Pay Yourself Based on Industry Standards

  • It’s better for you financially. By receiving a full salary or one close to industry norms, you make less of a sacrifice now.
  • It prepares the company for the future, rather than protecting it. Your company could have less of an adjustment when it becomes more profitable and would be expected to pay a higher salary.
  • It could be financially draining for the company. The first goal for your company is to survive. After the first year or two, you can focus on building and growing.
  • Unrealistic expectations. It could be unrealistic to expect a new startup company to pay ‘industry-norm’ salaries.

Deciding Factor

  • Is it important for you to send a signal to investors and/or colleagues or peers about your level of compensation?

Game Plan

  • Talk with industry peers, including any other CEOs of start-ups whom you know, to learn about standards and norms.
  • Find more about industry standards for salaries at Read about the topic of CEO compensation of start-up companies. Good sources include
  • Talk with your accountant as needed for financial and tax guidance.
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