Last night I drove two hours south from Portland to Eugene, OR (home of University of Oregon) to host a gathering of the Superwoman Society.
Twenty incredible women joined me to talk about knowing your value and how to price your products and services (including your salary). Both entrepreneurs and corporate women participated in a guided discussion on this topic and I wanted to give you a little taste of what we discussed:
1. When it comes to money, we have fears (BIG, SCARY FEARS). We are afraid for a variety of reasons...
- Self-doubt ("Am I worth what I'm asking?")
- Unworthiness ("I don't feel inherently worthy of the amount I want")
- Impostor syndrome ("Who am I to do this?")
- Fear of consequences ("Will I lose the job or client if I ask for a certain amount?" "Will they be mad at me?")
2. We struggle with boundaries -- staying in integrity while serving our clients (or our employer). Boundaries like...
- Saying "yes" to everything and feeling overwhelmed
- Setting a base-line/bottom-line price or salary and sticking to it (charging too little or accepting less than we want)
- The double-bind between being likable and competent in our work (wanting to be assertive, but not be seen as aggressive or bitchy)
3. We have emotions about money! Lots of them! We feel...
- Vulnerable to rejection, judgement, and losing opportunities to advance our career
- Confused about how to go about setting our price and asking for it
- A lack of self-confidence to go after what we want
Do these challenges sound familiar to you?
If so, here's what I recommend you do:
1. Look at your relationship to money. Read books like Worthy by Nancy Levine, Sacred Success by Barbara Stanny and The Soul of Money by Lynne Twist. Examine your beliefs around money. What did your family teach you about money that is getting in the way of you reaching your full earning potential?
2. Feel your feelings. Write down your feelings about setting your price, negotiating your salary or asking for a raise. Name them. Shed some kind, loving light on those feelings and nurture the part of you that feels scared, small and unsafe.
3. Ask yourself this question: What stories are you telling yourself about money or your career that may or may not be true? Are these stories serving your highest and best self? For example, you might be telling yourself a story that your boss will get mad if you ask for a raise, that your potential client can't afford your rates or that you'll lose your job (or your clients) if you increase your rates or ask for a raise.
4. Do your research.
- What do you want to make to live the kind of life you want to live?
- What are the going rates for the work you do in the marketplace? How do you compare?
- Who is your ideal client or what is your ideal job?
- What does it cost to produce your product or service?
- What does demand/ supply for your work look like in your industry?
- What is the budget of your clients (or your employer)?
- What is the base or bottom-line you can accept for the work you do?
- Can you negotiate with your potential clients or employer around things besides money like bonuses and vacation time for my corporate ladies and testimonials for my entrepreneurs.
Finally, know that you're not alone.
This stuff is hard for EVERYONE. And it's all an experiment and a practice. Try it one way, get feedback and improve for the future.
Continually improve your approach, process and negotiation skills for future opportunities. If you make a mistake along the way, that's okay. We all make mistakes. You will survive. I promise.
You got this!