mix
Board games, both casual (Wink, Super Rhino, Skull) and heavy (Brass, Terra Mystica, Terraforming Mars)
I listen to a lot of podcasts (for entertainment and learning: Conversations with Tyler, The Infinite Monkey Cage, Animal Spirits, or for more personal development: Tim Ferris Show, Bigger Pockets, Achieve Your Goals)
I listen to a lot of music, across genres. Radio stuff, sure, but jazz, classical, blues, Motown, classic soul
Cooking and baking
Not a hobby as such, but I've been a member of a church in London for over ten years, and have some close friends there.
3) What do you do for a living?
I'm the head of bids at an apprenticeship training provider.
I plan and write the majority of our requests for information (NHS Trusts and local authorities, mainly) or proactively submitting proposals (corporates).
This means I have to have a strong understanding of most parts of the business, write concisely and persuasively to deadlines, and think strategically in terms of pricing and the message of our proposals.
I manage a small team and provide apprenticeships expertise to the sales floor.
I also manage a few clients directly to keep my understanding of our systems current and firsthand.
4) What's your biggest money-related fear or concern?
Most of the men in my family never stop working (my 84-year-old grandfather works in his son's butcher shop 6 days a week), so I don't expect early retirement is for me.
But I do want financial independence so I can be more flexible about where we live and travel, and I know we're not saving enough to make that happen.
This stresses me.
5) Could you share a picture of either yourself (you can include or exclude your face) or something precious to you or of a dream holiday you actually went to?
Attached. Me and my kids on the beach in Canada.
I love this picture for a bunch of reasons: it's a rare picture of me that looks good, I love how my daughter is resting on me, we'd just eaten an amazing meal, I love the sky behind us. I take a lot of pictures of the sky.
There's something about a blue sky, the sun piercing through clouds, that speaks freedom to me, reminds me of home and my family.
KEN’S RESPONSE TO ANDREW:
Great to have you write in! Much appreciated.
I enjoyed reading your dreams and goals too. I'm sure many will relate to them.
The problem of increasing or even doubling your income is one that most people have.
One of the conversations that will never leave me is one that I had with a guy called Arthur Yu when I was doing my Executive MBA.
We were in one of those prestigious colleges at Cambridge having dinner and all the excesses they had were on offer.
And after a while, people start to open up about how they do life. I always knew Arthur was outstanding.
In fact, the entire cohort of circa 60 had come from 31 countries and represented super high earners.
For me, that environment was perfect.
All I needed to do was enjoy the wine, cheese, and delicious meal, ask the right questions and listen intently.
Arthur did not disappoint when he said something that nearly kicked me off my seat.
He doubles his income every 3 years.
Now think about that for a minute. I’ll let it sink in.
It took me a while to really digest what he said. And all evening, I listened to this guy who never really said much ordinarily.
But when he did, everyone listened.
Last I heard, he had become the CFO for a major company for all of China.
Even yesterday whilst out for drinks with another friend, we talked about Arthur.
Now, the reason why I have given you this insight is so that you can start to understand something very important:
Your income has no cap. If one exists, it’s because you put it there.
You’ll read the news and hear things like:
“Wage increases remain at an all-time low of 2%…” etc.
And you’ll also read that the average wage in the country is about £26k per annum.
What no one talks about is what exists on the right-hand side of the average.
Who are high earners and how did they get there?
They certainly didn’t do it being average. And by the way, being average is a choice!
Having read your case, I have made some immediate observations.
Advantages that I see you have, which can help you make a lot more money, are that you:
- Understand strategy
- Know how to write proposals
- Have experience of managing people
- Like learning and like to solve problems
- Are a motivated father and husband
- Want a better life
- You are still young
Challenges to you making more money are that you:
- Have mainly made money from one source
- Work full time in one job and have little spare time
- Have young children and a family to support
- Are not used to taking risk
- Possibly don’t have others around you who are smashing it
- Have not been brought up enterprising
- Possibly grew up comfortable and not had major shocks
Given the above, what you have on your hands is a design problem. A life design problem.
How can you turn those challenges above into advantages?
Below are some added comments:
- Have mainly made money from one source. // Diversify your income sources actively.
- Work full time in one job and have little spare time. // Do an audit of your time and prioritise income generation.
- Have young children and a family to support.// Get your wife onboard with your new income sources.
- Are not used to taking risk.// You must get your feet wet.
- Possibly don’t have others around you who are smashing it.//Seek and find winners.
- Have not been brought up enterprising.//Begin today and create something from nothing.
- Possibly grew up comfortable and not had major shocks.//Change your environment more often.
Now, let’s go deeper, Andrew.
Let’s Talk Fear and Mindset
When I was in my 20s, I had some ambition. Even with that ambition, my imagination when it came to money was too limited.
I could never ever imagine myself earning a 6 figure income.
Mainly because I didn’t have people around me who were. I couldn’t ever imagine that much money in my bank account.
For years, I bowed down to fear.
Fear also meant that I wasn’t really pushing myself as much as I could.
I compared myself to everyone around me and aimed to be like some of those people, who were earning decent sums but not blowing the lights out.
Years later, it became clear to me that I needed to give myself permission to make more money.
I realised that making more money was not a bad thing.
A big part of what was holding me back was that I was not thinking big enough.
By comparing myself to my immediate peers, I was holding myself back.
I needed to believe that I could run my own race and own that race, knowing why I was doing it.
Once I thought of it from this perspective, my self-belief started growing.
Before the age of 30, I hit a six-figure basic.
Why am I telling you all this?
In the same way, I needed to hear Arthur talk about doubling his income every 3 years, you need to also see or hear it to believe it.
Whatever your mind can believe, your mind can achieve.
This is the major secret that comes out of the book Think and Grow Rich.
Let’s Get Practical
Below are my recommendation to you for how you can double your income:
1. Choose your positioning
You can choose to be a player in either one of:
- Employment i.e. you have a job. Here you have zero ownership and control.
- Self-employment i.e. you outsource your skills as a one-man band
- Business i.e. you create a business with employees and you have ownership and control.
- Employment + Side hustle i.e. You work but also separately have ownership and control.
The reason I keep stressing ownership and control is that:
In the short term, although you really want to double your income, in the long term, what you really want are assets that generate income.
So in choosing how to use your time, you can either choose to:
- Generate income building someone else’s asset, or
- Build your own asset and generate income from it
- Or do both
My recommendation is to do both via Employment + Side hustle and then see how it goes.
If you take it seriously enough, Financial Independence will happen a lot quicker.
Note though that creating a business is not necessarily the right path.
For some, there are hidden upsides to having a job.
2. Move Jobs
I didn’t get to six figures by sticking with the same employer.
Move jobs and ask for at least £10k – £20k more. You should do this if they aren’t rewarding you appropriately.
Choosing to stick with the same job is one of the biggest mistakes most people make.
I have friends who have become years behind career-wise because they lagged and didn’t jump.
3. Explore Your Brand
Think of your name and everything that comes with it as a brand.
You (and your family) are a brand whether you accept this or not.
Successful businesses carry out a brand extension and make money through new products in new markets.
Although this a business strategy, you can apply it to your personal life too.
If you could export your name/expertise, what would it be for?
Notice that I do this via this blog.
The Humble Penny represents my values and beliefs around honesty, integrity, and transparency.
I also use it to promote a positive bias toward personal development, wealth creation, impact etc.
And through this platform, I do a few things:
- Recommend resources e.g. books, apps, productivity resources etc
- Write courses, a number of which are in product development
- Promote brands that offer value to you and others
- Offer Coaching
- Seek partnerships and JV opportunities
- Do product reviews
- Reach tens of thousands of people globally each month.
- Plan to write bestselling books.
Every one of these has a purposeful and an economic objective.
And don’t forget that I do these things from the same position as you – A father, with a job and with 2 kids.
If you’re worried about the lack of time, don’t!
Time can be acquired and multiplied through others.
Your skills for managing people will come into great use.
If you do this and get it right, you’ll never look back or have money worries in time.
Related post: How To Start An Impactful Blog
4. Get Digital
I cannot stress enough the importance of learning how to use the internet as a producer, not a consumer.
Most of the time, I tell people that this site is an experiment. It’s basically what I’m using to acquire digital skills.
If you want the possibility of passive income one day from sources beyond dividend income from investments, then you need the internet.
I can tell you for sure that it’s real as far as money making is concerned.
Put it this way, you can double your income from this one path alone.
You just need to know what you’re doing.
5. Personal Development
I have written about this being the one way to fast track financial independence.
This is especially important if you’re hoping to grow in a job.
One way of growing is to do qualifications that give you a material upside.
If you’ve always wanted to make a career move, doing a high-level qualification in that area is one way to go.
This is likely to cost a lot of money and time before you make money though. So you have to see this as a long-term thing.
There are many ways you can double your income over the next 1 to 3 years.
The journey to doubling your income (and more) begins with your mindset. Then continued effort, action (hard work!), and creativity.
All paths will require you to give something first in order to get your desired outcome.
If your goals are backed with a strong desire, you’ll take the steps necessary.
For actionable ideas, see 85 Ways To Make Extra Money.
- READER CASE STUDIES: What Should I Do With My Savings?
- 6 Ways Of Attracting More Money To Yourself
- READER CASE STUDIES: Life Insurance Worth Paying For Decades?
- 7 Money Making Truths That Will Change Your Life
- READER CASE STUDIES: Pay Off Debts Fast Or Invest?
- 8 Online Business Models To Explore For Your Side Hustle
- Financial Coaching
Have Your Doubled Your Income In The Past? How Did You Do It? Please share in the comments
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
Air Mecca says
Excellent piece! This spoke to my soul. I needed this pep talk more than air. Time to get practical. I’ve tripled my income in 9 years @ the same company, but mentally I’ve always unconsciously restricted myself because I became comfortable. No more! Thank you Ken!
The Humble Penny says
I think that bit about work will resonate with many people. It certainly did for me and the minute you make that move, it will take the pressure off. If you’re going to take the leap, do it but know why you’re doing and be happy with your why.
It’s an inspiring summary. I’m thinking of the suggestions and what I can specifically do, particularly around a side hustle – I don’t know about other people, but translating the general (and true!) to the specific is where I’ve fallen down. I think there’s something about demystifying tendering in the training space, as it’s new for a lot of companies, but that’s a very niche offer, and there are a lot more people with tangential experience in the space than me. Maybe give it a go, at least for practice.
As your very astute summary of my challenges points out, I am risk averse. Despite the podcasts, your blogs and others, I am struggling to shifting my mindset. My desire to improve and grow pulls in one direction and my ingrained mindset the other. I find the conflict stressing.
Suspect the answer is just to put my big boy pants on, but I’m being honest when I say I find it more of a battle than most I seem to meet in the FI community.
The Humble Penny says
Thank you! I enjoyed featuring you on the case study. Thanks again for sharing etc.
I’ve been thinking about your situation and REALLY think that you need someone to hold you to account with starting a side hustle.
You need coaching and that coaching doesn’t have to be with me. Find someone you’re comfortable with and approach them. I really do mean it when I say that it is the fastest way to get a transformation. Especially if the person you go with is really interested in helping you achieve a transformation.
My other core belief is that you already have enough in your hands to move forward. So I’d highly recommend spending some time considering what the ‘next best thing’ is.
If you feel uncomfortable at the thought, it is usually a sign that that’s what you need to be doing. I’d highly recommend getting your wife involved in your creation process. My wife gives me ideas that I could really never imagine.
I’d also highly recommend setting yourself some goals and deadlines. They work!
Please feel free to reach out to me as you go on this journey. It isn’t easy, but it is entirely possible. The fact that this blog exists is proof and I can demonstrate it to you through another 5 – 10 other opportunities past and present.
Just wanted to say I just interviewed for a new role and we’ll see! Big step up in terms of seniority, size of the organisation and money. Feels pretty nerve wracking even without knowing the outcome. Wasn’t my best interview ever but these things are hard to tell. I’ll keep working on that and thinking about side hustles.
Hi I think Andrew is holding himself back with his adversity to risk. He needs to challenge himself about it. I have a friend who was a bank clerk, he actively sought new challenges and targets in his workplace. He moved Banks several times, and now heads up a major bank lending division specialising in higher education lending to Universities. He always lived within earnings, invested bonuses, diversified with properties and saleable assets like antiques.
Myself I am a bit like Andrew, in terms of wanting employment security but where I differ is I will change jobs/ role/ location to suit my needs. If you are undervalued or feeling so it is time to change employer. You have a set of skills, you are your asset. My skills are in demand I know I’m not irreplaceable to my employer though, so I sell my skills by working extra shifts in a different part of the organisation through their “bank staff” system. I have worked agency shifts in the past- a great way to try out a potential new employer without committing totally to the move.
Don’t hold yourself back Andrew. Write a new CV to focus on what you can do, test the waters send it out to a few employers you like the sound of. Do any of the public sector clients offer a role you could fulfill? Maybe reduced income, better pension, time for a side hustle? What would you tell someone else feeling undervalued/ underpaid?
Side hustle for a second income, sounds good but what to do? Maybe look for an opening near you, get elected as a Governor of your local NHS Trust? Not paid but lots of networking can be done. Run an ironing service- you recruit, your wife takes the bookings as she works from home? A gardening service? Look to your skills and think out of the box.
My friend the banker? He can retire now on his assets, but no he keeps at it. Why? He enjoys the knowledge that he can walk away anytime he chooses so is motivated by the negotiations and the numbers, not the pay at the end of the month, but, he never undersells his skills.
Ken Okoroafor says
You make really important points. Your banker friend played the game right.
Love the comment on “You are your asset”. I couldn’t have said it better.
Some fantastic advice here. I wonder if you have ever listened to any Jim Rohn (I didn’t see him referenced on your recommended books page)? I think you would approve of his teachings, as I see many parallels in your pilosophies on money and personal development.
Keep up the great work.
The Humble Penny says
Thank you! I have listened to some of Jim’s teachings on YouTube but haven’t read his books. I’ll make a note to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation.