There’s more to success than money.

I’ll give you a moment to let that sink in.

The key to getting more of what you want in business and life is knowing what you want…and having as much flexibility in how you get there as possible.

What’s important to you?

What can you absolutely not live without? What key ingredient makes all those late nights and hectic proposal scrambles worth it? What would be the cherry on top of an already fabulous deal?

Yes, money is important because it keeps the lights on – but there are other things to consider as well. In negotiator speak, these are your ‘alternate currencies.’ Things you can offer or accept to help you along the path achieving your maximum total value.

Let’s explore.

Value: Money

It’s not all about the benjamins. Or at least, it’s not all about how many of them you can amass during your lifetime, right? It may have looked like fun for Scrooge McDuck to be doing the backstroke in his piles of gold, but you’re after a richer entrepreneurial experience.

Finding Flexibility

Amount – Having a range of what an acceptable price or fee is gives you room to negotiate. Digging in your heels and leaving yourself a very small range (i.e. “I want $100. But I won’t go any lower than $95!”) pretty much means your hands are tied.

Timing – Maybe you could wait 30 days…but have that paycheck be 20% higher. Or maybe you need that check urgently, and are willing to accept a 5% discount in order to get it into your hot little hands ASAP.

Type – Thinking outside the box when it comes to how you’re paid can open up new business opportunities. Bartering? Payment in product? Equity? True, you can’t pay the mortgage in shoes…but trading your services for a rent-free week at a vacation home, or exchanging copywriting for website design may work out to your advantage.

Value: Time

Time is finite. You can’t get back that afternoon you spent sitting around at the DMV. And especially not that 90minutes you spent in bumper-to-bumper traffic to get to your last meeting. Placing value on your time – and your clients’ – is a great way to sweeten the deal when working together.

Finding Flexibility

Scheduling – Does it make best use of your time to accept client meetings five days a week? How about having a 15minute call at 10am, another at 2pm, and a third at 5pm? How efficient is that? (It’s not.) If being able to control what time you meet with clients will improve your time management and efficiency, then negotiate accordingly.

Delivery – Not every client, project or industry will require firm delivery dates. Especially if your work requires cooperation from your Muse, it may be worthwhile to negotiate delivery. ‘The week of October 12th’ could work just as well for your client as ‘9am October 13th’… so don’t be shy to ask for flexibility on their part.

Location – Do you really have to see a client, vendor or partner face-to-face? For some, it’s a must. For others, getting together online or over the phone works just as well. Heck, sometimes email is just what the doctor ordered! Finding different ways to work together can save everyone a lot of time and hassle when it comes time to execute. And that’s worth something.

Value: Energy

There are some aspects of being an entrepreneur that just suck the energy right outta ya. Tech glitches. Chasing payments. Networking. Those energy vampires/buzzkill tasks will be different for everybody, and if you can figure out what yours are, you can negotiate them away. Huzzah!

Finding Flexibility

Communication – There are some of us who would pay a pretty penny to not have to answer the phone ever again. Others would rather not have to deal with a deluge of emails each and every day. If you prefer one communication method over another, and can perform for your clients just as well no matter which mode of communication you choose…then do that.

Management – Would you rather initiate weekly client check-ins? Or leave it to the client to contact you? What if that meant five emails a day? Figure out your threshold for how much of a ‘hands on’ relationship you’d like with a client, and then use that in your negotiations. Signing up for a bit of micromanagement may be worth it, if the price is right.

Fit – What’s your definition of dream client? How narrow is that description? The broader your definition, the more likely it is that you’ll find satisfaction (and sustainable earnings). Ruled out working with stuffy accountants? What if that accountant gives you great creative freedom, doesn’t demand in person meetings, and is willing to pay full price? Time for flexibility.

Getting clear on what you value in life and business, and how all of those elements can ‘play’ together in the work you do will put you on the fast track to success, both on and off the balance sheet. Flexibility is the name of the game, and knowing what works for you and what doesn’t gives a solid framework to apply to each new client or project you’re considering.

The goal: Maximizing total value. Not just the dollars and cents.