As a woman, negotiating our worth is a tough one. I was raised to do and not ask for too much. When I graduated college, I struggled with my worth. I didn’t know how/when to negotiate and I accepted the first offer given. There was no Google to help me and my guidance counselor was hardly guiding me. Plus, no one spelled out what they were being offered, we all were proud to get a job after graduation. These days, there’s a plethora of information out there, but what actually works and when should you ask?
I’ve managed many assistants/associates, I’ve negotiated my own salary, and on a daily basis now I negotiate my own worth as I work as a full-time digital influencer. So the key question is “What is your worth?” How do I get paid what I’m worth, how do I earn more, but how do I do this all without seeming like I’m being selfish or greedy? It’s a double edge sword (I think about myself), am I asking for too much, am I doing enough work, am I worth it?
I’m still learning as I go, but in owning T&J Designs and in blogging, I’ve done more negotiating than ever before! So here are my tips and I hope it is information that will help you in your next raise, job or brand deal.
#1 In starting a job straight out of college or even starting to blog, look up general guidelines on the average salary for the position and your city or look up what you think a good collaboration dollar amount is depending on your traffic and social media followers. KNOW YOUR WORTH AND DO YOUR HOMEWORK. You can’t just make-up numbers or negotiate if you have zero knowledge of the space. Start there and then remember to ask for what you think you are bringing to the table. How do I see it? It’s a starting position and these days the experience might be worth a million times more than not having a job and asking for an outrageous salary. Think about the brand, the company, are you dying to work there or for them? Weigh it all. Shoot for higher and say you are willing to negotiate. But don’t shoot for such a number that the immediate answer is NO. If a brand wants to work with you, they’ll negotiate. Remember, if you have some experience under your belt or statistics to support your number, use them. If you are just beginning, learn as you go. You’ll evaluate at certain times to adjust your numbers as you gain more experience, have numbers to prove you are worth more, and than go in with a clear plan in mind. Do remember though, you are worth what you’ve proven. It’s much easier to negotiate if you have statistics.
#2 Be creative in negotiating. If the salary number won’t budge, ask for a 6-month evaluation and say if you exceed put in the contract you’ll get a 10% raise. In negotiating for brand deals, don’t just negotiate for one Instagram, try for two and a blog post. Figure out numbers where two or three posts sound better than one. This allows you to have consistent work and who doesn’t want more money! Try to put in something that allows you to make more in the future.
#3 How to negotiate? This is a tough one and these are my top three pieces of advice. 1) Know your info, like I said above, do research, know your facts and know what you bring to the table in order to support your numbers. 2) Don’t be afraid, be confident, but don’t have an ego. Come in saying something positive about the job and position and why this will work IF you receive this. I love saying something great about the opportunity and than acknowledging how I’m a great fit because of my creative skills, photographs, and my numbers on my media kit. Don’t say, “I’d like to do it, but I make $$$ and that’s my rate.” Be gracious, be kind but be confident. 3) Practice makes perfect. Once you start negotiating, you’ll get used to it and realize where you can push and pull. You have to start in order to feel comfortable. If you don’t try, you’ll always wonder if you could have been worth more. When you do go for it, you will get what you want or be satisfied that you are pushing for your worth.
#4 After you have a position, do the work, observe your surroundings, keep pushing yourself to learn, actively reach goals and develop new ones and do more than asked, THEN ask for a bigger raise or title (or both). Too many times I had an assistant (who did what they were told) ask for a huge raise and a title promotion at the annual review. Girl, you don’t get a medal for doing your job! You get a medal for doing more than your job and proving that you exceed and are already in the next role. In the corporate world, managers go to the vice presidents to go over raises, work performance and promotions. Those that outshine their positions, but also networked and were on the ball received both raises and promotions. Networking, my friends, is a huge ally in the workplace and in life.
I was afraid to ask for a raise for years, I never viewed myself as exceeding expectations, I was first in the office, last out working under my boss, and I got raises, stock options, and promotions consistently. There came a time when I started managing others that I realized my worth and finally asked for the raise I deserved. I learned a ton in the past and have utlized it to negotiate my worth.
#5 At a certain point in time when you’ve established yourself, it’s ok to look around and look for other available opportunities. If you love your work and just feel like your salary is not met, ask for it or interview for another position, get that offer letter and ask your current workplace to match it. This is common and ultimately your company will make the decision on it and you will know what you are worth. As for blogging, value your time, product, brand, place and strategies. If it is something I love and am super interested, I may go to the event or dinner because it’s fun and I love seeing others. If I’m getting asked to speak or do work at an event and I have to get a sitter, I communicate my fees for time and expenses. My time is definitely more limited now so I’m more careful about evaluating my worth and also if the brand/event is something I would love.
A huge Pandora charm event happening. See my Instagram here
#6 Don’t let others question yourself. Co-workers, managers, friends, and family should be supportive and give advice when you need it. There will always be people that will question your ability, try to put you in your place, or be competitive. If you are working hard, you see that your work is exceeding results AND you find yourself feeling down around someone, DO NOT be around this person or take advice from them. Stay focused on you and what you know your worth is.
#7 Take advice or criticism well. See the difference between negativity and places to improve on. I love learning, I love listening, and I love hearing where I can improve. Learning new things has gotten me to where I am at! Knowing your worth is also knowing where you can grow.
Is there anything I missed? Shoot me any questions and I’m happy to help.
In regards to knowing your worth in a relationship . . . maybe I’ll write that some other time. I’m still learning and it’s been a tough year. Finding someone who appreciates my worth is definitely on top of the list :).
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