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It isn’t often I share personal stories of the coaching clients I work with, but in this case, I want to show you that even in the midst of despair, taking small steps to improve you work-life, can have a-big impact on your income.
My graphic designer coaching client “Emma” (not her real name) had a comfy three-day-a-week job with a local design company. She got in touch with me because she’d recently had “the week from hell.”
Her life had literally imploded in front of her.
Her dad died and then, her ex-husband lied to the tax man about where he lived. Resulting in her loosing $900 a month in tax credits. She was a single mom of two. Her mom had died a few years ago. She had no support system.
She was on her own.
If that wasn’t enough, she found out her boss had hired another freelance graphic designer who was:
- Younger than her
- A specialist in a software she wished she knew
- Getting paid more than her
Everywhere she looked her peers seemed to be making six figure salaries, but she didn’t know how to, and she needed to make an extra $900 a month, fast.
What should she do?
What most people would do at this point is hit Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream and eat five containers ― all at once. Or in her case, she considered whether life was worth living at all.
But, all was not lost. There was another way. I suggested she consider asking her boss for a pay raise – the right way.
Even if everything seems to be falling apart at the seams, here are three successful ways you could ask for a pay raise, without sounding desperate – even if you are.
#1 Make a list of recent “wins at work”
What most people do is focus on the work directly in front of them – at any given time, without keeping a backlog of success stories and “wins” they’ve had for the company.
What happens when you do that is, you don’t have any tangible “wins” to negotiate with. In other words you need to build a “Raise Case” to negotiate with. Your employer is not going to keep a list of “wins” so it’s up to you to do that. The reason they don’t do that is they’re waiting for the ‘keen and hungry’ – to take the money that *secretly* waiting for them, but not everyone knows how to ask for.
What we’ll do is build an A4 “Raise Case” you can hand to your boss at review time. I want you to look back through the last 3-6 months of your “work wins” to start build your Raise Case.
Here are 3 outlines you can use to do that, right now:
- Saved the company $XXX by completing a job that they would have had to outsource (at a cost of $XXX)
- Implemented a design solution to a problem that resulted in increased revenue of $XXX or foot traffic of X
- Conducted research on a potential design solution that could save or make the company $XXX amount of money over X years.
When you can prove your worth and how you saved the company $X or increased revenue by $Y, you prove can go above and beyond. It makes it easy for them to say yes.
#2 List what you are going to do next
What most people do is expect the employer to tell them what projects are coming up in the future.
When they do this the employer thinks they are unfocused at worse unmotivated. What you’ll do is during your next catch with your boss, or casually over coffee or on skype is you’ll ask them “what projects are coming-up in the next few months I can support you with? And what are the best ways we can work so together to – get the desired outcome?”
When you do that, and use that information in your raise negotiation…it makes you look like you have read your boss’s mind. It will make you stand out against 90% of your colleagues.
Examples of “what you’re going to do next”:
- Short term: Scope the amount of work required to do projects X, Y & Z
- Mid term: Build a central design log that stakeholder can use to monitor work in progress
- Long term: Monitor design projects against on and off-line sales traffic to flag successful campaigns and re-use those assets.
#3 Make a list of the top three things you want to ask for
What most people do is only ask for a salary raise. What they may not know is there may be other negotiables available to them too like: time off, equity, holiday pay and bonuses. When you only focus on a raise you risk losing out on other opportunities that can make your life easier. For example if you have kids, you could negotiate more paid time off, or if you are keen on learning new skills you could negotiate a training expense into your package.
Examples of things to ask for, that you could ask for:
- Work on-site Monday-Wed.
- Remote: Thursday- Friday.
- $200 a month towards training material and tech gadgets
- $1,300 a month raise (go higher than you want to give room for negotiation)
- Bonus $1,000 (if Q4 sales target met)
- Extra 6 days off per year on 21 days holiday
What we’ll do next is create an A4 document that includes all the 3 step examples from above. When you do that and when it’s time for your “Raise Case” review – you’ll make it extremely easy for your boss to get a quick overview of your “wins” v’s “ask fors”, making it easy for him to say yes.
By completing 80% of the work necessary to build your “Raise Case” before your review meeting, you bump yourself above 95% of other co-workers and dramatically increase your chances of getting a raise, and much more. Adding instant kudos by being organised will single you as a great performer in your company.
I would love to hear your biggest take-away from the above? Please leave your comments below – I read them all.