Step 40: Plan your income

Step 40 of the 100 steps mission to financial independence: Plan your income
Step 40.: Plan your income

For the past 8 steps we’ve looked at different income sources and you have analyzed each one in detail, looking at your own situation to determine whether any of these might be possible avenues for you to pursue further. What else do we want, right?

Well, just one last thing: a plan. If you truly want to change your income, thinking and talking about it is all nice and fun, but nothing will ever happen unless you make a plan and stick to your plan. Feeling inspired to do something about your finances is one thing, but actually getting off your bottom and taking action is what will ultimately determine whether anything will change, or whether it will just remain a fantasy .

Yes, I know that you’ve looked at each possible income stream already, that you have brainstormed ideas and that you have even considered whether some of these ideas would be worth the extra time or money etc. But what was the conclusion? Did you want to stick to what you’ve already got or did you want to get more control over your overall income? Are you going to pursue any of your ideas? And if so, which one are you going after first? How are your going to do this? What is your end goal? When are you going to start? And what do you need to do in order to get started?

Step 40 – Plan your income – in detail:

In this step we are going to work backwards and start with a future goal, then working all the way back to today to see how to actually get there.Get out your famous notebook or digital file and let’s get started with the following questions:

  • Let’s start with setting a clear goal: What is your income target in 5 year’s time? How much would you like to be making by then? Five years is a long enough period in time to work towards to and make real changes, while it isn’t too long for it to have no urgency to it. I.e. if you said you want to triple your income in 20 years’ time, you probably feel that you have loads of time left, so you don’t need to start yet.
  • Bear in mind that inflation will in 5 years’ time have devalued your money, and although we don’t know how the inflation rates will develop in the next five years, let’s assume they will be somewhere between 2% and 5%, meaning your money will be worth around 10%-28% less. This means that if you are currently earning $2.000 a month, you’ll need to make between $2.200 and $2.560 in 5 years in order to be able to do the same with your money as you can now.
  • Set yourself a target you feel super motivated about, whether that is earning 20% or 50% more than you do now, or twice as much or maybe even 10 times as much. Be honest with yourself and don’t set a higher or lower number than what you really feel you want.
  • Write down the date in five years’ time along with your target income, set it as a deadline that in exactly 5 years from today, you want to earn that amount.
  • Look at the seven income streams individually and go through every single idea that you came up with and answer the following questions:
    • time invested: how much time would you need to invest weekly and how long for in order to achieve this?
    • money needed: how much money would you need in order to implement this idea?
    • likelihood of success: how likely is it that this idea will lead to your desired outcome?
    • own motivation: how motivated do you feel in order to pursue this? Is this something you could enjoy doing, or is it mainly an idea that you wouldn’t actually want to do?
    • likely monthly increase in 5 years: how much would this idea add to your monthly wage in 5 years?
    • sacrifices: what sacrifices would you need to make in order to pursue this idea?
    • starting date: when would you be able to start this?
    • what skills or information would you need?
  • At this stage what you might want to do is draw up a chart or matrix with in the first column the different ideas, and in the top row the questions / categories mentioned above, so you can easily compare the various options:

step-40-chart-crop

  • Now this can have as many ideas as you want, whether that is 3 or 20 or 100 ideas. Go through every single one of them and answer the questions above, and any other questions you might want to add.
  • When you are finished, look at your matrix and compare each idea against the other ones to determine which idea you should pursue. This might not be the one that generates the highest income or needs the least amount of time. Decide which of the factors are most important to you. For example, I would never take on a project that I didn’t rate with a minimum of very high or 4 out of 5 for motivation or enjoyment. Even if something else would make me more money, if I didn’t enjoy it I would not pursue it. What is your critical factor? Determine the minimum score you’d need on the each question individually.
  • You should now narrow it down to one or maybe two top projects. I would personally recommend against taking on more than one new project at once so you can focus on one at the time, but that’s up to you.
  • Once you’ve got your project that you feel happy with and comfortable to start working towards to, determine the first step you need to take. What can you do TODAY that will make you start this, so that from now on every day you can work towards achieving your new goal. Write down your first step, then write down a second and third step. Schedule them into your calendar. From now on, work your plan, stick to it and every time you’ve completed a step, determine the next step and schedule it into your calendar. Remember that with every step, however small, you get a little bit closer to your goal.
  • Add this analysis to your monthly finance review list, and from now on make sure to review your plan, see whether you are on track and how you should make any adjustments, in order to get to that target that you set yourself in 5 years’ time.

And here ends our mini series on income. I hope you’ll work your plan so that you reinforce that you can be in control of your own income, whether that is in your job or in one of the other 6 income streams. There are many possibilities to grow your income, so take matters into your own hands and start working towards the income you want to get.

Read more about my 100 steps mission to financial independence or simply decide to take control today and join us on our step-by-step quest on how to make your finances work for you, starting with step 1.

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