I’ve watched 190+ women & people of color negotiate. Here’s what I've learned.Featured

jessicagrayson's profile thumbnail
Thank you for sharing this information. I hope it gives confidence to people who read it. I just helped a Senior DevOps Engineer with over 20 years of experience negotiate for a better offer and even he was still nervous about this process - so it happens to everyone! Most recruiters are not necessarily going to have a huge stake in the success of the negotiation, but they do want to advocate for you, so having facts and data to support your requests goes a long way for the recruiter to be helpful for you!
jordansale's profile thumbnail
@jessicagrayson that's awesome - thanks for sharing. It's true - negotiating can be really painful and uncomfortable regardless of how much experience you have.
shreyaa's profile thumbnail
I'm an 81cents reviewer and a huge fan of what you're doing. Thanks for sharing these insights!One massive information gap that I think 81cents could work to address is the difficulty involved in valuing equity. (I think there's a new YC startup working on this exact problem.)From a negotiation standpoint, there are simple questions you can ask to enable you to value your equity:1. Ask for the total number of shares outstanding (incl. all common, preferred, restricted, etc.), and divide your grant by this number to calculate your % ownership. It blows my mind that companies just list an absolute number of options they'll be granting you with no context on what that means for your overall stake. Percent ownership is one of the simplest ways to compare equity packages - you want more of the company. If there's only one piece of info you can get during the negotiation process, make it this. 2. If you can, also understand the preference stack. Here are some good summaries of how liquidation preferences can impact your returns: https://techcrunch.com/2016/12/25/wtf-is-a-liquidation-preference/, https://www.seedinvest.com/blog/startup-investing/liquidation-preferences3. Find out how long the exercise window lasts. If you're lucky you'll have years after your departure to decide whether to exercise (and more time to build up savings to buy your options). But in most cases it's usually 3 months. You'll need to evaluate whether you'll be able to buy your shares at the given strike price (it would be even more crazy if they didn't tell you this, but just to be explicit: make sure you know your strike price).4. Confirm the type of option: ISO or NSO. They have very different tax treatments.5. Determine whether there are any restrictions on your ability to sell the stock. There will usually be a freeze period prior to an IPO. Often the company reserves the right to buy back your options at the exercise price. There may be a number of other transfer restrictions - read the fine print.6. This would be rare, but check if they allow for any sort of accelerated vesting if the company gets acquired (or if there's another significant change of control).7. They likely won't tell you, but it's worth asking if there are any upcoming plans to raise additional funding. This will likely dilute your shares and could be ammo for asking for more. (On the bright side, you're getting in at an earlier strike price.)8. While you're at it, it can't hurt to ask about the burn rate and runway.I'd love to see a way to track/source this in 81cents.
mylegoel's profile thumbnail
Thanks for this! I'm in the process of doing this now with my team so, this is extremely helpful and timely. Good to know what I should definitely include in the options agreement.
nikkiricks's profile thumbnail
Oh amazing! I would add WeWager @wewager.co - to your list of resources. A WOC founder who is also tackling this issue!
jordansale's profile thumbnail
@nikkiricks great addition, added to the list! Cynthia's amazing.There are also a ton of incredible coaches we've gotten to know over the past year: - https://www.nadiadeala.com/- https://www.soulworkandselfies.com/- https://www.shenegotiates.com/- https://www.jamieleecoach.com/home
rebeccawillett's profile thumbnail
This article is an amazing resource and I'm so glad to have learned about 81cents! Bookmarked — I think I might need your services sooner rather than later :)
mylegoel's profile thumbnail
This is amazing and extremely helpful and actionable. Thank you for pulling this together!
HeatherWittenberg's profile thumbnail
This is SO important. Thank you for doing this. As a freelance consultant in a "tech adjacent" role, I've had to negotiate several times when NOBODY knew the "going rate" -- because my role was so unusual. (I'm a psychologist, and I consult on lots of stuff including product, content, customer motivation, marketing, and HR.) I paid a ton of very worthwhile dollars to an awesome woman lawyer who walked me through the value of Intellectual Property, Name and Likeness, and the benefits of having a Minimum Monthly Payment consulting structure. This has made a difference of hundreds of thousands for me over several years! It was eye-opening to start at the point of "Well, I guess I just have to take what they offer me" to an understanding that while the negotiations might actually take months -- it would be SO worth it in the long run - both to my self-esteem, and to my overall professional success. Sharing these tips helps make us all more successful. Thank you!
SofiaMealz's profile thumbnail
Such a great article! Thanks for sharing!
mireyam's profile thumbnail
Such a great article!
catherinedavies's profile thumbnail
I love this!! 100% agree with your observations and tips ESPECIALLY the brag sheet! Little girls are so often told not to show off, not to talk about themselves the whole time, not to ask for what they want... Am doing something v similar in the UK and run group programs teaching women how to negotiate pay rises! And they all get lovely pay rises! I was on the BBC talking about it recently https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m00088kc Things need to change, employers need to change, but in the meantime individual women need to have the courage to ask for what they want to get paid, to narrow the gender pay gap one woman at a time...
tatendagumbo's profile thumbnail
Thank you for this, we are going to take a lot of points from this!
christinetreacy's profile thumbnail
What a great company you've got here! And great advice you're giving out. Negotiating or asking for a raise is super stressful and scary! I've been out of college now for 12 years and just now within the last 2 years have I really started to learn how to work up the courage to ask for more money. I'd always gotten normal, periodic raises at past companies so it never dawned on me to ask for more or to ask before It was given to me. I wish I would have woken up to this years ago! Just earlier this year I had a nerve-wrecking experience of receiving a raise with my annual review but I still knew I deserved more. So I asked my boss to ask the owner to re-consider what I originally asked for. You know what happened? The owner had just blindly looked over my review and gave me some baseline, low-ball raise. He admitted it! So in turn he ended up giving me more than what I originally asked for. He realized he screwed up and wanted to make it right (or at least that's how I took it). I was really happy that I stood up for myself and it ended up REALLY paying off for me in the long run.
jordansale's profile thumbnail
Wow this is amazing @christinetreacy. So proud of you for making the ask - really not an easy feat but hopefully now feels a little easier for the next time!
christinetreacy's profile thumbnail
Thank you @jordansale !! I definitely DO feel more confident about it now after going through that experience.