When we made the jump to entrepreneurship, we didn’t advocate for ourselves. One of our most immediate challenges was determining how to set prices. What should projects cost? What was a “good” value? What would allow us to keep paying our bills?
What were we worth? And equally as important, were we willing to ask for it?
Now, years into this self-employed adventure, we’ve come to realize that we should have been asking these questions a long time ago. When we held positions at large organizations, our salary was our salary. And sure, we advocated for promotions and raises, but looking back, we expected too little. We didn’t evaluate our unique skills. And we tended to get stuck.
We didn’t think big enough.
And chances are high that you aren’t, either.
Regardless of whether you’re an entrepreneur, an organizational leader, or just getting started in your career, it’s up to you to advocate for yourself. And it’s up to you to go after the roles and opportunities you want.
When you’re ready to advocate for yourself, here are three key questions to ask:
1. What are you bringing to the table?
What are you exceptionally good at? What do your colleagues always ask you to do? What looks challenging to other people, but feels really easy to you?
You are skilled. You are talented. Own it.
2. What do you want to learn?
Yes, you are a rockstar — but you still have a million gaps in your knowledge (we all do). You aren’t an expert at everything (sorry to burst your bubble), but instead of being bummed at what you don’t know, it’s time to get curious. What skills do you want to build?
3. What can you ask for?
If you’re bringing a LOT to the table and not being compensated for your skills, maybe it’s time to ask for a raise. Or if you have a million things you want to learn, it might be time to ask for opportunities to try new projects. You could ask for a mentor or a new contract or 20 minutes to brainstorm with the boss. Make a list, then go after it.
Don’t sell yourself short — and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want or need. Let someone else be the one to say no. (How often do we tell ourselves we already know the answer before we ever ask?!). Most of all, think bigger. You deserve it.