Want to Earn More Money? Develop a Marketable Skill

Please, for the love of heaven, develop a marketable skill. You won’t earn more money until you do.

In my personal life, I know quite a few people who want to earn more money. They jump from job to job and scheme to scheme, looking for just the “right” job that will provide them with a better income, and put them on the path to financial success. It’s a nice thought, but I think the reason that these folks are struggling (beyond the current job climate) is that they share a common trait: No marketable skill.

If You Want to Be Paid, You Need to Have Something People Will Pay FOR

Here’s a harsh truth for you: If you want to be paid, you need to have something people will pay for. I’m not talking about specific training related to one specific job with one specific company. I’m talking about a marketable skill (or even more than one marketable skill). And, perhaps, some sort of certification that “proves” you have attained a certain level of proficiency in that skill.

Almost anyone can find a low-wage job. It takes a marketable skill — something that someone wants to pay for — to begin making more money. You don’t even have to develop this marketable skill with the expectation of working for someone else. Look about you, figure out what’s in demand, and then develop a marketable skill that allows you to start a home business. Whether you decide to strike out on your own, or whether you want a promotion at work or a better-paying job, the key is to develop a marketable skill.

You Don’t NEED a College Degree to Be Successful

I’m a firm believer that a marketable skill does not have to come from a college degree. There are a number of associate degrees, certifications, and other professional designations that allow you to work toward a successful career and solid finances. A “traditional” four-year degree is not required for your financial success. However, knowledge, ability and sometimes expertise bring opportunities to earn more money. When you are ready to increase your income, you need a marketable skill.

Attend a technical college to receive a certification — and then keep up with changes in your field. Earn a degree (associate, bachelor, professional or advanced) in an area that arms you with a variety of skills, including soft skills. Attend classes that teach you to master a craft so that you can open your own business selling your work. Audit university courses or attend seminars on specific skills, such as presentation, writing and communication, that you think will benefit you. Learn about the latest best practices in your field so that you can consult.

You don’t need a load of student debt to prove that you have accomplished something. It’s possible to develop a solid skill set without great expense. Consider where your natural talents lean already, and then build on that. Find something you can do well. It may take anywhere from two months to seven years (depending on what you choose to do), but your patience and persistence is more likely to be rewarded when you possess a certification or expertise.

There are a number of paths you can follow. But you need that marketable skill. Figure out what people are willing to pay for, and then build your own skill set. You will command a higher wage, feel more satisfaction in your work, and may even be able to turn your skill into the basis for a home business that allows you greater freedom and financial success.

Written by Miranda Marquit

Miranda Marquit is a freelance writer and professional blogger, specializing in personal finance, small business, and investing topics. She writes for a number of financial web sites and blogs, and has been featured in numerous media. Read about life as a freelancer at MirandaMarquit.com and in her book Confessions of a Professional Blogger.

6 Responses to Want to Earn More Money? Develop a Marketable Skill

  1. I totally agree with you here! I decided at a young age what I wanted to “be when I grew up”. I went to a trade school, got my certificate, took advanced classes and now have 2 fantastic marketable skills. I didn’t do it with debt or 4 year master degrees, it was just like you said here. And totally worth it!

    • Miranda Marquit says:

      Hi Carrie! That’s great that you have been able to develop skills that help you in your career — and it’s great that you did it without being burdened with debt! I think that college can be great (I did it, after all), but it’s not the only way to attain valuable and useful skills. And, really, that’s what you need. A useful skill set.

      • louis says:

        College isn’t meant to develop a particular “skill” (although unfortunately that is what it is turning into- a high priced trade school). College was initially intended to educate students in multiple diverse topics to develop common themes of critical thought, independent ideas, and valuable insights. These abilities are meant to apply to all facets of life.

  2. I couldn’t agree more Miranda. I got a 3 yr Bachelors degree and the best job I could get was in a call centre @ minimum wage.

    I went back to school (college this time) to take a 3 yr Programmer Analyst diploma program. I landed an IT internship w/ the Ontario government and 9.5 years later I am a senior Business Analyst in a position that pays almost as high as on can make as a non-management position in the public service.

    Without the training in programming and analysis I would likely never have ended up where I am now. I needed to know HOW to do something beyond being able to “think” and “write” which is what my degree taught me. Coupled together the degree and diploma are a powerful combo when looking for work.

    • Miranda Marquit says:

      Really, it’s about finding out what you can do that others are willing to pay for. A degree, a professional training program, or a certification program can all help. The key is to figure out what people are willing to pay for, and then find out what knowledge and experience are needed to become proficient.

  3. ken says:

    i agree that having a marketable skill can make you more money but it does not guarantee you more money. There are several people out of work with advanced degrees and certifications. Alot of people are brain washed that if they go to college they will have a job. If they believe that then they probably believe in the Boogey Man. Getting a job starts within so, if you do not have a job it is not always the economy. Now, don’t get me wrong college is very good to have and it will help you to find a good job but will will not guarantee you a good job.

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