A lot of people, women in particular, are hesitant to ask for more. Whether it’s a mindset that’s holding you back, fear of rejection, or something else entirely, you have to pursue what you want — and sometimes, that means asserting yourself and asking for what you want!
Even if you work for a company that reevaluates the market rate for positions and adjusts salaries accordingly or you work for yourself and can increase your rates any time, there is still a level of needing to feel confident to advocate for yourself when and if it becomes necessary.
I have a client who works in data analytics, but she wasn’t “trained” to do data analytics (ie: she didn’t go to school for this particular set of skills she has). Instead, she evolved into this role in the company and she’s good at it. However, because of the way she evolved into it, she was significantly underpaid when we started working together.
She felt she didn’t deserve to get paid at the same “market rate” because she didn’t have that formal education.
I’d ask you to consider this… What’s the value you’re contributing to the business at which you work? And has it increased as you have learned new skills, gained knowledge, and worked with more people? I’m sure it has, therefore how you’re compensated should reflect that value you bring to the table.
If you’re employed by someone else or you run your own business, you’re far more valuable than what your education happened to be (however many years ago you received it). You’re also more valuable than what you made before and/or what your starting number was.
Here’s why: You’re constantly learning new techniques and growing/improving as a human!
Related Reading: Facing Your Fear: How to Ask for a Raise When You're Underpaid
One of my first business coaches had me do this exercise and I think it’s great whether you intend to ask for more money at your desk job or raise your rates as a business owner.
Make a list of all your education from the “typical” (formal classroom-based instruction, training, continuing education classes) to the “not a formal training” type of education (a boundary you learned to set, all the clients you’ve worked with, the hours you’ve spent honing your patience). Put a dollar amount next to it if you’re able to and want to!
What you’re doing is making a list of absolutely everything you bring to the table. And pretty soon, you’ll see you’re worth more than just your formal training!
It’s a powerful experience to literally see how much time, money, and energy you have put into increasing your skills as an employee, business owner, and/or human. Now, I won’t pretend this isn’t uncomfortable at first but I’d definitely encourage you to do this! Even if you don’t show anyone, you know that when you go to ask for more, your number is rooted in practical, tangible results.
Related Reading: Tips to Negotiate a Higher Starting Salary
That client I mentioned? She’s making $20k more a year as a result of us working through some of those beliefs around asking for more and advocating for more money. That dollar amount is a significant increase for her and a big deal!
After working together, she understands that she has more skills than when she started with the company, even if her education wasn’t in that arena. She also understands that her initial salary and level of understanding was simply the starting point. Since then, she’s learned and evolved with the company significantly — and so her paychecks should equally evolve!
Had she not asked for more, she literally was leaving money on the table. That's the thing… You have to ask for more, everyone else is doing it.
When I was negotiating a salary for myself, I was swimming in student loan debt and I always asked for more. It wasn’t that I was so confident, I just needed to pay bills! Eventually, I did the work to realize I’m worth it — like my client.
However you come by it (by mindset work, sheer necessity, or something in between), make sure you’re advocating for yourself and asking for your value. You’re worth it!
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