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A Business Woman’s Worth: Strategies for Speaking Up and Getting a Raise

September 3rd, 2018 | Written by

Getting a RaiseMaking money is a topic that is near and dear to me.  After all, I am in the wealth management business.  It is my job to make my clients money.  It is also my job to offer concrete advice and solutions to help clients increase their net worth.  If you make more money each year, you will have more money to further embrace life with extra vacations and fun activities.  You will also have more money to save for emergencies, college costs, charitable interests and most importantly retirement.

While there are several ways to increase your income, let’s talk about one of the most effective, yet difficult and terrifying, ways to increase your income… asking for a raise.  Whether this raise will be a bonus, an increase to your salary, or a larger commission payout, it is time to advocate for yourself.  I want you yelling, “Show Me the Money,” Jerry Maguire style.

How exactly do you go about asking for a raise?  First, shake off those self-limiting beliefs and hesitations that enter your mind before marching into your boss’s office and commanding a higher price congruent to the immense value you deliver.  The hesitations around asking for a raise usually go something like this: “I have a flexible schedule and can work at home when needed.  I don’t want my boss to think that I’m greedy and not a team player. This is a great learning opportunity and I am still learning. They pay me well, I don’t want to rock the boat.” And my favorite hesitation: “If my boss thought I deserved a raise, I would receive it.”

Now it is time to speak up.  Here are nine strategies to help you realize your full income potential.

  1. Take credit for your accomplishments.

As women, we often enjoy and see value in working collaboratively.  You can still be a team player and take credit for your work.  What initiatives are you spearheading?  What ideas did you bring to your team? Speak up.

  1. Keep your boss in the loop.

Your boss is busy and juggling a workload of their own.  It is easy for your exceptional work to slip through the cracks unless you keep your boss informed of what you are working on and the results that are being delivered. While formal meetings are nice, a monthly email update can be just as effective.   The simple check-in demonstrates your value, commitment, open communication style and leadership of an initiative.

  1. Gain feedback along the way.

When working on a project or a new idea, take a few minutes to outline your thoughts or action plan and share them with your boss.  Get feedback and support before you move forward.  Your boss’s strategic vision may differ from your plan.

  1. Network within your company.

There will come a point when an internal promotion is up for grabs. Knowing the key decision makers may help you have a competitive advantage. Mix and mingle at company events.  Set up google alerts which will notify you if your boss, company or key employees are in the news.  Send a quick email or hand-written note recognizing their accomplishments.

  1. If you want a raise, ask for it.

Yes, it is that simple.  Be prepared to vocalize and demonstrate why you deserve a raise.  Communicate your successful performance of basic job responsibilities.  More importantly, highlight the areas in which you went beyond.  For example, did you: make key introductions and referrals for your colleagues this past year, bring in new business and help your company grow, successfully retain client relationships, bring fresh ideas to the table, help foster brand awareness for your company?

  1. Prepare a 1-2-page document to review in the meeting with your boss and to leave behind.

Again, your boss is busy, and will not remember everything you said.  This will help remind your boss of how great you are after the meeting.  Also, it will help you keep the conversation and meeting efficient and on point.

  1. Ask for more money.

Your boss will likely negotiate your raise request.  Stay calm.  Do not get emotional.  Emphasize your points, but do not ramble.  Remember that silence can be extremely powerful.

  1. Your boss says, No.

You prepared, pled your case for a raise, did everything right, but the answer is no. Now what? It is important to find out why the answer was no.  If your boss feels that you have done a great job but just can’t afford to pay your more, try and negotiate non-monetary benefits such as more vacation time.  Also request an interim performance review instead of waiting until the next review cycle.

  1. Do your research.

Know what salary your position commands in the marketplace. and are great resources.  The worst thing your boss can say is “No.” It is then up to you to decide if your talents and skills would be more valued at another firm.  You must be loyal to yourself and command the value you deserve.


This article was originally published in The Baltimore Business Journal’s Enterprising Women publicaiton in August 2018

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    This information is not intended to be used as the only bases for investment decisions, nor should it be constructed as advice designed to meet your particular needs. You are advised to seek the advice of your financial advisor prior to making any decision based on any specific information contained herein.
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