For the last four years, my wife and I have been broke business owners. We’ve scraped the bottom of our bank accounts while working odd jobs and trickling revenue streams to pay our house’s bills, never taking home a salary from our business.
By some miracle, we’ve been able to stay on time with our bills. Occasionally, we can even treat ourselves.
But recently, we had a revelation.
I don’t want to seem ungrateful for what we have. Every day, we wake up in a house we love in our dream neighborhood. We work in a business that we started on our own doing what we love. And we’re able to pay our bills while we do that.
But we shouldn’t be satisfied with scraping by.
Currently, we’ve been okay with paying our bills and having a modest cushion in the bank, so we’ve worked as hard as we need to in order to make that happen.
If we were to make a bigger goal for ourself—like if we wanted to have an extra $100 a week that we only spent treating friends to dinner—then we would adjust our workloads to make that happen.
We take jobs that work us too hard and pay us too little because we don’t think we deserve better. Or worse—we think we barely deserves the crappy jobs we do have.
We don’t want to rock the boat for fear that we might get fired.
I have had friends who have gotten hurt on the job but declined to report it as a work place injury because they thought their position would be at risk. One friend did report it. And then endured constant harassment and suspicion after he returned to work.
For months, his managers and coworkers bullied him over his injuries. Yet he endured it, because he “needed the job,” and he didn’t think he deserved anything better.
We take jobs we don’t want that don’t pay us enough and give us too little time off, because we’ve been trained to believe that the security of having a job we don’t want is better than the uncertainty of chasing your dreams.
Or, in our case, we allow ourselves to run a business with no salary because we don’t think that we deserve to cost that salary would put on the business.
But we already work as hard as we need to to pay for the existing budget. If we adjusted that budget to pay us as well, we might have to work a little harder, but we’ll get that salary.
And that’s exactly what we’re going to do. Because we work too damn hard for us to underestimate our own value.