Don't just research your base

You already know information is key, and I want to stress that its so important to not only research your base salary, but also your bonus and any other pieces that are specific to your industry.

One study analyzed the starting salaries negotiated by men and women who were entering the workforce after earning their MBAs. On average, women accepted salaries that were 6 percent lower on average than those negotiated by the men. That is already pretty dramatic - but the annual bonuses negotiated was even more surprising: Women’s were 19 percent lower than men’s on average.

Gather Your Own Data

The other thing you can do is ask colleagues or peers. I used compensation data from another venture capital associate who sent a compensation survey to a google group of over 100 folks in the industry. If you’re party of an industry community on facebook or a google group or meetup, consider organizing an anonymous survey that everyone can then reuse for their own negotiations at their respective jobs.

Here is a sample google sheet form you can use to create your own survey

Do Your Market Research

Information is power in a negotiation.  The best way to make sure that you are getting paid what you are worth is by performing market research. Why?  Without data, women tend to underestimate the value of their work and ask for less.

Download the compensation Toolkit

For instance, there was a study where men and women were asked to pay themselves in a private situation what they thought was fair pay for a fixed amount of work. Without any guidance, men paid themselves 63% more on average than women. When researchers put a list of names and amounts that others had been paid, women and men didn’t have a significant gap in how much they  suggested they should get paid. So what does this mean? Women don’t value their work as inferior, we just have a difficulty accurately assessing value of our work without external reference points.

Glassdoor, PayScale, Angelist, Ladders, Buffer, and Robert half are all websites where you can search for compensation data. 

Download the compensation Toolkit

The Power of Physiology

You can use your posture, your breathing, your hand gestures, your facial expressions to put yourself in your most empowering mental state. 

Amy Cuddy coined the term Power Pose, as a method to increase your presence and gravitas in a room. She discovered that "a person can, by assuming two simple one-minute poses, embody power and instantly become more powerful.” By standing in this pose, you increase feelings of power and tolerance for risk.  Watch her TED talk to learn more. Start your morning by doing the power pose for 2 minutes every day.

Creating an Incantation

When you repeat a phrase with emotional intensity enough times, you start to believe it. We are going to go through an exercise to develop your own unique incantation, that resonates with you and inspires you to take on 

Find Your Key Quality

List a key quality that you exude when you are an expert negotiator. How do you describe yourself? Here are a few ideas of words some of you have come up with. 

  • Confident
  • Powerful
  • Influential
  • Endearing
  • Commanding
  • Strong
  • Beautiful
  • Presence
  • Gravitas

Write your Power Sentence

Come up with a sentence that that declares how you have shown up and successfully negotiated. You can use your key quality if its helpful as the anchor. Here are a couple of examples from you.

I negotiate with gravitas, and gracefully usher a win-win outcome for myself and X company.
I am paid what I deserve, I earn every dollar with my hard work, and feel motivated and rewarded for my unique ideas and perspective every day. 

VISUALIZATIONS EXERCISE

Close your eyes and imagine yourself negotiating successfully.

  1. What does it feel like?
  2. Where are you? What are you wearing?
  3. What kind of room are you in?

Imagine the scenario as if you are watching yourself as a fly on the wall. See yourself speaking with the HR manager or whoever you’d be negotiating with. See them receiving your words and priorities, see them smiling in understanding and excitement to hire someone who is going to be just as good of a negotiator for the company once they hire you. 

Now, imagine it again, but turn up the brightness of this image - the colors on your shirt, the details of the room, the smell of the room. Make it real. 

Repeat this exercise in the weeks leading up to your negotiation

I'm a freelancer. what do i ask for?

Dear Nasty,

I’ve been offered a part time gig doing social media for a startup. I have no idea how much I should charge (I'm in LA). What is a fair rate to charge? (if it's an hourly rate - then ~20 hours a month + one-time charge for strategic plan consultation?)

Sincerely, Freelancer

Hey Freelancer,

I’d take a three-pronged approach to identifying the right number to ask for.

  1. What are your financial needs? Look back at the past 3 months and figure out what your average monthly expenses are. 20 hours a month is substantial, are you supplementing this? Does this income need to comprise 100%, 50%, 33% of those monthly expenses?
  2. Check out databases. Something like Angel.co would be great - filter for social media and part time, and you can see a range of quotes people are offering
  3. Get Creative. Post a link to upwork, social media strategy facebook groups, gagster and other freelancer sites to get quotes for work identical in scope to yours. How are they quoting you? By total deliverable or hourly? 

When assessing your proposal, they want to know why they should go with you versus someone cheaper. I’d position it by pointing to work you’ve previously done, and say, I was able to create a x00% ROAS, so I know that my salary will pay for its self within the first 3 months. Boom. Easy money baby. 

I'm getting promoted, what do I ask for?

Dear Nasty,

My current boss has been impressed with my work and is building a new role she’d like to hire me for, which will be a promotion. She's going to share the job description when she's finished writing it. I have a feeling she will ask me what my salary requirements are if I were to pursue this. What salary range I should reach for? What % salary increases do promotions typically yield?

Sincerely, Onmywayup

Dear Onmywayup,

Congratulations! I’m so excited for you AND for the company for getting the opportunity to retain their best and brightest talent. Great for both parties. Here's how I would go about setting an anchor salary number. 

Step One: Get the Title/Role

Once she's done writing the JD, look at the scope of responsibility, the title, and do your own market research on what the range of that salary is for someone in your city. If she asks you before or right when she shares the JD about salary compensation, say you’d “I am so excited to be considered for the role, I’d love to continue to work with you. I like to have 24 hours to reflect on the scope of the role, perform my own research, and come back to you with a number that I think makes sense for me and the company.”

Step Two: Do your research

You asked what the typical salary % increase is during promotions. I think this is not the best approach. Do not anchor this salary to your current salary. Instead, use market research to identify a range that is inline based on the title, scope of role and your location. Also, consider how this new role affects topline revenue compared to your current role. 

Step 3: Present the data

Come back to her with this data, and say, "based on my research, the salary range for someone with this role and responsibility set in this city is $X." Don’t give a huge range.

** Sidenote on ranges ** Why would you give someone the option of paying you more or less of market rate? Makes no damn sense. 

The importance of silence

We have a tendency to negotiate ourselves down from our asking offer. Silence is key when you present your asking salary. Do not do this: “Id love it if we can get to $86,000. But I totally understand if that is not doable..... I’m happy to land at $80,000. I really need $70,000 to live so that is as low as I can go." 

No. Sit with the discomfort of silence and give your manager a chance to respond! 

Do NOT negotiate yourself down under any circumstances. Say your number and then be quite. Practice the sentence above without the part where you qualify it. 

Reminder: You're amazing

You yourself said that your manager is considering YOU for promotion because she's been really impressed with your work. As a manager, it's hard to find great people you enjoy working with. She wants you on her team and she'll do what she can to make you excited about the role, which includes bringing your reasonable, data-driven salary proposal to the HR team. 

You've got this!

Nasty