“Work hard at your job and you can make a living. Work hard on yourself and you can make a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
In my work as a resume writer, career coach, and senior manager, I spend a lot of time working with people on how they can improve their careers. Too often, there’s a disconnect between their actions and the company’s bottom line. Many feel that if they put in their 40 hours a week, they should get 10 percent raises each year and be promoted … because they’re a hard worker and a good person.
I know it should no longer shock me, but it does. How can someone not see that if you generate results for the company beyond what you’re being paid, you’ll progress. If you don’t, you won’t.
So, if just showing up and putting in the minimum time and effort doesn’t get you there, what do you need to do to quickly progress in your career?
You need to start thinking of yourself as a business.
Brian Tracy, the prolific self-help and business author, wrote, “The basic rule for success in your life, your work, and your career is for you to see yourself as the president of your own personal services corporation.”
What you do beyond the standard 40 hours that the company pays you to work for them is where personal growth, increased value, and heightened visibility (your personal brand) are created.
Working more hours is a part of the equation. Getting in early and leaving late is certainly a tactic that can pay off in the short term. It increases your visibility to management and shows you have the drive to succeed. But without a strategy behind it, you’re destined for burnout.
What Is Your Side Hustle?
What I suggest is something that has become more common in today’s topsy-turvy business environment: the side hustle.
Maybe you know a coworker who is also an Uber or Lyft driver. Maybe they’re a bartender or waitress after work. Maybe they have a cool side business based on their interests. They tell you the cool stories that they hear or live each day while doing their side hustles. But side hustles don’t just create stories – they build skills that translate to a person’s day job as well:
- Knowledge of supply and demand
- Sales skills
- People skills/communication
- Cash flow management
- Time management
- Project management
In the gig economy, there are hundreds of ways to earn money on the side. These gigs can also bring you back to the core elements of business – namely, the connection between what you do and sales, the lifeblood of any company.
Your Real-Life Business Education
By getting a hands-on education in business 101 by way of your side hustle (or even just by taking a similar approach to your work at your day job), you can revitalize your passion and jump-start your career.
Your side hustle diversion will re-energize you, and you’ll begin to notice opportunities to create value in your day job as well. People will start to ask you for advice. You’ll share your stories and become a go-to person. Opportunities to lead new projects and company initiatives will start flowing your way.
As this all happens, your personal brand will grow in prominence. You’ll begin to identify and execute high-value actions that boost the company’s bottom line. As you take action and document your successes, you’ll find you can communicate your value throughout the year – and especially at annual review time.
And guess what – who do you think will get the raise this year? Who do you think will get the bonus? Will it be the person putting in their 40 hours and then heading home to hit the couch, pop open a beer, and watch the latest sitcom for the rest of the night?
Or will it be you, the person who is working on themselves and the business – the person working on their career and creating more value on their own than a handful of punch-the-clock employees could?
You be the judge.
Mike McRitchie has more than 20 years of experience managing wireless telecom buildouts for all the major U.S. carriers. He uses the knowledge gained from running projects and managing consulting business operations to help tech project managers, mid-tier executives, and those who want something more from their careers. Connect with Mike on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.