How to increase your income

By Randell Tiongson on March 12th, 2019


I believe the best way to improve your income is to first invest on your best performing asset—YOU! Improving yourself will be the best way for you to earn more. Have you ever honestly asked the question, “Am I investing in myself?”

When was the last time you read a good book? When I say “good book,” I am referring to good reference materials, and not those fictional stories of vampires in love or some fantasy magical school. I noticed that many Filipinos are not in the habit of reading, and I was one of them until my friends from church gave me books and encouraged me to read more. When I started reading books, I realized that I was getting better at my writing, my teaching, and was even becoming an interesting conversationalist. There were many new things I picked up that were directly or indirectly related to my profession. I did not limit my reading to finance materials. I started to read many books on leadership, marketing, investing, economics, business, and others. Of course, part of my daily reading is the Bible where I get much wisdom, especially for financial matters.

I try to read foreign and local books. Foreign writers whose books I love to read are Andy Stanley, John Maxwell, Dave Ramsey, Seth Godin, Larry Burkett, among others. I’ve also found some local books insightful such as the books of Marvin Germo, Dodong Cacanando, Rex Mendoza, Jayson Lo and Dennis Sy, among others,

I don’t limit myself to reading just books; I regularly follow columnists like Efren Cruz, Cito Beltran, Wilson Lee Flores, John Mangun, Henry Ong, etc. I also devour a lot of stuff from the internet, reading many blogs, vlogs, etc. I spend about 1 to 2 hours daily reading, researching, and studying materials. I even go through a lot of Twitter posts; picking up potential materials I can use and following the links.

Podcasts are also something I like listening to especially when I am travelling. I make it a point to periodically listen to the podcasts of Dave Ramsey and Ravi Zacharias.

I also converse frequently with a lot of people and my mentors. Coffee or lunch sessions with them have always been a huge learning opportunity for me. Most notable are my sessions with Rex Mendoza, Dodong Cacanando, Francis Kong and others. My sessions with peers have been great learning opportunities that truly helped me learn, apply, and teach.

I must confess that I still have a lot of unread materials, un-played podcasts, un-opened links, and un-served coffee that I need to work on but I will get to them sooner than later.


It is always a good idea to invest in learning. Many Filipinos are not big fans of trainings and seminars—a big mistake if you ask me. The more I learn from trainings and seminars, reading books, talking to great mentors, and reading columns, the more productive I get.

When I was a young insurance agent, I took a special certification program being offered in the industry. Many of my peers felt it was a waste of money and a waste of time. Instead of being encouraging, many actually discouraged me from spending my hard-earned money (which I didn’t have much of) on a seminar which they saw as useless. While the program was far from perfect, the learning I picked up was able to make me a better insurance agent and gave me a thirst to learn more. I saw myself becoming more confident and competent because of the learning. My investment definitely paid off because I was able to improve my revenue as a direct result of the program I took.

Years later, I became a manager of insurance agents in the company I used to represent. I stumbled upon an imported program for agency leaders but the enrollment cost was quite steep. If I remember it right, the cost was more than P50,000 to enroll in the program. Many of the agency managers in my industry were not investing in the program, and most of them cited cost and time as a reason. Being the learner that I am, I reviewed the program and knew I could benefit from it even if my peers thought otherwise. True enough, I became a better agency manager as a result and my income reflected a rise in multiples of what I paid for the training. I took many more programs and invested in dozens of seminars in a span of two decades—some of those carried a hefty price tag, like the conference I attended in Singapore once you factor in plane fare, hotel, and other incidentals on top of the pricey conference fee.

I have lost track of how much money I spent on my learning but it was all worth it. While there were a number of conferences or books that weren’t really as helpful as I wanted them to be, I’d say that I have learned much from them and it has contributed to who I am today. The returns are quite difficult to compute but it has really paid off in exponential ways. In fact, some of the programs I took I ended up teaching myself.


Have you considered becoming an entrepreneur? Many people think that entrepreneurship is not for everyone, and I do agree. I subscribe to the belief that not everyone is cut out to be an entrepreneur. It is unfortunate whenever someone goes into business and ends up losing money. Here’s my big ‘however’… I think many of us think that those who can’t go into business are too overstated. I’d like to believe that more Filipinos can go into enterprise. My many runs with Go Negosyo and the Association of Filipino Franchisers (AFFI) made me realize that many of us have the potential to be in business and actually make it big. If we have an open mind, we can become an entrepreneur—with God’s grace, you just might make it.

I need to note, however, that we must go into business prepared and not blindly. Learn about the business you want to get into—read about it, research, talk to people, observe the market, prepare a written business plan, check on your finances and all that. There are many reference materials on being an entrepreneur—Go Negosyo has published many books that are easy to understand and yet detailed enough for you to start with. My friend Paulo Tibig also wrote a very helpful book entitled 10 Strategies of a Champion Entrepreneur, a highly recommendable book for those who want to venture into business.

Being entrepreneurial doesn’t mean you need to start a big corporation at once—try some basic buy and sell first or do some commission selling. I am sure there are many opportunities abound for those earnestly seeking. The stories of many successful entrepreneurs in the country are very encouraging because nearly all of them started very small and have very humble beginnings. Any form of additional income from being entrepreneurial will do wonders to augment your cash flow, and that’s when the fun begins.

I once heard Francis Kong say in a seminar, “If you can’t be an entrepreneur, have an entrepreneurial mindset.” Wise words to live by indeed.

Do not let your situation hinder you from improving your income, I know from experience that there are more ways to earn more if you are dedicated and disciplined enough.

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How to increase your income