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Lately, there has been some interesting discussion on social media channels about how much money we should make. Some are even saying that we shouldn’t be putting a target number out there, or not one that’s ambitious. Or that when folks do they’re pressuring others to set their goals higher and there’s a problem with that.
Why dedicate a whole blog to this topic? Because it’s the comments I read that concern me. I see a pattern of a very limiting belief mindset. That we need to think conservatively and be happy with what we get. That if we have a decent income, then we sacrifice lifestyle. That we need to grow our careers and businesses slowly.
My question is, does there have to be an either/or? What if it could be a both/and? In other words, can we have the best of many worlds – make what we’re worth, and have the lifestyle we want, and still be present for family and other important elements of our life?
Furthermore, why do we have to be divisive on this issue of income? Do we have to dive ourselves into those who want “too much” and those who ask for “too little”? This is not an inclusive conversation, therefore, doesn’t enable cross-pollination of ideas and support. It doesn’t build everybody up.
We need to be brave enough to be having open conversations about what our financial goals and needs are.
We as women, who traditionally who have made less than men – and research still shows we do and that it takes 10 years longer to get to the top job if that’s what we want – need to encourage these transparent and striving conversations.
We need to consider financial goals on a spectrum and holistic in nature so it’s not “what do you want to make in your biz/career?” devoid of lifestyle, family, and other considerations. In other words, the elements that are important to us all.
The opportunity this brings is taking a look at what we really want and most value. You deserve to get paid what you’re worth. So, I want to share with you some of the secrets that I’ve learned from people who don’t have to compromise what they make in their business or income. People who haven’t compromise their health, lifestyle or good relationships to make what they’re worth.
1.Know your worth.
Charge what you are worth as an organization or negotiate your worth as a salary and don’t compromise. Are you willing to go somewhere else or work with different clients who don’t see that you are worth that amount? Not sure what it should be? Try this exercise recommended to me by my speaker coach Jane Atkinson.
Exercise: Write down all your education, experience, volunteerism, interests, courses, certificates, passions and anything else that makes you qualified, interesting, unique and fabulous. This unique package of greatness is what people invest in when they hire you. Consider: how much would I be willing to pay for someone with all of this? Write down a number. Read off the list to others and ask them the same thing. Knowing what your worth as a whole package (versus our limiting mindset of “there’s so many other equally or more qualified people than me out there”) helps you to stand tall in your fee or salary expectations and be willing to pass on opportunities that fail to align, creating space for the better fit to come along.
2.Top Level Performance.
Connie Podesta is a famous speaker in the U.S. who says, “I’m a 10 out of 10 speaker, that’s why I command the fees that I command. And sure, you could hire a two out of 10 speaker and pay less, but if you have your 10 out of 10 people you’re sending to the conference, why would you want to have a speaker that’s not also a 10?” Now, this is a woman who knows her worth! Love it!
And don’t you value the power of that statement of: “why wouldn’t you want to hire a 10?” Are you a 10? I’m assuming you are or darn close to it. If you perform at a 10, you deserve to work with other 10s, companies that are a 10, and do work that leverages your 10 talents. If you’re not stretched too thin by having so many clients and tasks that are well below your 10 status, you’re not staying top of your game. It’s better to earn a little more and work a little less, or if you’re in a situation where you’re not matched to that 10 team or organization, hold back a bit and give that to building a 10 out of 10 side hustle than keep giving your 10 in an environment not able to fully benefit from it.
3.Study the bottom line.
Getting paid what your worth may come first, but not letting it all go out the door is also important to consider. Have you ever thought “I’m doing pretty well” only to wonder where it all went at the end of the month? The temptation is, the more you make the more you spend. However, like any good business, you need to study those inputs and outputs on a regular basis (minimum monthly) and adjust accordingly. And, what do you have to take from that bottom-line to put toward your future?
Of course, the extreme of not studying and adjusting is that we go bankrupt or lose our business. Even if we’re not in that extreme position, worry about this can only hold you back. It gives you a mindset that you have fewer choices. We can get intimidated by our expenses or debt being so high that we feel we need to take any work and stay with clients or businesses that are a bad match. We feel trapped and stop demanding to be treated and paid what we’re worth. We had the misperception that we have no choice but in actual fact, we can adjust our habits and open up possibilities again. And it all starts with making good and consistent friends with our numbers.
4. Hang out with top performers.
Who do you spend your time with? Are they people who are living the lifestyle you want, earning what they deserve, know what they’re worth? Will they hold you accountable to do the same? They will say, “You deserve more than that“? Just as we spoke about you being a 10, hanging out with other 10s or those that can help you to perform at a 10 will help you stand tall in what you’re worth and learn the tricks from them as to how to do this consistently.
5.Know when to say no.
Know what you are not willing to compromise on. I learned early on I had to prioritize my decision-making criteria for my business or else I found myself saying “yes” haphazardly to work that didn’t feed my soul, bank-account or need to run a family-friendly business. I now filter all requests or potential work through six priorities (in this order of importance):
- Family-friendly fit (e.g., I can sleep in my own bed)
- Fits with my expertise & passion
- Pays what I’m worth
- I like the client/company (good alignment)
- I have capacity
- Opens the door to other possibilities
Let’s say someone wants me to go lower than my fee (which as you know by now valuing what you’re worth is a big deal to me and I hope for you too). I have to be sure it meets the first two priorities to a T and the rest as well. If it’s a charity of choice and they have no budget, but meets all the other criteria and I’m not capped out on my set number of charity speeches a year, that may be a yes whereas another charity that’s not on my charity of choice list and is far away from my family will likely be a no. Or let’s say it’s a company that will pay my fee but treats their staff badly and is only having me in as window-dressing, leaving my family behind for half a week to boot. Well, that also is likely a no. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of yeses, but every yes and every no are an important decision. I am not doing an organization or association any favours if I say yes just because of the money or yes to a lower fee feel resentful as that event rolls around.
Exercise: List all the criteria for making a decision to accept a client or company (or to stay with one). Then
I encourage you to look at what you’re making in your business, in your income, and ask yourself, “Am I happy with this?” If you’re super humble, consider if a career coach, your best friend or closest mentor would be happy with it. It’s great if you are. If you’re not, which of those five things could you work on so that you could get to that place where you are satisfied and content and deserving every penny of what you’re worth? And you ARE worth it. That is part of your greatness and people are lucky to have access to your greatness.
Know someone who needs to hear what they’re worth? Share on.