ICYMI: Negotiate Like a BOSS Workshop at the Financial Gym Event Recap
Did you know that the 57 percent of men negotiate their starting salary compared to seven percent of women? Or that a white woman makes 77 cents to a man’s dollar while women of color make even less than that? Whoa.
Tuesday was Women’s Equal Pay Day, so it was the perfect time to team up with The Financial Gym to talk about the art of negotiation. Together, we wanted to make strides to close that gender wage gap by equipping women with tools on how to demand the pay they deserve.
We started out with a conversation between Founder of Love Squad, Ally Love, and Founder of The Financial Gym, Shannon McLay, about negotiating tactics and their personal experiences. Then we broke off into groups to get a little more intimate and vulnerable about the topic, before coming back together to discuss for a little while longer. If you weren’t able to make it to this one, here’s what you missed:
About The Financial Gym:
While working as a financial adviser for Merrill Lynch, founder Shannon McLay had a vision of a fun, welcoming place where people in jeans and a t-shirt helped you with your money instead of a stiff guy in a suit. During her time with the bank “helping rich people get richer and losing [her] soul along the way,” she recognized “a huge need for people who didn’t have $250,000 in assets to work with a human being who was compassionate and empathetic and understood where they were coming from.”
McLay left Merrill Lynch and invested her entire 401K to start the Gym, which she claims is the best investment she ever made. She did her research, acquired a space in Chelsea, hired a strong staff, and now they have more than 200 clients in 47 states.
Calculating your asking number.
Set your goals.
Where do you wanna go in life? What are you working for? What is motivating you? If money weren’t a factor, what would you want your life to look like? Whatever your answers were to those questions, they all have a price tags. You have to put a monetary value on what you want to get a concrete idea of what you’re aiming for.
Then, you break it all down. Say you want to travel to four different European countries in the fall of 2020. How much would airfare cost? Lodging? Food? Miscellaneous spending? This would be a little more than a year away, so after adding that all up, divide it by 12 (or so) - that’s how much extra you have to make each month to afford that trip. Traveling is a common goal for people, so this is only an example. Whatever it is you want – be it egg freezing, starting a small business or just feeling more financially stable – this may be a helpful formula.
Do the research.
Go online to see how much other people make in your line of work.
Glassdoor and Payscale are both great resources. These websites allow people in various positions at various firms to report what they make, so you can find the average salary or salary range for people who do similar work and use that to guide you as you calculate your number.
Ask your coworkers!
It is not against the law to talk about how much you make. There is actually a law protecting your right to talk to your coworkers about your salary. Sure, your boss, your employers don’t want you to talk to each other because they know how much everyone makes. They have a business to run and want to profit off of your work, so keeping you at a low salary will benefit them more. However, while many people feel uncomfortable talking about money, it’s in your best interest to open up about it and start the conversation with your peers.
If someone makes more than you, don’t let that discourage you, because that’s good news! That means you have room to grow in that job and that information can help you figure out your goal!
On the other hand, you might be the one making more, or they’re only making a little bit more than you are. Ally warns, “Don’t let that number be an anchoring number for you.” This is your professional and financial journey, not theirs. You have different time frames and have produced different amounts, so consider their number, but don’t let it hold you back when determining yours.
Ask questions about the company.
Maybe you’re fortunate enough to have a mentor or a friend that has a higher rank than you within the company. Talk to them! When you go in to ask for that raise, you want to be fully equipped with all the information you can get. You probably don’t want to ask for tips on negotiating, but you want to see what kind of business decisions are being made above your head.
Freelancers – talk about your rates, too!
During the larger discussion, we didn’t have a chance to talk too much about freelancing, but we touched upon it at certain points. Shannon used to freelance as a side hustle and she was pretty happy with her rate until she heard what her freelancer friends were making. Open that conversation. You don’t know how much money is out there until you start talking.
Post-Research, Pre-Meeting Numbers
Now you have your research and you have an amount in mind. That’s great, but you need two more numbers… when you go into that room and sit across from your boss, you actually want three numbers in mind: Want, Wish, Walk.
This is the number you would really love to land on. If all the stars align, you’ll get this number and be really happy with it. Shannon says to put this number out into the universe. It may seem like a stretch, but a lot of her clients actually get their wish numbers.
This amount is still more than you’re making and it’s an appropriate jump, so you would be happy with the outcome if you land on this number.
This is the number you decide means you’re not staying at this job because this number undermines your value. You are in a relationship with this employer; just like a romantic relationship requires respect and support, so do your professional ones. Respect comes in different forms, and for a professional relationship, appropriate pay for your labor is a basic way your employer can show respect. If you are no longer respected, that is no longer is healthy relationship, so you need to leave.
Practice, practice, practice.
Negotiation is a muscle. It’s a muscle that most women don’t typically flex or workout in the professional arena. But, like any other muscles, you have to work it out to make it stronger. So work it out!
Go through your notes, record yourself on your phone, rehearse your presentation in the shower (we all put on concerts in the shower, why not recite your negotiations in there, too?). You have to go in knowing your stuff. Yes, you know how great you are; now show the person who controls your salary how great you are by knowing your worth backwards and forwards.
Quick story to start this section: Ten years ago, Shannon was working for Bank of America in Tampa Florida. Shannon was producing results, and wanted to move to New York, so she gathered all of her info, crunched her numbers and was poised to ask for what she wanted. She was confident through her entire spiel until her boss responded with “All you ever do is complain.” She was really taken aback by his response. They engaged in some back and forth, until she said she was going to have to find somewhere else to work. On her way out, he said, “I don’t know what’s gonna happen to you, but you are never gonna work in New York.” Ha! Good one, Chris!
With that in mind, role playing is super important. The Financial Gym has scripts ready for clients, but have someone ask you some shocking questions. It’s always better to be prepared for the worst, just in case.
Other things to keep in mind:
Wear some confidence.
Dress in something you feel confident in. Just recently, Ally had a meeting where she was going to have to negotiate and met with Shannon beforehand who asked her what she was planning on wearing. Ally’s power color is orange, so when she has a big meeting, that’s what she wears. In it, she feels bold and strong – exactly how you should feel in a situation like this.
Provide your evidence.
Gather all that you have done for the company you work for and use that as your evidence. You need to state what you want and use all the awesome things you’ve done to show why you should get it.
A “quick yes” is the worst response.
Ally: “A quick ‘yes’ means you didn’t do your homework. Always put yourself in a position to be told ‘no.’”
It’s more expensive to hire someone new.
For a big company, it takes about 100 hours to hire someone new. It’s a long process of reading applications, sifting through resumes, scheduling and conducting interviews, etc. On top of that, once someone is hired, they need to train, so it’s actually less expensive to keep you on the team. Remember that!
For your fellow women.
Ally: “You don’t ask for the raise or negotiate for yourself; you negotiate for the woman sitting next to you. You may have the confidence today that she doesn’t have and she may have the courage tomorrow that you won’t.”
What a night! The events are only successful if you guys bring it, it you guys brought it on Tuesday. We were'n’t surprised, though - you always come ready to boss up.
Thank you so much to Financial Gym for welcoming us for a second event, to the team for being so insightful and to Shannon for being such a boss! Thank you to Luna Bar for everything they do for women and for fighting to help us earn the pay we deserve. Finally, a huge thank you to the Squad. You are the reason why we do what we do and we could not do it without you.
Alright, now cue Rihanna’s “B*tch Better Have My Money” and go get that raise!