Virtually, everyone’s ears prick up when someone doles out ideas on making more money ASAP. Especially if that money can come without a serious amount of more work, less time sleeping and a deep cut into your quality of life. Our cost of living rises all the time with higher rents and prices on everyday living items like gasoline, groceries and consumer goods. But what do we do to help counter those raises? This is when we need to think about literally raising ourselves first. Boosting your income doesn’t happen spontaneously. It’s acquired by you, rather than given to you. The key to making more money is less about secrets than it is about reminding ourselves how to be assertive, creative and act like a chess player—someone who thinks three moves in advance.

Never think that you can’t ask for more money, but do be ready with a game plan. First, try to avoid coming from a place of need or want, as in saying “I need (or want) a raise” to your employer and expecting a swift yes.

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