I spend way too much time on “Money Twitter.” The popular niche is full of everyday people who work four-hour days. No, it’s not a fantasy. I figured out how they do it.
They simply have placed a different value on their time. When you increase how much you’re worth, the money you earn goes up. The extra money can buy you a Lambo, perhaps. But many in this Twitter crowd do something different. They use the extra money to buy their time back. That means they don’t need to work full days.
Your value is a mathematical calculation, not a pre-determined formula. You can play around with the numbers. I calculate my current value based on prior earnings and skills I’ve acquired to be about $100 per hour. This isn’t necessarily the most amount of money I’ve ever earned.
Admittedly, I’ve been paid way too much at certain times of my life. So I don’t calculate my value based on good fortune. In the good years, where I earned more than my fair share, I simply used the extra money to give back to causes I care about. What’s interesting is that while my net-worth went down, my self-worth went up. Money is only one component of your value.
Run your calendar based on your value
A decent value of $100 per hour on my time helps me make decisions. If I get asked to be on a podcast, then I think about the $100 of work that will be lost. Or I think to myself, “If I sell five eBooks, then my cost is recovered.” Not everything is about money, obviously, but it helps to know the price.
If we fail to do this, people will take advantage of our value. They’ll ask us to do free stuff, which often only benefits them. If you don’t know your value, you blindly say “yes.” When your value is known, your “nos” will happen faster.
Once, a friend who was on a migrant visa in Australia found out that he was being drastically underpaid by as much as 50% compared to local workers doing the same job for the same company. But if he dared complain about his seven-day weeks, he’d be threatened with, “We’ll send you back home if you don’t like it.” I told this story to another guy, who was also on a migrant visa. He couldn’t believe it. “You know your friend can have their migrant visa moved to a new company like ours and get almost double the salary and benefits,” he said.
My friend had no idea. He let his value be eroded away by a corporation. He recalculated his worth and switched to a new company. No more seven-day weeks. No more threats of deportation. No more lack of 401(k) payments. Your value is whatever you think it is.
Don’t let the outside world devalue you.
Your value doesn’t decrease based on someone else’s inability to see your worth — Zig Ziglar
Recalibrate your value annually
When you get a job, you get used to a certain amount of money. As inflation and expenses rise over time, that value often gets stuck. Asking for a pay raise is a huge mistake.
Why would a company pay you more for the same job? What I learned is to go back into the market annually and have my value redetermined. When I did, I always got higher offers than my current salary. Then I’d simply give my employer the first chance to recalibrate my salary or weigh up my options. Some years I stayed, though many times I moved around.
Your value isn’t fixed. Your skills, experience and network of contacts grow every year, so why shouldn’t your value?
The web is democratizing everything. Salaries will eventually be disrupted.
I imagine a world where jobs become eBay auctions. You send out the death eater AI to go and hunt you the highest value with the best overall employer features. Then you simply transfer your employment contract autonomously over the blockchain to the new employer and have your IT credentials simultaneously shifted.
Call me crazy but your value will be frictionless to transfer in the future. Especially if a large part of our days are still spent on Zoom calls, where we’re less attached to an employer brand or even to people.
The bigger question
Money doesn’t impress me much. Over the years, I’ve learned to change how I value myself. I value free time more than anything else. If you have time you’re already a billionaire in my book.
That’s why the four-hour workday appeals to me. It’s not that I’m lazy. It’s that I want my future family to see me a lot more than is normal. Plus, I am more effective in four hours of work than I am in eight hours.
When you weigh up your own value start with the financial side. Then, think about other forms of value like time.
Your value isn’t static. The work world just wants us to think that so they can profit from the difference and raise their stock price. Makes sense. Doesn’t mean you ever have to accept the value someone else places on your head.
You’re a free spirit. Calculate your value. Then dare to ask for it.