Oh, I hate doing this! I hate haggling, quoting, asking for more, offering less. I hate money, and I wish that I didn’t have to deal with it.
But I do. Every day. I am a business. I offer a service, I sell products, and my time is valuable. Moreover, there are plenty of people out there who are perfectly comfortable talking about money, and they’ll take me for all I’ve got if I can’t talk back.
I thought that talking to clients about money would get easier with practice, but it hasn’t yet. I’m just not comfortable bringing it up. As if saying, “Hey, you still haven’t sent me the check for last month,” is going to make them think I’m shallow and money-hungry. I’m always afraid that asking for money, more money, or free stuff makes me sound like I think I’m owed something I’m not.
But, of course, I am owed something. I would write whether it was my job or not, but passion doesn’t pay my rent. I offer something that is valuable to people, and I have to make sure I receive that value in return. As my business grows, I will have to get better at this, or I simply won’t survive. I’m writing this post in an attempt to hold myself accountable (and to solicit any advice you may have!).
A few things I’ve learned through trial and error:
There will never be a good opening. I often hesitate in a conversation, waiting for just the right moment to bring up my pay, in order to not seem inappropriate or over-eager. That moment doesn’t come. A client won’t steer a conversation toward increasing your pay. You have to just bite the bullet and bring it up.
It doesn’t hurt to ask. People tell me this over and over, yet I still worry, “Am I crossing the line? Am I asking too much?” Maybe. But, if you’re asking too much, the worst they can do is say no. And then, you’ll move on.
Just be honest. I don’t want to swindle people, and I think they know that, so why do I always worry about looking like a swindler? In most cases (unless you are dealing with a really hard-hitting client), admitting your discomfort about money issues doesn’t have to be taboo. I’ve had clients express similar discomfort with haggling, and it puts me at ease for future discussions about money. Maybe your admission will do the same for your clients.
You’re probably going to get what you ask for. This, above all, should encourage me talk about money:
I have never had a client or an employer tell me no when I’ve asked for more.
If you continue to provide a value to people, they’re going to want to keep you around. If you think you deserve more compensation, they’ll probably agree, and they’ll give it to you if they can. Just keep working hard, and don’t be afraid to ask.
How do you talk to your employers and clients about money?
Photo Credit: Flickr’s ceol