I had a client reach out to me yesterday. She shared she was approached by a recruiter to do some contract work in her field (technical support for professionals) and she wanted to discuss what she'd quote them for her rate. This lead to a much bigger conversation that reflected how we often see ourselves both professionally and personally!
When we are offered an opportunity where someone sought us out to connect and engage with us, it feels great! It's like getting asked out on a date out of the blue. "Wow, look at that! Someone wants me!!!!" In situations like this (especially work) we quickly shift from whether to accept an offer, to how we can make it happen, no matter what.
And it's the "no matter what" that's a juicy conversation. In our bid for more business, a sustainable living or a full client load, we'll often compromise the things that are important to us in order to meet the needs of others. They need a contractor, and my client's goto was to figure out how to make that happen... with the underlying message "no matter what..." It becomes a value conversation.
In short I suggested she more than double her rate. She was shocked, almost appalled. She said "I can't do that, they might say no!" That's completely understandable, and they might. However, I know what she's committed to as an entrepreneur, and her commitments include financial abundance that affords her living expenses and considerable resources for travel, vacation and savings. We then looked at who we ALREADY know she is for her existing clients (her commitment to service and demonstrated value). The quality, commitment and service is not in question, so why wouldn't we match that with compensation?
An offer is just that. It's also an invitation. An invitation between two parties looking to find mutual footing to build a relationship on. The invitation is to relationship. It's of no value for the party making an offer to accept a contractor/employee who's going to resent the work right away because they feel like they're underpaid for the work. It'd be like saying "yes" to a date you don't want to go on. It won't be good for you OR the other person. Part of developing a professional relationship will be sharing how you see yourself as reflected the way you price your service/product. How often do you find yourself wary of a service or product that seems priced too low for the value?
Stop undervaluing your worth and work. Negotiate a set of circumstances (schedule, compensation, hours, flexibility) that makes you tingle when you start your first day. It will not only make you happy with the situation, but it will also call you to your best work.
Double your rate, and don't look back.