By: Rashina Gajjar, IATG Guest Contributor April 12, 2016
When you’re just starting out, negotiating can be daunting. How does it work? How much should you charge? Should you be charging at all? With the rise of unpaid internships and crazily low pay for young people, you may be tempted to tell yourself that you’d be lucky to have a job at all (you don’t want to jinx it, right?). I mean, what if they think you’re ungrateful, or are so disgusted by your audacity that they don’t give you the job after all?
Well take it from me, you can and should negotiate. You may be young, but you are also powerful, talented, and intelligent. You deserve to be paid your worth. Here are a few things to remember about having confidence in your own worth and negotiating your way to success:
You may be inexperienced, but experience doesn’t create talent
Think about it! There are so many people out there who have tons of experience and still write like they only just discovered the Earth isn’t square! Just because you are young, that doesn’t mean you can’t write well or be entertaining and lively. Use your age to your advantage. If someone comments on your lack of experience, talk instead about your huge capacity for growth, how they can teach you and mold you into growing with the job or opportunity.
Don’t compare yourself to others
You may be tempted to look at what other people are getting paid, but that isn’t always an indication of how much you should be getting paid. I’m from England. When I returned to university from my year abroad, everyone I knew was getting paid 7 pounds an hour (about 10 American dollars), and I was getting paid triple that amount. As the year progressed, I quadrupled my hourly rate whilst others were still getting paid the same as before. The moral of this story? If you look to other people to show you the benchmark, you’ll only be getting paid what society (i.e. people who will pay you as little as they can get away with) is willing to pay.
Take a few “eye-opening” opportunities where possible
These are the kinds of opportunities where your time is being sold and valued, like in an agency, or by working as a tutor or a writer. When you’re working 18 hours a weekend at ten dollars an hour, it’s easy to lapse into thinking you’re well paid because you section off a few days a week and get a satisfactory paycheck at the end. But once you start working on a less regular, hourly basis (like with freelance writing), you’ll realize just how important it is to optimize your time and get paid enough for it. In my case? I worked as an intern in a company where I was being paid five pounds (7 dollars)an hour, but my time was being sold for more than ten times that amount. The result was that I became hungry. I realized I could do great work, and that I deserved to get paid for it.
Wait for their input, then suggest your own
Don’t be the person who inquires about pay. Wait until they ask you (unless they think it’s an unpaid position), and when they do, state a benchmark (i.e. I usually get paid X for this work). Don’t sell yourself too short. I was once told by a friend of mine that she felt bad for charging 10 pounds an hour (in human terms: “I can’t believe I managed to get a whole three pounds raise! This is amazing but I feel like I’m cheating them!”). In the words of Norman Vincent Peale, “Aim for the moon; even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” In short: how much do you think you’re worth? Now double that, maybe even triple it. That’s how much you’re really worth.
Where ego fails, use information to back you up
If you’re really having trouble asking for a high rate (particularly if you started your career on a low rate and are feeling completely skeptical about the prospect of being able to ask for more) do some research! How much do writers get paid? How much do people in similar jobs get paid? Remember, the moment you negotiate something and secure an even better pay, you’re immediately elevating your expectations for yourself and what you can achieve. And isn’t that the best thing you can do?
Give one of Rashina’s tips a try and let us know what you learned. Why do you think women have such a hard time negotiating for what they want or for what they’re worth? Share your negotiation wins-pirations with others!
Rashina Gajjar is a writer, digital strategist, and editor-in-chief of Globe Of Love, a website she founded in 2014. She speaks three languages, and is extremely passionate about travel, self-improvement, and finding your inner Beyoncé. Follow her latest musings at www.globeoflove.com.
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