Let me tell you a story about a Roger and about me being wrong.
Roger is a local techie who works for an awesome small company developing solutions that matter. Like really matter, such as protecting the communication and identity of US assets around world. Serious stuff.
Roger and I connected during a pivotal point in his career where he started to experience frustration with respect to his career development and, by extension, his salary. He wanted to learn more, solve bigger problems, and take on more responsibility. Independently, he also wanted an increase in annual income by a minimum of 10%.
We walked through what life was like at his current employer to understand the root of his problem and true motivation. He wasn’t unhappy, he likes his co-workers, he respects and trusts management, and he gets to work on important stuff. That being said, from a title perspective, there was little opportunity as his boss was not going anywhere and reported directly to the owners. I asked Roger if title mattered and he said “No.” In talking about compensation it became clear that while more money was important, it wasn’t just about the money. It was also about having a metric, cash, that could be measured to determine if Roger was “winning” at this career.
What followed was me giving Roger the textbook advice, as an entrepreneur, regarding his career and income goals...and the fact was that I was DEAD WRONG!
I said, “Because you are not unhappy in your current company, you might be trying to scratch the wrong itch by thinking you need to change jobs to be fulfilled and make more money. I recommend that you start a side hustle….for example, go to a freelance website and sell your skills for X per hour. Sell X number of hours and voila! You have reached your income goals and challenged yourself to learn more by starting your own business.”
Roger is not an entrepreneur, at least not yet, and what he actually did was SO INCREDIBLY useful to any employee that I wanted to share it with you.
Roger’s method can be used by anyone who works for a small company to help them make significantly more money and, if not, will clearly show you that you might be more highly valued elsewhere.
Roger asked his supervisor and the founders for a meeting.
At each meeting, Roger asked the following questions:
What are your biggest time sucks during the week?
What problems are you trying to solve that will have the biggest impact on the company?
What are the three biggest challenges that customers have with our solutions?
Roger took the results from each meeting and combined them in a document. He reviewed and consulted with his peers on what changes could be made and what would it take to make them. He refined the list of solutions to what was actionable, achievable, and most impactful. He then scheduled a meeting with his supervisor and the founders.
At the meeting, Roger presented the answers to the three questions asked during previous meetings. He then presented what he thought could be solved as a result of consulting with his peers. He asked what the founders think these solutions would be worth on an annual basis...they responded that the solutions would be worth something in the $XXX,XXX range.
Roger then asked if they would be willing to pay him $30,000 more a year if he could be made responsible and held accountable for delivering these solutions.
Roger’s supervisor and the company’s founders were thunderstruck!
The moral of the story is that Roger got the raise. He got interesting problems to work on with smart people helping him. He did not have to change companies and the company got to keep someone dedicated and focused on solving big challenges. I’m waiting to hear from Roger as to how successful he is with respect to delivering against these challenges but the reality is that he already won and I have strong feeling the company did too.
If you were to take the same approach with you supervisor, department head, or company owners, do you think you could uncover massive opportunities to strengthen the bottomline, increase revenue, and delight more customers? I bet you could. Not many folks know your organization better than you…you live it and breathe it everyday.
Give yourself a raise by taking action today. Schedule those meetings and adapt Roger’s method to your situation.
Austin, over and out!
Written by: Austin Meyermann, Founder and President of Hunter Crown, LLC
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