Why You Will Never Get Paid What You Are Worth

As a small business owner I've seen a lot of marketing programs with the hook...

Get paid what you are worth.

I'll be honest, I was all for it. Yes, I want to be paid what I'm worth so tell me Mr. or Ms. marketing guru how to do that. I investigated several of those claims and came to a very simple conclusion. 

I will NEVER be paid what I'm worth and I'll explain why I won't and you won't either.

In an economy where women are still get paid less than men, where new business owners are scared to price their product or service too high, and when consumer trust is low, it is easy to settle for...well anything. Having a job even if it doesn't pay well is better than not having a job. Having paying clients or customers, even if they don't pay much, is better than having no customers right?


I understand that there are people in dire financial situations. This post isn't about that. It is about dealing with the fear of daring to dream for more. Actually, it is about realizing that your self worth is in NO way tied to or associated with how much money you make.

The reason you will NEVER make what you're worth is simple. You are priceless.

Even if you charged billions of dollars for your services, and someone had the means to pay it, you still wouldn't be getting paid what you're worth.

Your worth has no price tag. It is so valuable you can't put a price on it.

Since our worth is priceless, it is absolutely absurd to expect to ever get paid what we're worth.

What those programs were really selling were ways to get more paid more. For that I'm all in. Sign me up. There are tips and techniques to help you earn more and keep more money and we can all use those. But....

Believing that you can get paid what your worth is a limiting belief that hinders you. 

A limiting belief is simple a way of thinking that limits you. Some call them strong holds. Jobs are means to an end. It is swapping time for money. What those programs are asking is have you made a good swap. 

You do yourself an injustice by putting a dollar amount on your worth. There will never be a price you feel is adequate. Therefore you will always be wanting more. If your worth is attached to a number, you won't stop until you reach that number. And if that number is priceless, then you are doomed to forever be striving for something you can not attain!

Who wants that?!

In a coaching session recently a client wanted to increase her confidence. We did an exercise where she listed 5 positive characteristics of herself that will NEVER change regardless of the circumstances. It took her a while but she did. Then the aha moment came. She was most confident when she felt comfortable. The more comfortable she got in recognizing AND articulating her value, the more stable her confidence level. She didn't have to waiver in confidence because it was tied to her worth. Her worth never changes. It was and shall forever be priceless. 

With a priceless worth, it is absurd to want others to validate that worth  by putting a price tag on it. So stop it! You don't need money to validate you because it can't. You are so valuable money fails to capture your worth.

Instead, look at your salary, or fee structure, as a reasonable and comfortable exchange of time and money.

How would you complete this formula? The words you use can help you identify why you want to be paid a certain amount and what's enough.

Pay = _____________ + ______________

Personally, I would say  Pay = Time + Expertise

I have spent years developing my expertise and the time I put into my services equals my pay. Another way you can look at it is this:

I need and want to be paid X  for Y  because it requires Z effort, commitment, and expertise.

So whether you are looking for a raise or to increase your pricing, know that you will never get paid what you are worth because you are priceless. Instead research and figure out an acceptable time swap rate. Then be Brave enough to ask for it!


  1. Sara Lynn EastlerMay 26, 2014 at 6:10 AM

    Great point of view to share! I agree that we won't get paid what we're worth, but I do believe that the worth of our work can be fully appreciated, especially when the work outlasts our lives. I'm thinking of the great pieces of art, the classic novels, the epic speeches, and the legacies to society left behind by the Fords, Carnegies, Rockefellers, and Gates of the world.

  2. Absolutely Sara...the worth of our work can outlive us and make a real difference. Thanks for commenting and sharing on twitter!

  3. Great post! I believe every person should read this, regardless of whether or not they own a business. This post made made my day! I am priceless!