Know Your Worth: Why Negotiating is a MUST For Securing The Bag
"I'm not too expensive, you just can't afford me yet."- Blake Von D, Attorney & Influencer
That was the quote that made the audience go crazy, this year, at the Create and Cultivate Chicago Conference. For very good reason too. This particular one-liner hit the right buttons because it's something that we, as entrepreneurs and women, hear a lot of. "Don't ask for that much," "Don't aim too high," "Be careful what you ask for"- we hear a lot of chatter about exercising caution when going for what we want but what about the encouragement?
Listen ladies and gentlemen, it's time to know your worth and set your prices accordingly. Whether you are negotiating your salary for a new job or your rates with a new client, you should be getting paid for the value that they are receiving. At the Create & Cultivate Conference, LUNA sponsored an Art of Negotiation panel discussion, featuring Maxie McCoy, Zoë Scharf, Reesa Lake, Blake Von D, and Robin Li. I loved this panel because these speakers really got down to the heart of how and why women should be negotiating differently.
"Know your value, know your worth, and know what you can bring to the table."- Reesa Lake, Partner and Executive Vice President of Digital Brand Architects
It's all about knowing your value and being able to articulate the value that you are adding to the individual or organization that is COMING TO YOU! Now, ladies, I'm talking to you specifically. Women are not taught to negotiate when presented with an offer and then later, we often don't re-negotiate terms when we have even more leverage to do so because we've acquired more education, skills and knowledge.
"Women negotiated less than their male counterparts. Sixty-eight percent of women accepted the salary they were offered and did not negotiate, a 16-percentage point difference when compared to men (52%)." - Glassdoor via Forbes
Why aren't we doing this? This is the only way that we will close the gap in how much we are paid and how much we are valued at work and in business when compared to our male counterparts.
"If my value was zero, you would not have come to me."-Blake Von D, Attorney & Influencer
Once again, if you didn't have a ton to offer then they wouldn't be coming to you. If someone is interested in your expertise, you have already sold them on the fact that you know your stuff. We have to get comfortable and familiar with the word "no" and stop feeling guilty about it. If the terms of a proposal aren't in your best interest, it's okay to decline. If you feel that there are changes to be made that can make the offer acceptable, don't be too afraid to suggest modifications that better suit your needs. Anything that you accept today becomes the baseline for future offers. Over a ten year period, if you negotiate $5,000 more in your annual salary at the onset, with regular raises, that can result in an additional $100,000!
How much money are we leaving on the table?
As an entrepreneur, solopreneur, freelancer or consultant, you have to consider how much work you will be putting into a project and price your work accordingly. It never feels good when you come up with a generic price, accept the offer from your client and soon realize that the amount of effort you have to put forth will far outweigh the payment that you will get.
Mind you, all good negotiations don't have to have a dollar amount attached. Maybe you are negotiating a sponsorship, social media collateral or cool swag. These types of opportunities can be very valuable if you are building your brand as an influencer, blogger or ambassador. However, just make sure that the agreement is favorable for all parties involved so the benefits are shared. Being strategic in your negotiations can create powerful collaborations for your brand or opportunities for advancement in your career. Just remember the value that you are adding to every situation and come to the table prepared to speak to that value when necessary.