Embrace the May Call to Action (You Could Win $100!)

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Grow Your XDid you know that May is Better Sleep Month—along with National Correct Posture Month and National Salad Month?

At LearnVest we’ve come up with a feel-good theme of our own for May—and it’s all about ways to help give your income a healthy boost, from starting a side business to mastering the art of the counter offer.

So to kick things off, there are two asks to this month’s call to action. Our inquiring minds want to know: What’s the most you’ve increased your income at any one time—and how exactly did you do it?

Maybe a savvy new job negotiation resulted in a hefty salary bump. Or perhaps you turned a weekend hobby into a booming online business. Whatever it is, share your experience in the comments below—and you’ll be entered for a chance to win $100!

And be sure to use your email address when you comment—it won’t be visible to other users—so we can notify you should you win.

Open only to legal residents of the 50 states and the District of Columbia who are at least 18 years old as of the date of entry. Premium users are not eligible. Contest running from May 1, 2014, through May 22, 2014. We will select the most compelling entry as the winner, and his or her story may be published on the site.

LearnVest Planning Services is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary of LearnVest, Inc. that provides financial plans for its clients. Information shown is for illustrative purposes only and is not intended as investment, legal or tax planning advice. Please consult a financial adviser, attorney or tax specialist for advice specific to your financial situation. Unless specifically identified as such, the people interviewed in this piece are neither clients, employees nor affiliates of LearnVest Planning Services. LearnVest Planning Services and any third parties listed in this message are separate and unaffiliated and are not responsible for each other’s products, services or policies.

  • Ruth

    I got a second jobat my barre studio (front desk position)!! I was taking classe there anyway, and now because I am an employee the classes are discounted 75%! Plus, I can take classes while I am working and I will be able to write off my workout clothes in my taxes(I have to wear workout tights as a uniform, SCORE!). So far, it is a win-win-win situation. And all of the extra income is going into my savings for a new houes :-)

  • Kfowl1

    I increased my earnings by starting a business instead of simply “working in a coffee shop” while in graduate school. Even now as I attempt to begin my career as an educator, my business earnings have doubled each of last three years, and have paid me a living salary – on a part time schedule!

  • toya1208

    I started driving Lyft and increased my income by thirty percent.

  • Alyssa

    My biggest salary jump was almost 50%. I got the tip on the job via networking and the person who was hiring was a friend of a friend. I got a feel for what kind of budget they had and had my friend talk to the hiring manager about expectations. Even though what they initially offered me was a 30% raise – which was huge – I couldn’t shake the feeling that they had an even bigger budget in mind. So I countered – and asked for the number I felt I was worth and what I felt they could afford. Even though it was scary – I could have walked away from an amazing opportunity and 30% increase! – I followed my gut, and read the signals from my peers. In the end, it really paid off (pun intended).

  • JI

    A couple of years ago I increased my salary by $15,000 simply by going to salary.com and finding out the competitive wage for my role. Of course, I was also a rock star employee, so my new manager was more than happy to increase my salary and keep me on board.

  • Barbara Etta Swanner

    I decided to start a savings account at my Local Credit Union. I have so much taken out of my pay check when I get paid. Its not a lot but it is a start. Its hard to save when you are the only one working. It has taught me a little will add up quickly.

  • Markika Harris

    In January 2014, after being laid off from a university job, I increased my salary by 30%. I decided to be open to contract work instead of looking for permanent positions only. The result has been pretty good so far as I had an immediate significant bump in salary.

  • Jeff

    I work in a hospital as a Physician Assistant, where I have numerous duties that often change on a daily basis. However, our schedule is great, we work 7 days on, 7 days off. I was looking around for some additional work or responsibilities (being single with no kids, 7 off is a ton of time haha). It just so happened that a lady that does the insurance billing for our service had been promoted and they were looking to hire someone new to take her place. I was already familiar with the job and what it entailed, so I made an offer to my boss. In doing so, I increased my salary by 30k a year.

  • Contessa Akin

    I have increased my family income to meet what my husband used to make. He is a police officer and always wanted to be with a big department, the switch meant we would take a $15,000 a year pay cut. I researched and now contract merchandising jobs as I can with http://www.castforce.com and most importantly, cut any unnecessary costs like cable, home phone, conscious use of essentials like water, gas and electric, I am freezer cooking which saved us a bunch on groceries! We are ok!

  • Roxanne in PDX

    Well, I asked. As the only female member of the management team, I had a “Corporate Manager” title, and the other male members had “Director” title. So I asked for the Director title first. After I received that, I asked that my pay be comparable to the other male directors (though I did not mention the male part, just the other directors). My supervisor agreed, but that it take place over two review cycles (cultural issue with the owners). I am still just below the lowest paid director, but I should be caught up this year. I would never have received it if I hadn’t asked. Actually something I’m proud of, took me a while to figure out the worst I would hear was “no”.

  • Caroline McCain

    At my last job, I negotiated a pretty nice raise after my first year there.

  • Megan B.

    I increased my income by about 50% by changing jobs. I went from making 32K at my first job out of college (that was after 3 years, and 2 promotions!), to 46K at a new job. I loved my old job but couldn’t afford to work there anymore; I wasn’t able to put anything into savings. I researched what I was worth by checking salary reports for my career field in my city/metro area. Then when it came time for my interview, I didn’t divulge my current salary; I countered with “This is what I would like to be making.” It worked, they offered me just above what I asked for.

  • Suzi2144

    Around New Year’s Day 2013 I received a LearnVest newsletter with an article about earning some additional money in ways I hadn’t thought of before. At that point, my husband had just started a business and I was a stay at home mom. We were bootstrapping it, and money was tight. The LearnVest article included jobs such as babysitting and tutoring…..and Mystery Shopping! At the time, I didn’t know that Mystery Shopping was an actual job. I researched it and decided to give it a try. In 2013 my income went from $0 to $7000.00 – from Mystery Shopping. Reading this one article has given our family the extra $ that we needed – as well as an empowering job where I am my own boss.

  • Cara Tan

    I’ve only been in the workforce for about 2 years of my life. I graduated college and got a job from where I was interning at during my last quarter of school. Of course, a no-brainer, obtaining my diploma (undergrad degree) bumped up my wage/salary from by 1.5X what I was making as an intern. Also, during my hiring/full-time transition, I negotiated a bit and got an extra $1000/yr for my new permanent position! I leveraged my experience and skills I gain from working at the company as an intern to ask for a little more.

  • Sarah

    I sold my mother’s old Barbie clothes on Ebay. I had just over 50 items that I sold in one month and made over $1000. This was my first project that got me started in selling on Ebay in the late 1990′s. To this date I have sold everything from old toys to jewelry to unworn clothing, and shoes. I am a name brand junkie and buy a lot of my wardrobe on sale and when I have decided that I no long want it as part of my collection I post it on Ebay to make extra money. Now that Ebay lets you post the first 50 items free each month I have a constant extra stream of income that I use to fund my Ebay shopping habit.

  • Lauren P

    When I graduated college (2013), the company I was interning at made me an offer for 60K. In Los Angeles, that seemed like enough to carve out a pretty decent living. I negotiated for a meager relocation bonus and was prepared to take the offer.

    Something inside told me to keep looking, though, and I flew wherever companies would send me for interviews. A month later, I found a company that offered me 85k, 40% more!

    By not taking the “easy way out” and simply “being grateful I even got a job in this economy,” I got to start my career at the top.