Do you feel confident asking people for money? I wish I did, but the reality is that, like many women, I don’t. And that often discourages me from negotiating my rates.
Thankfully, I have an amazing agent, who has no qualms about asking for more money on my behalf. But it would be empowering to feel confident entering into those negotiations myself.
My main stumbling block is that I never know how to phrase the request. So I decided it was time I did some research, and I figured out exactly how to ask for more money as a freelancer, during a job interview, and when you’re speaking to your boss. Read on for the answers…
HOW TO ASK FOR MORE MONEY AS A FREELANCER
When you’re freelance or self-employed, raising your rates can feel like a daunting prospect. How do you renegotiate your costs without isolating existing clients? And what is the best way to justify the increase to your fee?
Ann Friedman, freelance journalist and co-host of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast, gave a brilliant answer in The Working Woman’s Handbook.
“When I’m negotiating the rate for a new piece, I always ask for more money. Even if what they’re offering seems pretty fair…” Ann explains.
“I like the idea that, over time, my per-word rate really inches up. If there’s a place I write for regularly but haven’t negotiated my rates with for a year or so – while inching up my rates for other places – then I’ll just say, “This is way out of step with what I get paid by other places now. Is there any chance that you’d renegotiate?” If you’ve already got a relationship, it tends to be pretty successful. If they say no, then I’ll just write for that place less and write for other places more.”
HOW TO ASK FOR MORE MONEY DURING A JOB INTERVIEW
Also awkward? Negotiating your salary during a job interview. Because, although you may (and should) want to ask for more money, it’s hard to do so with grace. Luckily, Aliza Licht, fashion industry veteran (she was DKNYPRGirl) and author of Leave Your Mark, has the answer:
“Assuming the person hiring doesn’t know your salary, listen to the offer and then say you’re already making that and hope to increase your salary at your next position. That doesn’t sound ungrateful.” [source]
HOW TO ASK YOUR BOSS FOR MORE MONEY
“I recently reached a point in my career where I needed to step up. I wanted more responsibility and with it, more money,” Emma explained. And her top tip for renegotiating your salary is simple: “Explain your value to the company.”
If you think you’re ready to ask for a salary increase in the near future, start planning for it immediately. Start a Google Doc that lists your work achievements, and keep this list updated throughout the year, adding big and small wins (signing a new client, taking the lead on a project, speaking at a conference etc) as they happen. That way, by the time you have your annual review you can explain exactly how you’ve been valuable to the company. Asking for more money, without showing why you deserve it, is unlikely to go well.
And Emma also recommends showing how you can take on more responsibility. “Think of ways you can add more value to that business in exchange for the increased salary. That might mean taking some of your boss’ workload to free them up for bigger projects, or it could be taking the lead in your team to improve overall productivity. Demonstrating what you’ll offer in return makes it a two way exchange, and proves your commitment to the company’s success.”
Emma also advises having an exit plan if your boss says no to your request. You can read more about that over on The Broke Generation.
Have you found it hard to ask for more money as a freelancer or employee? Do you have any negotiating tips of your own to share?
Photo by Victoria Metaxas