To be successful in your work, not only do you need to develop your skills and abilities to do the job well, but you also need to have the right frame of mind. One of the best ways to achieve this, is to think of yourself as being self-employed even if your paycheck comes from an employer. When you think of yourself as being self-employed, you are much more likely to take responsibility for your career rather than letting circumstances dictate what happens to you. Your value to employers will increase as you look for new opportunities to use your skills to meet the employer's needs. The following is a list of hints on how to think and act so as to increase your value to your employer which may result in a bigger paycheck.

1. Ask your employer: What problems would you like to see solved within the next year? After their mouth drops open (employers don't hear this question from employees often), they may give you some ideas about how you can become more valuable by solving problems they would like to see solved.

2. Ask your boss what he or she evaluates to determine how successful you are in your position. Often the answer is not written into your job description. The rules for success in most'companies are unwritten. You can learn them faster by asking this question and personally observing what successful people at your company are doing.

3. On a regular basis ask yourself, how can I make myself more useful here? What problems can I take initiative to solve? Become a visionary person who is able to see opportunities where you can use your skills to solve problems, develop new clients, save the company money, etc.

4. Volunteer for the jobs that others do not want. While this does not sound like a lot of fun, you will find that employers will value you more than others who only do the least possible to fulfill their job responsibilities.

5. Document what you do each day (or each week), highlight your accomplishments. Use this documentation for updating your resume, building your self-confidence and making a case for deserving any requested pay raises or promotions.

6. On at least a quarterly basis (and weekly or bi-weekly in the first month of a new job) ask your employer if you can set up a fifteen minute meeting. During this meeting ask your employer how you are doing, and if there are any ways you can improve your performance on the job. Then be silent and write down anything they tell you. If they said you are doing a great job, super (Depending on how your company operates, this may be an appropriate time to ask for a raise or promotion.) If they tell you that they want you to improve in some area, write it down. Ask them to describe specifically how you can improve. Don't ever become defensive even if you feel they are off base in their evaluation. Somehow they have this image (even if it's wrong) and you need to do something to change their impression.