Analysts and others think that maybe this year will see some economic recovery. Some of the economic news is showing improvement, such as the unemployment rate. However, economic officials like Ben Bernanke see recovery coming slowly this year. We might be moving in the right direction, but we are moving quite slowly. However, that doesn’t mean that things aren’t picking up. Consumer spending appears to be on the rise, and the stock market has been rallying lately. All of this means that maybe companies are ready to begin providing raises.

Wage Increases Expected in 2011

Indeed CNN Money points out that there are wage increases expected in 2011:

More than 98% of companies said they plan to increase base pay in 2011, according to Mercer’s recent compensation survey.

And separate survey by human resources firm Towers Watson found that fewer companies are freezing salaries this year, with only 5% planning to do so in 2011, down from 12% last year and 32% in 2009.

And, of course, the recently passed tax package comes with a reduction in the Social Security tax. So, even if you don’t get a raise this year (the CNN Money story points out that any raise is likely to be small — 2.8%), you are still likely to get a little more money in your pocket. Even so, any raise you do get may not be terribly substantial. Some folks are still just satisfied if they don’t lose their jobs.

Creating Your Own Raise

The good news is that you don’t have to rely on your employer to increase your income. You can create your own raise in 2011. It requires some planning, and a desire to increase your income diversity, and perhaps some hard work. The key is cultivating your own source of income — a source of income that doesn’t rely on what a single company can pay you. Here are some things you can do to create your own raise in 2011:

  1. Do some freelance work or consulting: If you can write, edit, program, design or have some other skill, you can do freelance work, or consult. Start a little side business offering your skills to others. If you have an eye for design, you can consult as an interior decorator or offer your services to help stage homes for real estate agents. You can do graphic design or write computer software from your home. These are skills that you can be paid for — outside of your regular job.
  2. Start a web site: You can earn money through affiliate marketing or from ads if you start a web site. However, you need to have the time available to you to make it successful enough to generate a decent income.
  3. Write, publish and sell an ebook: Technology has made self-publishing easier. You can write a book and sell it on your own. You keep all the profits (but you are also responsible for all the marketing). If you aren’t interested in doing it all yourself, you can go through one of the many publishers that will help you do it at a low cost. A book I co-wrote recently, Community 101, didn’t cost me anything. The publisher took on all the costs, and I get royalties.
  4. Build an income portfolio: You can also get involved in income investing. Build a portfolio of dividend stocks and bonds, and start cultivating an income stream.

If you take a few minutes to think about it, you will find that you can get a raise in 2011 — even if your employer doesn’t offer one.

This post was included in the Carnival of Personal Finance