by Katie Kazmierczak
While at lunch with a friend the other day we talked about life, love and – of course – our careers. It turns out that we both happen to be in the beginning stages of entrepreneurial endeavors, albeit in different industries.
At one point in the conversation, my friend said: “I asked my clients for more money – and they are going to pay it! I can’t believe it!” This after she went back and forth for months about whether or not she was going to raise her rates.
I said, “You know what? I can believe it. You deserve it. You’re good at what you do and in demand. Why wouldn’t you ask for more money?”
I didn’t always have this outlook. It took me nearly a decade of working nine-to-five in various companies before I realized I need to ask for what I’m worth. What was my “aha” moment? When I realized that women are still making less than men in many industries, even industries where there are a greater percentage of women.
My other light-bulb moment came when I realized that I wasn’t doing proper salary research before stating my requirements for a job. One day I looked up salary information after I already had a particular job. I was in for a rude awakening. I realized that during the interview process I had asked for what felt safe – not what I deserved.
Look, we all need to pay our dues. You can’t just walk into a company or up to a client if you have no experience and demand they pay you top dollar. Even if you were first in your class and/or had a perfect GPA, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves, do some grunt work and present proof before you can justify your value.
But how do you know you’re ready to ask for more money?
1. You’ve put in a substantial amount of time and effort into your job or trade
This varies depending on your industry, but you know when you’re comfortable doing the work and knowledgeable enough to move to the next level – do not wait for someone else to tell you that.
2. You’ve developed a track record you can use to show your value
Detailed records chronicling all of your successes and game-changing moments? Check. A professional presentation of your work to date (ie. a portfolio or clips book?) Check.
3. You have good reviews
Of course you’ve capitalized on good experiences and politely asked an employer, coworker or client for a quick review that you can use for professional purposes.
4. You’ve done your research
It’s not an exact science but you know what your salary range should be – and you have the proof to back it up.
It’s not always easy to ask for what you deserve, but starting today you can use the above four guidelines as you prepare to take your salary – and your career – to the next level. Keep reminding yourself: YOU ARE WORTH IT.
Katie Kazmierczak is a media professional and freelance writer with experience in journalism and corporate communications. She is obsessed with entrepreneurial life and truly believes everyone has the power to live the life of their dreams. She blogs at katietheauthor.com about fitness, business, writing, and life. You can follow her on Twitter @Oh_Katie or on Instagram @KatieTheAuthor.