Identifying Your Worth

Faith and I had been coming up with a whole series of posts and guide over the past weeks to bring our travel experiences to our readers, which I thought it is about time to share something related to “Money” as well.

 

Today, we discuss about your worth!

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I learnt this particular topic fairly early, some years ago, directly from my ex-employer. I was 19 and was working at my fourth part-time employment prior to serving my national service. At this point of time, I didn’t exactly understand how salaries were calculated and merely thought that salaries were based on qualifications. I know this might sound silly, but I didn’t think back then that salaries might be affected by positions and industry.

There was a temporary employment in a warehouse and they were desperate for manpower. I thought since I could do a couple of months upon graduation and prior to my enlistment, I might as well go in for an interview. After all, it could be good physical training for me. Little did I know, the old man who interviewed me, was one of the key individuals in the company and had certain say over employment matters. The position in question was a temporary warehouse assistant and as usual, the interview began with me filling up the job application form.

Then there comes this blank space that expects a figure from me – “Expected Salary: ”

Funny as it may seem, I thought the rate those days for Diploma graduates should be a bare minimum of $1,600 – $1,700. At least that was what I read on newspapers. That was how much I thought I was worth!

The old man then lowered down his glasses and look at me. He gave me a wide smile, nearly laughing out loud. He told me in a very polite way that there salary will be a lot lower than what I expected. I was taken aback! Then he decided to teach me on the spot how salaries are calculated.

He said,

“Taking a month of 30 days and of which it has 8 weekends, it leaves us with 22 working days.”
(30 days – 8 weekends = 22 working days)

“Then assume your employer decides to pay you $7.50 / hour for a day of 8 working hours.”
($7.50 x 8 = $60)

“That gives you $60 / day. Multiply that with the number of working days and that is your monthly salary.”
($60 x 22 days = $1,320)

“How about if you complete this assignment in the next 3 months, I will top up your salary to what you have asked for. Also, as you might be expected to work overtime and on certain holiday dates, your hourly rate will increase by 1.5 times on those hours.”

With that, I decided to give it a shot. After a couple of gruelling months, I was very thankful that I had this experience. The old man kept to his words and paid me the salary I had expected, in addition to all the overtime pay that I had accumulated. I was a very hard worker and I never once complained. That sum of money was probably one of the largest sums I made till that age and also one of the satisfying job experiences.

Back to the point, that was how I learnt that everything boils down to “How much am I worth per hour?”

Working from home on your business?

I say this in particular to self-employed individuals and business owners. If you are anywhere near to what Faith and I are doing – working our businesses from home, at our own time – then this is one of the few questions you must be crystal clear about.

One of the potholes when it comes to working from home businesses – is that you may either lose track of time very easily or become unproductive totally. Identifying your worth really helps you to refocus your energy to where tasks matter the most to your business.

Let’s assume this case: You have been working on a series of tasks that in reality does little help to put money into your pocket and you were spending majority of the day’s working hours on them. Are you gaining money, losing money, or no expenses incurred?

If you chose losing money, you are on the right page. Often many people says certain home businesses do not incur a lot of expenses, and some even declares that not a single cent has been used to set up this business. Not exactly accurate. If you already know how much you would like to earn in a single month, that would give you a very nice idea of how much you are worth per day, per hour. Multiply that amount by the number of hours you spent on working on a series of tasks – that is your loss.

The shocking truth? It will remain as your loss (or investment if that sounds better to you) if you do not make any returns out of it.

Browsing Facebook mindlessly for 2 hours? That is not just wasting time, but also losing money. Of course, if it’s for relieving stress off-duty hours, that’s perfectly fine. Just don’t fall into the trap of “working on” activities that do not fetch income.

The Solution

1. Define how much you are worth per hour, per day and per month.

This can be done by a few ways, by either deciding on your hourly rate, then work upwards to your monthly salary or… you can decide on your monthly income, decide on your working hours, then define your hourly worth.

Example: You would like to fetch USD $5,000 per month from your business and you decided to dedicate 8 working hours for 6 working days in a week. That gives you 48 hours a week or …

30 days – 4 weekends = 26 workings days
26 working days x 8 hours = 208 working hours / month

Hence, USD $5,000 / 208 working hours = USD $24.03 / hour

*Of course, this amount will be your salary after deducting all other business expenses. (You do know that even if you are a business owner, you essentially pay yourself regularly like an employee working in your company, right?)

2. Maintain a time & activity log

No one will see this except yourself, and perhaps your accountability partners or business partners if you choose to. This document serves as a mirror for yourself. Be true and honest to yourself, it will do you good.

This log may include columns like – “Date, Time In, Time Out, Activity or Remarks”.

*Highly recommend to use a spreadsheet for this so that you can do easily tabulation of the hours when required.

3. Define how much money you are losing / earning.

If you are working on tasks, that you have identified as – not profit generating or non-essential, then multiply those hours by your hourly worth. That becomes part of your expense or business costs.

And if you are working on tasks that can be performed by someone else, you probably have not achieved the success level that you ought to have as a business owner.

Imagine you spent 1.5 hours cooking your meals at home so that you can have a decent hour of lunch or dinner. Essentially that just incurred you 1.5 hours x USD $24 = USD $36. In addition to the ingredients cost and gas used, you would probably have spent more compared to having a simple lunch at a coffeeshop nearby for under USD $5.

*The point isn’t to micro-manage yourself to extreme extents. However it gives insights to common productivity issues and ultimately affects our financial future.

Conclusion

With this, we hope that once again, our articles will be of massive help to your business and financial success. And this guide may jolly well change your life – even if you are currently still an employee. Cheers!

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