Intentional Income Design: Behind the Scenes of Busting the Scarcity Mindset

It’s time for the next sneak peek behind the scenes of our upcoming book on busting the scarcity mindset! Below are some excerpts from Chapter 5: Intentional Income Design.

Intentional Income Design

In today’s changing economy, the concept of intentional income design is essential to finding your independence from fluctuating trends and circumstances. By actively shaping how you earn and manage your income, you can bust the scarcity mindset and create a life that aligns with your values and goals. In this excerpt, we will explore three aspects of intentional income design: increasing your income, seeking opportunities, and setting your own rules of engagement.

However, the first step mentally is to let go of a scarcity mindset when it comes to income, and commit to taking charge of your income creation today. After all, if we do not build intentional income by design, we will take what we get by default. Default mode operates at the lowest common denominator of our current awareness of money and what’s possible. Whereas design mode says we are creators who can design exactly what we want our income to be. Rather than living by default, we choose to live by design.

How to Increase Your Income

The first step towards intentional income design is to identify ways you can increase your income. Each way below, as well as any you may brainstorm on your own, comes with its own set of challenges and rewards. It’s important to choose an income increasing strategy that feels true to you and your values.

One simple strategy to increase your income before implementing one of the strategies below is to start by putting all your income into a separate account, then only putting into your checking account what you want to live on that month. This way, you consciously and intentionally separate income from expenses by design.

Below are a few strategies for increasing your income you may consider:

  1. Investing in Education and Skills Development: Investing in yourself is one of the most reliable ways to increase your earning potential. This can mean pursuing higher education, obtaining certifications, or developing new skills relevant to your industry. For instance, if you’re in the tech industry, learning a new programming language or mastering data analysis can open doors to higher-paying positions. Online platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer affordable courses that can enhance your resume and increase your marketability. Ultimately, YOU are your greatest asset. No one can take your education away from you, and the skills you develop expand your ability to earn as well as your confidence and perception of your own capabilities.
  2. Exploring Side Hustles: Side hustles have become a popular way to supplement primary income. From freelance writing and graphic design to ride-sharing and selling handmade goods online, side hustles provide additional revenue streams. Websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and Etsy can help you get started. Side hustles not only boost your income but also allow you to explore your passions and hobbies in a financially rewarding way. Whether for a side hustle or a new main hustle, this list of 16 remote jobs from Yahoo Finance that pay at least $40/hour is worth checking out.
  3. Negotiating Salary and Benefits or Increasing Your Rates: Many people undervalue the power of negotiation. Whether you’re starting a new job, seeking a raise in your current position, or looking to raise your rates in your own business, negotiating can significantly impact your financial situation. Research industry standards, prepare a compelling case for your worth, and practice negotiation techniques. Putting the time in upfront will yield great results in the long run. Employers and clients often expect negotiations, and advocating for yourself can result in better compensation. You can easily earn 10% more (or a bonus of 10%) if you do something that goes the extra mile such as: bring new ideas to your boss or client, offer to do some extra work above and beyond, or bring in new business even if that isn’t your main role.
  4. Passive Income Streams: Creating passive income streams is a key component of intentional income design. It’s not truly passive as the phrase implies, however it can produce results that make income-earning much easier in the long run. Passive income requires an upfront investment of time, money, or both, but it continues to generate revenue with minimal ongoing effort. Examples include investing in stocks or real estate, creating and selling an online course, or earning royalties from creative works like books or music. The goal is to build assets that work for you, freeing up your time and energy for other pursuits.

Seek Opportunities

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” -Socrates

To design your income intentionally, it is important to actively seek out and capitalize on opportunities. This involves staying informed, networking, and being open to new possibilities. It can be tempting to fall into old patterns or beliefs of scarcity, but I encourage you to embrace your new mindset of abundance and use it as your mental foundation to build upon. So many of us get caught in old income models and may even waste energy fighting those old models. Instead, as Socrates advises, put your efforts into building the new. And when it comes to opportunities, that requires having the vision and openness to see new possibilities where others may not.

Here are four ideas for seeking opportunities to get you started:

  1. Networking: Building and maintaining a robust professional network is crucial. Attend industry conferences, join professional associations, and engage on social media platforms like LinkedIn. Networking not only exposes you to new opportunities but also allows you to learn from others’ experiences and gain valuable insights into your field. Strong professional connections can lead to job offers, collaborations, and mentorships that propel your career and business forward. When networking, place a special focus on listening for opportunities and asking questions of others that will open doors for both you and the other person. This is a skill that takes practice and discernment, but it is well worth the investment once you master it.
  2. Staying Informed: The world is constantly evolving, and staying informed about trends in your industry and the economy at large can help you identify opportunities. It can also make you much more interesting to talk with at networking functions! Subscribe to industry publications, follow thought leaders on social media, and participate in webinars and workshops. Being knowledgeable about the latest developments enables you to anticipate changes and adapt your income strategies accordingly.
  3. Being Open to Change: Flexibility is key when seeking opportunities. Sometimes, opportunities come in unexpected forms. Being open to change and willing to take calculated risks can lead to significant rewards. This might mean switching careers, relocating for a job, starting your own business, or exploring a new avenue for investing. Embrace change as a chance to grow and be open to the possibilities you encounter on a daily basis.
  4. Leveraging Technology: Technology has democratized access to opportunities. Platforms like LinkedIn, Glassdoor, and Indeed make it easier than ever to find job openings and connect with employers. Additionally, online marketplaces like Amazon and Shopify allow individuals to start their own businesses with relatively low overhead. Utilize technology as a tool to discover and pursue opportunities that align with your income goals. If learning and using technology tools feels difficult for you, consider hiring an assistant or asking for help from a co-worker who can leverage technology and get the results you are looking for more quickly.

What other ways can you open yourself up to new income-generating opportunities?

Set Your Own Rules of Engagement

Designing your income intentionally also means setting your own rules of engagement. This is your life and your income creation, not anyone else’s. Setting your own rules involves defining how you want to work, what you value, and what boundaries you need to establish to maintain a healthy work-life balance.

The tips below will help you set your own rules of engagement. These are especially important to write out and post where you will see them daily. That way, you will follow your own rules and ask others to do the same. Think about your rules of engagement as the banks of a river. It is important to have sturdy banks so the river doesn’t flood or get off track. Eventually, it will become second nature for you to operate within those rules, and your increased income will flow freely within the firm boundaries you’ve set for your rules of engagement.

  1. Define Your Values: As covered in the previous chapter, understanding what you value most will guide your decisions and actions – both in your personal and your professional life. Do you prioritize flexibility, creativity, financial security, or work that makes a positive impact? Knowing your values helps you make intentional choices about the types of work you pursue and the environments in which you thrive.
  2. Establish Boundaries: Setting boundaries is essential for maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Decide how many hours you want to work each week, when you’re available for meetings, and how much time you’ll dedicate to personal pursuits. Clear boundaries prevent burnout and ensure that your work aligns with your overall lifestyle goals. Communicate your boundaries to employers, clients, and colleagues to foster respect and understanding. Then stick to your boundaries! If this is hard for you, consider finding an accountability partner to help you hold your boundaries, or create consequences for yourself (or others) if your boundaries are crossed.
  3. Create a Personal Income Strategy: Develop a comprehensive income strategy that includes short-term and long-term goals. Consider diversifying your income streams to reduce reliance on a single source. Outline steps to achieve your goals, such as saving a certain percentage of your income, investing in assets, or starting a side business. Then implement one small step each week towards each of those goals. Regularly review and adjust your strategy to stay on track and adapt to changing circumstances.
  4. Embrace Work-Life Integration: Rather than striving for a perfect balance between work and life, consider integrating the two. This means blending your professional and personal activities in a way that enhances your overall quality of life. For instance, if you enjoy traveling, look for remote work opportunities that allow you to explore new places while earning an income. By designing your income around your lifestyle, you create a more fulfilling and sustainable way of living.

As Dan Sullivan says, “Set your own rules so you aren’t following others.”

Intentional income design empowers you to take control of your financial future and create a life that reflects your values and aspirations. By exploring various ways to increase your income, actively seeking out opportunities, and setting your own rules of engagement, you can achieve greater financial freedom and personal satisfaction. Remember, the key is to be proactive, adaptable, and true to yourself as you navigate the journey of intentional income design.

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