Asking for a raise doesn’t have to be a scary or dreadful experience. If you are currently employed, asking for a raise can be a quick and easy way to make extra money. Today is part 8 of the 10 part money making series & we are going to explore the topic of asking for a raise. (In case you missed read Part 7 – Making Extra Money by Starting a Side Gig here). I’m going to give you some practical tips on how to do this and the exact steps you can take!
I love talking about the topic of making extra money with people and brainstorming ways this can be done. Oftentimes, making at least a little extra money is quite simple to do but for some reason does not come easy for people. Let’s change that!
The point of this series is to help you take small & incremental steps to start earning extra income. Earning extra income can come in many ways (some you might not expect) & some may surprise you! It can be hard to think outside of the box in your own situation, so that is where I come in. I’m doing this 10 part series on making extra money to help you think outside the box and bring some extra money in.
Once you do that, you’ll be able to use the extra money to build up your emergency fund, pay down debt, give back more or take a vacation (or anything else that excites you). So let’s have fun with this and work together to come up with ideas to make extra money! Let’s get started!
Getting Your Mind Right Before Asking for a Raise
If you get nothing else out of this post, the one thing I want you to remember is that you have to begin to change how you feel about yourself and your relationship to money in order to get paid more. Yes, there are some tips I can give you (and I will share them below) to help in the conversations, but no tip or trick is ever going to help you if you don’t first believe in yourself, your worth and start to realize that you are worthy of being paid more.
If you get that down, your possibilities are endless. If you don’t, the chances are pretty good you are going to stay right where you are. So before we get into tips on asking for a raise, I want to first briefly cover some concepts to get your mind right about your self – worth. Obviously I can’t encompass every single aspect of how to improve your self-worth in this one post, but these general ideas will give you some things to think about and some other areas you can explore outside of this post. Ready? Here we go:
Money & Self-Worth
Money and self-worth are closely tied together. Happiness is thrown into this mix too as well as joy and many other things. If you do not believe you are worthy of a certain income level, you will never reach that income level. If you believe making a certain amount of money is bad, or that people who achieve a certain financial status are all ruthless, paid too much or undeserving, you will likely continue to sit right where you are today and never improve. If you do not believe you are worthy of more, or think more is bad, how can you ever receive more?
When I refer to self-worth in this post, I’m talking about believing you have value as a person. It’s not you comparing yourself to others, what they’ve achieved or where they’ve gotten. It’s your own intrinsic value as a human being. You may have never been told this before, but we are all important! Each and every one of us have value (some of you just may require a little more convincing of that than others!)
So how do you get there? To that point of believing in your self- worth? Or maybe you don’t even believe your self-worth is low (like I did for many years). As you read through this list, see if anything stings when you read it, generates a feeling in the pit of your stomach like “I recognize that thought” or overall makes you want to stop reading this post, roll your eyes and say to yourself “I don’t need that”.
If you are saying that, then you need to read this list of ways to improve your self-worth.
1. Forgive yourself. Most of us have plenty of guilt and resentment toward ourselves we’ve been carrying around for years. We likely don’t even realize it because it’s become so ingrained in our thought patterns. Maybe you think you chose the wrong major in college or you broke up with your significant other via text and felt bad about that. Yeah maybe another major would have lead you on a different track and talking in person was the grown up thing to do, but so what? You can’t go back and change the past and rehashing the guilt over and over isn’t going to do you any good. Forgive. Forgive yourself & give yourself a break. Lessons were learned and you can do better in the future.
2. Know that you are worthy of what you want. You are. You are worthy of every dream and desire you have in your life. Your life does not have to be a struggle. No one will get to the end of their life and wish they had struggled more, beat themselves up more or continued to focus on all their human flaws more. Start to see the good in yourself & focus on what it is you DO want, not what you DON’T want. When you think negatively about yourself, you lower your expectations. You even begin to look for reasons to support those thoughts. This is the ultimate in self-defeating behaviors! Your feelings of self-worth influence your ability to be happy and successful. Be proud of who you are as a person & own it. You are worthy of having what you want.
3. Define what you want. This leads to the next thing to think about, what is it that you want? What do you want in your life? Your career? Your relationships? Get clear on what you want. Focus on the things that bring you joy, that makes you feel good and that makes you happy. Since you likely know what you don’t want today based on your current situation, defining what you do want should be pretty easy, it’s the opposite of what you have today!
4. Face your fears. Have you read Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes? I highly recommend you get this book as it addresses this very thing. Start to say yes to what you are afraid of. Yes we often feel bad that we’re afraid of things that we know we shouldn’t fear. Doing new things, getting back out there and going on that first date, telling that person the difficult thing, whatever it is. This goes back to step 1 & forgiving yourself. But what else are you going to do? Stay where you are today and complain about it for the next 30 years? Start small, face a few small fears and overcome them. You’ll be impressed with yourself.
5. Set personal boundaries and enforce them. This one is huge, there’s no reason to allow others to use or manipulate you. In your personal life, at work or whatever it is. Decide what you consider to be reasonable behavior and enforce it. When you determine what you no longer will tolerate and what you demand for yourself, your life will be smoother.
6. Make decisions. Do not stay in that “maybe” space in your life, where you are have one foot in and one foot out at any given time hoping for things to change. Staying in the “maybe” space wastes a lot of time because you are giving someone else the power, often hoping they will change to make things ok for you. If you find yourself thinking “maybe it will get better when…..” or “maybe he/she will change and do….” you are stuck in “maybe” space. Indecisiveness creates stress and frustration & it’s a great way of avoiding responsibility! Decide. Decide for you and then take action. I guarantee you a load will be lifted off your shoulders & you’ll feel more in control of your life.
7. Define your values and live by them. It’s important to determine what you’re willing to do and what you’re not willing to do, as well as what’s important and unimportant to you. If you’re able to live by these values, you won’t have a reason to think badly of yourself. Most people don’t take the time to define their values. They rely on a vague sense of right and wrong from childhood. Give it some thought and put your ideas down on paper.
8. Be willing to make changes in your life. The same life will provide the same results. Some changes will be necessary if your goal is to enhance your self-worth.
9. Voice your opinion. Do you keep your opinion to yourself because you think no one cares? Maybe you put everyone else’s happiness above your own. Neither is good for your self-image. Your opinion matters, don’t be afraid to share it.
10. Minimize time spent with others who don’t appreciate you. Do you have a friend or family member that drags down your self-worth? Makes you feel bad when you have a new idea, have success in something or are just in a good mood? What if you let that person go? Or what if you just spent less time with them, how would your life change?
11. Volunteer. Spending your time in a valuable and selfless way is a quick means to raise your opinion about yourself. Just two hours a week has been shown to make a difference & it can open you up to a whole new reality & perspective on life. Give it a try & see how it makes you feel.
12. Avoid gossiping. This one is pretty obvious but I wanted to throw it in because if you are gossiping to make yourself feel better, this one is going to backfire on you. Life isn’t a contest, it’s not an “us against them” game to see who can drag a person down the farthest. At any given time, most people are doing the best they can with what they know and what they are given, so why not encourage and help each other out? Nothing good comes from gossiping so try pointing out positive traits and actions in others instead. How does that make you feel?
I could go on and on with other thoughts on increasing your self-worth, but I think you get the idea. When you start to shift your perspective about yourself and the world around you, you begin to see things clearer. You see yourself differently, you see your friends and family differently. You value yourself and know you are worthy. It shifts you (in a positive way) in the direction you want to go so you can get what you want.
Now lets talk about asking for a raise.
Do Your Pre-Work Before Asking for a Raise
We’ve talked about getting your mind right first and foremost before asking for a raise. There is a little more you need to do before bringing up the subject of a raise to your boss. I call this the pre-work. Pre-work is how you make the case to your boss that you deserve a raise. It shows you’ve done your homework, you know what you are talking about and you’ve really thought this through. Simply stating, “I’d like a raise” isn’t as effective as saying, “I’d like a $6,500 raise; here’s why I think I deserve it.” Here’s how you do it:
1. Show your worth. Make a list of your accomplishments and so you can discuss them with your boss. I always suggest to people to track this as you go so you are not trying to remember all your accomplishments over the past 6-12 months in one sitting. That’s overwhelming and you are bound to miss something. You can do this by keeping a running list in OneNote or a Google Doc with everything you’ve done. Set a reminder on your calendar once a month to update your accomplishments. I’ve done many employee reviews over the years and I know a few things to be true:
- Many people have a hard time talking about themselves in a positive way.
- Most people don’t put a lot of effort into this part of documenting their accomplishments.
Track everything you do, even if you think it’s small or minor. You were hired to do a job for a reason and your boss should know the good you do. Don’t be afraid to talk about it and showcase how hard you’ve worked!
2.Consider what makes you indispensable. What do you know that no one else knows? What do you handle that is difficult for others? Add this to your list so your boss has an idea of your value to the company. If you realize that you’re not indispensable, start looking for things that will increase your necessity to the company:
- What can you do that no one else is capable of doing or that no one else wants to do?
- What has changed since your last raise?
- What new responsibilities do you now have?
- Are you being required to take work home at night?
- Do you have more employees reporting to you?
- Are you forced to travel more?
If your responsibilities have increased significantly, you can make a good case for deserving an increase in your salary.
3. Demonstrate your value with measurable actions. Consider what will be most meaningful to your boss. Is he a numbers driven guy? If yes, you should back up your request with numbers & facts. Does she tend to focus on cost-savings? Think about how you’ve saved the company money in the recent past. Always consider what your boss values the most & be able to communicate in their language.
4. Consider the timing. Timing is important when you are asking for a raise. For many, that will mean right after a great review or after/during your involvement in a critical project. On the other hand, immediately after a major layoff or the loss of a significant client usually isn’t an opportune time to ask. Take those factors into consideration when asking for a raise.
5. Get clear on what you want. Going into a discussion about a raise with no idea of you want will not lead to good results. If you are unclear about the number, wishy-washy or not confident in what you are asking for, your chances are not very good of getting what you want (because you haven’t identified what you want!). Use sites like Flexjobs, Glassdoor & Salary.com to get an idea of the pay ranges for your kind of job. Sit with those numbers for awhile, does it seem too low, too high? Only you can decide. Have a number and stick with it. Use the supporting information as a guide to back-up your request.
6. Leverage your talent. Finding and retaining great talent is typically the biggest challenge that companies face, regardless of the company size, industry, or current economic conditions.When times are tough, good companies don’t lose sight of the fact that they must have the right people when things pick up. Avoid underestimating your value to your company. The act of asking for raise might cause them to be concerned that you’re thinking about leaving; this can be a good thing for you.
7. Demonstrate that you care. The very best employees also tend to be those that care the most about their job & the company. Employers know which employees are genuinely interested in the success of the company beyond simply getting their paychecks.
- What are you doing to show you care?
- How do you represent the company to your friends, family, and the community-at-large?
- Do you volunteer for company sponsored events?
8. Maintain a positive attitude. When times are difficult, it can be challenging to remain upbeat. It’s hard for everyone, and companies don’t want to deal with complaining employees. If you keep a positive approach, you’ll be viewed as part of the solution rather than part of the problem. Although you might not always be thrilled to go to work, companies prefer to believe that employees are there because they love being there. That means always getting to work on time and not heading for the parking lot at exactly 5:00 every day.
Asking For a Raise
Once your pre-work is done and you are confident in demonstrating your accomplishments & the raise you want, it’s time to discuss this with your boss. Let’s not forget the most important step in this process:
You have to actually ask.
Asking for a raise can be an uncomfortable experience but it doesn’t have to be. If you feel that you genuinely deserve it, you owe it to yourself to go for it. In my lifestyle design coaching, I’ve coached several women on this topic. I’ve heard all the excuses of why women won’t ask for a raise. There is one thing I do know on this topic, if you feel you are underpaid and you don’t speak up about it, this lesson will continue to present itself until you do learn it!
Since you’ve done a lot of the pre-work already, most of the work is already done. All you have left to do is set up a time with your boss to have the discussion. Let them know ahead of time you would like a salary review so you are not surprising him or her or catching them off guard (not a good way to start the conversation).
If it helps, practice in front of the mirror or with a friend or family member before your meeting with your boss. During your daily commute, recite what you’re going to say to your boss. But don’t get too carried away with this, just think about it as a casual conversation. That takes the pressure off of the situation. Here are a few ideas on how to start the conversation:
- I’ve been working here (# of years) as (role) and I’d like to discuss a raise with you and here’s why I think I deserve it.
- There have been some shifts in responsibilities in our department and I’ve taken on additional tasks. I’d like to discuss a raise with you and here are some of my accomplishments and why I think I deserve it.
- I really enjoy working here and my role as (role name). I have been consistently performing above expectations and my responsibilities have increased. I’d like to discuss my contributions to the company and the possibility of getting a raise for my hard work and efforts.
There are many things you can say to open up the conversation about this depending on your situation. However you do it, make sure you are respectful & confident in what you are saying.
Don’t underestimate the value that excellent employees provide to their companies. If you can show your value, you’re far more likely to be successful when asking for a raise. Consider all the ways in which you are an excellent employee and be sure your boss is aware of them. Frequently, bosses are so caught up in their own challenges that they haven’t really considered all the duties and responsibilities for which you are responsible; educate them and then ask for that raise. You’ll be glad you did!
Have you asked for a raise in the past? If so, how were you able to successfully get one?