The life-changing skill of asking for more - Women's Agenda

The life-changing skill of asking for more

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Necessity forced Alice Crawley to triple her salary in less than a year, and negotiate with 11 different creditors on two different continents to dig herself out of debt. Now she wants to help women find the confidence, and the negotiation skills, to earn more and spend less.

When the debt collectors starting calling in the middle of the night from the other side of the world, Alice Crawley knew she had to take action.

For years she’d been a chronic over-spender, pulling out a number of different credit cards to live a life of luxury that was incompatible with her earning reality: a job in administration paying less than $50,000.

“I was under earning and spending money at the rate of what I wanted to be earning,” Crawley tells Women’s Agenda. “I was spending the money to convince myself that I was actually successful.”

The turning point came in 2004 when, with debt collectors calling from both Canada and Australia, Crawley opened up for the first time ever to a friend about the $185,000 credit debt she had the “complete chaos” she was in.

“She told me that ‘if you believe you’re worth less than $50,000, then that’s all you’re ever going to earn’. I realised then and there that I needed to change my belief. That I was worth more money and I needed to get on top of the chaos I was in.”

Crawley got proactive.

She needed to start earning more money, fast. It wasn’t a ‘get rich quick’ scheme she pursued, but rather a solid job that paid better than what she was currently on. Much better.

“I looked at what my skills were, and then looked at jobs available around the $100,000 mark, and then mapped out how I could personally line up with what was available on the market.”

She also gave up on thinking she had to be 100% qualified to apply for a role. “I realised I could be 60% qualified and still go for jobs being advertised. So I started going for jobs in project management.”

Dozens of rejections and two months later, she started receiving offers. The first came in at $75,000, a second then at $90,000. But neither were enough. Crawley had to say no, and negotiate in order to reach her magic figure.

“I was terrified,” she says on the process. “It took me out of my comfort zone. I realised that so much success in negotiations and getting the salary you deserve actually just comes down to confidence. If you develop the self belief and accept that you have to put yourself uncomfortably out there, you will get somewhere.

“You have to commit to your goal, say no to anything less, and take the path needed to get there.”

Crawley got her six figure job. Six months later, she decided she wanted to increase her salary again. She identified a new line of personal strengths – particularly in people and stakeholder relations – and decided to pursue further management positions. She got a new job paying $150,000.

Meanwhile, there were the debt collectors to deal with. Crawley researched and experimented with the best techniques for negotiating with them and put in place goals and plans for repaying what was owed

Then there was her overspending to deal with, a habit Crawley says stemmed from a lack of confidence. She took proactive steps for mindfully overcoming the urge to spend, and learnt to distance her self worth from her purchasing goods and holidays she didn’t need.

In the years since, Crawley says she’s learnt a lot about women and how so many of us can undervalue the work we do. She believes women need to negotiate differently to men in order to be as effective, and the techniques to make that happen can be taught and learnt. Techniques that can counter any unconscious bias or other perceptions and assumptions regarding how much a woman should be paid.

Now a transformation and self worth coach, which she balances with working in a corporate role, Crawley’s also packaged everything she’s learnt about self worth and getting paid what you’re worth into an online course for women, as well as the videos and blogs she shares on her website.

“Rather than running and hiding, I flipped it over and started be proactive. I learned the practical steps I needed. I learnt to negotiate. I learnt to put things in perspective,” she says.

“My story is that If I can learn how to negotiate with 11 different creditors across two different continents, if I was able to negotiate my way into earning significantly more, then so too can other women.”

By sharing what she’s learnt, Crawley hopes to help dispel the ‘imposter syndrome’ in women, teach transformative negotiation techniques, and offer strategies for overcoming roadblocks and communicating with confidence.

Teaching online, says Crawley, is an opportunity to reach as many women as possible, particularly those who’re time-poor and are looking to take on new skills in the small pockets of time they have available. Ultimately, she believes that then can see more women finally asking for what they want, and getting it.

Check out Alice Crawley’s range of self-worth quizes and other resources here

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