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5 Better Solutions Than A More Competitive Minimum Wage

An increased minimum wage supported by the White House is the subject of an ongoing national debate.  The minimum wage should be going up in most states over the next few years whether a new national minimum is established or not.  Earning competitive pay is part of the American Dream.  Wouldn’t it be great if the national minimum wage was higher?  Not necessarily; there are better solutions.  I will discuss a few of them in this post.

Why Would an Increased Minimum Wage Not Be the best Solution?

Unless you plan to exist on minimum wage for many years, an increase in the minimum wage would be a negative factor for you.  If the minimum wage increased as your experience increased, then you will continue to earn the minimum for a longer period of time.  You should only work for minimum wage for a short period of time at the entry level.  Furthermore, minimum wage earners will continue to be the lowest paid employees even after a minimum wage increase.  Although they are making more money, the buying power of minimum wage earners will remain what it was due to price increases to cover the additional cost of these wages.  Wear as, if you get an individual raise and minimum wage stays constant, you will have more buying power.

1. Get a Pay Raise

If after three to six months of working at minimum wage, a higher wage has not been offered for the work you are doing, then consider changing something in your situation.  It is not normal to be at a fixed income at the entry level.  This would be a good time to evaluate what you could be doing differently to receive a higher wage.

You should only work for minimum wage for a few initial months until you prove your worth and start getting better wages for the position or identify a higher paying position to move into.  The employer has at that point, invested in you as a new employee.  There might be uniform expenses he has paid as well as training and on-boarding expenses.  Once he has recouped these expenses, you are now more valuable as compared to replacing you.  If he does not compensate you better than minimum, you could take your new experience and training to a different employer that would be willing to pay more.  The three to six-month time frame is the time to start investigating which track to take.  Either approach the employer and seek a raise or start the hunt for your next position.

2. Move Into a Higher Paying Position

Being promoted to a better paying position has the added benefit of more responsibility and more job satisfaction.  Moving up the rungs of the corporate ladder instills a feeling of dignity.  It is surprising how many people resist the opportunity for more responsibility.  They assess the benefits of having responsibility are outweighed by its liabilities.  That is shocking to me as I have always pursued the opportunity to take on more responsibility.  From my experience, I can tell you that the rewards by far outweigh the liabilities!

From the day you start a new position, you will want to continually seek the next higher job.  Work toward mastering the current position as well as skills of the next higher rank.  Set measurable goals that will get you into that higher paying position.  There should be a period of time that you perform at the next higher position before you reap the rewards of it.  You will want to prove your worth before expecting the employer to promote you for a short period of time.

3. Self Examination and Self Improvement

You may want to take a close look at your own performance and ask yourself if you rate a better wage.  If after doing a job for a quarter of a year, you have not developed any significant skill and are not bringing the employer more value than on day one, it is time to work on self-improvement.  If your self examination revealed to you that you need self-improvement, consider establishing a new habit that will result in a more employable you or make you worthy of a raise.  I invite you to refer to my previous blog post How to Develop Habits to Improve Your Professional Growth.  If you have been just showing up for work and staying busy – do not confuse activity with productivity.

The biggest room in the world is the room for self-improvement Click To Tweet

Some potential things you might choose to work on in order to improve your value to your employer include:

  • Working toward or completing a degree
  • Learning skills required for an advanced position within the workforce
  • Improved writing, speaking or math skills
  • Physical strength
  • Financial Management
  • Business Management
  • Goal Setting

Developing a habit that will improve one of these areas should improve your advancement potential or ability to get hired into a higher paying position with another employer.

Do Not Confuse Activity with Productivity

Work to improve your value to your employer

4. Work on Commissions and Perform for Better Pay

Closely related to moving to a higher paying position, working for commissions has the potential of higher pay. But it requires results.  As long as your performance produces increased business for the employer, you earn rewards.

Income based on your personal performance enables you to see immediate benefit and long term reward for work performed.  Commissions paid on recurring expenses such as subscriptions provide a residual income.  Residual income means you earn a percentage of the recurring costs of the goods or services sold.  Every time the client or customer makes a payment, a percentage goes to the associate who made the sale!  Royalties on something like a book or recording are another example of a recurring or passive income.  Do the work once and get paid repeatedly.

5. Work for Yourself, and Duplicate Your Efforts

One high-risk way to have an unlimited wage is to have your own business and set your own wage.  This is probably what your current employer did.  The internet is full of ways to make money.  Some are worth doing and some are nothing more than a scam.

The beautiful thing about America is that we are free to open our own enterprise that you can own as an individual.  Not every country has this freedom.  The name of this system is Free Enterprise or Capitalism.

When I was in college, a classmate bought a soft-serve ice cream truck and earned enough to pay for it completely in one summer break. That was over $65,000!  It can be done.  Franchises have a higher probability of success than starting up something from scratch.  Most business run out of funding in the first five years, especially restaurants that are not franchises.  Food trucks have began popping up all over the country.

If running a restaurant is something you have considered, a food truck is one way to get started with a much smaller initial investment.  The food truck concept also reduces the risk of choosing the wrong location of a brick and mortar location.  If the building you choose for a restaurant turns out to be a bad location, you could have a hard time relocating.  That is not the case with a food truck.

If you choose to go into business for yourself, be sure to find a good mentor that can help you navigate the challenges.

Bonus: #6. Produce a Royalty Producing Product

Any commodity that you can produce that earns a per-play payout has the potential of giving you a passive income for years to come.  A YouTube video is an example of something you can produce that has potential to produce recurring income.  Writing a book or song would be another.

Your Mindset

One key element to making any of these alternatives work for you is your mindset.  As you approach the challenge of competing for an improved lifestyle, fixing your mind on what you can do to change the circumstances will have a lasting and life changing effect.  Leave the naysayers in the rear view mirror and focus on your own future and success. Setting and Obtaining Measurable Goals starts with a winning mindset.

If you are currently working for minimum wage, take an action now to move away from the minimum wage job toward a higher paying one or pursue free enterprise.  Whatever means you pursue toward a higher wage, my hope is that you will appreciate your own potential and set your mind toward accomplishing your goal.

What other ways can you think of to increase income that I did not mention above?  Drop me a note in the comments section below and tell me your thoughts on the subject!



  1. […] There comes a point in your life where you have to make a decision whether to dig in and work hard or let others provide for you. Making the leap to providing for yourself and you family can be a big challenge.  It might seem unattainable, but once you make the leap, the rewards are so worth the effort.  It’s not feasible to be able to provide for a family while earning minimum wage.  Even if the minimum wage is raised in your state, it will still not be enough to support a family.  If this is your situation, I hope you can get inspiration from my post 5 Better Solutions Than A More Competitive Minimum Wage. […]

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