Today, PF Pro contributor Kali Hawlk tells us about one simple action that has helped her achieve immense success in a relatively short amount of time. I don’t know if Kali remembers, but she actually used this tactic to get hired with me too, so I can tell you it definitely does work!
Would you believe me if I said you only needed to do one very simple thing to improve your personal finances or advance your career?
Is it really possible that just taking one easy action could lead you to countless opportunities in your personal and professional life?
Yes, it absolutely is possible. And everyone can do it. You’re sitting on a world of potential awesomeness right now and you can access it almost immediately.
All you have to do is ask.
The Power of Asking
Seriously. That’s it. You just need to ask for what it is that you’re looking for or that you want.
Yeah, I know, I know. That sounds completely woo-woo and totally useless, right? A year ago, I would have agreed with you. A year ago, I didn’t even try to ask for anything.
I figured there wasn’t a point. Why would anyone give me a chance? Or change something because I requested it? Or give me a moment of their extremely valuable time?
I’ve since learned a few things about the power of asking:
- The worst anyone can say is “no.” The best that can happen is limitless.
- Other people may actually be waiting for you to ask!
- No one knows you need something or want something unless you speak up.
Making the Ask to Improve Your Current Finances
You can improve your personal finances if you only ask.
When making a big purchase, don’t hesitate to ask if the company or individual trying to make a sale can do anything to help you out. Maybe they can throw in an added feature. Perhaps they can provide you with a discount or other benefit.
When creating your budget, take a look at your regular monthly bills. Call up your service providers and ask if there are lower-cost options available. Yes, this works!
Just last week I called our garbage service and asked if there was anything they could do about my bill, which recently increased. The representative said she could lower it back down to the previous rate. It was a 5 minute, painless phone call that saved me money. (Budgets Are Sexy has a great series on this sort of thing about saving by “challenging eveything.”)
Don’t forget to ask when you don’t know about something regarding your finances, too. You don’t necessarily need to pay for professional help — as Mr. PF Pro himself is fond of saying, no one cares more about your money than you do — but you can start asking questions and seeking the answers to educate yourself on issues you don’t currently understand. The Internet and its wealth of information makes this easier than ever to do.
Making the Ask to Earn More
Asking is critical if you want to earn more money. You need to make the ask and negotiate your salary when you get into a new job, and you need to negotiate for a raise and ask for what you’re worth when you’ve earned higher pay.
You also need to know how to ask if you’re running a side hustle or side business — and asking is essential if you’re self-employed with your own business.
Before I started asking, my career wasn’t going anywhere all that fast. When I started approaching people and asking, things quickly changed:
- I got my first big client by cold-emailing her and asking if she needed help, and offering to lend a hand. As it turned out, she was absolutely swamped and in desperate need of someone to help! She didn’t advertise that she needed to hire someone, she hadn’t talked to anyone about it — and I would have never landed this lucrative gig had I not asked.
- When I was still building up my portfolio, I asked my clients who were well-connected if they would be willing to spread the word about my work. They were more than happy to do so — and a flood of inquiries and new clients quickly followed.
- I started scaling up my business after asking for help. I was struggling to meet demand, and my personal projects were falling by the wayside. I reached out to freelancers I admired and liked to ask if they wanted to work with me, and they both agreed! I was scared that I wasn’t good enough to bring people on board with my business, but I asked anyway — and I now have an amazing team that helps me do better than ever.
Just Ask! (Nicely)
I rarely hesitate to ask anymore — and it’s continued to pay off in a huge way for me. Just in the last month or so…
I asked fellow blogger friends how to make better connections with people I admired online, and received great advice. I asked a new friend about mastermind groups, and was invited to join what I believe is the best one on this planet. I asked a financial advisor I think highly of to review my finances to double-check I was on the right track, and gained access to a detailed analysis of her professional opinion (at a steeply discounted rate). I asked for help on improving my blog, and got an offer to hop on a Skype call with another blogger I respect
Asking never hurts when you do so in a way that’s respectful, polite, and sincere. I strongly encourage you to start making the ask, but never take it personally when you don’t receive an answer or the response you wanted. Understand that other people’s time is highly valuable, and while they may want to help they can’t always make it happen.
Mind you manners and always seek to frame your ask in a way that benefits the other person if possible. If you’re looking for more work, ask how you can help someone else. If you’re struggling to find a solution to a problem and need to ask for advice, return the favor as soon as you can (or include that you’re willing to chat about the other person’s problems, too!).
Be nice, be genuine, and be on the lookout for ways to return the kind of value and benefit you might receive, whether it’s reciprocal or if you pass it on the next person.
Most importantly, just ask!
Have you ever experienced a great outcome just because you took the time and effort to make the ask?
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-Kali @ PF Pro