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Looking to invest in yourself with some high-income skills in 2024? No worries, I’ve got you covered.

My name is Sam and I’ve been fortunate to acquire a few high-income skills over the last decade with my experiences as a Realtor, Pharmacist, and now online entrepreneur.

But now, I’m on a journey to acquire new online skills to help me sustain an income from anywhere in the world. So if I can do it, I know you can too.

Lets make money meme

This specific list is about the top high-income skills that you can learn on your own that will help you make more money next year.

This list is NOT a list of skills that make a lot of money requiring decades of study (obviously, being an AI computer scientist or a neurosurgeon is a very high-income skill). Check out this list of best paying jobs for more of that.

High-Income Skills To Teach Yourself Right Now

College is expensive. I should know as I racked up 380K for a B.S. in Biochem, a Minor in Business Administration, and a Doctorate of Pharmacy. I didn’t take a step back and look at what the return on my investment would be, and I’m hoping to help others avoid the same fate.

I’ve divided this list into hard skills vs soft skills; here’s a quick definition as a refresher:

  • Hard Skills: Technical skills to learn that are teachable (i.e., things you can get a certification for, etc).
  • Soft Skills: Personal skills that will help you succeed no matter your industry (i.e., public speaking skills).

Hard Skills

1. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

  • Earning Potential: Variable; $40,000 to $100,000+
  • Time To Learn: 6-12 months
  • Startup Investment: $1,000-$4000
  • Time To Earning: Usually 6 months+ for money to start

I’ve placed SEO at the top of the list for a reason- it’s how I’ve managed to transition out of my pharmacist career, and it’s quite easy to learn as a side hustle if you’re looking to do the same.

First, what is SEO?

Basically, if you Google anything (for example, “how to crochet for beginners”), you’ll notice that there will be sponsored ads first, maybe some YouTube videos, and then you’ll find organic articles.

How do you think those articles got into the first couple positions or rankings?

That’s right…. search engine optimization or SEO. It’s incredibly tricky to be ranked in the top positions of search engines like Google or Bing, but if you can master it, the possibilities are endless.

Pros & Cons With SEO

Here are the quick pros and cons of learning search engine optimization.

SEO Pros

  • SEO skills are always going to be in demand.
  • Location-independent, you can work from anywhere in the world with a laptop.
  • You can very quickly learn SEO and start consulting right away.

SEO Cons

  • If you’re using SEO for your business or blog, it will take a long time (6 months+) to see any money.
  • SEO is ALWAYS changing, so you need to stay updated at all times.

How To Monetize With SEO

Once you have this skillset, you can do so many things. Create your own blog, consult for brands and companies looking to expand their content marketing, or just get an SEO specialist job.

  • Affiliate marketing: If you recommend a specific product that you genuinely love, you can make a commission from it.
  • Sponsorships: If you hold a high-traffic keyword, brands are willing to pay thousands of dollars to be at the top of your list.
  • Ad Revenue: Ads can be strategically placed in high-trafficking sites.
  • Sell Your Own Products: If you have a great audience in a specific niche, you can use SEO to promote your own products organically.
  • Consulting or Freelancing: Many companies do not have the time to establish organic traffic to their website. With SEO skills, you can consult and make big bucks, increasing traffic to site landing pages.

Ultimately, any business owner should have the basics covered when it comes to SEO, especially with the rising costs of PPC ads and sponsorships. This is a very valuable skill to learn, and the earning potential is only limited to your niche and creativity.

How To Learn SEO

As an SEO guru myself, I hands down recommend Adam Enfroy’s Blog Growth Engine Course. I’ve taken a ton of online courses, and this mastermind has been one of the best returns on investments of any course I’ve ever taken.

Blog Growth Engine Logo and Masterclass

Essentially, they take out any of the technical skills you think you may need and do a lot of hand-holding, so anyone with any background can master it within a few months.

2. Video Editing

  • Earning Potential: Highly Variable; $40,000-$100,000+
  • Time To Learn: 1-3 months
  • Startup Investment: $100-$3000 (depending on if you need a laptop).
  • Time To Earning: As soon as you get your first client

Have you noticed when you Google something recently, there is now a ton of video content appearing?

This is because digital marketing has pivoted from longer-form written content (like blog articles) to short-form video content like TikTok and Instagram Reels.

Attention spans are getting shorter, and brands have seconds to capture attention.

Because of this, companies and entrepreneurs have to expand their online presence across many video platforms, which means they’re in need of a LOT of video editors.

Video Editing Pros & Cons

If you’re someone that’s interested in this kind of skill, here are some pros and cons to consider.

Video Editing Pros

  • You can quickly learn video editing and start earning money.
  • There is so much free video editing resources to learn from on YouTube.
  • There are hardly any startup costs, just your computer and likely Adobe Premiere Pro.

Video Editing Cons

  • Your income is highly determined by you and your ability to find clients.
  • The market is pretty saturated. You need to be able to deliver an exceptional product to charge higher.

How To Monetize With Video Editing

Another thing to consider is if you’re looking to get work as a staff editor in a corporate setting or freelance. Hiring managers are always looking for more video editors, but the money potential won’t be as high (but you’ll get benefits!).

I recommend picking a specific niche that you love and then dominate it. Here are a few creative ideas where skilled professionals are needed:

  • YouTube Videos
  • Online Education Courses
  • Social Media Marketing Videos
  • Wedding Videos
  • Travel Video Editing

How to Learn Video Editing Skills

Like the other high-income skills we have discussed, there are a ton of online tutorials or free resources to help you master the craft. Some popular YouTube creators include Premier Basics or Vince Opra.

There are also some great courses on Udemy or Coursera.

3. Newsletters & Email Feeds

  • Earning Potential: Highly Variable; Nothing to Six Figures
  • Time To Learn: 1 month
  • Startup Investment: $0
  • Time To Earning: 6-12 months+

Now, this is one that I really wish I had known more about earlier, because I was primed to be in the right place and right time and lost my opportunity.

People need information, and when AI came out, people couldn’t keep up with the pace that the industry was spitting out new products and new tech advances. So take a look at this popular channel called the Rundown AI. He’s managed to garner 115,000 followers in under a year, and now curates an amazing weekly newsletter to keep you updated on all the latest news.

Show of the Rundown AI X account.

Now, he probably makes 7-figures on sponsorships within those emails, as it reaches such a specific, targeted audience.

If you don’t want to spend the time curating an organic audience via LinkedIn or a website, Substack is a popular “social” newsletter app that is quick to learn and easy to set up.

Pros & Cons

Newsletter Pros

  • Email Marketing and Newsletters have been a stable skillset for decades, and it’s not going anywhere.
  • If you grow your own audience, you can monetize for more passive income.
  • If you love writing engaging copy, this may be best for you.

Newsletter Cons

  • If you want to excel at creating email marketing campaigns for brands, there’s a lot more upfront learning investment.
  • Trendy newsletter apps like Substack are much harder to monetize, and they take a hefty percentage from you.

How To Learn Email Marketing

This one takes a bit more creativity. There are a few courses offered on Udemy, but you still need to have other skills to grow an audience such as SEO or social media marketing. I would say this would be a “second tier” high-income skill where you should gain others first, then skill stack this one on top.

How To Monetize Newsletters

Here’s a quick glance on how to make money with newsletters or emails.

  • Substack: Easily set up a newsletter count and get writing.
  • Ads and Sponsorships: Once you have an audience, charge good money for brands wanting to reach them.
  • Sell Something: Usually, you want a product you own tied to this. Take the Atomic Habits book for example. The author has a fantastic, impactful weekly email, but always attaches his books and merch.

4. AI Implementation of ANYTHING

  • Earning Potential: $60,000 to $100,000+
  • Time To Learn: 12 months+
  • Startup Investment: $$$$$
  • Time To Earning: Years

AI has been so hyped for the last year, but that doesn’t mean it’s not one of the best high-income skills you can have for this coming year. And I’m not talking about becoming an AI engineer (although that’s in HUGE demand).

Many entrepreneurs are looking at current platforms available on the market, and wondering how they could improve them by adding an AI flair to them. Take travel planning for instance. It’s quite a lengthy process to create a 10-day itinerary through Europe. But with ChatGPT? Do it under sixty seconds.

AI Monetization Ideas

This one requires a lot more outside the box thinking, so it’s not one I can hold your hand for. Here’s some ideas to get you thinking.

  • Use AI art generators to create a ton of digital products like books and art.
  • Teaching AI productivity tips so that people can manage their time much better.
  • Content creation with AI tools to do the work in half of the time.
  • Implement AI tools into your current business to drive up efficiency.

How To Learn About AI

Obviously, start off right here at Samantha Brandon! I’ve been reviewing these tools for a year prior to ChatGPT being released, so I’ve got you covered.

5. Small Business Acquisitions

  • Earning Potential: $100,000+
  • Time To Learn: Years
  • Startup Investment: Likely need five-figure investments
  • Time To Earning: Few year investments

Remember when everyone and their brother suddenly jumped into real estate investments? While this is a great way to obtain passive income, the barrier to entry has never been higher thanks to high interest rates and a housing market that’s doubled in the last three years.

So, instead of flipping houses, why not flip small businesses instead?

Boomers are retiring at an alarming fast rate (probably selling their homes they bought for a package of strawberries for $2 million), and there’s no one to take over the family business.

SBA Pros & Cons

SBA Pros

  • You’re purchasing an established business that already has gone through the growing pains of learning how to cash flow and getting through tough times like the pandemic.
  • Oftentimes, the owner is happy to stay on and “show you the ropes” as they want to make sure their legacy is in good hands.
  • There are tons of opportunities with business owners retiring, and keeping these businesses running is less risk than any startup.

SBA Cons

  • You need to have some capital to purchase a business. It’s very hard to purchase any business with zero down (believe me, I’ve tried).
  • This is a long-term game. It honestly takes like a year to find the right business fit for you.
  • Once you’ve found the right business, the ROI will take a few years to trickle in.

How To Learn Small Business Acquisition

I highly recommend Codie Sanchez’s Mastermind course for this one. I’m currently starting my journey now, and they give great information on where to find these businesses, how to purchase them, and how to finance them. More importantly, they have a great network of people to review business deals with, combine forces, and provide positive support.

6. Content Creation (With A Twist)

  • Earning Potential: $40,000 to $100,000+
  • Time To Learn: As little as a few months
  • Startup Investment: Computer needed
  • Time To Earning: Usually 6 months+ for money to start

This one has had a funny come-back, because with AI coming out, everyone thought that content creation (whether that’s with graphic design or freelance writing) were going to be dead sources of income, but I’ve found the exact opposite has happened.

With so many people cheating with 100% AI material, it’s hard to find true skilled individuals. I myself had to go through three writers to find a partner because I would find so many people plagiarizing or using unoriginal content (thank you AI content detectors).

Pros and Cons of Content Creation

While there are many types of content creation (social media, video, great copywriting that sells), here’s a general pros and cons list.

Content Pros

  • If you have great writing skills, this one you can start relatively quickly.
  • Many people make killer money on their own time from their laptop.
  • You can work as much or as little as you want.

Content Cons

  • It takes some time to market yourself effectively for people to find you.
  • The market can be quite saturated.
  • Earning potential depends completely on the high level you’re able to create.

How to Monetize Content Creation

Here are a few good specialized skills needed for tons of businesses:

  • Freelance writing (particularly copywriting for brands).
  • Freeland graphic design
  • Social Media Content Creation
  • Video Filming

How to Learn Content Creation

If you want to become a successful freelancer, I would check out Tyson on YouTube or Copy Blogger is another popular resource.

7. Trade Skills

  • Earning Potential: $60,000 to $100,000+
  • Time To Learn: 12 months+
  • Startup Investment: Education Costs
  • Time To Earning: Immediately after education.

This may not be the “most exciting” high paying skill on the list, but it’s certainly a need. With a housing crisis, many markets are seeing a boom in building and construction that need many trades like HVAC, electrician or plumbing.

And while you may be thinking this will take you years of education, think again- you can become an HVAC tech in as little as six months. So if you want a more “tried and true” way to make high income quickly, without having to take the risks of marketing yourself or your new company, this could be a great option for you.

Trade Skills Pros and Cons

I have family in the HVAC and industrial maintenance fields, so have a ton of insight into these trades. Here’s some of the general pros/cons that they encounter.

Trade Skills Pros

  • You can usually get an education quickly.
  • Demand is super high at the moment and you can start right away.
  • With a low employment pool, hiring rates are great right now.

Trade Skills Cons

  • The high-income usually comes from owning one of these businesses.
  • You still want to market yourself well (think Facebook networking and word of mouth).

How To Learn Trade Skills

Simply look up school in your area that offer hands-on training courses and certifications.

8. Coding, Website Development, UI/UX Design

  • Earning Potential: Highly Variable; Nothing to Six Figures
  • Time To Learn: 1 week to a few months
  • Startup Investment: Computer and maybe $10 to few thousand for a course
  • Time To Earning: 3+ months.

The world has been digital for nearly twenty years, so it’s no surprise that these positions are always in high demand.

But did you know that you can learn these skills without a fancy computer science degree? There are TONS of online courses, YouTube tutorials, or Udemy classes that teach you these skills that you can convert to a high paying job with the right attitude. Let’s look into the three different options and what I personally would choose if I were to go this route..

  • Coding: Also known as computer programming, it is the practice of learning basic programming languages such as Python and being able to apply them to build out software or apps at the custom level. Every company needs this, and they typically pay out really high (especially if you know what you’re doing).
  • Website Development: You may think this is the same as coding, but not always. WordPress is commonly used by bloggers with no coding skills (me), and they need to use different programs to create custom looks for their site. Check out Restored316. She creates custom WordPress feminine themes and sells them digitally. With a little time, you could be a Kadence pro too.
  • UI/UX Design: Startups are always building and testing new app ideas. But what about the common entrepreneur who doesn’t have $30,000 to burn? That’s where a Figma prototype comes in. You can easily learn how to be a Figma pro, then do some freelance work and make a solid $ 3- $ 4k per project. Check out Upwork to see how much some earners are making.

Coding Pros & Cons

Here’s the good and bad.

Coding Pros

  • Super quick and easy to learn.
  • Tons of creative money-making options.

Coding Cons

  • It’s going to take some time to become an expert in these fields, mainly a lot of practice.
  • You’ll likely want to take on some free or cheaper work at first so that you can start a good portfolio.

How To Learn

Figma has their own courses, but Udemy has a TON for only like $10.

Kadence pros also have tons of YouTube tutorials.

How To Monetize Coding, Web, and UI/UX Development.

While there are tons of salary jobs available, the way to earn the big bucks is by going solo. Either create digital products that can be downloaded again and again for passive income, or freelance the work and build up good reviews.

9. Podcasting

  • Earning Potential: Highly Variable; Nothing to Millions
  • Time To Learn: Few months
  • Startup Investment: Few thousand for equipment (but can do it cheaply)
  • Time To Earning: 12 months+

I’ve heard a lot of people complain about how “not everyone can be a digital marketer.” That’s fine; what about podcasting?

There are currently over 500 million podcast listeners, but only 5 million podcasts are available. While you may think it’s “just another podcast,” the truth is that ad spending will likely only increase in the upcoming year. So if you have something you’re knowledgeable and passionate about, I would give it a go.

Joe Rogan style- make it a video podcast so you can grow your audience on Youtube and social media accounts.

Pros & Cons

Podcasting is not easy. Here’s what it takes.

Podcasting Pros

  • Relatively little equipment is needed to start. You can use your smart phone and find a cheap microphone.
  • Podcasting is usually very fun and enjoyable.
  • Competition hasn’t maxed out yet.

Podcasting Cons

  • It takes a lot of marketing to get your podcast to be heard.
  • Getting enough subscribers for sponsors to care can take a year or two.

How To Learn Podcasting

There a few popular podcasting platforms such as Riverside.fm that offer free tutorials. But if I was serious about this, I would take a Pat Flynn course (if you don’t know who he is, I recommend going down that rabbit hole next).

How To Monetize Coding, Web, and UI/UX Development.

You have a few options here. Either create your own podcast, which can be highly lucrative but also competitive. Or you can learn to become highly efficient in scripting, editing, and managing podcast platforms.

Businesses are not going to have the time to learn all the ins and outs of creating video content, so you can freelance your skills for multiple companies to kick off their own podcasting efforts.

Soft Skills

I hope you enjoyed my list of hard skills that you can take action today and learn for the coming years. Even if you don’t “score big,” any of these skills will translate to the next career or pathway, so it’s never wasted time.

Next, let’s see what type of soft skills you should be working on to 10x that income in the next year.

1. Decisiveness (TAKE ACTION!)

No one talks about this, but I think this is by far one of the most important soft high-income skills to learn on the list.

Decisiveness is the ability to look at all your options with their corresponding risks and benefits and then stick to a decision. If you’re anything like me, I suffer from extreme analysis paralysis (these productivity quotes help me out when I’m stuck). I can look at any scenario and spend hours teasing every different outcome to death.

But if you want to become a figure that makes high-level decisions quickly, you need to simply do the appropriate due diligence, make an informed decision, and move on.

Just Do It Business Meme about taking action instread of overthinking.

And then take action again and again and again.

You won’t know the outcome until you actually just do it. If it was the wrong action, then you learn from the errors and apply that new knowledge to your next move. And that’s it.

2. Creative Skills

High-income earners are historically creative. If everyone followed the exact same path, the world would never see progress.

Think of any successful company and they are typically led by visionaries such as Walt Disney or Steve Jobs. Their creativity reimagined the world as we know it, and profits naturally follow great ideas.

Walt Disney Quote, if you can dream it, you can do it.

So if you’re stuck, take a step back, do something that’s enjoyable to you where you can clear your mind and let those creative juices flow.

3. Time Management Skills & Prioritization

This is probably one of the hardest skills to tackle, but also the most important.

But it comes down to one simple fact- There are ONLY 24 hours in a day. So you need to be able to get the most important tasks done at a consistent pace. Key words there: important tasks that actually move the needle and consistency.

Keeping busy and making progress are not the same thing.

At the end of the day, ask yourself What Did I Actually Accomplish Today? If I didn’t get something super important done, then why didn’t I?

I highly recommend two things if you need help in this area: Atomic Habits (I love the weekly newsletters) and a digital planner to keep you on task.

It’s essential that you learn how to be intentional with the time you have, as it’s likely very limited.


I don’t care if you’re a project manager, CEO, or freelancer. You need to learn how to pivot your work when necessary.

If you don’t adapt and adopt, you’ll be left behind and it will be too late.

  • Adopt new technology ALWAYS.
  • Assess your business and adapt to new trends and industry movements.
  • Never pivot so much that you forget your basic business mission. Keep to your values.

5. Interpersonal Skills

A person at Toast Masters holding a microphone and delivering a speech.

I won’t hammer this one out, but most industries you will need to have good communication skills. It’s critical for potential sales, business partnerships, public speaking, and working with a team. So if you could use some work on this skill, join a Toast Masters or anything else to get practicing.

6. Sales Skills

Everyone gets the same image when I discuss sales skills, and it usually is the pushy car salesman you have to deal with.

But true sales professionals know those are the worst tactics you can use.

Being able to sell your service and your products is about recognizing what someone may need and illustrating to them the way you intend to meet that need.

It doesn’t need to be manipulative- and quite honestly, it shouldn’t be. Your job is to provide value to the other person, but first you need to demonstrate to them that you can before they’ll even give you that chance.

7. Problem Solving Skills

Okay, last soft skill you should master when it comes to learning high-income skills has to be problem-solving.

You’re probably wondering why this even made the list, but true high earners know that problems aren’t unique to you. Your life is just going to be facing problems head-on day after day.

So get good at not emotionally responding to them and thinking that you just have the worst luck. This is life, take the problem and roll with the solution.

High-Income Skills Wrap-Up

And that folks is my round-up of hard and soft skills to get working on this year. Hopefully if you focus on just one or two of these, you can see how the investment will pay off over time!

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