Money Talks …

Alrighty, let’s talk about money. We ALL want it. That is what drives us to get up every day and do the same boring/challenging tasks in our “career”. Is it satisfying? Sometimes. But at the end of the day it all comes down to money. You are there to make it, earn it, save it, spend it. Money is the one thing that you are always told not to talk about in the interview, UNTIL it is the right time. Now I do understand that there are HR people/hiring managers that do not always follow this protocol. Sometimes the employer just wants to screen OUT anyone who shouldn’t be there and they do that by asking your current salary and your requirements. If you are applying for a job that pays $80k a year but you only made $40k, then you might not be quite ready for job of such magnitude. Some might say, you are in over your head.


Now I am going to have the conversation with you that is totally going to blow your mind away. YOU think you are worth X amount of money per hour, or per year. How did you come up with that number? Someone told you. Probably a salary report or maybe Google, or maybe it was that actually gives you real salary information as employees can post that information. Oh how cool is THAT? So, before you even decide you want to work there you can determine if it is going to meet your salary expectations. If you didn’t know, there are 2080 working hours in the year. Take that times your hourly rate and you get your annual salary. Some people think weekly, others bi weekly, and some even monthly. i.e. I get paid $5000 a month, or roughly $60k a year. 5×12=60. $60k divided by 2080 = $28.85 an hour. Can you live on that amount of money? Employers will sometimes try to trick you into thinking your salary is more than it really is by using big numbers. Don’t be fooled. Also keep in mind that Uncle Sam is going to take a minimum of 28% for federal, state, and FICA (social security) and any local taxes. So your big salary all of the sudden isn’t so big. $5k a month, after taxes actually is only a little over $3k a month, and that really isn’t a huge amount. The more you make the more the government takes. Things like an IRA are ways that you can reduce your taxable income. Knowing your take home amount is also really important.


So knowing your value is extremely important. So, you take a kid who is 18, making minimum wage flipping burgers, who by many employers isn’t worth a very high salary right? I take him under my wing and mentor him for 6 weeks and train him how to build a WordPress website in a day and create a Facebook business page using Ad Manager and all of the sudden this “kid” is also worth $60k a year. He doesn’t have a tech degree, and barely if at all, a high school diploma. Now, how do you justify this guy’s $60k salary? Because he can now go out, market himself as a designer, and charge the same hourly rates as the professionals, just like me. Boom. Mic drop. Just because you DIDN’T make that much before, does NOT mean you are not worth it now.


So you’ve made it to the final interview. Flew past HR no problem, clicked with the hiring manager and now the key decision maker is in your face. He/she might be an executive, the owner, a managing director, … someone who has monetary authority for the company. If you get to this person right away, like at a picnic, bbq, wedding, you will have a lot more bargaining power. HR people and hiring managers usually do not have any power over salary. When the offer is presented, HR simply is the middle man. If the offer is not what is stated with the key, then you need to get him/her on the horn and start barking. Every job has a range. You are usually given/offered the bottom lower end of that range, UNLESS you can prove you are worth more. This is where your negotiation skills are instrumental in your higher paid salary. I have negotiated 90 day raises after performance has been evaluated and an increase in new business has been demonstrated. If I do ______, then you will reward me with compensation of _______. Yes, this really does happen. If you are THE final candidate, then they want you. They want you really bad. AND they are willing to pay for it. They will never retract the opening offer. You need to think of it as as an opening big on a house. They start, you counter. You come to a happy middle somewhere. This is where you get your extra personal day. Flexible schedule, working from home, company laptop/smartphone/iPad, expense account, … you get the idea. When I negotiated my low salary at the Bar Association, I managed to start my 403(b) retirement immediately, rather than waiting a year. Who knew you could bypass that rule? Me. It came to over 3k in “benefits” not paid by the payroll. The 2nd largest office next to the emergency exit was also a nice perk. If you have to pay for parking, will the company pick that up? Again, not paid from payroll, but a different expense account. Just like in the real estate industry, you can implement the “Is this your best and final offer?” and see what they say. Most of the time they will say “No, that is not the best and final, what did you have in mind?” Before you go into any interview negotiation, you need to practice. Sell something to a friend and start arguing/debating price. This is how it works. You have to be confident in your abilities and skills. Employees who make money or save money are going to get better salaries than those who can’t detail why they are worth more money.

Money is a huge motivator for everyone. As a client once told me, “I have the TMAI philosophy.” Throw money at it. The more you throw, the more likely the problem will just magically solve itself or go away. Sales are down? Throw cash bonuses as floor sales day prizes. People will respond positively. Ask if there are bonuses. No? Then let’s start one now.

And my favorite quote from Jerry McGuire … “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”