Kate Dixon – Creatives + Money


Recap: 6/12/19

Topic: Creatives + Money with guest Kate Dixon

Hosted by Erica Thomas, co-founder of Works Progress Agency

Works Progress Agency is a collaborative design firm that help clients with innovation strategies, building relationships, and creating meaningful storytelling.

Kate Dixon has spent the past 25 years working for and consulting with leaders in for-profit companies including Nike, Intel, American Express, Opal, Quantum, Air Liquide, and Kaiser Permanente, as well as non-profits like DePaul Industries, Period, and the Nike Community Impact Fund.

Kate speaks for groups and gives podcast interviews on topics including salary negotiations, discovering your principles, authentic leadership, time management, leadership coaching, life planning, and gratitude.

Kate provides advice about leadership, pay, culture, and organizations to subscribers at katedixon.org

Resources for finding market data on salaries:




What you need when discussing money with clients:

  • Communication
  • Clarification

5 tricks to approach your pay negotiation:

  • Understand the package
  • Know what you want
  • Stand up for yourself (but don’t be a jerk)
  • Be prepared to walk away
  • Get help 

Keep in mind:

  • Don’t just think about the salary think about the short-term, long-term incentives and culture of the company
  • Its not personal, its how the company values that role
  • Negotiate big to small – negotiation fatigue is real




*Anchoring – the person who puts a number out first has the advantage because every other number is in relations to the initial one.

*Oregon just passed a bill that employers can’t ask about salary history anymore – historically traps women into lower pay.

One tactic to use if desired salary or salary negotiation is lower then expected.– “I would hate for salary to get in the way of a great match. Lets keep talking and see if there is any flexibility in some of the benefits.

Another tactic – delay salary conversations until you know more about the role. Talk to certain people within the company. Its good to make sure you are in the same ballpark before you go in too deep.

Gracefully get more space until you can clear your head – “I am super excited about the position but since it is such a big decision, I would love 24-48 hours to think about it.”

Check out Kate’s Blog for a ton of helpful tips. Here is just one of many helpful posts that relates to salary negotiations – Insider Secrets to Pay Negotiations


  • If going from corporate to freelance work add 35%-50% up-charge to account for overhead, self-employment taxes, insurance, risk mitigation
  • Ask yourself – are you really just a consultant acting like a freelancer?
  • 90 days before the end of contract you can tell your client that you will be increasing your rate after the contract ends.
  • You can raise you prices whenever you want – give yourself permission.
  • People invest in things that matter to them. Some people view things as luxuries and other people see your service as critical.

Is there a good sliding scale formula for companies that want to balance corporate and non-profit clients?

  • Tie it to your strategic objectives of your business, do yours align with theirs
  • If work isn’t paid does it align with your values and goals?
  • It is a personal decision how much can you discount & your profit margins
  • Break it into 3 buckets – do they meet your criteria on xyz – if not take your heart out of it, let yourself off the hook
  • You could start by sending them a survey to ask if they find value at your rate, or fairness

Should you work for friends?

  •  Make sure your talking care of your business, but if they are in your closest circle, or if they bring business to your by referral – take care of them
  • It can be easy for those borders to erode
  • Friends should want to pay full price to support your business

Use pro bono work to try out new product or services – test, experiment, product development

Other References: