How to Get the Skills to Pay the Bills

Everybody wants to get paid more. You do. I do. We all do. Unfortunately, most people don’t realize that you can’t get paid more for doing the same old job year after year. You’ve got to keep yourself fresh, gain new skills and bring more value every year. Better income comes from better work and increased ability. In other words, you need to get the skills to pay the bills.

Think of yourself as a bucket. If you think of yourself as a bucket and the money you’re making as water then it becomes obvious that you need a bigger bucket. Bigger bucket (your skills and abilities) equals more water (money) that you can handle. Time to increase your capacity and acquire more marketable skills.

Developing and strengthening new skills will help you move onto bigger and better things. Nobody’s going to pay you if you can’t get the job done. It’s vital to keep building your competence in today’s ever-changing environment.

I’d like to share a few simple techniques for improving your skill base.

Read/ listen to the right books/ audiobooks and then do what they say

Mankind’s full body of knowledge can be found in books. Over centuries people have poured their knowledge onto paper and shared it with the world. A person will develop skills over decades and then put everything they know into a book. It would be silly to try mastering a skill without first getting instruction that can easily be found.

They are books written on every subject you can think of. You can get them for cheap on sites like Amazon. Or you can borrow them for free from your local public library.

Get a book that teaches the highly marketable skills that can help you most. Read it from cover to cover. Then actually do what the book says to do. Practice. Try, fail, adjust, try again. It will take time but you’ll get there.

Take classes and attend workshops

This is one of the best ways to turbocharge your abilities. You may not be able to afford to spend the time and money that a college degree requires. There are other ways to learn what you need to succeed in the marketplace. A great alternative is taking classes on the side or earning a professional certificate.

You can pay a few hundred dollars and learn a software program, like Microsoft Word, in one day. Paying a few hundred dollars for a new marketable skill worth thousands is a serious bargain.

You’ll save time by learning from an instructor instead of trying to teach yourself on the fly. You’ll learn the best ways to get things done and dramatically improve your productivity. Soon you’ll develop a reputation for expertise. People are always willing to pay more for expertise.

Professional certificates can be earned at colleges through their continuing education adult programs, like NYU’s SCPU. They focus on teaching students only what they need to know to get the job done. There’s no filler material to stretch your program out over 4 years.

If you pursue an accounting certificate, they’ll teach you accounting. You won’t have to take psych classes or essay writing or anything unnecessary for you. Just what it takes to be an accountant.

These options can boost your skills quickly and are very affordable.

Do somebody else’s work

Say yes to added responsibility that isn’t your job description. Help your boss do his work as much as possible.

At first this sounds stupid. Nobody wants to do someone else’s work. The first reaction is to say:

That’s not my job!

It’s understandable that you don’t want to feel like you’re being taken advantage of. Besides, you have your own work to do!

The reason to take on extra work outside of your regular duties is to widen your skill base. Unfamiliar projects will call for you to develop new skills that you haven’t used before. You’ll gain valuable experience. You’ll increase your competence along with your confidence.

You can apply for bigger and better positions than the one you currently hold. A potential new employer will be impressed with your versatility. It’s possible to convince them you have the experience necessary for a higher position even if you’ve never held the title.

Put it all together

Use these simple techniques to ramp up your ability and get yourself on the fast track.

Read books for new ideas and then try them out in the real world. Take classes on the side to shorten your learning curve. Take on work outside of your job description to gain new skills you couldn’t gain otherwise. Do these things repeatedly and soon you’ll have the skills to pay the bills.


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