How to Make Money While You’re Young

Updated: February 10, 2024

Whenever I give a talk to college students, there’s always someone who will ask me this question. How do you make money when you’re still young?

I understand where they’re coming from because when I was a college student, I also wanted to earn extra income to augment my allowance.

Interestingly, this is also a question that a lot of young urban professionals have in their minds. Particularly those who are not satisfied with their salary.

When asked this question, I always say one thing…

Unique Value Proposition

When it comes to making money, it’s important to understand that people will always pay you in direct proportion to the perceived value of the service that you offer.

This means if you want high pay, then you have to produce high-quality work. If you want to get paid more, then you need to possess a skill set that’s hard to find in others.

If you cannot offer a unique value, and every other person out there can also do the things that you can do, then don’t expect to make a lot of money.

And as a young person, you probably haven’t mastered any valuable skill yet. Perhaps you still lack experience and a deeper understanding of what other people expect and really need.

That’s the reason why it’s hard to find a high-paying job when you’re still young — and that’s okay.

Skills Over Money

When you’re young, especially if you’re new to the job marketplace, it’s necessary to choose work where you’ll learn and develop new and valuable skills rather than those that pay a good salary.

Sales and marketing, networking and social skills, negotiation and diplomacy, empathy and critical thinking, adaptability, and grit. These are just a few of the things you won’t learn inside the classroom but are important to know and master when you’re in the real world.

In the beginning, learning and developing skills is more important than landing a high-paying job. Because those skills will be of more value in the long run. This is what can help you stand out and make a lot of money in the future.

If you really need extra income, then just look for a part-time job anywhere, do freelance gigs where you can, or start a simple business. If you can earn some decent money, then that’s already a big accomplishment.

Learning is Key

Never stop learning. Never stop improving. When you’re young, dedicate most of your free time to exploring new skills, studying new things, and mastering yourself.

More importantly, don’t expect immediate returns from your efforts. Just be patient with life and with yourself.

Roman philosopher Seneca once said, “Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.”

And that’s exactly what you need to be doing when you’re young — preparing yourself to seize that opportunity when it finally comes your way.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy

One comment

  1. I have noticed a huge difference between the USA culture where I grew up and here in the Philippines. Things have changed a lot since I was young and many US parents will no longer allow there kids to do much work. Liability lawsuits often scarce folks away from allowing children to do small jobs these days. Once I relocated to the Philippines, I generally see adults almost begging to do the same work I used to do in my childhood. One thing we successfully did do: Some street-kids that would beg for money were offered small jobs like picking up the litter on the abutting lot to our home, washing down the floor of the carport etc, My wife cooks up a great meal for after the job was finished and the kids depart happy with adult wages in their pockets for a few hours of not so difficult work. It is not easy for me to understand why poor parents will send their young ones out to beg but never accept work themselves. Our policy (and it is based on the Philippine anti-begging laws) is NEVER give money. we will feed a hungry kid but NO TAKE-OUT food from wherever we happen to be. If the kid is old enough and would like a small job, we find sometime appropriate for them to do and compensate them well, especially if they actually attend school. I believe kids should be allowed to earn at least a little money and go on to learn about saving and perhaps investing for the future.

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