13 high-income skills to master

Your income determines not only your purchasing power, but also your general capacity to improve your life and get ahead. Earning (abundant) income eludes many of us, and it’s easy to become disillusioned. When you’re not achieving what you want in life due to a lack of resources, direction or drive, it can be a slippery slope into complacency, apathy or despair. You might be tempted to jump ship or settle instead of pursuing your dreams. But just like everything in life, your income is within your realm of influence if you’ll commit to learning new strategies.

You can learn high-income skills in 2020 and beyond that allow you to reach your goals and create meaning in all you do. 

What is a high-income skill?

A high-income skill is a skill that you’ll be able to leverage in order to get paid more in the marketplace. It’s often a soft skill, like passion, communication or reliability, that not many other people have. It delivers unique value to your industry or market, and allows you to control your own salary because you’ll be in high demand.

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13 high-income skills in 2020

The income gap between rich and poor is wider than ever, leaving many to wonder: When it comes to making an income, how is it that some people seem to end up on top, while the rest earn less overall? Is it about personality, or is it a straightforward matter of your skills? And what is a high-income skill that I can master?

While the personality traits of incredibly high earners often distinguish them from lower-income earners, there are also many high-income skills you can learn. High earners consistently implement the following high-income skills.

1. Thinking ahead

It’s impossible to predict the future, but strategic planning is part of every successful outcome. High earners plan ahead on how to leverage the resources they currently have to generate more income.

think ahead

2. Being a perfectionist


Perfection is impossible, but if you’re seeking to learn high-income skills in 2020, up your perfectionism a notch. The search for perfection – results that are as close to what you envisioned as possible – distinguishes high earners, because they won’t settle for less than the best.

3. Sticking to their passions

For people earning a high income, passion drives every decision they make. When you’re living attuned to your passions, you’re living life instead of working a job. You’re able to find meaning in your work since it’s part of your larger life strategy.

follow your passion

4. Being reliable


Reliability is one of the high-income skills that is attractive at any income level. Being reliable is key to building connections. When people know they can rely on you, they’re more open to furthering their professional relationship with you.

5. Staying driven

When you lose your drive, you lose your ability to confidently take massive action. As your enthusiasm shrinks, it’s tempting to slip into complacency. Overcome this trap even when things aren’t going as you’d planned. By tending to your self-confidence no matter what happens, you’re able to keep your momentum going.

stay driven

6. Staying neutral

stay neutral

The ability to think clearly under stress is one of the most advantageous high-income skills in 2020, because grounded thinking clears the way for sound decisions. Keep your thinking balanced by considering alternatives, seeking the input of trusted friends and taking a break when you feel overwhelmed.

7. Communicating clearly

From the boardroom to the family room, unclear communication can wreak havoc. High-income earners consistently rate clear communication as one of the most powerful high-income skills in the long run.


communicating clearly

8. Exercising self-control

self control

One of the most valuable high-income skills you’ll ever develop is the self-control necessary to distinguish between problems and opportunities. There is a time and place for both control and release, and high-income earners know the difference. Your next great product idea may come over drinks on a Wednesday or it might come from buckling down in your next staff meeting – if you’re open to input from your entire team. Or maybe you asked your team for a new product idea, but they didn’t deliver. The key to demonstrating real leadership here is realizing that everyone on your team is a problem-solving resource – and recognizing barriers to your desired outcome is the first step to getting there.

9. Behaving consistently

Given the rapidly changing pace of technology, markets and the economy, consistency is one of the most powerful high-income skills effective not only in 2020, but for years to come. To consistently earn high earnings, you must be… consistent. Your workflow, schedule and interpersonal manner must be stable so others can trust you to get your job done.


10. Believing the impossible is possible

believe in the impossible

At the end of the day, you won’t feel driven to try the impossible if you don’t think there’s a chance of success. Your ability to solve problems and leverage your existing resources is one of the most powerful high-income skills you have.

11. Valuing “soft skills”

In work and life, “hard skills” like technical expertise only get you so far. While hard skills help you make confident business decisions, they don’t help nourish the basis of your career: the people you interact with. Businesses are not machines – they are groups of people working together to achieve a common goal. When you embrace the soft skills necessary for collaboration, you take your earnings to the next level.

As you work to develop high-income skills in 2020, focus on developing empathy, deep-listening skills and a growth mindset that fosters input from all levels of your organization. These are strengths that will take you leaps and bounds in your efforts to increase your income. 

soft high income skills

12. Leveraging existing resources

leverage resources as a high income skill

It’s tempting to think that to develop high-income skills you must recreate the wheel and start over from scratch. While this is true for some people, it’s not necessary for everyone. The skills and resources you already have are an arsenal for increasing your income. The pathways to advancement are numerous, from seeking a promotion at your current place of employment to reaching out to your network or even becoming an entrepreneur. Exploring the possibilities opens doors you may not have even realized existed.

13. Realizing their power to influence

Whatever your industry, harnessing the power of the Internet is one of the most readily-available high-income skills in 2020. The digital world is one where everyone has the capacity for influence. From creating online communities to providing affiliate marketing, with just a keyboard and Internet connection, you’re able to expand your reach to create multiple revenue streams.

use the power to influence as a high income skill

How to develop high-income skills

Now that you know the answer to the question, “What is a high-income skill?” you’ll notice that the list of skills that make money does not include high-income roles, like brain surgeon or nuclear physicist. Making money is all about your mindset, no matter your current occupation.

high-income skills

Raise your standards

Tony has said that “Your income right now is a result of your standards. It is not the industry, it is not the economy.” You don’t always get your goals, but you always get your standards. To develop high-income skills, you need to shift your mindset to accept nothing less than earning more! Learn to project confidence with your body language and communicate in the same ways as high earners. Adopt their standards and don’t look back.

Conquer your limiting beliefs

It comes down to this: If you believe you not only can, but must earn a high salary, you will. Our beliefs create our reality. That’s why it’s so essential to throw out our limiting beliefs and replace them with empowering ones. Rather than telling yourself you’re not confident or have never been a great communicator, start acting confident and communicating. If you “fake it ’til you make it,” eventually you’ll make it!

high-income skills

Surround yourself with the right people

Surround yourself with the right people

The world’s most successful people have a secret: they know about the power of proximity. This is the idea that you are who your friends are, or in Tony’s words, “Who you spend time with is who you become.” Stop surrounding yourself with people who bring you down, don’t share your goals and cause distractions. Instead, find people who have what you want, and figure out how they did it. Finding a mentor, joining a mastermind group or getting a business coach are all great ways to do this.


Build your toolbox

Look to Tony Robbins’ resources on career and business success to help you develop high-income skills. You might enjoy getting started learning about high-income skills related to building client confidence, building a rockstar team, redefining risk, gaining the upper hand in negotiations and turning potential business problems into opportunities.

improving overall skills

A special note for recent grads

recent grads

If you are a recent graduate, money management is key to planning for a successful future. Financial planning for recent grads is actually one of the most powerful high-income skills when you’re first starting off, since it gives you a solid base. Start by creating a spending (and saving) plan that’s realistic and flexible. If you take out college loans, be smart and minimize your debt. Build your credit by making timely payments on everything, and be wary of using your credit inappropriately. Now is the time to start thinking about how to invest your money so that it expands your options in the future.

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