"If you really put a small value upon yourself, rest assured that the world will not raise your price." ~Author Unknown
Recently, I met with a family who was interested in hiring me as a babysitter for their two children. Our initial meeting went well, until we got to the money part: their offer ended up being much lower than expected. Instead of declining the job however, I persuaded myself into thinking their offer was "just fine". Thoughts, such as "Will I be good enough at the job in order to ask for more?" or "I don't want to rip them off", reflect the lack of self-worth, which was the reason for my initial agreement to the lower wage.
After putting more thought into it, I concluded that I could either depreciate myself or focus on my qualifications and sell my service at the price it deserved. When I sent out an email to the family, explaining what I was willing to offer my services at, it felt like a first big step to self-respect and the family ended up increasing their offer.
So, what are the lessons I've learned from this experience?
1. Get the money question out of the way. I could have saved a lot of time and energy had I addressed this question prior to my visit. Instead of being proactive and letting the family know, how much I charged for my services, I waited for the family to hand me a price, assuming that it would be one that I'd be comfortable with. I could have made things so much easier, had I been clear from the beginning.
Tip: if you are not sure how much to ask, take a look at the market and consider the unique skills you have to offer (in my case: years of experience in the field of education/social work, native German speaker (the family was from Germany), etc.).
2. How much is your time worth? Really think about all aspects of the job: Are you giving up part of your weekend? How long is the commute? How much time will you need to decompress after your work is done?
3. How much money will the job cost? Most jobs don't just bring cash, but also rid you of it. Consider these aspects: will you need a car? How important is your appearance and how much will you be spending on clothes? How often will you feel the need for "rewards" (such as lattes, comfort food) to get you through the day? How much will you be paying in taxes?
4. Raising your value shows self-respect and confidence. Others will be likely to honor this and will be more inclined to trust in your service.
5. Lastly, it is freeing to be assertive. I was so afraid of making the family mad or losing the job altogether. However, by defining my expectations and being open about what I was willing to do, I gained some control over the situation. That in itself was an incredible freeing feeling!
Can you identify with this experience? I'd love to hear!