Six tips to help you negotiate your fees and salary

Antonia Chitty small headshot 2015Whether you work for clients who pay by the hour, negotiate a day rate or are an employee, the tricky issue of what you get paid will come up sooner or later. It is shocking that there is still a gender pay gap, but there is, so if you are a woman and you’re reading this, please do take these tips to heart. You’re not just helping yourself: you are negotiating so that the next generation of women can expect fair and equal pay.  Negotiating pay isn’t just down to gender, but also you need to feel confident, and hopefully these suggestions will help with that too.

  1. Don’t wait until you are desperate. If you are an employee you may have set pay review points, but for freelancers make sure you review your fees annually. That way you keep your income in line with inflation and don’t give your clients a nasty shock.
  2. Build your case. Use evidence of where you have solved a problem, saved your client money or driven an increase in sales. Note these down throughout the year – its much easier than doing it just when pay reviews come up. Add in scope for how you can build on on what you do for your client or employer in the future.
  3. Know the facts. Be realistic about your value, the economic climate, and what the company can afford. Talk with colleagues, look at industry surveys, ask in online groups – just be a little less British about talking money and it can make it easier for everyone.
  4. Rehearse what you’re going to say. If you don’t feel convincing enough, imagine you are negotiating on behalf of someone else. Record yourself, use cards or bullet points – prepare plenty and you may be surprised that the actual asking is easier than you thoughts.
  5. Stick at it. Be polite but assertive. Consider the minimum you need to survive, but always ask for more than that! As a freelance make sure you have a minimum and ask for a bit more, which gives you scope to negotiate. And don’t work for less than your minimum – it’s not doing you or anyone else a favour, and your client will take it for granted that your rates are low.
  6. As a freelance, it can help to develop a niche. I’m one of a small handful of people with my qualifications who work in my particular niche, and it helps! You may need to take an extra qualification or simply study your topic. Being invaluable to your client or employer really helps you make your case.

Antonia Chitty is the author of Making Money Online , which costs from around £4-12 currently, depending on format.

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