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What is Your Time Worth?


Have you ever thought about how much your time is worth? I’m not asking how much you make per hour at your job. I’m talking about after hours – somewhere between 5pm and 10pm. What do you do with your time after work, and is it of any value?

Personal Story

A few days ago, my good friend called me up and asked if I would be interested in working for his brother. “It’s pretty easy work”, he explained, “there really isn’t any tough physical labor or anything. Just cleaning up a bit and hanging a few signs. He’ll pay us $12 an hour.”

A couple of years ago, I think I would have jumped at the opportunity to make a few extra bucks. $12 an hour for 4-5 hours means a quick $50-$60. Not too bad right? Well, that depends.

If I had planned on watching 5 hours of television when I got home, I can’t say that my time was all that valuable. I would have earned absolutely no money during that time, plus, I probably would have eaten a few dollars of chips while I was on the couch. A little work and some time away from the TV would have been a better option, especially since I was getting paid for it!

As I stared through my Jeep window with the phone pressed through my ear, I began to wonder if my time was really worth as little as $12 an hour. Since I have started this website, I realized that I could be doing these things instead:

  • Writing an article for another website: ~$25 per hour
  • Writing an article for my own site: ~$40 per hour
  • Working on my eBook: ~$30 per hour (estimate)

Suddenly, $12 didn’t seem so great. By taking the job, I would actually be sacrificing income! Needless to say, I did not accept the job. Instead, I wrote an article for another site, and I wrote this one! These two tasks took only a couple of hours, but they will benefit overall income by far more than $50…

What About You?

So, what about you? Are you a couch potato with a $0.00 time value? Or, are you an entrepreneur with so many ideas that you couldn’t possibly take the time to take a part time job for $12.

I really hope that this post has inspired you to think outside the box. Don’t just take any job that comes your way. Think about the opportunity cost – what you are giving up in order to work that job. Which one holds a higher value?

If you feel that your hourly worth is absolutely nothing, make an effort to make a change! Brainstorm some business ideas. If you need help, by all means, send me an email and I can maybe throw some ideas your way! Just click on the “contact” tab on the top of this page.

Have you ever thought about your time in this way before? Would you have jumped on the $12/hour opportunity?



My name is Derek, and I have my Bachelors Degree in Finance from Grand Valley State University. After graduation, I was not able to find a job that fully utilized my degree, but I still had a passion for Finance! So, I decided to focus my passion in the stock market. I studied Cash Flows, Balance Sheets, and Income Statements, put some money into the market and saw a good return on my investment. As satisfying as this was, I still felt that something was missing. I have a passion for Finance, but I also have a passion for people. If you have a willingness to learn, I will continue to teach.


  1. I totally view my time differently than I did before.

    I work hourly for an IT company. So, if I go to lunch, it costs me not just the cost of lunch, but also the opportunity cost of lost earnings. (I can work as many hours as I want.) However, I do need to balance work and social life too.

    I would love if an hours worth of work on my blog netted me forty dollars!!!

  2. From an economics standpoint, you’re probably right that you shouldn’t forgo a higher-paying opportunity for a smaller one. If your friend’s brother *needs* the help and wants to pay you a little something for your time, then the act of helping someone out may outweigh the difference in income. For me personally, my full-time job is my primary (read: only) source of income. Now what would be cool is taking some paid time off (for a day) to earn some ADDITIONAL income. You’re right, $12 an hour isn’t as attractive now as it was when I was in high school! 🙂

    Nice post — thought provoking!


  3. I am reluctant to place a value on my time because I might miss out on a great experience. For example, right now what I am doing is free, but I get to add something to a discussion. There is value in that and it is priceless!

    • You are correct krantcents. I expected that some people would counter with, “the value of an experience with another”, and they have a point. I’m more comparing a $12 job versus my online work. Clearly, my online work would benefit my pockets more.

  4. I am always short on personal time. I bought a car when our officed moved because it was going to add 1 hour per day of commuting. On the weekend, I have projects and family time competing (and soon golf) …

    Helping a friend is one thing and it’s about a give and take. As for money, at this point it’s me that would be willing to pay to gain time 🙂

    • Aha! A fellow golfer! That is definitely one of my weeknesses – I love the game!

      Yep, I think I’d rather work for another as a charitable donation rather than get paid. It would be more worth while that way.

  5. Before I started blogging, I thought of it as a waste of time, time that I couldn’t afford to lose. However, now blogging takes the front seat. $12 sure isn’t as great as $40 for articles.

    • It’s not only the $40 either, it’s all of the knowledge that I get from other online business owners! There are so many ways to make money! 10 times more than what I knew before I started blogging myself.

  6. This post certainly makes one think about how they spend thier time. I would most likely take the job not only for the income but as a chance to spend some time with a friend and connect with other people.

    • That is a good way to look at it Jack. It would be a way to build relationships with your friend, but also it could be a good way to network. I didn’t think about that!

  7. I think it’s all relative to what you are earning.

    • Yep. I think you’re right. For my friend, he actually said, “my time really isn’t that valuable”, which is kind of sad actually. But he’s right! He enjoys playing video games and watching TV, which is ultimately worthless. Not only is he not making any money, but he’s not learning anything OR growing any of his relationships!

  8. This is so true. But I would also look at the effort involved. If the 12 an hour was less effort than writing then I would consider it. Or if the job allowed me to do both then I would definitely do it!

    • I also think about future earnings as well. My time may not be worth a ton now, but the work I do today could yield some great results in the future (for my website that is). The general labor for $12 really has no future benefit.

  9. It’s really important to know what you consider to be a good hourly wage. In college, I made $13 an hour and thought I was freakin’ rich. (Compared to what my friends were making, I was.) Now I’d hesitate to work for less than $25 an hour.

    • Exactly! When I was an intern, I was making $12 an hour. I thought that was pretty good money, but today, I don’t know if anyone could even survive on that!

  10. I would not jump at an opportunity for 12/hour for general labour. But I might do, if there is an opportunity to learn something new (a new skill). As I consider learning something new as an investment even if I am not paid. You never know what will help in the future. I always remember the speech from Steve Jobs about connecting the dots. Just linking incase any one intersted in reading.

    • Good point! If there is a new skill to be learned, this could be invaluable in the future!

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