How to talk about money

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Let’s face it; no one really likes talking about money.   

Unfortunately, if you avoid financially advocating for yourself, you’ll likely end up not only settling, feeling undervalued but also underpaid.  It’s important to realize, often it’s not that employers or clients won’t pay what you’re worth, it’s that you WON’T ask! 

Whether you’re due for a raise, negotiating for a new job, or raising your freelance rates, I can’t stress to you the importance of valuing yourself and your time. 

“Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it. ” – M. Scott Peck

If you’re like me, you probably have a history of valuing yourself at a certain level and when you even THINK about asking for more, those voices in your head chime in, “What if they say no or I lose clients?  What if I don’t give enough value to be worth that? What if I’m not good enough?”  This is just fear talking. Our inner fear voice tries to keep us in a certain comfort zone where we don’t have to do anything too hard or too scary. Unfortunately, we often allow fear to win and end up losing potential revenue by accepting being underpaid.

Remember it’s normal to feel afraid when you start to take a stand for your own value. But, feeling that discomfort doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it nor that something is “wrong”. Everyone feels afraid when they do something beyond their comfort zone.  The butterflies in your stomach will not magically go away and are usually a sign you are moving in the right direction. It’s up to you to decide to push through the fear.  Also, know the longer you put the conversation off, the bigger and more overwhelming it will become in your mind.

Once you’ve mastered your mindset, here are a few tips for the actual conversation:

Be yourself.
You don’t have to be overbearing or aggressive to be a good negotiator. Find an authentic voice that allows you to advocate for yourself with confidence and convey your value with sincere intent and conviction.  You can take a strong position without being tough or defensive.  Learning to speak authentically while holding your boundaries is a powerful skill to use in all areas of your life.

It’s normal to ask for an increase.  
It’s not greedy or selfish to ask for a pay raise.  Prices go up incrementally over time for nearly every product or service and it’s expected.  You’re not asking for a favor, just fair compensation for your work.

Do your research.
Make sure you know what the market rate is for your services.  Be sure to consult multiple sources since you aren’t the only one who undervalues their services! It’s useful information to have whether you find you’re underpaid or at the top of the market. 

Be prepared for the conversation.
You don’t want to “wing it” when discussing your financial future.  Take the time to think about why you’ve earned a raise or rate increase.  You don’t need to go overboard with a detailed presentation feeling you have to “convince” the employer or client, just connect to your value and the good work that you do.  You will be able to speak more confidently in that mindset.  Also, have a dollar amount in mind.  If you’re raising a client’s rate, be specific as to what the new rate is and if you’re asking an employer for a pay raise know what you will and will not accept. 

Be prepared for a “no”.
If you’re negotiating your salary with an employer and you get a “no”, don’t give up.  This is an opportunity to get direction and feedback on what it will take to get the raise or salary in the future.
If you’re increasing individual client rates, you may end up losing a few. There’s a saying, “Some will.  Some won’t.  Who cares?  Who’s next?”  It’s about eliminating a scarcity mindset versus being cold or uncaring.  You want to attract the “right” clients for your services and be OK letting those that don’t fit go elsewhere. The “right” clients see the value in your work and are willing to invest time and money.

Act as if you’re negotiating for someone else.
People are typically better at asking on behalf of others versus negotiating for themselves. When advocating for other people, you’re more likely to hold your ground and worry less about judgment or outcome. Use that knowledge and skill to your advantage!

I hope this is helpful!  If you want to talk further about negotiating your salary or rates, I’d love to speak to you.  Click here to schedule a 20-minute complimentary one-on-one consultation with me. 

Elan