As weird as this statement might sound if it’s the first time encountering it, this is one of the single most important rules you have to learn for your entire life. And by the end of this article you will understand exactly why.
“You don’t get paid for the hour. You get paid for the value you bring to the hour”
A first thing to establish is this: Wherever you are in your life at this point, is a direct result of your actions and decisions in the past. You got to this place as a result of your investment of time, energy, and of course financial resources in developing your skill set, knowledge, emotional intelligence and relationships. It is also a result of how you have learnt to “market” your skills to the world, identify opportunities and adapt to changing circumstances. While these will be issues dealt with in detail in a future post, there is an important point I want to extract from them, which is this: Whether it is the profit rolling out from your business into your account, the amount you are paid for a gig and the size of your fan base, your salary or the return on your portfolio of investments, this represents the monetary reward equivalent to the value you create within an unit of time for the entity you are doing business with (plus how you understood to bring value to the lives of the other people involved in the process). Of course, there are two kinds of value – actual and perceived (the latter being very dependent on the way you handled your personal branding)
There is one quote that sums up very well the theme of this article:
“If you want better, go get better”
What does it actually mean? The better you become, the better the things you attract, the better the people you will be working with and return on your input/energy investment will be. To set this straight – You cannot open a successful, sustainable business without having the knowledge and constantly learning about the market you will be activating in. You cannot be an admired artist if you don’t master your skill. No great people will be attracted to someone that doesn’t rise to the standard and offers trust. No company will pay a high income to someone that cannot bring a “higher-than-the-salary” value to it and to the people in the business – plus the guarantee of always learning and becoming “more” – remaining an “asset”. You got the point. In order to be able to do anything in life or obtain anything in life better – whether is money, experiences, people, relationships, you have to look out to becoming better first. If you wouldn’t pay yourself the money you are demanding from a CEO perspective, then you might want to have a closer look at your actions. If you wouldn’t enjoy being friends with someone like you – that’s even worse!
Why did I mention business in the article title, you might ask. Because, as in any business, you have to invest – time AND money first into your growing before you can see a return. You are not just getting better by time, without actively doing something towards it. No, you are actually getting worse. If you don’t eat healthy and have an active lifestyle, you will not end up looking better – quite the opposite. If you don’t learn and read new things every day, you become outdated – mainly in an era where information is being spread with the speed of light and market trends shift from one month to another.
What is there to be done?
Evaluate. Decide. Focus. Learn.
Evaluate where you are at the moment in every area of your life, objectively
Decide which areas need working on, and what would be the best approach to improving most in a certain period of time. Also, decide which ones would bring most value to your life and help you become “more” quickest. Mainly in the beginning, it will be good for you to see even small results, for your self-motivation.
Focus on these areas. Make a plan and see how you combine your activities in order to reach your aspirations. Don’t try to do it all at once, but make sure you take baby-steps in the right direction consistently and as often as possible. Don’t forget to aim big as well.
Learn. Learn. Learn. You don’t have to spend your whole day on actively doing this, but set your mind right and you will find you starting to live this way: What can you learn from every thing that you go through every day? How can it help you become a better version of yourself? Try it – it’s fun and it works J
To wrap it up…
Whatever you have planned for yourself – want to open a business, get a great job, be a well-known artist, have the best friends possible or a super partner, always remember – you have to invest in yourself first in order to be able to become more valuable and make your craft more valuable. People will always pay for something they feel they get good value for – if money is your issue, the greater value you can offer, the better the money. The idea is – great people are attracted to great people. Money come to those who deserve it. Living a good and fulfilled life will many times depend on these two anyway, and the second is way more enjoyable coming as a result of the first – and always will. So instead of thinking how much you can take from a job or a person, try thinking how you can offer more. You will be amazed what changes in your life can happen from this shift. And, ultimately, make sure you “market” your value-bringing skill or product the way you know this should be appreciated. Remember, that’s the “perceived value increase” bit we mentioned earlier. (Pro tip: Aim to always become best in your field. Market accordingly, but always under-promise and over-deliver)
Andrei Tiu @