Dear Minimum Wage Earners

Posted by & filed under Entrepreneurship, Personal Growth.

Minimum Wage: The amount of money you earn when you’re starting out as an entrepreneur, blogger, writer, speaker, employee, etc. It is a starting point that is unique to you based on your skills and the effort you put in every day.


Dear Minimum Wage Earners:

I’ve got great news for you.

You are not required to make this minimum amount of pay for the rest of your life. It is all up to you. It is a decision. It is a choice. It has to do with three things:

  • Experience
  • Ability
  • Knowledge


Starting positions are not the final placement in the race of life.

Minimum Wage is all about those three things. As you gain experience, ability, and knowledge, you will demand, command, and be given higher wages. 

You are not shackled to this company, position, or business. You are free to leave at a moment’s notice. (Or a two-week notice if you’re an employee.)

You have the ability and the right to move anywhere you want. To start again anywhere you want. Including starting your own company.

Just as it is not wise to strong arm a company and demand a higher wage without providing a higher service, so it goes with YOUR business and customers. Higher payments demand higher thinking.

You must think above and beyond. And doing above and beyond means making yourself so valuable that they “want” to pay you more. When you act like a leader they will put you in leadership positions. And they will pay you leadership pay.

This is totally about you—it has nothing to do with the company or your customers. It has to do with your performance, not their pay structure.

In every endeavor, you are virtually given a blank check weekly/monthly. You determine the dollar amount filled in every day. If you want more—do more, become more. You can do this. You can step up. You can require more than you’ve ever required from yourself before. It’s a mindset.

If you are whining about being paid minimum wage, you are whining to the wrong people. The people who want to pay you more will never pay more to a whiner. They don’t want the whiners around. They want people who are going forward and upward.

Rest assured—you know what to do to add more value to the position you have, in someone else’s company or your own.

If you did own the company, would you want you working for you?


If you were one of your customers, would you pay for you?

Are you the kind of employee who would empower the entire corporation? Are you the type of entrepreneur who will turn non-paying people into raving fan customers? Are you the kind of person who will go the extra mile, and another mile, and another mile—if necessary? I want the person who says, “I can do it. Count it done if you give it to me. I will find a way to make it work.”

You would want the winners—not the whiners. You want the cans—not the can’ts.  You would want those with a smile—not a frown. It is hard to smile when you’re whining. 

A huge awkward, uncomfortable position to take: you are responsible for where you are. Every aspect of your life was a choice, a decision, a settlement of one kind or another. Everyone experiences bad things they can’t control—but you do control how you respond to those bad things.

Once you fully understand the power behind that statement, you will feel empowered at least for a moment. The key is to generate that empowerment continuously. On a moment’s notice you can pull this power from within. It is there now. You might have to practice it over and over again. But it is there.

If you ever wondered if there is more for you, the answer is yes. If you ever wondered if you can make a lot more money, the answer is yes. If you ever wanted to know if your life would be meaningful and make a difference, the answer is yes

(Click here to tweet that if this post is resonating with you.)

Bottom line, take ownership of this. This is one of the most critical aspects of your life. Not only is it your career, but it is who you are becoming in the process. That is most critical. Be all that you can be.

  • Experience: Have you put in your 10,000 hours, or is there at least proof in a court of law that you’re halfway there? 
  • Ability: Do you go above and beyond? Do you truly WOW those who you expect to pay you? 
  • Knowledge: Can you come up with the solutions people are looking for? 

When you can consistently answer, “Yes,” to those questions, your first raise will be right around the corner.

I have two questions, and I want you to answer the one that applies in the comments section:

  1. What steps will you take to move up from Minimum Wage?
  2. If you’ve already started earning more than Minimum Wage, what steps did you take to get where you are now?
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  • 48DaysDan

    Ah I remember well getting $1.00 an hour working for neighboring farmers. Fortunately I learned the idea of being paid for “results” rather than “time” many years ago. And then I was privileged to learn about “residual” income vs “linear.” Those two major conceptual shifts have served me very well all of my working life. I had a real job for 4 years right out of college. Other than that I have generated income rather than working by the hour. What an amazing opportunity!

    • http://MegLivingInsideOut.net/ Meg Davis @InverseDream

      Perspective is everything!

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Great points in here, Dan. I hope everyone who reads this post reads your comment!

  • http://SixMonthJump.com/ Alan Jackson

    Wonderful people like Zig Ziglar, Dave Ramsey, and Dan Miller have taught me “Your raise is effective when you are!”

  • Rick White

    WELL SAID Robert! My 23 year old daughter is in favor of raising the minimum wage and we had a very active discussion about it. I used her own life as an example…when she started working as a waitress at an ice cream restaurant, she didn’t get paid much. Now she is out of school working for a very prestigious law firm in their facilities management department and she is getting paid better than some other people I know. It all has to do with the old Zig saying, “If you want to have more, you have to do more, and to do more you have to be more.” These minimum wage jobs are not DESTINATION careers. They were originally designed for students beginning their working life and retirees wanting to earn a little extra part time. Get your feet wet, learn, and become more valuable to your employer or to another employer.

    You hit the nail on the head with this post and I am actually envious at how well written it is!

    • http://therobertd.com/ Robert D. Smith

      Awesome quote from Zig. Thanks, Rick!

  • http://sparkvoice.wordpress.com/ DS

    I took on greater risk, and more responsibility as well as looked for opportunity. I was naive to the potential of “failure”.

  • Kathleen Thompson

    Whether we are business owners or work for another, what value do we bring? When I focused on what I was getting, I found myself frustrated and not truly delivering. When I shifted my focus on what I could give, all kinds of opportunities opened up. Thank you, Robert, for pointing out what it takes to deliver excellence in every respect.

  • http://www.TheIronJen.com/ Jen McDonough “The Iron Jen”

    Love that it comes right back to we are owner of our attitudes and actions. Thanks Robert D!

  • Tanya

    I love this article! Thank you Robert for injecting some juice into this turkey.

  • http://20minuteblackbelt.com/ Eric Gale

    Amen Robert! I think most people forget that “Starting positions are not the final placement in the race of life.” If people refuse to become more than they were at the start, they can forget advancing in pay. They will most likely be let go. If you want more money, bring more value.

  • http://christopherbattles.net/ Christopher Battles

    Thank you Sir for this reminder. When in positions like this it is easy to fall inline with those around and they at least appear to be “stuck” also.