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Broke Millennial gives you a four-pronged strategy to become a stellar negotiator and get that well-deserved raise.

The Financial Diet site:

Erin: Hi, I'm Broke Millenial for The Financial Diet. Welcome to the 3-Minute Guide, brought to you by Skill Share. Today we're going to talk about how to ask for more money. Personally, I made the most common negotiating mistake... I didn't bother to negotiate. I'd just accepted my first job out of college. I just remember feeling so excited I'd found a job that the idea of countering the offer and potentially losing the opportunity was terrifying. 

Two years later I had another chance. I applied to join a start up company and when the co-owners asked me how much I wanted to make, I said $50,000! And they said "okay", no discomfort about the number, no discussion, that was it. And that was when I knew I had undervalued myself. This is pretty typical which is why "Learn Your Value" is the most common and obnoxiously vague piece of negotiating advice.

In order to actually figure out my value, I started talking and researching.  First, I asked the awkward question to colleagues, "What do you make?" but be careful with this tactic, as some employers might take issue. Besides, your colleagues might not want to answer you directly. 

So another thing that you can do is ask people who work at a similar company, doing a similar job, in the same city to account for cost of living. I also use sites like and to investigate some more. 

Second, I created a success folder on my desktop. If you knew me in real life, you would roll your eyes and go "Ugh, that is such a you thing to do". But hey, it worked! Each time I received praise from my bosses or a client or a project I worked on exceeded expectations, I would save proof of this to my Success Folder. That way I was ready with actual metrics about my performance for my annual review. 

Third, I came up with my own number. Instead of a formal review, my boss offhandedly mentioned that I would be receiving a five percent bump. Instead of  accepting this raise, I asked for a meeting to formally discuss compensation. I wanted to move from fifty thousand dollars to seventy thousand. Which sounds like a huge leap, which is why I came to the negotiation with a breakdown of how I had gotten to that number and the metrics to prove what I had done in the last year to deserve that raise. 

First, I role played (In a business appropriate way). I practised stating my case and asking for a raise in both a mirror and with other people. I even had my dad, an experienced business negotiator, pretend to be my bosses and ask questions that I may not have been expecting. Then I went into that negotiation proof in hand, ready to ask for what I wanted. 

And I ended up with a twenty thousand dollar raise! 

I can't promise those kinds of results, but using my four pronged strategy of researching what people in your position make, consistently tracking your successes and improvement metrics, coming up with your own number, instead of just accepting what is being offered, and practicing, you too can do better than a three percent raise. Unless, of course, you only earned a three percent raise. 

The same rules apply if you're self-employed, with one difference. You have to ditch the scarcity mentality. I'm a self-employed person now, so I understand how the fear of volatile income can keep you hanging on to a low paying client tor prevent you from countering an offer. 

I've found joining a master mind group to be a helpful way to openly discuss this fear with other freelancers. 

A mastermind group is a collection of people who do a similar job, and you can bounce ideas off each other, share experiences, and get tips. Plus, it makes for great accountability buddies.

One of the best ways to increase your value to an employer and make it easier to negotiate, is to learn a new skill.
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Have a money question you want to learn more about? Leave your topic idea in the comments section below. 

I'm Broke Millenial for The Financial Diet, and don't forget to hit the subscribe button and join us next Thursday for a new episode of The 3-Minute Guide.