We hear a lot about how hard it is to live on the minimum wage in the United States. It’s true. The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. That’s about $250 per week or $1,000 per month. That’s less than the cost of a one bedroom apartment where I live.
In a recent video, I discussed the fact that we must all think about ways to raise our own minimum wage.
Minimum wage law is contentious area, with advocates on one side saying that if we don’t raise it, people will suffer and starve while advocates on the side say that if it is raised, it will increase unemployment and destroy businesses and our competitiveness in the international market.
You can raise your own minimum wage without causing any business bankruptcy or affecting our standing on the world stage. It is my mission to teach as many people as possible their own economic power because the benefit to the whole economy would be profound.
Three steps to increase your personal minimum wage
The first step is setting the intention. Many years ago, before the minimum wage was $15 anyway, I had a personal minimum wage of $15 per hour. I decided that my time was worth at least that much, and I would not sell it for less than that.
Simply by setting that intention, I stopped seeing jobs that paid less than that. A $12/hour job did not exist in my universe. It wasn’t a job. It was a volunteer opportunity. This changed the way I looked for work and looked at work.
Second, you must reposition you value proposition. Instead of selling your time, sell your results. Don’t sell hours. Sell dollars. As an example, if you are a marketing assistant, don’t ask how much it is worth the company to have you do an hour of social media work for an hour. Ask what it is worth the company to have a robust social media presence for a week or a month.
The second number, on a weekly or monthly basis, will come out higher than the first number.
Can that work?
This may sound impossibly naïve. “That’s not how work works,” you might object. “If you say that in an interview, you’ll be laughed out of the room.”
No, you won’t. You’ll be respected, or you’ll discover this is not the kind of company you want to work for. But the way to ensure the conversation can be framed in the way you want it be framed is to have a relationship with people making the decisions.
This is where the most important element comes in: networking. Through networking, you can connect with people in the company you are hoping to work for outside of the interview environment.
In the interview, there are certain dynamics which put the interviewee in a subordinate position. Often, the interviews are structured to create a sense of subordination and obedience in potential employees, rendering them less likely to ask for raises or better conditions.
If you can engage with decision makers outside this environment, through networking, you will find the relationship that will develop to be much more balances.
This is good for the employee because they can create a job more suited to their strengths and needs. It is also good for the employer because the employee is more likely to feel able to exercise creativity and judgement on the job.
If you’d like to learn more of the how to, I encourage you to sign up for my Job Seeker email list or take the Networking to a Job in 21 Days course.
When you sign up for the email list, you will receive a free PDF that details a strategy to build up a substantial network in as little as three weeks… if you put in the work.