We’ve all heard of the starving artist, but have we ever considered what we are perpetuating when we buy in to that idea? The belief that when something is pleasurable to create, like art, it’s unnecessary to fairly compensate the artist is damaging to the very essence of every creative being, especially women.
I’m Red Hot Annie, and I believe that as entrepreneurs, leaders, and artists in the 21st century, women have a sacred duty to make more money. To that end, I’ve created this helpful guide to asking for more money.
Step One: Journal
Know your worth. Know your strategy. Know how you intend to ask for more money.
Make a list of things you observe that help you see why you’re worth more. Notice the extra work you do, costs you didn’t consider before (like a commute, supplies, subcontractors, your time), what other people are being paid, etc.
You’d be surprised how much we take our effort – and especially our time – for granted. This is where you want to take everything into consideration. Write it down.
Then, make a list of every situation you’ve experienced where you wanted to make more money—and ask yourself: Why didn’t I ask? Or if you asked, what happened? Forgive yourself and others for how things turned out, and resolve (and re-resolve, if necessary) to honoring your value and knowing your worth.
Then go a step further, and ask yourself how much making more means to you. Is it a deal-breaker if you don’t get the money? Do you want this raise “or else?” Know in advance. A “take it or leave it” approach may work better for a gig you can live without rather than, say, your dream job.
Write down your pitch. Keep it simple. In 2-3 sentences, you’ll need to be able to articulate what you want and why. Don’t overexplain; keep it simple – ask as if you know the answer will be yes.
Then – practice!
You become what you practice.
Ask a friend to listen to your pitch.
Step Two: Ask!
Give yourself the best chance at success by tuning into your state of being in the hours before you ask. Notice your breath, notice your thoughts and feelings. When possible, honor your cycle by asking at a time when you feel most confident and comfortable.
Open the conversation with something like: “We’ve been working together for a while now, and I wanted to talk to you about what I’m being paid.”
Then, pause. Take a breath.
Notice your body, relax your jaw, your shoulders, hips. Allow the other person a moment to respond, and keep your attention outward, on them. There will be time to review the thoughts that may come up at this point, but now isn’t that time.
Stay focused on the person you’re asking.
When it’s time to ask for what you want, don’t overexplain yourself. Be succinct. “Based on ____ (name just 1-2 things), I want to ask for a raise of ___ (be specific).”
Breathe. Notice your body, relax your jaw, shoulders, hips.
Wait for them to reply.
Don’t apologize or try to take the pressure off them.
You can handle their answer, no matter what it may be.
Whether your proposal is accepted or you have to negotiate further, remember to let them respond. During the pause, you’ll gain stamina and courage, energies that will have a long-lasting impact on your sense of confidence, regardless of the response.
But, don’t worry about being perfect.
Just asking, no matter how messy it may be, will build resilience.
Consider somewhere in your life where you desire more consideration—monetary or otherwise. Practice a simple pitch that asks for what you want, and put a dollar amount on it.
Always to hold yourself, your dignity, and your creative power in the highest esteem.
In our culture, we treat money as a taboo topic, and when women allow this topic to stay in the shadows, we disempower ourselves. Because we aren’t just independent, but interdependent, we also impact marginalized groups by creating a culture that accepts the prevailing standard instead of questioning it.
We don’t know how/when to ask for more money, and sometimes we’re not even sure what our ceiling is.
What is the most I’m allowed to make?
What kind of impact would I have on this world if I made more?
GO GET WHAT YOU’RE WORTH!
Now that you’ve gotten a peek into how you can elevate your sense of self and raise your standard, I sincerely hope you can use the actions and exercises detailed in “Pop a Pasty! 7 Steps to Building a Successful Burlesque Career” to make an impact on the art that you create and proliferate in this world. It’s time for you to go out there and get what you’re worth!
Pop a Pasty! 7 Steps to Building a Successful Burlesque Career