Office Hours: I’m the founder of 81cents where we help underrepresented professionals negotiate more confidently – closing the wage gap one negotiation at a time. AMA!Featured

Hi Elphas!

I’m Jordan Sale, the founder and CEO at 81cents where we help underrepresented professionals advocate for themselves. To date we’ve had a chance to support more than 1000 professionals through negotiating new offers, promotions, and even severance packages.

I spent a few years at startups (most recently at Fundrise - a fintech startup in the real space) before founding 81cents four years ago.

81cents was recently acquired by another company in the negotiation space (Rora) so I’m happy to share my experience going through the acquisition process.

During my downtime, I like to read, go to concerts, meditate, and…have a cheesy instagram account where I post small businesses I come across that have puns in their names (ex. A hair salon called Salon Dion).

Ask me about salary negotiations, grad school (I started 81cents while getting my MBA), doing inner work, or anything else!

Thanks so much for joining us @jordansale!Elphas – please ask @jordansale your questions before Friday, November 4th. @jordansale may not have time to answer every questions, so emoji upvote your favorites 🔥👍🏾➕
How do you negotiate your salary when you don't have quantifiable proof of how you impacted the business? Also, when pivoting career fields how do you handle negotiation conversations when your impact does not directly correlate to the industry you are in now?
@deandreamartin thanks for your questions!For #1 I'm assuming about talking about negotiation when you're already in the role. Generally - I recommend people think of their impact in terms of money and time. So if you can't point to a concrete revenue metric, can you point to how you saved the org time (which ultimately leads to more $$$) or even indirectly supported a revenue-driving function? You can also try to put yourself in the shoes of your manager. What are the metrics they care about? If you can position your work in terms of those, you'll have a much easier time convincing them to advocate on your behalf.Lastly - I recommend keeping a 'brag sheet' where you log all of the positive internal and external feedback you receive. For #2 I think it's ultimately about getting creative and showing how your work is relevant and will enable you to succeed in this new industry. If you're getting an offer it's because the employer thinks you can do the job so they're likely willing to negotiate if it means getting you to accept!
Hi Jordan, thanks for sharing your time and insights with us! 1. What are the most common psychological barriers that psyche folks out of even initiating a negotiation conversation with a potential employer or current employer (in the case of a promotion)? How have your clients found success with learning how to these tendencies?2. What are the differences in approach/strategy for negotiating new offers vs. internal promotions? 3. What are some things about the acquisition process that you didn't expect? 4. How did you balance starting 81cents while working towards your MBA? Thanks so much!
Hi Jordan! 😂 What's been one of your favorite parts about building 81cents? (definitely not fishing for an answer 😉)
Hi Jordan, thanks for doing this AMA! I know that negotiation has always been encouraged, but do you feel like the art of negotiating is different (or even non-existent) given the upcoming economic recession?As someone who has always negotiated offers in the past but has been affected by layoffs this summer, I am definitely feeling much more wary and hesitant about negotiating this time around. I'm finishing up the interview process with a couple companies at the moment so best case I can have a competing offer to use as leverage, but the possibility of only getting one offer is real. Do I have anything to stand on if this is the case, especially if the company is aware (they asked) that I was laid off from my previous role? Would love to hear your thoughts on this, thanks!!
Thanks for your great question @Hassie37 -- I'd guess that it's very relatable for many people given all the layoffs we've been seeing lately.First of all - I totally understand the hesitation to negotiate after being laid off. Negotiating can feel especially risky if you're eager to get started in your next role. However, from the 100+ offers we've helped negotiate this fall, we are very much seeing that companies are still negotiating substantially. Remember - if you're getting an offer, it's because the company believes this role is imperative to hire for right now. If you're in a position where you have an offer you want to negotiate but don't have another offer to leverage, I'd recommend setting up a call with your hiring manager.In this call you want to:1. Share a 90-day plan for getting started in the role. Usually people do this after they've signed an offer but we actually recommend doing a first pass before because this shows your manager that you're thinking about impact + helps them feel even more bought in to bringing you onboard!2. Make sure you're on the same page about the goals + priorities for the role3. Ask them any questions you have about the work, advancement at the company, etc.4. Let them know you're planning to negotiate and ask them if you have their support9 times out of 10 the manager will be so excited by your 90-day plan that they'll be more than happy to support your negotiation if it means you'll join. Ultimately, the hiring manager is who the recruiter will need sign-off from to increase the comp. So - after you have this - you can go back to the recruiter will your counter and feel fairly confident that you'll be able to see an increase.I recently helped someone who was unemployed negotiate using this approach. They only had 1 offer and were able to get a 15% increase from aligning with their manager and asking for their support. The other thing to consider is what you're asking for. If you're getting pushback on increasing base salary, you can ask for more equity, a more incentivizing bonus package, or other non-cash benefits that might be meaningful to you.Lastly - this won't be possible in all roles and companies, but I would ask about the possibility of negotiating a generous severance package upfront in the event the company does layoffs in the future.
Thank you for the thoughtful answer! That makes a lot of sense to get the hiring manager on your side, since you are going to want to establish a relationship of trust anyways. I had never thought about it that way
I’m late to the party but just want to shout out @jordansale and 81cents. I got a report from them a few years ago that really empowered me to ask for what I’m worth when it was time for a promotion at my last job. I still revisit the report when I need that confidence boost.
That's so cool to hear @brianafm - thank you for sharing and hope you're doing well!
Hi @jordansale I hope I’m not too late. How does one negotiate a golden parachute? Do you have any advice for negotiating compensation packages for first time VP or executive level roles? How do you know what you’re worth if you can’t access reliable data about average pay at your level in your location?
Hi Jordan! I love this, I'm curious what your thoughts are on companies who will not negotiate salaries. I left a company I'd been with for years when I was in a senior role and was told that salaried roles aren't allowed to do salary negotiation or to even ask about the salaries of others. That seemed like a red flag to me, so I left for another organization, but now I'm wondering how common it is. As well as any advice on how to go forward with these conversations with future organizations I may work for.
@kodimac great question.This may be a bit of an oversimplification, but I tend to think of companies that won't negotiate in terms of 3 categories:#1. Companies that aren't negotiating for the sake of equity & inclusion. There are a few companies out there that work extremely hard to pay equitably. Not negotiating is part of how they ensure that two people in the same role with similar experience, locations, and skillsets are paid the same. If 1 person negotiates and 1 doesn't, they would end up with a pay gap. Here are some signs that you're dealing with one of these companies:- They have a defined compensation philosophy that they're willing to share with you. This should explain how they come up with their comp packages and why their approach leads to fair pay across the org.- They typically are transparent about pay. One of my favorite companies in this category Buffer ( publicly shares what everyone in the org makes - not just for base salary, but also bonus + equity. Another one of my favorites ( gives everyone in the company a chart where you can see how your pay will progress with each promotion.#2. Companies that don't negotiate for the sake of equity & inclusion - but haven't gotten it quite right yet. If I can be empathetic with companies for a (rare) moment, closing pay gaps within an org can be challenging and require a serious internal culture shift. It can also mean be willing to lose talent who wants to negotiate or thinks the comp being offered is under market. Typically this kind of company has one of the traits mentioned above but may not be consistent about upholding it yet.There are lots of companies out there that haven't gotten all the way there yet but have good intentions. I still maintain that impact matters more than intent but these kind of companies could definitely still be good employers.#3. Companies that use no-negotiation policies and a lack of transparency to suppress pay. These are companies that take a very short-term view of employment - instead of thinking of employee relationships as long-term and best built on trust and transparency, they use fear and information asymmetry.Signs you're dealing with a company in this category are:- A lack of transparency- An inability or unwillingness to share their compensation philosophy- Discouraging team members from talking about payI really believe that the way a company negotiates represents how they value their team, company culture, and even what it will be like to work there. For example - if you have a manager who refuses to talk about how pay is set - how can you expect them to be open with you about the promotion + raise process? Or even advocate on your behalf!?Unfortunately, with the layoffs happening, we may see more companies using the uncertain market to justify lower pay and less negotiation - not for equity and inclusion, but for the sake of their bottom line.Good luck out there!!! <3
Hi Jordan, thanks for your time! I'm curious how you found clients, and what your business model was/is? Thanks! Kristine
Hi Jordan, I'm excited to learn from you and use 81cents! It's something I need and I'll be sharing it with my friends too. I'm considering an MBA in the next few years. When and why at that point did you feel an MBA was the right move for you in your career? Do you have any inner work book recommendations or resources? Thank you!
@bethanyv thanks for your questions!Some of my favorite inner work resources are:1. The Hoffman Foundation Weekend Essentials Program2. Anything by Brene Brown, Thich Nhat Hanh, or Ram Dass3. Yung Pueblo's content on Instagram4. Meditation (I use the Waking Up app by Sam Harris)I went back for my MBA after working for 5 years. It was definitely helpful to have work experience before going and - if I could do it again - I'd probably have worked for another year even.I ultimately decided to go for a few reasons:1. My entire career had been in marketing in fintech and I was interested in pivoting to both a different function and different industry.2. I was interested in starting a company and thought an MBA would be a good time to do that and - worst case - if the company didn't work out I'd have a grad degree to show from the investment. I think there's also a case though for doing the opposite approach + using the $ you're spending on school as seed funding.3. As a woman in tech I'd always felt some impostor syndrome - especially in primarily male spaces (which happened a lot working in fintech). I thought maybe if I bolstered my business skills I'd feel more confident. I do think that happened but, looking back, I think coaching or therapy are probably better avenues for becoming more confident!