Question: What's the best strategy to make sure you get paid what you're worth (whether by your boss or a client)?
Question by: Ashley
Be Willing to Walk Away
"You have to know your bottom line, and be willing to walk away if a client is unwilling to meet it. I like to say, "That's lower than I can take, but keep me in mind if your budget grows enough to allow for professional rates!" Sometimes, when they see I mean business, they rise to the occasion."
Don't Give In to Discounts
"Set your prices and don't discount your value by accepting a lower price. By standing firm in the value that you provide and seeking out the contracts or careers that recognize your value, you can avoid the discouragement of accepting a position that underpays. This, of course, assumes you are pricing your services fairly to the market and not inflating your self-worth."
"If you consistently deliver excellence, there should be no question that you're paid what you're worth. Bosses want to reward people who are always thinking a few steps ahead and delivering amazing work. Clients want to work with people who are reputable, trustworthy, and someone they can relate to. If you're always true to yourself and always throwing down your best work, the money will follow."
Be Honest With Yourself
"Knowing what you are really worth is something that is hard to define. We all have ideas about what we think we are worth, but do we have a realistic backing for that amount? You have to look at your past accomplishments (beyond formal education) and come up with a real justification for the value you have assigned. If you can't do that, then how will you sell others on this valuation?"
Offer a Test
"Tell a prospective client that your standard rate is much higher. Then offer to do a few hours, or a mini-test at a more amenable rate. Indicate that after the test you'll revisit the work and the rate. If they don't see the value, then part ways."
Tell a Better Story
"Your perceived worth and value is directly linked to your personal story. Bosses and clients love to work with passionate, inspiring people who deliver the goods. So first, make your personality shines through. Let people feel how committed you really are. Help them understand why. Next, tell a story of the future state you've already helped to actualize and how your presence benefits all."
The !#$& Off Price!
"My business partner and I set a "!#$& Off!" price, which is the lowest price we'll agree to, no matter what. It's good to have this number in mind when we're negotiating so we don't say "yes" to anything less than we know we're worth. If a client isn't willing to pay what we're worth, we know we can walk away and find a client who appreciates the value we bring to their business."
Make the Calculations
"Make sure you keep track of the value you bring to the client or the organization. For instance, if you saved the company a significant amount of money that they would have otherwise spent, this is a great way to negotiate a pay raise or increase in rates. Bring these accomplishments to any meeting where you’ll discuss pay and be prepared to show numbers and data."
Screen Your Clients
"The easiest way to make sure that prospective clients will pay you your fair value is to screen out those clients who consistently haggle, or simply do not have the capital to work with your company. This process will evolve over time. Discuss price early in order to vet a prospective customer's true interest."
Value, Not Money
"Make your case not about money, but instead about value. Present the value you provide in a very clear and concise manner. Whether you're asking for a raise or negotiating a starting salary, all your boss cares about is what you're bringing to the table. Numbers are proof of your success, so quantify your value so that your boss can too."
Show, Don't Tell
"Don't tell people how great you are, show them. A company or individual can most effectively demonstrate their value by highlighting past successes. If you don't have experience to hang your hat on, take on a defined initial project to show them what you're worth."
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.