Most people consider asking how much they earn an intrusion on their privacy. We all find it difficult to share our salaries – sometimes  a) *out of guilt*, and  b) at other times *out of shame*.

Since, i wrote this article inviting entrepreneurs to see themselves as investors, and start drawing a salary as close as what the market may pay them (instead of sacrificing it for constantly and feeding their business), i thought i should share how i have drawn my salary over these years.

2002-03:

Rs.10,000/- (Feb 2003 to May 2004)

2003-04:

Rs.15,000/- (June 2004-March 2005)

2005-06:

Rs.30,000/- (April 2005-Sep 2005)

2005-06:

Rs.40,000/- (Oct 2005-Sep 2006)

2006-07:

Rs.61,500/- (Nov 2006-April 2007)

2007-08:

Rs.63,000/- (May 2007-March 2008)

2008-09:

Rs.71,600/- (April 2008-Sep 2009)

2009-10:

Rs.1,00,000/- (October 2009-Sep 2011)

The last salary that i drew in Aug 1999, as an employee was Rs.28,000-30,000/- – while i do not recall accurately – it was in that order. And i reached this salary again, after about 5 years of being self-employed. And even after this, the salary growth was too low.

My peers, those who chose to stay on India (very few did), were earning atleast about 2 times my salary drawn in 2009-2010. And by the way, the industry would be willing to give me much more than that for the skills i have/had gained over these years of running an IT services business. I created a decent brand, delivered fairly visible projects with decent amount of quality, and created a nice team of open source enthusiasts. A fairly successful, even if a smallish business, over the years.

So, if you are a young entrepreneur just starting out, here’s my message :: while you must sacrifice and *delay your gratification*, there is no reason for you to be unjust to yourself, and worse – to your family.

Learn from my mistakes if you can, and constantly strive to give yourself atleast close to a market salary. You can evaluate this, by interviewing your friends and peers, and by searching on job sites for people with similar profiles to yours.

And when your business starts succeeding, give yourself a hefty raise, and year-end dividends – that would be the incentive for delaying your gratification early on during the initial years of the business.

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