By Robin Fisher Roffer
One of the hardest aspects in business is fairly pricing you. So, what are you really worth? Here’s five ways to determine if you’re in the ballpark, or if you need to reevaluate your salary strategy.
I’ve always had personal issues around money because for a few years during my childhood I lived in extremely impoverished circumstances. It made me absolutely sure I never wanted to go there again. In a way it gave me my first life goal: To never be poor, to always have enough—to have more than enough—to keep a reserve, a safety net.
Although I’ve had my own business for 20 years, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t wrestle with what to charge clients for my services. On one hand, I have no problem asking for a big number. On the other hand, as soon as I hit “send” and that contract goes out, I churn with uncertainty. Did I charge too much or too little?
Building your personal value has a lot to do with how you see yourself and how you price yourself. When major brands price their products they survey all the other products in their brand’s category. Then they position themselves in relation to those other products. Some brands price themselves lower than the competition to attract a bigger customer base – others make themselves very expensive and are promoted as best in class.
Much of the caché of driving a Mercedes Benz has to do with its high price. Not just anyone can afford one. That's part of its brand appeal. Customers believe they're getting the best when they pay the most, and the same may be true for you. But you'd better not disappoint. Remember how important authenticity and consistency are to your brand's success. Don't pretend to be the best in your field unless you're sure you are. Don't charge more for your services or ask for a salary in excess of industry averages unless you offer “value added” benefits, more than the standard, and can demonstrate it by being consistently more competent, more reliable, more flexible, and quicker—whatever you claim to be.
Here are five ways to determine what you’re worth and price yourself accordingly:
- Figure out what you should be making for someone in your position using the salary calculator at Salary.com or Simply Hired.
- Do additional research by networking with headhunters` who can tell you what the going rate is for similar positions over at the competition.
- Determine your unique value by calculating how much revenue you’ve generated and/or the elite skills you possess that make you an expert in your field.
- Meet with a business coach in your industry and ask them to help you position yourself to get the salary you deserve.
- Go for it and ask for what you really want. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be “No.”
There have been times over the last 20 years when I’ve felt insecure about my worth and have priced myself too low. A dip in business or a difficult client knocked me off my game and in response I gave myself away. The more thought you put into your price will make quoting your salary range that much easier. Do yourself a favor and set your price based on real facts and not your emotions.
Except at the very beginning of your career when you might accept an unpaid internship, lower salary or fee structure in order to get in the door, don't charge less for your work than you're worth. And except for extraordinary circumstances, which you’ll have to judge for yourself—never give your services away. It’s a psychological truth that the recipient will not value work they get for free. So trade your services, or arrange a payment plan, or extend credit, or agree to a low starting salary with an automatic raise after three months, but don’t do it for nothing. You’ll never do yourself a favor by putting your brand value at zero. Keep in mind that we accept the money we think we deserve.
Make sure that you feel outstanding about you going into any negotiation. Understand your personal value before engaging in the salary conversation. By being prepared to authentically promote yourself for the proper income that reflects your worth is the key to getting what you want and feeling you deserve it.
Robin Fisher Roffer has ignited brands of major corporations like Sony, Time-Warner and 20th Century Fox. For her work, she is ranked on the Top 5 List of Most Influential Brand Gurus in the World. She appears as a career expert on national TV programs such as ABC, Bloomberg and Fox. Learn more about Robin at: http://bigfishmarketing.com/career-blogging.