I recently had a discussion with a fellow consultant about the struggles of owning your own company and making the right decisions for growth. During the process of this conversation, the idea of worth was brought up.
I then went on to talk to other business owners in my network to ask them how they felt about their business and "worth" came up again. Just about everyone in my network who was in some way, shape or form "self employed" or a "small business owner" repeated similar statements. The statement?
It was this or some version of this time and time again. I find it strange that despite a laundry list of qualifications and experience, people (especially women) still feel insecure about asking for what they deserve. Why is this?
I could go on with a long list of "tips for negotiation" but I have to admit, I don't really believe in all of that. Studies tell us that women are seen as negative when negotiating or asking for they want, yet most of the advice for negotiating tactics are "gender neutral" so how does that really help?
I think instead, it is about knowing your own value. At the end of the day, no matter what negotiating tactic we take, it means nothing if we don't actually believe in what we are selling. If we are being honest, what we are selling in ourselves, and our ability to deliver positive outcomes for our clients. I realize that this leads to the bigger question of "how do we find value in ourselves?"
For me this generally comes down to three simple questions that get to the heart of finding your purpose. You see, once we know our purpose and you add that with our experience there is no reason to doubt if or how much you should charge. Because you know you will not only deliver results but you will enjoy doing it. So what are the three questions?
Deep, right? This Tedx Talk does a great job of giving you an exercise to ask just those questions and understand your purpose in 5 minutes. (You gotta love Ted.) The only way to get ahead in business is to know your own value and believe it. Shout it from the rooftops if you have to. Don't mistake confidence for cockiness but express yourself in a way that is true to what you do, why you do it and who you do it for.
After you watch the video tell me your answers to his questions in the comments below. Ok, Ok, I will go first...