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Let’s Talk About Money (and How to Discuss It at Work)!

Let’s Talk About Money (and How to Discuss It at Work)!

Nicole Crowder

Founder and upholsterer, Nicole Crowder talks about how she learned to speak confidently to clients about money and her company. Included after Nicole’s reflection is a similar approach that can be applied to salary negotiation for those who aren’t on the entrepreneur’s path.

Years ago, when I first started my business, I took any project I could get at any rate clients wanted to pay, no matter how large the project was. That was a huge learning lesson. I knew I was working from a place of financial desperation, and that work overtaxed me in terms of time, labor, and finances because I was not in a position to say no. When I re-launched my business some five years later, I set an intention that I was going to thrive in business and be able to financially sustain myself in one of the most expensive cities in the country: D.C.

I did this in part by building confidence to charge more for my projects, which took some time to cultivate, to be quite honest. I practiced that confidence slowly. Whenever someone would call for a price quote, I would tell them the price over the phone without using language like “If that price works for you,” or “I’m open to negotiate that.” Or, if I e-mailed a quote and someone pushed back saying, “It’s out of my budget,” my knee jerk reaction was not to say, “Oh, well let’s find a price that suits your budget.” Everyone is not going to be your client, and your business model cannot accommodate everyone’s budget, and both of those are OK.

Now when I provide an estimate to a client, I don’t base my pricing off what I think a client is willing to pay; I base it off the value I offer. I give a thorough breakdown of costs (time, labor, skill, customer service, and overhead) because I believe in transparency. This also helps me to discern which clients I actually want to work with. I am sensitive to budgets because as a consumer I also have one. But when it comes to handmade or custom work, I don’t like to haggle over rates because I understand the value I offer.

Looking for an approach on how to talk to future employers about salary or your current boss about a raise? Keep reading. It all has to do with knowing your value and stating it firmly. Because when you are dealing with money, the tone in which you speak and your mannerisms have a huge effect on the outcome—a lot more than the words you actually say.

All Images by Nicole Crowder Upholstery

Try this approach

The next time you are talking to a future or current employer about compensation:

1) Start by pointing out what you are good at or what you did exceptionally well. Use confident language, like “I managed this, I developed this,” and avoid using “if,” like Nicole mentioned.

2) Maintain eye contact when talking about money to show you’re serious, which you are, and that you aren’t nervous to be having this conversation, even if you are! (This takes practice; try testing it out on friends first, especially if they owe you $.)

3) Ask questions during salary negotiations. (This is another way to show you are serious and that you spent time thinking about your pay.)

4) Always end on a happy note. Say something simple like this, ” Thank you for listening. I hope you’ll take my achievements into consideration when deliberating over my salary or raise.” Positivity always wins.

How to Work With Difficult Colleagues

How to Work With Difficult Colleagues

Mean Girls Image from Fairfax Media

Over the years, we have all experienced our fair share of dealing with difficult colleagues or bosses. Maybe you were lucky enough to find another job or maybe you are still stuck in this situation. Either way, it’s good to have a few tricks up your sleeve to make your job more manageable. 

1) Keep Cool

I’ve always been a firm believer that keeping your cool in difficult or stressful situations is 100 percent the way to go. Not only does not flying off the handle allow you to be more professional but also it gives way for patience. And when you are working with difficult people, you need to exercise a lot of patience. Many problems could be prevented if people used more patience. It is a virtue after all!

2) The Next Best Thing

Try to understand where the other person is coming from. Does he or she feel ganged up on, belittled, or unheard? Understanding the other person’s point of view helps you think differently and defuse the situation. Also, this might help you change your attitude about the person. You are better equipped to handle anything when you come from a place of understanding.

3) Don’t Tell All in the Office

This is the hardest but maybe the most crucial thing to learn. Gossiping or letting co-workers know about your issues with another co-worker makes for a contentious situation. First, you are letting negative feelings or ill-will consume you. Secondly, most of the time, your work BFF only adds fuels the fire not quells it. Say no to gossip girls, instead go home and talk to a confidant.

4) You Don’t Have to be a Wordsmith to…

Choose your words wisely. When communicating written or orally with an individual you may not have the best relationship with, really take time to think about the language you use. I assure you, written communication is the number one thing people read into, because they are trying to decipher tone. And if you are used to having problems with an individual, then he or she will be more on guard during your exchanges. Focus on the objective and approach him or her in a professional manner. Consider being more thoughtful with your words, it will only make you better.

5) Be Like Elsa and Let It Go

And if it doesn’t kill you, which I’m sure it won’t, I’d advise to let go of past transgressions. Someone once told me, regarding a difficult situation I was going through, you won’t remember this in a year from now, probably not even in 3 months from now, so just let it go. She was right! All the energy and negative thoughts I was putting into the situation just to achieve a desired outcome was not worth the distress I was putting myself through. Take the happier option and let it go. Leave all the problems/issues of the workday at the office and start with a clean slate each day. Your personal life and happiness don’t deserve to be encroached upon by someone else’s negativity.