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Original articles from Ted Leonhardt.
 
11 Tips for Negotiating Your First Salary
Negotiating your first salary presents a major challenge. You have not been trained in the art of negotiation, face strong competition, have a deep emotional connection to your work, and often feel some insecurity about your talents. The following discussion is designed to help you obtain the salary you deserve.

Not Everyone Makes It
We’ve all heard the stories of smart, talented, deeply feeling creatives who didn’t live to comb gray hair, dead by their own hand in ways violently sudden or through more drawn-out self-destruction. September is Suicide Awareness month.

8 Truths for Creative Individuals 
Being a terrible negotiator is epidemic among creative professionals. We avoid it, sticking our heads in the sand, or, perhaps worse, think we’re above having to negotiate at all and don’t bother to prepare.

How to Negotiate With Bullies
Behaving like a bully reduces negotiation skills because it blinds one from understanding the other person’s point of view. Victoria Pynchon, co-founder of She Negotiates Consulting and Training, puts it this way: “If you believe you have to force people to do what you want in order to get what you want, you won’t bother learning how to ‘sell’ them.”

Eleven Tips for Negotiating Your First Salary
Negotiating your first salary presents a major challenge. You have not been trained in the art of negotiation, face strong competition, have a deep emotional connection to your work, and often feel some insecurity about your talents. The following discussion is designed to help you obtain the salary you deserve.

Best of TZM: Experience Is Your Comfort Zone
When someone requests your professional help, they are giving you permission and the power to ask for something in return. It is a magic moment. Mostly, we don’t like asking because it exposes us. Asking takes us out of our comfort zone. They might say no. And that might mean we don’t measure up or they don't need us. So we don’t ask. It makes us vulnerable to that basic fear that we’re just not worthy. It takes a lot of confidence to ask.

Eleven Tips for Negotiating Your First Salary
Negotiating your first salary presents a major challenge. You have not been trained in the art of negotiation, face strong competition, have a deep emotional connection to your work, and often feel some insecurity about your talents. The following discussion is designed to help you obtain the salary you deserve.

Experience Is Your Comfort Zone
When someone requests your professional help, they are giving you permission and the power to ask for something in return. It is a magic moment. Mostly, we don’t like asking because it exposes us. Asking takes us out of our comfort zone. They might say no. And that might mean we don’t measure up or they don't need us. So we don’t ask. It makes us vulnerable to that basic fear that we’re just not worthy. It takes a lot of confidence to ask.

Get Control of Your Meeting
Presenting yourself as a creative professional comes with a special kind of pressure. You are representing not only yourself, but yourself plus the work you’ve done. Not only is your appearance and performance examined, but things that you create with your hands, heart, and mind are judged as well.

Write Contracts, Not Proposals
Did you know that it’s possible to skip the proposal? Well, it is. When a prospect responds positively and contacts you, they’ll expect you to tell them how you can help. And in doing so you’ll be summarizing what could be a “proposal,” but by doing it verbally you skip the written proposal process entirely and just follow up with a contract.

Fear Rules in Negotiations
The instructor placed the trapeze rope in my right hand. “God, it’s weighted. Of course; that’s why they swing so well,” I thought as I felt it pulling me off the platform. Only her firm grip kept me from spinning into space. Feeling the full impact of fear, I said, “I can’t do this, I’m going back down the ladder."

The Closing Process
​Ben awoke at 4:00 am with that old familiar anxiety. It was pitch day. He was recommended for the project and knew that the client, Ed, loved his work. But that was acting and this was directing. Worse, Ed had been directing his own stuff. He was a good guy, but maybe he was just a bit too much in love with his own directing. Ben thought, “Might as well get up and gather my thoughts. Here I am wide awake. Obviously I want this one.”

How to Know What You Are Worth
I recently gave a talk to a group of design students on negotiating their first salaries. Worth and how to determine it was very much on their minds. Three were in the process of bargaining.

Experience Is Your Comfort Zone
When someone requests your professional help, they are giving you permission and the power to ask for something in return. It is a magic moment. Mostly, we don’t like asking because it exposes us. Asking takes us out of our comfort zone. They might say no. And that might mean we don’t measure up or they don't need us. So we don’t ask. It makes us vulnerable to that basic fear that we’re just not worthy. It takes a lot of confidence to ask.

Anchoring: How to Negotiate Any Price
When you describe the scope, schedule, and price — especially price — the other party tends to move to it. They feel that your price must be respected, even if they don’t want to pay it. If they do wish to haggle over price, they’ll do so with the assumption that your price is the top of the range. They’ll negotiate knowing that to keep you in the discussion they can only offer what would be considered an acceptable level below your anchor price.

How to Beat the Salary Survey Trap
Beth had been at the company for two years and began the conversation with her manager to negotiate a salary increase. She deferred to HR and was told that her salary was higher than market rate based on the surveys they use. She then asked her manager to ask HR if they could share their info, because her surveys said otherwise. “I heard back today that they are not able to share their sources. They said that they matched my current role to surveyed job descriptions, then they added a premium for our location.”

Essential Interview Advice
Don’t chew gum. Don’t bring your own coffee. Be on time. Those are easy. Here’s the hard stuff. Don’t talk too much. Maintain your attention. Be relaxed. What’s the difference? It’s simple: we really don’t need to be told to be on time, sans coffee and gum.

Write Contracts, Not Proposals
Did you know that it’s possible to skip the proposal? Well, it is. When a prospect responds positively and contacts you, they’ll expect you to tell them how you can help. And in doing so you’ll be summarizing what could be a “proposal,” but by doing it verbally you skip the written proposal process entirely and just follow up with a contract.

Nail It: Stories for Designers on Negotiating with Confidence
Does the thought of negotiating raise your blood pressure? Have you ever left a meeting wondering if you should change careers? Feeling gun shy is common for those in the creative field. After all, business savvy is not your forte.

Use Holiday Business Slow-downs to Reboot
Quiet periods are scary, no mater what the reason. They always scare me! I think of the quiet times as a wake up call. A slow down in business gives us the opportunity to think about the overall flow of business, why it has changed, and how to grow it.

Never Lie About Your Past
When you’re negotiating, sometimes it feels like it would be so easy to tell a little lie to advance your position, or to avoid an uncomfortable confrontation.

Building a Design Firm Brand
First, know what you stand for, and why. The key is how the services you provide help others. It’s the source of your message. It’s what people remember about you. It’s what makes you important to them. That’s where the emotional bond originates.

When They Believe in You
When a client or prospect asks you for something, you have their respect. They wouldn’t ask if they didn’t believe in your ability to fill their request. At that moment you have their attention and respect. Their request provides the opportunity to ask for something in return.

Get Control of that Meeting
Presenting yourself as a creative professional comes with a special kind of pressure. You are representing not only yourself, but yourself plus the work you’ve done. Not only is your appearance and performance examined, but things that you create with your hands, heart, and mind are judged as well.

They’ll Ask. Don’t Tell.
If you are asked what you were paid in the past, and most interviewers do ask, here are some things to say. Turn it around with a question: “What are your expectations for this position? I’d like to get a feeling for what you’re looking for.”

How to Know What You Are Worth
I recently gave a talk to a group of design students on negotiating their first salaries. Worth and how to determine it was very much on their minds. Three were in the process of bargaining.

Learning to Negotiate: 5 Key Skills
On one of those blue-sky days when everything is going your way, Karen, who had just graduated in industrial design, landed an internship with a small firm with great work and a wonderful studio overlooking the bay and the mountains beyond.

Eleven Tips for Negotiating Your First Salary
Negotiating your first salary presents a major challenge. You have not been trained in the art of negotiation, face strong competition, have a deep emotional connection to your work, and often feel some insecurity about your talents. The following discussion is designed to help you obtain the salary you deserve.

Carson Becomes a Professional
After graduation in graphic design, the placement office set up three job interviews for Carson: a position in a PR firm’s in-house design group; an art director position with a local ad agency; and a design/illustrator position at a small design boutique. Carson met with the ad agency and the PR office, but it was the boutique agency that caught his imagination.

Pick Three and Call Me in the Morning: 2013 Resolutions
Over the last year I’ve worked with eleven clients. It’s been a great pleasure and privilege to be invited into their business lives and to help them deal with challenges and opportunities. Together we’ve negotiated new business deals, hired, fired, trained management teams, and aligned business needs with personal goals. I’ve helped them through great and difficult moments. Sometimes it’s been exhausting, but it’s always been thrilling.

The Evolution of Influence: How Creative Firms Came to Power
Throughout the last century, creative people — notably writers and designers — have played an increasingly important role in the world of business. Their influence is greatest when a creative service is assumed to be essential to corporate success. With the access that influence provides comes the opportunity to shape corporate futures and to charge significant fees in the process.

Intuition: How Assumptions Can Lead Us Astray
As a designer, I’ve long prided myself on my intuition and ability to “read the writing on the wall.” As I’ve gained experience and had opportunities to work with many designers who’ve grown their own firms, I’ve learned how common this belief in one’s own intuition is and how easily the assumptions that result can lead one astray.

Negotiating Tips for a Profitable Client/Agency Relationship
Step 1: Create a Virtuous Cycle. By definition, a Virtuous Cycle is a series of events that results in a favorable outcome, time and again. For creative professionals, it means using your work and the insights gained from your experience to attract the attention of future clients.

Ten Things I Learned About Leadership Early in My Career
My first job out of art school was as a “design illustrator” with the Boeing Company design group. At least I was getting paid to design, but almost immediately began looking for a position that would offer more opportunity to grow.

Empowering Your Expertise

Increase Your Design Fees: Confidence, Distance, Mutuality
Design firms routinely underprice their work. It seems as though they don’t trust their own value, thinking, “If I can do it, it must be easy.” Therefore “I don’t dare ask for…” whatever.

Offered a Partnership? Be Ready to Negotiate.
What designer hasn’t dreamed of creating his/her own product that would wow the market and make tons of money? Think James Dyson.

Fit In, Stand Out, Stand Apart
To get on a prospect’s wavelength, to get invited to the pitch party, prospects must be aware of your firm and expertise. Brand design, store design, packaging design, way finding, web design, user experience, etc. — are all traditional expertise descriptions.

Lessons in Negotiation for Creative Firms
When I started in business I had no idea what “leverage” was, let alone how to use it. The prospect of negotiating a price for my work terrified me, which is probably why I became a designer. I thought that because of my talent, I’d get work without having to bargain.

Negotiating Tips for Indie Creatives
Today, purchasing agents are putting the same kind of cost-cutting pressure on $100k deals as they previously did on million-dollar deals. RFIs and RFPs are now the norm, and increasingly prospects demand creative work on spec. Instead of reminding the client that their work has the potential to add millions to their bottom line, creative services are being treated as a commodity; designers have fallen into the commodity trap, responding to demands for lower pricing, volume discounts, and 180-day payment policies.

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