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How to Negotiate Pay When You Work from Home

We’ve always been told to “negotiate from a position of strength.” However, we’ve also been told that “home is where the heart is,” and that “your heart is your strength.” So, wouldn’t it follow that your home — where your heart is, and, thus, where your strength resides — is truly the best place to […]

We’ve always been told to “negotiate from a position of strength.” However, we’ve also been told that “home is where the heart is,” and that “your heart is your strength.” So, wouldn’t it follow that your home — where your heart is, and, thus, where your strength resides — is truly the best place to negotiate from?

Yes and no. While drawing upon the “strength” within your home to give you additional negotiation confidence is a fantastic idea; you’ll be far more successful if you also implement the following sure-fire rate negotiation tactics:

1. Know the Going Rate Beforehand

When you’re a work-from-home freelancer, it can be incredibly difficult to know what the “going rate” is for your niche. Occasionally specialty blogs will upload statistics regarding pay rates of similar experts; however, those studies are rarely published, and you’ll be left looking at bar graphs from five years ago.

For up-to-the-minute information you can use as leverage in your payment negotiations, it’s best to turn to social media. 

By joining or creating a Facebook community of like-employed individuals, you’ll have an endless stream of updates on tap. With a simple post or poll, you’ll be able to get input about the “going rate” from active peers in your field.

Armed with this knowledge beforehand, you can enter your payment negotiations confidently and know exactly how much your services are worth.

2. Use Your Environment to Your Advantage

Would you be able to psych yourself up before a meeting by blasting heavy metal music if you worked in a cubicle? Possibly, but your co-workers would probably loathe you. Could you do that if you work from home? Absolutely.

Use your environment to your advantage to increase the success of your rate negotiations. 

If you’re negotiating over the phone, you could play with a fidget cube under your desk to ease your nerves and no one would be the wiser. Or, if you’re negotiating over a video chat, you can use your intimate knowledge of your home to put yourself in the perfect lighting for looking your professional best.

You’re literally on your home turf. You have the advantage. All that’s left to do is use it. 

From pre-meeting confidence-building rituals to added control during the actual negotiations, there are numerous benefits to be gained from hashing out terms from the comfort of your home.

3. Get It in Writing

Is a successful rate negotiation that isn’t written down truly a success? Absolutely not. Get it in writing.

Whatever number you two land on, get the final results in writing. Any payment negotiations, especially when you work from home, need to be easily accessed and referenced in order for them to “stick.” 

Even if you invoice through PayPal or something equally informal, use the form fields available to update your payments to reflect your newly negotiated rates.

4. Have a Back-Up Plan

Confidence is key, and no one should go into a negotiation with failure on their mind. However, it’s also important to be realistic.

Even with the strength of your home and the power of up-to-the-minute statistics behind you, some people just aren’t willing to negotiate on pay. Your best payment debate tactics could easily rendered useless if your negotiation partner doesn’t have the funding additional available, or is just plain stubborn.

Rather than let a failed negotiation stymie your wallet’s growth, prepare ahead of time. In the week before you schedule your discussion to raise your rates, start hitting your niche’s job boards and review your potential opportunities.

It might feel defeatist at first, but knowing you have other options will ultimately boost your confidence further. You’ll essentially be going into your meeting with a safety net in place, which will inspire you to be bolder when asserting your expectations.

Alternatively, if your current client isn’t willing to raise your rates to pay you what you deserve, you’ll already have a jump start on finding someone who will. Stay the course, and start putting in applications on the side. 

Conclusion

There are multiple methods to negotiate pay when you work from home, but they all boil down to the same basic tenet: attempting it is better than not. After all, as Wayne Gretzky famously said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

The only way you’ll get the pay you desire is to ask for it. In the end, the act of having the negotiation is far more important than how the negotiation is run. You could be embarrassed by your labradoodle jumping into your lap right as you’re about to cinch the deal via video chat and still fare better than the work-from-home contractor who didn’t bother to schedule a meeting at all.

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