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Thread coming up on how to negotiate for payment if you're a young, talented, hardworking person. Note those last four words, plix.
Offered one of my mentees a contract job for a client earlier, and I asked her how much she wanted to be paid. And she panicked.
[Btw, as @biolaa1 says all the time, it's mostly females that do this. Refuse to ask for what they think they deserve. Stop it. Lean in.]
Then, after telling me the amount, she was almost apologetic. "Let me know if it's too much," she said.
"Don't ever do that again," I told her. Don't be apologetic for asking for what you deserve. And I told her I would do a thread with that.
Anyone who knows me knows I am a touch negotiator when it comes to payment. @ayodejirotinwa can write a book about dealing with me:)
If you're a serious entrepreneur and you deal directly with hiring (which you should), then you have to be a tough negotiator.
Tough because you are balancing both what is fair, what you can afford, what allows a profit for business, and enough, ultimately, to save.
And if you're like most of my generation of business leaders that I know, you detest owing anyone their pay, then this is a crucial skill.
[I always say one of my proudest accomplishments is that, as I sit, we are not owing anyone, at any time, beyond the period agreed to pay.]
So, that foundation is to note that I am not claiming negotiation is easy, or that people won't negotiate with you, or negotiation is bad.
Always be anticipating that your employer, or hirer, or contractee will do negotiating, and do touch negotiating. And this is fine.
But as I always say, whether I can afford your bill or not is my business. Your own task is to decide what you think is fair.
So before you give a figure (and stop that, whatever you can afford ish, my friend), think carefully and thoughtfully.
Think about your skill, your talent, your time, your passion for the task, and how much of an asset you will be in that job.
This means if you have just one yera's expeeience, your thinking will necessarily be different from if you have 7 years.
Always ask yourself: What do I bring to the table? Not, how much do I want in life?
It's not the job of a hirer to cover your expenses. It's the job of a hirer to pay you what is fair and proper in the circumstance.
If you are a consultant, it makes sense to also consider size of business, and relate to what you know of industry standard.
Once you have done this careful, thoughtful process (thoughtful doesn't mean long, by the way), decide on an amount, and ask for it.
Ask for what you deserve firmly, politely, professionally. And then be calm. Don't apologize, don't rush to bring it down because of silence
Don't panic. Don't hustle. Ask what you deserve, and you have done what you should do.
Even if you lose the contract or job because of what you asked, that doesn't mean you did the wrong thing. That's just life.
Don't let anyone blackmail you or guilt trip you out of asking for what you deserve. A laborer is worthy of her wages.
Now if they can't afford it, it's their right to negotiate it. Anticipate negotiation. Approach that negotiation with firmness & politeness
But have a baseline beyond which you will not go. Have a baseline for what you are worth, or what you are willing to allow.
Have standards. Standards inspire respect, safeguard self worth, and help you establish limits in a growing career.
Thee are two reasons why young Nigerians find it so hard to negotiate properly, and both are not valid.
1. Nigeria has repressed many. Taught us we are not worth what we area. It has messed up with our minds. So we are afraid to ask.
2. Cynicism. Many think everyone is out to cheat us. So instead of being firm/polite, we start looking for disrespect where there is none.
Both are unhelpful behaviors. When negotiating, assume best intention, but protect yourself through careful thought and a baseline.
Don't respond to emotional blackmail with emotional blackmail. Don't respond to disrespect with disrespect.
If a hirer disrespects you, then there is one unprofessional person in the relationship. If you respond wit disrespect, there are now two.
Let that one sink in for a bit. Lemme go & sleep. And then wil share a more urgent message about young people & evil spirit of 'hustling'.
"Whatever you can afford, sir/ma."
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