Amy and her partner don’t apologize for their fees, and they will explain to clients up front (ask me how I know) that they are happy to work with you on a Sunday, but you will pay more for this. Because if they have to choose between working and playing with their kids? They’ll play with the kids, thanks. And amazingly, (I say amazingly because I am a woman who undersells herself), clients respect this and hire them and love them for it. Amy added, “None of the above would work is we didn't believe it and live it; but knowing how to communicate it (and agreeing to the importance of such communication) has made a difference in the life of SilverBox.”
When I look back on the hourly rate I charged my clients when I first started consulting two years ago, I wince a little bit. It is a little embarrassing. I had based my fees on talking to people in my area about the industry, but what I learned (quickly, fortunately) was that those fees are based on clients who are located in rural Missouri, where I live. If you have clients on the coasts or clients in large metropolitan areas, you have to make adjustments. And perhaps the single-most important thing I have learned is not to base my fees on what I can live on, but to base them, instead, on what I am worth in this industry.
It behooves us as women to advocate for ourselves, not only because then we get fairer compensation—but because it also has a trickle-down effect on other professional women. If we raise the bar for what our salaries are, then when we check salary.com, we will have higher salaries to report. So, if you can’t negotiate for yourself, think back to that imaginary best friend, sister, mother, cousin, and negotiate for her. For us.