There's nothing easy about asking for a raise.  You're putting yourself out there.  Your self-worth is on the line. You hope it will work out, there's always that chance your boss will say no, and you'll walk away disappointed, discouraged - and maybe even a bit embarrassed.  

In the end, though, there's of course only way to get a raise: to ask for one. And here are my top tips for increasing the odds of success. 

1. Make the case to yourself before making the case to your boss. 

What is it that makes you feel like you deserve a raise?  Is it the quality of your work?  The quantity you've produced?  Is it an equity issue -- with others in the office, or with others in your profession?  Or perhaps it's some combination of all of these. Whatever your reason is: Find it, Own it. Embrace it.  Make the case to yourself and you'll have a much easier time making the case to someone else. 

2. Do your research. 

Act like a lawyer and gather evidence for your case.  What specifically makes you deserve a raise?  Did you help the firm raise a key round of funding?  Did you save the company money?  Do you have amazing testimonials for your work?  Find the best data you can and use it to make your case. It will help not only with your pitch - but also with your self-confidence.  

3. Time it right.   

There's no perfect time to ask for a raise, but there certainly are better and worse times. For example, after you've just completed an impressive project would be a good time - and, ideally, when the firm has a healthy financial picture as well.  Time it right and you'll have a much more receptive audience.

4. Customize the request.  

There is no perfect way to ask for a raise. But you can customize the "ask" in a way that feels comfortable for you - and that fits with the style and culture of your firm.  So do your homework.  For example, some bosses are wowed by numbers.  Others love compelling stories.  And others like a combination of both.  

In the end, one one said asking for a raise is easy.  But with these tips in mind, and a positive attitude, you'll be well on the way to getting more of what you deserve.