You did your research and decided you’re ready for the startup life. Then you found the perfect opportunity, built a flawless resumecreated a social media presence your mom could be proud of, got the call, nailed the interview and got a good opening offer. Now, it’s time to negotiate your salary and benefits and turn that offer from good to great.

We’ve come full circle.

This entire process started with research, and this step is no different. First things first, look at salaries for similar positions with companies and firms in the same industry. Check out some of the online options that can aid your research, like Angel list’s salary feature, the salary estimator on or Front’s Compensation and Equity Calculator. Avoid the pitfall of comparing salaries at established corporate companies and remember you can’t trust everything you read on the internet. Salary ranges at companies vary a great deal. Don’t shoot too high and knock yourself out of the running.

And don’t forget to do your most important research. Check-in with your spouse, partner, trusted family members and anyone else you trust to help you make financial decisions. If you’re considering a move, our friends at Be In Buffalo have a Cost of Living Calculator on their website that can give you an idea of how far your money can go in your new hometown.

Money doesn’t buy happiness, but equity helps.

The biggest upsides to working with a startup, other than the experience, lifestyle and culture, is gaining equity in a company that has a chance to hit it big. But be wary of a founder that offers equity freely or in large chunks. Don’t be surprised if it is not in the first offer and consider bringing it up if both sides are struggling to agree on a salary, especially if you’re negotiating for a high-level or leadership position.

Because equity value can vary based on the value of the business and its outstanding shares, estimating the value of your offer can get tricky. Don’t be afraid to ask which formula they used and the compensation value they attributed so that you can get a sense of the perceived value of the shares or options.

Would you rather win or be happy?

Knowing what you want and going after it is a vital part of negotiating. But knowing what winning looks like for the other side of the table provides valuable insights on where there is room for compromise. Remember, these are your future co-workers, colleagues and friends. If you’re too greedy when negotiating, you run the risk of starting on the wrong foot or turning someone off entirely. The goal is to build relationships, not destroy them before the real work begins. Keep this in mind, and you’ll be fine.

Ready for the startup life? Join our growing talent community and get connected with the hottest startups in Buffalo. Check out our blog, Flashpoint, for more information, tips, and resources and follow us on LinkedIn and Facebook to stay tuned on the latest updates.