Lessons from a Recovering Doormat

Lessons from a Recovering Doormat


“Is That the Best You Can Do?”

I regularly find myself negotiating a money issue. As a freelancer, I negotiate what I’ll be paid to write an article or book. People have said they never have anything to negotiate, since they have a job with a fixed salary. Yet so much more can be negotiated to your advantage if you get over fear of asking and nicely request a better salary, price, deal, payment arrangement, etc.

If you’re not good at asking for things, negotiating can be tough to initiate. But when you do, it can get you, or save you, a decent amount of money. Living in NYC on a freelancer’s income has made me very adept at trying to get a better price, or amount paid for my services. I used to just accept what I was offered. DoorMats do that since we don’t want to rock the boat. But since I increased the value I put on me and what I do, I got over my discomfort about asking for something that got me more or saved me money.

My favorite lines for beginning a negotiation is, “Is that the best you can do?” or “Can you do a bit better than that?”

It’s a more polite way to say that you want more money or a better deal. I use that if someone wants me to write something for them and almost always get at least a little extra money than they first offer. I also use it to negotiate a better price for something I’m buying. Most people try to do it for buying a car but I ask for deals when I’m buying more than one of something in places that don’t have a fixed price. I wouldn’t try to get a deal at my supermarket but I do get them at the fruit stand on the street and from vendors at street fairs or even small shops when I’m dealing with the owner.

The bottom line is, if you don’t ask, you definitely won’t get a better price or more money. If you’re negotiating a raise at work or a higher payment from a client, asking, “Can you do a bit better than that?” can get you better than what was first offered. I recently saw a pair of earrings I loved for $32. I asked if they could do better and saved $4. That’s not a lot but it’s better in my wallet than theirs!

Value yourself enough to do what you can to get what you believe you’re worth. I was recently asked to write an article that wouldn’t take me long and I wanted to do it. The editor offered a fee and I gave her my line. She asked what I thought I should get and I doubled her offer. She gave me half of it, which was fine. Truthfully, I’d have done it for what she originally offered, but know I’m worth more so I asked and received. Don’t be afraid to negotiate, as long as you do it nicely and don’t put yourself in a bad position if you’re turned down. Value yourself enough to at least try!
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