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Can You Ask for More Money, and if so, When?

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If you’ve been working in the industry for a minute and have started to build a solid resume, you may be wondering if you’ve gained a significant enough foothold to demand a certain paycheck.  Of course, receiving any offer feels good – it makes you feel wanted.  But you don’t want to forever be working for peanuts.  You have to make enough to keep at it.

So, first thing’s first.  It’s important to tweak your perspective a bit.  In the beginning, you’re likely to jump at every chance to make a name for yourself.  You want to get some experience under your belt so you can establish a solid reputation in the industry.  You’re excited to push forward and determined to make it big.

Therefore, it’s all too easy to get into the mindset that you are the eager talent looking for work and the client offering the work calls all the shots.  You must remember however you are capable of building a believable character.  The fact that you are being made an offer to showcase your skills reflects this.  This is your career, and to make sure it stays your career, you have to make money.  

The transition from newbie to pro from a mental perspective can be easier said than done, particularly if you’ve been at it for a while, landing roles one after another without pausing to consider where you’re at, exactly.  At some point, you have to pause and reflect, though, and when you realize you have impressive marketing materials, consider upping the ante.

At this point, just as with any other job, you do not have to accept the first offer that comes in.  You can choose to negotiate with the client or pass for another option, depending on how interested you are in the project.  Of course, there’s a fine line here.  You don’t want to get too picky when you’re still adding to your repertoire.  You have to have some clout before you can start being selective.  

The long and short of it is – whether or not you can (and should) ask for more money depends where you’re at career-wise.  The decision is a subjective one.  But, when you believe you’re at a point in which you might start negotiating, you should opt to work with an agent first.  This way you’ll have someone with connections who is knowledgeable and understands how to approach these conversations.

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