How to Get Paid More: Female Leaders And Career Experts Weigh In
For most women, the question isn’t “Should I be getting paid more?” rather, it’s “How do I get paid more?”
And it’s a valid question! Negotiating your salary, asking for more, and raising your rates has a tendency to be a nerve-wracking process. However, getting paid more doesn’t need to involve having uncomfortable conversations for the rest of your career. Take it from the following women who have successfully earned drastically higher salaries, secured their dream promotions, signed career-changing contracts, and more: the power of communicating your value should not be overlooked.
If you’re ready to level up and get paid more, you won’t want to miss the following advice we received from the Dreamers & Doers collective. Without further ado, here are 15 tried-and-true strategies from career and communication experts that you can start implementing today.
Founder of Jasmine Escalera Coaching, helping women of color confidently make their next career move and get paid their worth.
My advice: Always be ready to claim your worth. Part of negotiating is creating your case, which is built mainly on your contributions to your role, team, and company’s bottom line. Work is crazy and we can often lose sight of our value. I highly recommend women keep a Wins Journal to always be ready to claim their worth. The journal can include your accomplishments or even awesome comments colleagues or your supervisor have made about your work. Update the journal regularly to boost your mindset and confidence and be ready for your next salary negotiation.
The results I’ve seen: Connecting continuously to their value has helped my clients earn 30 percent more in salary and confidently navigate a salary negotiation. When you are connecting to your wins, you can easily see how valuable you are. That is an added bonus to boosting confidence, your success-based career mindset, and tackling doubt or impostor syndrome.
Founder of OTITỌ Executive Leadership Coaching, showing high-achievers and ambitious entrepreneurial leaders how to confidently accelerate into more impactful leadership positions.
My advice: My No. 1 piece of advice for getting paid more is to align your unique value with your prospective client/customer/company’s greatest goal or most challenging pain point. This requires you to be 100 percent clear about your unique value—if you don’t know what it is, how will anyone else? And understand what your client/customer/company values are, and then work with them in partnership to align the two. Many people see themselves as an adversary to the person they are negotiating with and go in with a transaction, commodity-based mindset, instead of a collaborative, value-based one.
The results I’ve seen: I used this approach to secure my biggest multi-year contract with a successful, $2 billion hedge-fund. In addition to securing the initial control, I’ve used this approach to negotiate more profitable terms since we started working together and increased my impact at the firm. Not only is this approach effective, but it also gives me the confidence to ask for what I deserve and do it in a way that is actually enjoyable. This results in a stronger relationship with my clients, where we are working with each other instead of on opposite sides.
Founder of Mindfulness with Dani, offering education, team-building workshops, and individual sessions in meditation, astrology, and reiki.
My advice: Change jobs every two years. You have to do this to ensure you’re getting the market rate for your work. Joining a new company typically comes with an up-level in title as well. If you do this consistently, your gain in salary over the course of your career will be exponential, not to mention the learning that comes from working in diverse organizational structures and product lines. There is no other way to ensure you’re being paid what your work is worth. When you negotiate at the same company, they set up six-month or even yearly benchmarks, then management changes, and the budget doesn’t align, which can dip into your self-worth. But it’s not you, it’s the company.
The results I’ve seen: Early in my career, I found I had no upward momentum. My skill set had expanded, the team was bigger, I had some responsibility in hiring new team members, but my boss was satisfied in their role and there did not appear to be a route to advance my own title or salary. Just when I thought all was lost and I was trapped in a dead end, a smaller competitor reached out looking for someone to launch our department with them. When it came time to negotiate, they offered me $5,000 more than what I asked for. I had no idea I was so underpaid.
Founder of Pluvrichor Studio, a boutique sustainability advisory and brand strategy studio.
My advice: Being vocal about my passions within my personal brand and just being human has worked best for me. Remember, people work with people they either like or have a pleasant time working with and it is imperative to lock down your specific niche. In the end, you do not want to do “resentful” work because you lowballed yourself or accepted an opportunity from a “lack mindset.”
The results I’ve seen: Ensuring your professional and academic experience is clear in order to leverage your rate as long as it is truthful and ethical and it aligns with the market. It is important to research the organization as well because some types of organizations may have different budgets and the workload may look different for the same offering.
CEO of Jill Goldenziel Law, Leadership, and Security Consulting, helping global leaders understand how law, politics, and risk affect their work.
My advice: Demand to be paid for the value you provide. Your value is the product of years of training and experience and should be compensated accordingly. People will constantly ask you to work for free, or to “pick your brain” to benefit from your years of experience. Set a limit on the amount of time you are willing to share your expertise for free. After that, do not give away your value.
The results I’ve seen: I set my boundaries kindly and firmly up front by saying something like, “Thank you for this opportunity. I typically charge a flat fee for this kind of advice so I’m unable to answer this via a DM. Please go to this link, where you can book a strategy session with me. I look forward to speaking with you!”
Founder and CEO of GSD Solutions, providing companies with technology tools that enable them to connect with their customers and build communities.
My advice: To get paid more you have to ask for it! Too often we simply wait for our employers or some magical moment to come along for us to get paid more. You instead need to ask for it and create a clear proposal documenting why you deserve that raise.
The results I’ve seen: In the last year, I took my own advice and started charging more for my services. Often we are the ones standing in our own way. We redesigned my service packages to include our accomplishments, client reviews, and clearly show our value. It was subsequently clear to our team and our clients why the price went up and that their investment was worth it.
Owner of Honestly Bookkeeping, helping small businesses stabilize, strengthen, and create sustaining financial systems.
My advice: Make it easy for your customers and clients to pay you. Sure, checks and automated clearing houses minimize transaction fees, but this comes at the cost of your time chasing and following up about payment. When you include payment links directly in invoices or require automatic recurring payments, it reduces the friction the customer experiences. I see this all the time with my clients. As soon as we implement a low-barrier payment process, their income goes up and cash flow problems reduce or go away.
The results I’ve seen: For one client, we implemented a new payment system that auto-billed customers upon shipment. It resulted in more than $500,000 of immediate payment that otherwise would have taken months to collect on and reduced the fees paid to our firm for invoice chasing.
Founder of mammoth projects, a full-service architecture and interior design company creating thoughtful and elegant homes and offices.
My advice: Ask for more. Women chronically undervalue their worth both to clients and employers. I routinely see requests of compensation from potential female employees that are 50 to 75 percent of their male counterparts. And I know I’ve been guilty of the same when asking for compensation from clients. Build an objective compensation model and ruthlessly apply it to each new job and clients. Clients who want to haggle your compensation are bad clients—say no to them.
The results I’ve seen: In service-based businesses, there’s a lot of room for interpretation for how much work any given project will take. We’ve standardized our fees on the back end to make each proposal reflect previously decided on, or global terms. Proposals go out in 15 minutes because our pricing is fixed and zero emotion goes into them. When new clients have recently tried to haggle our fees, I simply decline the project and tell them it isn’t a great fit. It leaves room for clients who respect our time and fees, and creates a better working environment. They’re our people, and we love going above and beyond for them.
Founder and CEO of Lis Best Coaching for Impact, executive coaching for women who are changing the world.
My advice: Talk to other women about their salaries to better understand what’s possible. It can feel so intimidating to talk about money, especially our compensation, with other people. But by asking for—and sharing—salary information, you can go into a negotiation with a solid understanding of what’s appropriate so that you can ask for what you’re worth in your next role.
The results I’ve seen: I honestly wish I had used this advice when I was still in-house, because I had no idea what I should have been getting paid for the work I was doing. However, I’ve had multiple current and former clients use the information they get from these conversations to negotiate massive salary bumps at their current organizations and huge pay increases in new roles.
CEO of Lomolique, the first ever high-performance anti-aging facial oil.
My advice: Know your value and feel confident in your product and/or service. Recently, my team and I were approached to teach at a retreat. We looked at what services we both can provide clients and from there researched other events where people have done similar types of services, and what their rates are. We looked at what we both have individually to offer that’s similar but different enough to be in the same environment, and recognized our own individual values within that. We set the price from there, pitched it, and landed it!
The results I’ve seen: We were able to get paid more because we did our market research and placed value in our work.
Founder of The Booster Club, a dynamic community of consultants, freelancers, and side hustlers with a focus in marketing and sales.
My advice: This is not intuitive—lower your fees and do less for the client. Converting clients for high-ticket offers in consulting and coaching programs can be a long process and can require a lot of sign-offs. An initial offering that’s affordable and shortens time to value will get signed off on quicker and builds confidence with the client. Then when you go to pitch a larger program, you’ve proven that you can deliver and it’s an easy yes.
The results I’ve seen: This year, I tested out an up-front audit for one of our signature consulting products, and set the price 60 percent lower than my standard program rates. By doing this, I got a faster yes, and was able to provide all that the client and key stakeholders needed to move forward. I was able to spend more time with strategy and less time with busy work. Overall, my hourly rate increased significantly while the price of the product decreased.
Founder of Energize Your Voice, teaching teams and leaders how to play, fail, and tell powerful stories.
My advice: I have learned that when it comes to business, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. This applies to opportunities, time off, and, of course, money. There is resistance to asking for fear of receiving a no. When looking to advocate for your financial worth, ask yourself one question, “I wonder what would happen if…” It will bring imagination and play into the conversation. I wonder what would happen if I earned 20 percent more than I do now, if they met my dream number, if I drew a clear line for my nonnegotiable and stood behind that?
The results I’ve seen: I was recently brought on as a consultant for a public speaking organization. We had a standard 90-day trial period, after which time we were to define terms to move forward. What they initially offered was unacceptable and they weren’t willing to negotiate. I really wanted to work with them, but I just couldn’t agree with what they presented. My answer was no. They came back to me a week later with a 40 percent increase from their initial rate with more clearly defined terms and opportunity for revenue share—exactly what I asked for. I dared to stand behind my nonnegotiable and inspired them to meet me there.
MONICA M RIVERA
Business and Marketing Coach at YOU WANNA DO WHAT?!, helping women of color take their business idea from stuck to start.
My advice: Position yourself as a thought leader outside of your 9 to 5 immediately. Use your experience and skills to narrow your niche and start making money. This is the first step to building your personal brand. Focus on perfecting this step before you even think about spending extra money on a website or professional photography.
The results I’ve seen: I started my business five years ago while working a full-time job using this advice. Now I’m paid to deliver speeches and workshops to organizations and work one-on-one with my clients to get crystal clear on how they can use their existing skills to get the peace of mind that comes with earning more.
Business Strategist at Amelia Travis Coaching, providing (w)holistic coaching for creative, spiritual women entrepreneurs.
My advice: Start by remembering your worth and connecting to integrity by doing an honest internal evaluation of your ability. Ground yourself by putting both feet flat on the floor, taking a deep breath, and asking, “Can I help this person/organization?” When the answer is yes, make eye contact and communicate your ability to help in a clear, succinct way. Doing so discharges the nerves associated with insecurity, reminds you of the reasons you deserve to charge or earn more, and affirms to the receiver that you are the right person to receive the salary or fee you’re requesting. It re-establishes a connection to the simple, organic truth that they need support, and you can provide it.
The results I’ve seen: Human connection is the foundation of all meaningful negotiations. This approach has served me in closing four- and five-figure coaching packages without feeling predatory or sleazy in sales. It’s helped my clients in job interviews, salary negotiations, consulting and coaching pitches, and when communicating fees by having a simple somatic approach to display leadership, authority, and authenticity.
Artist at LvL Studio, a creative studio focusing on large scale public works, contemporary sculpture, and storytelling across mediums.
My advice: Put a zero behind it. Whatever you price it as, put another zero behind it. Or, double it. Women routinely underprice their work compared to male counterparts. As a chief marketing officer, I have seen this numerous times, and as an artist even more frequently. We perceive the value of an object or service relative to its price. For good work, charge more.
The results I’ve seen: I have routinely found that the more I charge for my services, the more people value me for my work because they want to believe they are receiving more for the price. As a consultant, I never go down in price because I only want to work with people who respect my worth.
All individuals featured in this article are members of Dreamers & Doers, an award-winning community and diverse ecosystem amplifying extraordinary entrepreneurial women through PR opportunities, authentic connection, and high-impact resources. Learn more about Dreamers & Doers and subscribe to its monthly The Digest for top entrepreneurial and career resources.