This article is written by Ramanuj Mukherjee, CEO, LawSikho.

The purpose of this article is to insult you. So even if you feel insulted, just read on. Insult could be exactly what you need to get out of inaction or a rut sometimes.

Look at the video below. This is the video of a guy, made by a channel called FoodDaddy, who sells rolls and chicken seekh next to Saket metro in Delhi. This is right next to our LawSikho and iPleaders office in Saket.

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Guess how much he earns?

I stood there and saw around 8 rolls selling in 10 minutes. He rapidly keeps making and selling these rolls. He stands at that spot for about 7 hour a day. A roll costs 60 rupees. His margin would be about half of that. Still, let’s assume he makes a profit of 20 rupees per roll. And that he sells about 30 rolls in an hour. That’s a revenue of 1800 rupees per hour and a profit of 600. In 7 hours, if he keeps selling at that speed, he makes a profit of 4200 per day. And revenue of Rs 12,600. At least. He also sells a lot of chicken seekhs.

He doesn’t pay any income taxes also. Obviously. And my estimates are only on the lowest side, I am purposefully being super conservative about the maths.

I am not going into much details, but even if my calculation is very wrong, he makes a revenue of at least 3,00,000 per month, of which about a lakh will be profit if not more. He probably gives a few thousand to municipality and police guys as weekly payment to keep them at bay.

I asked him how much he earns, he broke into a smile and told me aap ke dua se sab achha chal raha hay. Wouldn’t divulge more.

The food seller on the street makes at least 1 lakh per month. Do you?

Btw, it is not an easy job. It’s hard work. He had to find a good spot, good location. He works very hard. He does not take days off. He makes parathas all morning and then comes and stands in the sun. He has to deal with police and municipality people who extort money from him.

I once read about an engineer turned roll seller, who wrote about his business on quora, and he mentioned how he earns ten times more by selling rolls rather than what he earned in an engineering job. I could not find that one, but here is another fascinating thread. Here, a roll seller claims that he earns 3-4 lakhs per month and gives the math break up of that too.

Ok forget rolls. It could be some one off thing right?

Did you know that barbers earn more than the most people whose hair they cut?

My school friends in their whatsapp group were recently complaining about how the chaiwala in the office earns more than them, because the guy built a three storied house and was showing off pictures of it!

So I did some research.

How much do you think your road side chaiwala earns? This tea stall in worli has a turnover of over 2 lakhs per month. Barely any investment goes into it. And his margin is more than 50%. A chaiwala also easily earns more than a lakh per month.

What about you?

How about the samosawala? Apparently, in big cities, they easily earn 1 lakh per month.

My masseur charges 700 per visit, for one hour of massage. Most of his day is free. If he does 5 massages in a day, he makes 3500. He says he earns between 70,000 – 1,00,000 per month.

How much do lawyers make?

Surely, lawyers have the potential to earn a lot. Good lawyers at district courts also easily earn 7-10 lakhs per month. It is in High Court and Supreme Court that junior lawyers without much brand value earn quite less and toil in the hopes of making it big one day.

Look, it’s not just about the money. You have got a great degree, the LLB. Maybe you got a foreign LLM also. But where is the return on investment?
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Have you considered, maybe the job you are doing is not that great? Maybe you are not aiming high enough? Maybe you are being satisfied with too less?

If you let yourself truly dream, what could be your ambition?

The point of reminding you of how much hard working people with little education and investment are making in our metros is to tell you that you need to up your ambition. You need to up your game. You need to set your targets higher. Otherwise, what is the use of your law degree, all the learnings and hard work?

Money is not just about greed. It is an important scoreboard. You can see how much value you are generating for the world and how much of that you are managing to capture for yourself. It is a great indicator of your capabilities unless you are doing a non-profit or nature conservation or some other work like that, in which case the measurement should be the impact you are making.

My point is that if you are just working enough to survive, I want you to feel insulted that you are not doing enough. I want you to reflect. Can you look any higher? Is this the best you can imagine for yourself? Will your life get over with so less?

At the least, you should not set your targets too low. You should not be satisfied with a meagre salary. I hope you take away some benchmark from here. If a tea seller earns a lakh, how much should be your target? How much do you think you deserve?

If roll or tea doesn’t taste good, it won’t sell well. If they do not position themselves in the right place, they won’t make enough to eat two square meals. They need to consistently provide high quality over a period of time to build up a clientele.

Even the Worli tea seller adds lemongrass to his tea. Who knew! To create a distinct taste, obviously.

What is your USP? What’s your secret ingredient?

What are you gonna do? How much effort are you putting into developing your capacity to deliver high-quality legal services? How much time are you spending in getting your positioning right? Are you building a brand? Do you have the capacity to deliver high quality legal services consistently and reliably to the majority of your clients?

Think about each of these questions. Don’t skip them, read them again and again and wonder.

Your success depends on that. And surely you can earn a lot more than a chaiwala if you get all these things right.

Please don’t think small. Please don’t be lazy. Please do not prevent yourself from investing in your future.

Your future is in your hands. Jump in and make a difference to your own life.

All the best! Don’t let chaiwalas and masseurs beat you financially! You certainly deserve better. Get better at your work and earn lots and lots of money 🙂

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