If you know me, you know first and foremost I'm a free spirit. And I found healing through writing. But by trade, I'm a business consultant. And because of my blended skill set and expertise, my service offering allows me to give my clients the best of both worlds. Recently, I found myself having to renegotiate my fees with one of my clients for the scope and level of work I produce. I had requested three times my fees at a monthly flat rate due to scope creep and the expansion of the role. My client counter-offered with a rate that would be considered unacceptable for anyone with a background similar to mine.
I had wanted to respond right away to the offer. But I decided to listen to my intuition and take the weekend to sit with the email I received late one Friday afternoon. I started to rationalize their response in my head, almost wanting to accept the offer. I thought to myself, "Don't take it personally. Don't get offended, this is business."
I'm nice, not naive.
Corporate America taught me, and a big four consulting firm raised me.
And they taught me extremely well. Corporate America might have ruined my life at one point, but they didn't leave me without the knowledge and experience to succeed at anything I do. It broke me down and built me up, but I bounced back one hundred times better. Now, I can make boss moves like this.
BTW, this is the only damn thing I am thanking Corporate America for.
Everything inside of me knew my client was trying it and trying me. On the real though, I low-key love it when people try me because they don't expect the clap back. And one thing about me is I will clap back when necessary. And I do it with grace and eloquence. Always. Come that Sunday night, I strategically drafted an email to my client clarifying my role, scope of work, work product, and deliverables. I stated all the facts. Come that Monday morning, I clicked on the send button and the email was sent.
I was confident. I know who I am. I know what I'm doing. And I told no lies. There are ethics to this shit.
Not only did I know my client was trying it, so did my circle. This is where the importance of the right people in your circle comes to play. A remote working session with two of my homegirls allowed me to further talk through the situation. When I gave them my life update, their initial reaction was, "OH, HELL NO." They were angry and in their feelings for me too. One of my friends also pointed out, "They tried to box you into a title and role you were never doing as an 'employee' when you're an independent consultant." She was right, and I had completely looked over this small detail.
Maybe this is why I felt slighted as all hell.
Because I'm not working for someone anymore, I am working with them. And that's where some clients have it all the way fucked up. I have most of the say so, not them. I set my rates and hours, not them. My homegirls immediately reminded me of my worth. And I was ever so grateful. It gave me the confidence to stand by my response and be prepared to make certain decisions.
If your friends don't remind you of your worth, they ain't it.
If your friends don't help you plan your exit strategy, they ain't it.
If your friends don't help you to play big, they definitely ain't it.
If your friends don't encourage you to be bold and brave, they ain't it either.
I walked away from a six-figure salary and title, what makes anyone think I wouldn't walk away from a client?
Not all money is good money. Your currency is your time, energy, and peace. You cannot put a price point or a market value on these things.
You have to know your worth more than any dollar amount or currency in this world.
And I want to remind you to always know your worth in any space.
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