Asking For a Friend | Chapter 13
Advice from Babe to Babe
When deciding rates, there are so many questions to consider (e.g., charging per project vs. per hour; offering discounts; creating set packages vs. customizable options). When I started my editing business, I turned to professional organizations for rate resources, as well as looked at what other people offering comparable services were charging. One thing I will say is that I severely undercharged when I first started, mainly because I wasn’t confident enough in what I produced and I was worried that asking for more would limit the number of clients I worked with. However, I’ve learned that I’m doing myself—and my clients—a disservice when I don’t put the appropriate value on my work—because if I don’t think it’s worth it, why should they? All that to say, come up with an estimate, and then increase it.
—DIANA MORRIS, BABE #182
I researched my local area and industry, found the average, then added tax. It can be daunting to ask for a little more than the average, but the right clientele will come, and those are the people you want business from.
—THAIS LAGE, BABE #151
Research the going rate for similar services in your area (probably already part of your feasibility study) and always list that rate. But, for the first few clients, consider offering a heavy discount in return for a positive review. Then, the next few clients, charge the same average going rate, and maybe offer a lesser discount. If you do this a couple times you will build a healthy clientele, and can charge the going rate.
—JULIE LANKA, BABE #206
Start with a little research. A quick Google search can help with determining a good range for your industry, area and experience.
The hardest and most important part is determining your worth. How much is your time and your experience worth? You make the rules here. As women, we tend to undervalue our worth, so perhaps start by finding a man with similar experience doing similar work and ask him what he charges. (And then add some, because you’re probably better than him.)
Then, stick by that decision. Say your prices with confidence and know if someone isn’t willing to pay those prices, they aren’t a good fit anyway, because they don’t value you and your work.
—KAYLA BECKMANN BARNHART, BABE #85
It’s worth mentioning that searching for the next stepping stone in your career can be as time- and energy-consuming as a full-time job, so my first advice it not to take that lightly. Beyond this, it can be tempting to become stagnant when you’re between full-time jobs and don’t have to wake up to an alarm, but ultimately your next interviewer is going to ask how you spent your time during a gap that’s noted on your resume. They’ll want to hear you were somehow freshening up on your professional skills by either taking a free online course or gaining a technical certification at your local community college. If you already have that next job secured and are truly worried about staying “busy,” then get cracking on a home improvement project you’ve been putting off.
—ALISSA MCSHANE, CONTRIBUTOR
Every time I’ve been between productive periods of my life, I’ve traveled. Between graduating undergrad and my first full-time gig, I traveled to Europe. Before starting a full-time MBA I spent time with family. Between my MBA and my current role, I traveled to South America, Europe and up the West Coast of the United States. I’m a big advocate for taking the time “between” to be present. Enjoy the time and spend it exploring things you may not have explored before. Use your productive mind on a new exercise routine, planning a weekend getaway, volunteering for an organization you’re passionate about, spending time with people you never get to see or catching up on a reading list that never gets smaller. Think of it as vacation you don’t have to use PTO for, and embrace the present in a way you won’t be able to once you’re back to planning, progressing and achieving professional goals. Letting go of moving forward isn’t always a bad thing, as long as you make plans to jump right back in where you left off. Don’t be afraid to live in the “between”—and even enjoy it for exactly what it is.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
A manager can make or break a work environment, but there are some strategies for making the environment a bit more bearable. Unfortunately, they require you to be the bigger person and lead by example (not always the easiest).
Understand what you’re being held accountable for, and then tackle the sh*t out of it. Go above and beyond in your day-to-day work and give them no reason to focus their negative energy on you. Work under the radar by being a value-adding team member.
Take the time to get to know them on a more personal level. The more interest you take in them, the more you learn what drives, motivates and matters to them. Then, you can focus your energy on those areas to show them they can count on and trust you. When they trust you, they usually stop nitpicking everything you do.
Find ways to make them look good, because toxic personalities stem from a place of insecurity. The best way to battle insecurity is by building confidence. Everyone has something they need to overcome, so help your manager overcome and they’ll start to reflect on how they treat you in return.
Being the bigger person and approaching this situation with compassion may not be the easiest route, but it’s a longer lasting solution. It’s better to “kill them with kindness” than to spend a third of your day battling it out with someone, regardless of who is right.
—HILLARY KIRTLAND, CONTRIBUTOR
It’s truly a horrible feeling going from loving your job to dreading it. Although it can feel personal and you want to react—don’t! Take a moment to regroup and decide to approach the situation with grace and professionalism. When dealing with a toxic person, reacting in a defensive manner will only make matters worse. Perhaps you lose the battles, but it’s OK because you’re in it to win the war.
It’s natural to want to vent, but be careful what you say in the workplace. No matter how close you might be to your coworkers, complaining only adds to a negative environment. Instead, turn to a close friend or mentor—someone who will hear you out, empathize and uplift you. Having a healthy venting session will do more for your spirit than complaining.
Be proactive and keep your career goals in mind. You can be the strongest person in the world, but a toxic workplace is draining. Take some time to evaluate if it’s time to move on or if you can hang in there because there are beneficial assets at this job. During this time, keep an eye out for open positions, set up interviews and figure out what your realistic options are. Don’t be hasty and accept any job just to escape a toxic manager. Make sure you’re making a move in your career because it’s truly the best thing.
—DANIELLA CABEZAS, BABE #26
Until Next Week,
—THE BWH ADVICE GURUS
Asking for a Friend is Babes Who Hustle's weekly advice column that asks and answers the work-related questions on all of our minds. Looking for advice and guidance? Hit us with all of your questions below and stay tuned for next Wednesday's edition!