How I got most value from my work & increased my income

This article is a continuation of my journey to financial-freedom. If you haven’t already, start with these:

Now, we are at STEP 7.


STEP 7: VALUE YOUR LIFE ENERGY – INCREASING YOUR INCOME

If you have done step 1 – 6, you will already found out a few important things:

  • your real hourly wage
  • how you spend your money
  • and how much satisfaction you get from it
  • understand the concept of Life Energy
  • minimized your spending

Next, we will focus on maximising our income

“Step 7 is about increasing your income by valuing the life energy you invest in your job and exchanging it for the highest pay consistent with your health and integrity”

Getting the most value – money and satisfaction – from your work

The book dives into our concept of work: ‘What is work?’ and how we have come to a point where work consumes us and became our identity. I strongly suggest that you read Your Money Or Your Life.

This is not ideas and ways to increase your income (maybe I’ll write about that soon). Earning money for money sake is not the goal; the real goal is to use money to live a good life.

So what I’m trying to do today is just sharing:

  • Changing the way you understand ‘work’ (it should not be a drudgery, or your main source of fulfilment)I
  • How I managed to increase my income
I managed to eventually found work that I enjoy and pays comfortably.

3 New Concept of Work

1. YOU ARE NOT MAKING A LIVING. YOUR ARE MAKING A DYING

If your job robbing your health, relationship and time? You may think you’re making money to survive but the truth is your work might be slowly killing you…

Are you working so hard that:

  • your health is getting worst you are not getting enough sleep, getting palpitations from stress, and having no time to eat healthy
  • your relationship is in trouble you are not spending time with your partner and children and that they start to resent you
  • you feel like life is dull you feel like a zombie with no time to do things that you love

2. WORK DOES NOT HAVE TO YOUR IDENTITY OR ONLY FULFILMENT

Paid employment doesn’t have to be the only thing that gives meaning, purpose, and fulfilment to you.

I have a friend in a high-paying job who is in a dilemma whether she should leave her job to take care of her baby. But she cannot as her job gives her identify and meaning and she claim that she ‘will go crazy’ without it.

‘Not having a job’ or being unemployed has such a negative connotation. If you don’t have a ‘proper work’ with an ‘established company’, society may make you you feel like a loser.

But work does not always mean paid employment. It can be any productive activity that you do. Paid employment (your job) is one of the many types of work.

It means that even if you don’t have paid employment, you can still find fulfilment and pride from other purposeful things that you do e.g small at-home business or even a stay-at-home-mom

disclaimer: I believe a mother has a choice to work or not. And I advocate that women, if possible, strive to be financially independent.

While I’m known as a cooking instructor/consultant, I’m aware that it is not my full identity. I find other things that fulfils me and makes me ‘me’

3. IF THE PRACTICAL PURPOSE OF PAID EMPLOYMENT IS JUST MONEY – IT SHOULD BE WORTH YOUR LIFE

We trade our time for money. And our precious time is what our life is made of.

Time = Life

If the practical purpose of paid employment is money (not identify or fulfilment), the money that we exchange with our time is better worth our life.

Is that money that you are getting in exchange of your life enough to justify spending so many of our limited hours on earth on it? Is your job worth your life?


HOW I INCREASED MY INCOME & GOT MORE VALUE FROM MY WORK

Everyone’s financial and career situation is different, so I’m going share with you how I personally get most value and money out my work:

1. I choose not to make a dying

No job in the world is worth sacrificing what makes life meaningful and important to me. I will not trade this for a lot of money (not in a long term anyway) that will destroy my:

  • health
  • mental sanity
  • relationship
  • and takes away too much of my time

As a food consultant (some say entrepreneur as I do multiple things including running a cooking school called New Malaysian Kitchen and writing cookbooks), I have plenty of opportunities to make more. But I turned down projects that seems to pay a lot, but takes away a lot from me.

Nowadays turn down some work. I rather earn much less money than working on projects that at the end robs me of my time, health, and mental sanity. Of course, the fact that I:

  1. Have enough savings and some investment
  2. Live below my means How I minimize spending & not deprive myself?
  3. Find a lot of joy from non-monetary things How much satisfaction do you get from your spending?
  4. Have no debt/financial commitment

helps a lot.

I know that’s a privilege and I am grateful for that. Having said that, it also come with sacrifices and effort to reach this stage. I spent many years working on my life/finances/career so that I have a choice to turn down work that is not inline with my values and goals.

The fact is that I chose to earn less than I potentially could at this moment (which ironically may help me be financially-free in a long run)

If I was a capitalist, I could try to make more and live a more ‘luxurious’ life. A lot of my peers do so and have much ‘better things’ e.g car or house. But I choose to live simply (but comfortably). Having time and freedom is the real luxury to me.

How you can apply to your life: Are you making a dying? Are you sacrificing what’s important to you – e.g loving relationship, good health, mental sanity – in your life for money? If yes, what can you do to change the situation?

I refuse to sacrifice my health, mental sanity, and time with family for more money. I’d rather earn less and learn to enjoy the simple pleasures in life like gardening, than chasing the next luxury fashion item.

2. Strategise and work on increasing my income

STEP 7 in my financial journey is simply valuing my life energy and increasing my income. I do this not out of greed or competition but out of self-respect and appreciation for life.

With this mentality, I set up to increase my income by:

  1. Provides unique menu and experience to tourist and expats at my cooking school, New Malaysian Kitchen
  2. Offer private classes to food business owners
  3. Charge enough for my food consulting work to worth my life e.g recipe development, food writing
  4. Write two blogs which I get advertising money from

In short, I spend my time to increase my knowledge/skills and create high value services or product that people are willing to pay for.

How can you apply it in your life? What can you offer at your job and ask for a better pay? What special skills or unique product can you offer/create that can be sold for money? Identify that and then work on it!

I spend my time developing highly requested recipes e.g Siu Yuk/ roast pork and offer private classes to business owners

What can you do to get more value and money from your job?

If you think you are getting value and enough compensation at your work, congratulations!

If not, there’a few things you can do:

  1. Enhance your current job
  2. Change your job
  3. Work on a new side gig (if possible, charge more at your main job)
  4. Work on being financially-free and live off your investments

I know perhaps this post can be too simplistic. But I think it’s a good start to get us thinking of our job, and what we can do about it so that it is inline with what we want in life. There is more to this chapter, so please read the book.

TLDR/ Takeaway from this article:

  1. Your time and life is precious, find ways to increase your pay
  2. Work doesn’t have to be paid employment, or the only thing that gives us fulfilment and identity
  3. There are many types of work and many ways to earn money
  4. You have power to increase your income

Life is made from your time on earth. Make sure when you exchange this precious commodity we call time for money, it pays you well enough to worth your life.

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