We always question our own worth. Many times, we don’t realize what our value really is. And sometimes we even feel the need to discount our work to get someone to hire us. I know that I have done that too often in the past.
There’s an old story I’ll paraphrase a bit about a boilermaker who was called in to look at a major issue as described by an engineer. He walked in, felt around, took out a tool, and tapped a valve which fixed the problem. The engineer was outraged to receive a bill for $1,000. He then requested an itemized bill. When he received it, the boilermaker listed $0.50 for tapping the valve and $999.50 for knowing where to tap.
That is why it is important to know what your value is. You have abilities that others do not have, and those abilities add value. It’s easy to have imposter syndrome—where you feel that you’ll be found out that you don’t know what you’re talking about (when in fact you really do). I know I often think, “That’s an easy task, why in the world would someone pay me to do that for them?”
What is easy for one person may cause anxiety for others to even attempt to do it.
Let’s look at how to evaluate what your value is. Determining the value of your time is essential for making informed decisions about how you spend it and prioritizing your tasks. Here are some steps to help you figure out what your time is worth:
- Evaluate your income: Your time is a finite resource, and it’s essential to understand how much you earn for the time you put in at work—either for yourself or for your clients and potential This will give you a baseline for the value of your time. This is also a good point in time to evaluate your expenses and know what you must earn.
- Consider opportunity costs: When you spend time on one task, you’re not spending it on another. Consider the potential income or benefit you could have received if you had spent that time on a different This is a good moment to look at tasks that you could assign to others that allow you to make the best use of your time.
- Assess your skills and experience: The value of your time is also determined by the skills and experience you bring to the If you’re highly skilled and experienced, your time is likely worth more than someone with less expertise. For some it’s hard to toot their own horn. Believe me, I know and understand this. I’ve been working since the age of 13. The number of things I’ve learned in 46 years would probably fill several books, yet many people only know a fraction of what’s possible.
- Set hourly rates: Based on the above factors, set an hourly rate for your time. This can help you make informed decisions about which tasks to prioritize and which to delegate or Think about this—if you discover that your hourly rate is $50 an hour and you’re doing the task that you can outsource for only $10, you’re costing yourself $40 each and every hour you waste doing it yourself.
- Re-evaluate regularly: Your income, skills, and experience can change over time, so it’s essential to re-evaluate the price of your time regularly to ensure you’re not undervaluing it. It might be a good idea to keep the list you generated from the previous exercise and combine the new tasks to it you’ve learned and reevaluate the skill level you’ve added to it. On occasion, it’s a confidence boost to create a resume even though you’re not looking for a job. That exercise helps you look at what skills you’ve listed and are proud enough to post on this resume.
By determining the value of your time, you can make more informed decisions about how you spend it and prioritize tasks that will bring the most benefit to your life. This can help you work more efficiently and achieve greater success both professionally and personally.
Many of the tasks or suggested exercises are good to think about in your personal life, as well. Way too often we do things around the house to “save money” when in actuality we spend half of a Saturday doing something that could’ve been outsourced for a lot less than what we just put into it.
In our personal lives, we need to consider what things cost in terms of time lost. For example, that all afternoon task that you could’ve outsourced cost you a half a day with your children, spouse, grandkids, etc. It may also save you an expensive urgent care bill from doing something you’re not fully qualified to do and injuring yourself.
It’s not only a good idea to know your abilities but also know your limitations. You can always improve in both your abilities and limitations with either training, coaching, or self-education. But most of all, it’s always a good idea to know exactly what you’re worth.