Earning

Taylor Swift knows the value of her work — here's how you can figure out yours

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift is the subject of the new Netflix documentary "Miss Americana," which follows the star's life and career over the course of several years. You can earn more by learning her ideas on knowing your worth.

Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift during an interview on "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" on October 3, 2019.
Andrew Lipovsky/NBCUniversal | Getty Images

Taylor Swift has been dubbed the "World's Highest-Paid Celebrity" by Forbes in 2019. Swift, now 30, has an estimated net worth of $360 million. Her star keeps rising, too: She's the subject of the new Netflix documentary "Miss Americana," which follows the singer-songwriter's life and career over the course of several years.

Getting there took a lot of hard work and smart decisions, and some risks, too. At least one gamble was based on understanding her worth. In 2014, in a well-publicized move, she pulled almost all her music from the streaming platform Spotify.

"Piracy, file sharing and streaming have shrunk the numbers of paid album sales drastically, and every artist has handled this blow differently," Swift wrote in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that year. "Music is art, and art is important and rare. Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for."

The singer-songwriter continued: "It's my opinion that music should not be free, and my prediction is that individual artists and their labels will someday decide what an album's price point is. I hope they don't underestimate themselves or undervalue their art."

Taylor Swift performs onstage during the "Reputation Stadium Tour" at Nissan Stadium on August 25, 2018, in Nashville, Tennessee.
John Shearer/TAS18 | Getty Images

The pop and country music star's risk paid off. Even though much of her music was pulled from Spotify, she was still able to find and connect to listeners. Her 2018 "Reputation Stadium Tour" holds the record for the highest-grossing United States tour in history.

Recognizing your own value at work can help you, too, even if you're not in the music industry. Among other things, it can inspire you to ask for a raise.

Though starting a conversation about compensation can feel risky, remember that requesting more is usually effective: Seven out of 10 workers who ask for a raise end up getting one, according to 2018 data from PayScale, based on surveys of more than 160,000 employees.

Despite that, only 37% of U.S. workers have asked their boss for a raise.

Here are two ways to help you realize your value at work and up your chances of getting paid what you deserve.

1. Figure out what would be a fair salary

Doing some research can help you determine your professional worth.

Before you meet with your bosses to negotiate your salary, do your homework. Use a website like Glassdoor, Indeed, or PayScale to find out the typical salaries in your industry. Base your search on details like your location and level or experience. This will give you realistic expectations of what you should earn, and you'll have some numbers to back up your request.

Asking around can be helpful, too. Get candid with co-workers, like Suze Orman suggests. That strategy worked for Caitlin Boston, 34, whose debt-celebration video went viral in 2019. By starting a conversation about salary, she discovered that her peers at her job earned much more than she did for the same work.

That led her to look for a new position. And, after landing an offer, she pushed for even more. "I ended up making a 41% pay increase via that negotiation," Boston says.

Important, rare things are valuable. Valuable things should be paid for.
Taylor Swift

2. Keep a brag sheet

Swift can point to music sales or concert tickets to prove her value. You can achieve similar results by listing specific achievements when you decide to negotiate your salary.

Keep track of all your successes and how they helped your team or company. "We think we're [going to] remember all these things because we're proud of them at the time, but it's easy to forget 11 months later," Ashley Feinstein Gerstley, founder of The Fiscal Femme, told Grow last year.

Make sure to include even small details such as dates, locations, and names of the people and organizations that were involved. If you've gone beyond your job description in ways that have helped your team, show how you've contributed to productivity by taking on extra responsibilities.

Going in confidently with data and being able to list quantifiable successes, such as increasing company sales, can bolster your case and help you get that raise.

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