As women, our contributions add tremendous value to companies and to the economy, however, the data on salary figures would suggest different when you look at the pay disparity between men and women. Then to take it a step further, minority women are paid significantly less than their white women while making less than males (both white and minority). I want to share strategies that will help you better set yourself up to get paid what you deserve whether you’re a careered professional or a business owner. We need to stop accepting mediocrity in pay while provide superb service/work performance. Below are 4 strategies that I work with clients on to help them increase their income as they move up in their careers or begin scaling with their side businesses.

1. Figure out what you’re worth and be CONFIDENT in it

The first step in getting paid what you’re worth is identifying what you’re worth and being confident in that. I know my name is DeAnnah. No one can tell me otherwise. That’s how you have to feel about the value you bring and what that value is worth. How do you figure that out? Start with researching premium price points/salaries in your field and conducting a data analysis of the work you do. The data analyst of your work involved you understanding how your work impacts that company on a grand scale which involves you looking at numbers/data. Think about what would happen if your role didn’t exist and even more so, if YOU did not do it as well as you do.

2. ASK for what you’re worth

A closed mouth will not get fed. You have to set the price point for what you want, otherwise someone else will try to tell you what you’re worth. If someone calls me Janet, I’m going to politely correct them to let them know, “oh no, my name is DeAnnah”. The same applies when someone tells you what they’re offering you as a salary or payment for service. You politely let them know what your worth is and be prepared to explain why. People have the right to inquire why you are worth what you say you’re worth—be prepared to back up what you claim you’re worth with data and even references at times.

3. Be Quiet

Often times there is an awkward moment of silence after a counter offer is received in regards to salary negotiation or contracted services from a business. Don’t feel uncomfortable that your price is higher than what they prepared for. Let them marinate on your price. The ball is now in their court and your silence is speaking volumes in that moment! It alludes your confidence in your value as well as price and your level of seriousness as it pertains to your counter offer. Don’t try to fill the silence by back tracking or negotiating down from your initial offer. Smile and find comfort in the silence.

4. Have more than one play (if you’re open to negotiation)

When you go into any negotiation there will likely be a budgetary limit at some point in the negotiations. If you’re negotiating for a salary, understand that you deserve what you’re worth but there may be financial restraints. You have the choice to decline that opportunity or if that’s a dream role or you really need the job, come prepared with other compensation suggestions to make up for what you’re losing in salary, for example, maybe you can work remotely certain days or maybe you receive more paid time off or a performance bonus. Regardless of what you negotiate, always and I mean ALWAYS get it in writing! Make sure you send a follow up email to recap what may have been discussed in person or over the phone and do not sign anything until your terms are in writing signed by the appropriate staff member.

For those of you that work as freelancers or your business provides a service and there’s a client that you want/need but their budget doesn’t match your price point, consider changing your scope of work. This means you adjust what you’re providing to match their budget. Sometimes new business owners use this method to build their client list and establish relationships. You can also consider doing an exclusivity agreement depending on the type of work being done or a long-term agreement to service them for other projects for upcoming months/years.

As I watch labor market trends and coach minority women in effectively growing in their career, I realized part of the barrier for us, aside from institutional racial and gender biases, is lack of awareness of what’s really going on in our career fields and positioning ourselves to have a seat at the table or own the table outright. Every person’s experience will be different and not every situation ends with a happy ending BUT when you position yourself as a leader and vocalize your worth, you become dangerous for the better. Now negotiators run the risk of losing you to a competitor if they don’t find a way to compensate at the rate you’re requiring. Every opportunity isn’t the RIGHT opportunity and as you navigate your career journey you’ll learn that redirection happens often, but when you’re confident in who you are and what you’re worth, your path to success will yield the dream job/business at the income rate you’re worth.

If you’re interested in staying up to date with the latest and greatest from me, follow me on IG at @dsreese26 and my company page @jobsearchjedi. Head to my website to learn more about my corporate training offerings and professional coaching services: To have me speak at your event or serve on a panel, email

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