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If you asked me how well I negotiated 10 years ago, I would have laughed. I had no negotiation experience and the thought of negotiating anything would have made me feel nervous AF. Since then I’ve negotiated my fair share of salary packages, I oversee contracts negotiations for a living and I negotiate contracts for collaborations I book through the blog. Even though these are three very different areas, I’ve seen a trend among them. Today, I’m going to use my experience to share tips so you can negotiate like a boss.

  1. RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH: When it comes to negotiating your new job offer, researching the relevant market rate is important. Obviously we all want a million dollars for our work but , what you want and what you can request realistically aren’t always aligned. Before you have even received an offer, you should be researching what the salary is for the industry, particular position, location, years of experience, etc. Check sites like Glassdoor, Robert Half Legal and others to determine a reasonable salary range.

  2. Recognize your baggage surrounding money: This is a big one. I never really thought about how my ideas about money affected my negotiations. I tended to be timid and feel greedy if I asked for more money. I had lunch with my best friend years ago and one of her classmates mentioned that he attended a seminar about negotiating salaries. He said that one of the biggest things they drove home was that people of color tend to have baggage when it comes to money. We tend to feel more guilt about negotiating salaries and asking for more money because we feel like it shows that we aren’t grateful for the opportunity. Generations before us had this mentality and it was sometimes passed down to us. One great tip they gave was to recognize your baggage and then pretend you are negotiating for a friend. Are you one of those people that will fight tooth and nail for a someone else but feel shy about advocating for yourself? Pretend it isn’t you and it’s one of your badass friends instead.

  3. Be willing to compromise: A sign that a negotiation has gone well? Neither side feels screwed over. At my job, there are contract language revisions that are non-negotiable and some that we can budge on. I could go in guns blazing and fight about every single change. I’ve realized that focusing on the non-negotiables while agreeing to minor changes makes the other side feel happy and keeps our relationship in tact. It also saves time and time is money! Just remember, your relationship with the other side is usually just beginning during the negotiation stage. Do you really want to leave a bad taste in an employer’s, a brand’s or a client’s mouth?

  4. Think outside of the box: When it comes to salary, don’t just focus on the dollar amount in front of you. Think about other benefits. Maybe a company won’t agree to your dream number, but they can offer you stock options, higher 401k match, more paid time off or work from home days.

  5. Just ask: Just go for it and ask for what you want. The worst thing anyone can say is no!