If you're self employed or looking to work for yourself, I'm about to drop some serious knowledge on you that you might not like. You know how much you get paid? Sorry to tell most of you but that's exactly what you're worth.

paid what you're worth
MTSOfan via Compfight

If you're making $8 an hour working at a fast food joint you might not like reading this but it's true. If you're a teacher making $35,000 a year, you won't like hearing it either. This isn't meant as a condemnation; instead, it's meant as a wake up call.

There are careers that many of us look at and say "those people should be paid more for what they do." There are others, like athletics and entertainment, where others will say "They're not worth that much money."

In actually, both sides are right and wrong at the same time... but more wrong than right.

The work teachers do... arguably some of the most valuable work every country in the world needs. The same goes for the military, law enforcement, scientists, etc. Yet they get paid what they get.

The work athletes do that benefit mankind (since that's how people like to look at things), or what entertainers do... their overall value depends on how your eyes view their importance in the scheme of things... and many of you don't view it with the same eyes.

If that's the case, why is there such a disparity in pay and worth?

It's all about who's making the payments, and why. Who pays teachers? Many would say we, the taxpayers pay them. So, if we think they're worth more than they get, why aren't we willing to pay more in taxes to give them what we believe they're worth?

What? We have our own bills? Taxes are high enough? In other words, when their value is compared to what's coming out of your pocket already, their value isn't high enough anymore? I see... The same goes for law enforcement, the military, fire protection, roads, health care... you name it, if there's something coming out of our pockets suddenly it's not worth it anymore in your eyes.

What about entertainers? Indirectly you're paying them when you go to their concerts, but when you're buying their music it's not actually coming out of your pockets anymore. Music studios, production companies and the like pay entertainers, and if you've noticed they all get paid at different rates, based on whatever someone assumes their value is. That one's out of your hands; kind of. The more you consume of a particular artist, the most money they'll make on the back end.

The same for athletes. Does a guy deserve to make $2 million a year to sit on the bench and maybe play 5 minutes a game, if that? It does to the people paying that athlete. Indirectly some of the money comes from you as a fan when you go to the games, but overall it's the owners who decide how much money goes to which player, and that's doled out based on how valuable that player is perceived to be to the team. Most of that money comes out of TV and radio contracts, so even though you have your piece added to the pie, it's once again out of your hands. One last thing; you can bet that with all the money you believe athletes are making, the team owners are making a heck of a lot more.

Who needs a car!
Michael Coghlan
via Compfight

Let's look at you and what you're worth, based on what you're being paid.

Think about yourself for a quick minute. Are you doing everything you can to be worth more? Have you educated yourself enough, whether it means going to college or taking a course or immersing yourself in the job you do to maximize your knowledge so you can be perceived as more valuable?

Have you taken the precautions to think about your long term financial position, so that your using your money to help build wealth and protect yourself when you're older? Have you thought about new ways to generate more income, either by working a part time job, working for yourself or switching jobs and careers?

As an self employed person or independent consultant, one of the hardest things to figure out is what you're worth and what you deserve to be paid for your knowledge. Without getting too deep into it, I get paid what I'm worth based on what the client's situation happens to be, and whether I decide to accept it or not.

Without giving much away, I'll tell you that as a consultant I've been paid between $50 and $200 an hour. It depends on what type of project I'm doing, the financial stability of the client, the size of the client and the length of the project. I get to decide my worth, and then the client gets to decide if what I perceive my worth to be is compatible. I know that my financial life is on me, so I have to not only be aware of my needs but be flexible enough for my clients where necessary.

This is the ultimate decision every consultant has to be ready to make. Sometimes it takes a while to get out of the job mentality, charging just a little more than what you were making at your regular job without thinking about your new reality: taxes, expenses, bills, insurance, sustainability when things are slow... all of that has to go into consideration if you're going to sustain yourself and your independent career.

Everyone gets to determine what they're worth. What we don't all get to do is determine what someone else thinks we're worth at all times. If you're working at a job where you're getting paid $15 an hour and that's pretty good money for you, no problems. If you're getting $15 an hour and you think it's low... ask yourself what you're willing to do to change your circumstances.

As a consultant, if you were getting paid $30 an hour for the work you were previously doing and now you're branching out, you have to think of yourself as a professional... professionals get paid way more than employees because the expectations are higher.

Life choices aren't always easy to make. Trying to be successful not only isn't easy, but it's not guaranteed either. Still, for the most part you get to decide what your worth is based on the choices you decide to make in your life and career. If you're living comfortably and you're good where you are, there's nothing wrong with that. If you want more... now you know what you need to do. 🙂