It may seem like a strange question to ask, but does your paycheck truly reflect the value of your time, talent, skills and experience? If there’s any doubt, you are probably not paying yourself enough, if you’re self-employed, or asking for enough from your employer. Not knowing your own worth is a fast way to be taken advantage of, especially for the self-employed. Are you ready to settle for less than the value of your services, or are you willing to risk losing a few cheapskate clients in order to make what you deserve? Here are some tips to discovering and exercising your monetary worth whether you are self-employed or otherwise.
If you’re self-employed, shop around to see what others in your field are charging. Compare yourself to others in the same field by becoming a member of business associations and interacting on networking sites. Considering your credentials in your field as well as years and levels of experience, stay competitive with similar businesses in your area without selling yourself short. Consider not only how much you are getting paid to do a job, but how much time you are devoting to it. If a job ends up entailing more labor hours than you had originally quoted to a client, don’t hesitate to renegotiate payment, especially if the extra work was requested.
If you are selling hand-made products, don’t forget to charge for your time. Crafts and hand-made items are a great way to earn extra income while doing something you enjoy. The mistake many crafters make, however, is simply charging customers a little more than the cost of their materials. This fails to account for your skilled labor hours, and also cheapens the customers’ perception of your product. If you’re selling your products too cheap, customers will view them as cheap. If you charge more for a quality product, customers will be able to see and appreciate the value and will still buy it. A quick formula for determining pricing is as follows:
- Your wholesale price equals 2x the cost of your materials plus your labor rate.
- Your retail price should be roughly twice your determined wholesale price.
If you are employed with a company, don’t be afraid to ask for a raise. Knowing your own worth doesn’t just apply to the self-employed. Many employees make less than they could be making simply because they are afraid to ask. If you think you might be making less than you should, do some research. Sites like salary.com list pay rates for various career fields and jobs at all skill and experience levels. If you discover you could be making more, compile a convincing argument and formerly request a raise. It’s a good idea to do this well before your normal evaluation so there is more time and/or funds for your request to be granted. If you are turned down, at least you can’t say you didn’t try.
Whatever your career field or employment situation, don’t let anyone, least of all yourself, undervalue or underpay you. Learn your worth to show yourself respect and require the same from others.