“It’s all about the Benjamins baby. What yall wanna do? Wanna be ballers? shot callers?” Look Diddy told us early on to mind our money the way we should mind our business. The Black community receives majority of our finance advice from churches and rappers. We hear “It takes money to make money” “Spend that check and get it right back”(terrible advice) “Til you own your own you’ll never be free”. Well, there’s some truth in cliches but before we can figure out how to manage money we have to ensure we are not leaving money on the table. 

When speaking with clients I always tell them to ask for more than what they think they are worth. I advise them to negotiate for an amount that makes them feel uncomfortable. You may believe this is foolish and that you may be risking a great opportunity. Well friends “Would you rather be underpaid or overrated?” I do want to be clear that money should not always be the deciding factor for whether you accept a role. If you are transitioning into a new field you may have to take a step back and accept a lower offer. If you’re setting up a partnership with a company or brand that will produce a ton of exposure for you that may be worth more than money. If you have the opportunity to work on projects that stretch your skills it could be worth more than a check.  With that said, continuous devaluing the worth you bring as an employee, entrepreneur or consultant will leave doing incredible work for a discount. Facts are people don’t earn what they are worth they earn what they negotiate for.

According to the Economic Policy Institute “As of 2015, relative to the average hourly wages of white men with the same education, experience, metro status, and region of residence, Black men make 22.0 percent less, and Black women make 34.2 percent less. Black women earn 11.7 percent less than their white female counterparts.” You may believe this is a reflection of education however it is not. Another startling fact is African-Americans are paid less than whites at every education level.  Here are some ways to ensure you do not leave money on the table.

1. Check Glassdoor

Glassdoor provides all types of insider tips when you are looking to learn about salary ranges, hourly rates, and consultant fees. You can easily search for the company and look for the salary ranges for their current employees. Use this information when considering the salary range you desire for the role.

 2. Review Payscale

PayScale allows you to receive a free salary report. You start by taking a salary survey. You can either find salary information for your current job, evaluate a job offer or research an industry. The report will identify if your current salary is competitive with your industry’s average or if a job offer is competitive based on your experience and the field. Either way, it’s a resource that can serve as receipts when making an argument for your pay rate.

 3. Use References & Refer to Your Outcomes

Whether you are negotiating for a full-time salary or your consulting contract, enter the conversation knowing your worth. #TiffanyTalentTips: Interview your references before listing them as references. If you are an entrepreneur you should conduct debrief meetings after every project with a client. This will help you have a strong understanding of what you bring to the table and areas you need to work on. In negotiation conversations, you can reference feedback from past employers and clients. Always note the measurable success you’ve had in your work experiences when discussing why you believe you deserve a more competitive offer.

 4. Consider other benefits

At risk of sounding like a hypocrite I want to offer this #TiffanyTalentTips: Before you accept an offer with a lower pay rate ask yourself are there benefits beyond pay to consider? For example:

  1. Will this opportunity provide me with exposure?

  2. Will this opportunity stretch my skills?

  3. Do they offer competitive benefit coverage and match a percentage of my 401K contribution?

  4. Can I telecommute to work?

  5. Does this role provide me with the experience I need to reach my ultimate goals?

Money should not be the number one factor in accepting any job offer. I advise also considering the following before accepting an offer: Is your future boss is someone you would love to learn from? Does the company culture appeal to you and your working style?  What is the vacation time offered? You can’t #TravelNoire with no time off. What are the health benefits? Paying for insurance on your own can easily eat up that competitive salary offer. Finally, what are your financial goals? Knowing your goals can make it easier to know what you can or cannot accept.