Whether you're sitting back and reflecting on life, or debating pitching your boss on the importance of keeping you around (at a higher salary) determining your worth in a business sense is vital to your growth.

I was sipping on a cappuccino at a small coffee bar in a farmers market, listening to some people nearby discussing their impending retirement, and how they can't retire on time because they can't afford to. They joked that kids coming out of college these days make more as a starting salary than they do 20 or more years in. It got me to thinking, we all want and expect to be paid more, but are we worth it?

1. What sets you apart?

Do you have experience or a certain skill set that others don't? Use this in your favor. Chances are, you were hired for this reason.

2. What do you do better than anyone else at your job?

If you've found that a certain task always lands on your desk, despite it being a bit outside of your standard duties, chances are you're the go-to for this type of work, and should be compensated for it.

3. Have you saved the company money, or made them more?

If you're a beast at cutting costs or bringing in valuable clients, you may deserve more than a pat on the back. If you're able to see statistics to determine if you're doing above and beyond your colleagues, perhaps it's time to bring this to a manager's attention.

4. Are you the person most people run to for problem solving?

If you're the deal closer, or the one who resolves difficult issues for the team they may look up to you in a way that makes it obvious you're not just another expendable employee. Being dependable, or a trustworthy member of the team is valuable.

These are some questions you need to ask yourself, before requesting a raise. In a time when so many of us want to fit in, how do you stand out? Write down a list of ways you are valuable, and believe in yourself. It's unlikely that you will get a raise unless you ask for one, and if you find that other companies are offering a better salary for the job you do, don't be afraid to look around.

It's common to use a new higher paying job offer to entice your current employer to play hardball (if you want to stay). While you're making a list of your skills and determining what you're worth, don't forget to make a list of the ways you can best utilize this newfound income. Savings account? Investments? Children's Education? The options are endless.