January 06, 2015

Getting What You Want in 2015

Startswithyou

 

 

For me, January feels so much less exciting than December, but it’s actually an important month for planning. It is the month to look ahead and figure out what we want from our jobs and our personal lives and how to get what we want.

Over the years, I have made some mistakes in getting what I want at work, such as more money, more flexibility, more vacation time, better assignments. I have made some mistakes getting what I want at home, too, such as more quality time with my husband or some help with the dishes at night. My biggest mistake was waiting for what I wanted to come to me, without asking for it.

With the benefit of hindsight, and advice from experts, I’m going to share ideas for asking for -- and getting -- what you want in 2015.

Come to the negotiating table prepared. Raises, promotions, even flexible work arrangements are driven by the value you bring the organization. If you have demonstrated the drive to stand out from the crowd and delivered more than expected, speak to your boss and come prepared with the data to prove it. At home, if you want more help from your spouse, come prepared with how and why giving you help will result in an improvement in household morale for all. 

Know the market. If you want a raise at work, find out what the going salary is for your position in your geographic area and what the standard raises have been for the last few years. There are lots of websites to help with research. PayScale.com is one of them. On the home front, if you want to go on weekly or monthly date nights, research the cost of babysitters and websites where to find them before you bring the idea up with your spouse. 

Rehearse. It pays to practice with a trusted friend or mentor how you will ask for what you want. Look for someone who can help you think through potential objections and take the emotion out of the negotiation. 

Don’t make it personal. A boss doesn’t care that you need more money to pay for your divorce attorney or your child’s school tuition.  Higher personal expenses are not a legitimate reason to ask for a raise or receive one. Outside the office, your close friend or gym partner doesn't care why you keep backing out on plans. He or she just wants you to stick to a commitment. If you want a closer friendship or a better physique, go get it. Convince your buddy you want another chance and this time, make it happen. 

Don’t compare. If you find out your co-worker earns more than you, make your request about your value to the company. Sell your boss on why you should earn more, or seek out an internal mentor who will advocate on your behalf. Outside the office, stop convincing yourself everyone has a more incredible life than you.   Map out one or two things that will bring you more happiness in 2015 and your plan to achieve them.

Highlight your contribution. If you have done something outstanding and believe you deserve a raise or promotion, bring it to your boss’ attention – even if it’s not time for your annual review. At home, if you've done something outstanding, bring it to your spouse's attention or your child's. Waiting around for a pat on the back only leads to disappointment. If you want more appreciation in 2015, be proactive in seeking it. 

Be strategic. If you are struggling financially or having a rought time balancing work and family, ask your employer how you can increase your value to the company in order to earn more money, or more time off.

Research shows most people who ask and make their case, get what they seek. Wishing you success in negotiating what you want in 2015!

October 29, 2014

The High Cost of Caregiving

My friend called me this morning to vent. She just learned her mother has an illness that needs ongoing treatment. She's worried she can't balance her demanding job, her kids and now her sick mom.

I've been there and it isn't easy. 

My friend is considering asking for a leave from her job as an inhouse recruiter at a big company. It's a job that requires face time and has little flexibility.  "What do you think I should do?" she asked me.

"That's a difficult and very personal decision," I replied.

I told her that experts say proceed with caution when pursuing this work life balance path. A few months off can turn into much longer and have serious impact on your finances.

Met Life found that for someone over 50 who leaves work temporarily to care for a loved one, the average lifetime setback is $303,880, including lost wages and retirement benefits.The total estimated aggregate lost wages, pension, and Social Security benefits of these caregivers of parents is nearly $3 trillion.That's a huge number!

Should you need to lean out for a while, it's possible to keep damage to a minimum with these smart moves published in Money Magazine

1. Plan ahead when possible and re-do your budget by setting aside funds for essential expenses first.

2. Check federal and state leave laws regarding paid and unpaid leave.

3. If you need to quit—but wish to return—make the case ahead of time for a comeback. 

Chances are that almost all of us will face what my friend is experiencing. The number of people who provide personal care and/or financial assistance to a parent has tripled over the past 15 years. MetLife's study found daughters are more likely to provide basic care and sons are more likely to provide financial assistance. (No surprise there!) Both scenarios, though, come with their own costs.

If you've confronted this scenario, what would you advise my friend? What are steps you've taken to minimize the financial and emotional toll of caregiving?

October 17, 2014

Lose the nerves and ask for a raise

Does asking for a pay raise make you nervous?

It does for most people, but it shouldn’t. The odds are in your favor.

Three out of four times women ask for a raise, they get it, according to a Glamour survey of 2,000 men and women. But that hasn’t stopped debate over whether there remains a need to ask.

Last week, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ignited controversy when he was asked at a computing conference about advice he would give women who don’t feel comfortable asking for a raise.

“It’s not really about asking for the raise, but knowing and having faith that the system will actually give you the right raises as you go along,” he answered. Not asking for a raise, he added, was “good karma” that would help a boss realize the employee could be trusted and should have more responsibility.

His comments set off a firestorm of outrage from women, and Nadella quickly back-pedaled and apologized.

Still, his comments brought pay inequity and women’s general reluctance to ask for raises to the forefront.

I asked a few CEOs for their thoughts on how to ask for more money. Here's what they said:
 
Watch your language. Neena Newberry, a leadership expert with Newberry Solutions, says in today’s workplace, few people   are offered sizable raises unless they negotiate it. When asking, she says to consider tone and language. You don't want it to sound like you're giving an ultimatum. You do want to tie the conversation to the value you bring the company and they value they get in giving you a raise.
 
* Come prepared. Sandra Finn, president of Cross Country Home Services in Sunrise, says compensation adjustments are driven by the value you bring to the organization. “Have you demonstrated the drive and passion to stand out from the crowd and have you delivered more than what is expected?” If so, come prepared with the data, she says.

* Know that market. Maria Fregosi, Chief Capital Markets Officer at Hamilton Group Funding, says take calls from recruiters, not necessarily to leave your current position, but to know what is going on salary-wise outside your company. Know the prevailing salaries in your geographic area.

* Rehearse.  “It pays to practice the discussion with a trusted mentor who can help you think through potential objections,” Fregosi says. “I have found sticking to facts and working to take the emotion out of it to be most effective.”

* Don't make it personal. A boss doesn’t care that you need more money to pay for your divorce attorney or to make higher car payments. “I have had people ask for a raise because their personal expenses have gone up,” Fregosi says. “That is not a legitimate reason to ask for or to be given a raise.”

* Don't compare. Even if you find out your co-worker earns more than you, "make it about you, not Joe. Sell your boss on why you should earn more,” says Victoria Usherenko, a recruiter and founder of ITWomen. She also suggests identifying an internal mentor who will advocate a raise on your behalf, too.

* Start the conversation in advance. In most workplaces, salaries are reviewed annually. Start talking to your boss about getting a raise three to four months in advance of your review. Usherenko believes performance reviews are not the only time to negotiate salary. “If six months pass and you’ve done something outstanding, there’s no reason not to ask for a raise if you feel your contribution warrants it." 

* Be strategic. Peggy Nordeen, co-founder and CEO of Starmark International in Fort Lauderdale, suggests asking your employer how you can increase your value to the company in order to earn more money. 

Experts say the research shows most people who ask and make their case, get the raise. Of course, receiving a raise may have a caveat. You may have to take on more responsibilities. Think ahead about whether you are willing to do that and how it will affect your work life balance.

 


Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/biz-columns-blogs/cindy-krischer-goodman/article2768366.html#storylink=cpy

 


 

October 15, 2014

How to give our girls confidence

Bus6

 

Yesterday, a big pink and white bus pulled onto the campus of University of Miami. It is known as the “Confidence Is Beautiful” Bus and it's on a mission to build confidence in women and young girls.

It's a cool concept and the message it is spreading is important. Shelley Zalis, the founder of the bus, known more formally as The Ipsos Girls’ Loungewants women to feel confident in the workplace and build connections with each other that will help them advance. Her  40 ft. pink and white bus is decked out with a ‘confidence signature’ selfie station, hair and makeup stations AND there's an area of the bus where women can go for work/life advice!

Shelley says the idea behind the bus is to provide a place for women to get pampered and talk in a fun setting about issues such as equal pay, flexibility, and workplace respect. The UM stop was the pink bus' first visit to a college campus. It is on a National Tour and usually goes to conferences as a hangout to connect and inspire women in various career stages. More than 3,000 women have visited the bus.

I spoke to Shelley and she described the bus with lots of enthusiasm: One side of it is covered with writing from women who have expressed what they think good life at work should look like. The other side is covered with confidence selfies. Shelley's Lounge also is sponsoring the Equal Payback Project, a new national awareness campaign aimed at eliminating the wage gap between men and women—which just came out with a great (and a bit risqué!) video featuring comedian Sarah Silverman (watch here!)

As UM students wandered inside the bus yesterday and listened to soundbites from women's real life experiences in the corporate world. "We want these young women to go into the working world with confidence," Shelley explained to me. "We want to inspire them to activate the changes we want to see."

I love the idea of building confidence in young women and keeping that confidence high throuhout the career cycle. For many of us, that confidence wanes the first time we negotiate salary. Today, I wrote a column in The Miami Herald about salary negotiation. While writing it, I learned how intimidated women are to negotiate for more money. 

Money is a key area where girls and women lack confidence and that has to change.

I was shocked when I read this:

Anna Maria Chávez, CEO of Girl Scouts USA  stated that while Girl Scouts earn $800 million a year selling cookies, only 12% feel confident about making simple money decisions.

Financial blogger Beth Kobliner notes that in a recent survey from T. Rowe Price, of the nearly 2,000 parents and kids surveyed, 58% of boys say that their parents discuss financial goals with them, whereas for girls that figure is just 50%.

This will make you cringe: Parents admit that they believe their boys are simply smarter than their girls when it comes to finance. A full 80% of parents who have a son think he understands the value of a dollar, compared with only 69% of parents who have a daughter.

Kobliner offers five critical lessons to impart to your daughters.

I think we all need to look carefully at the messages we're sending young girls and inspire them to be confident at work, with money management, and in relationships. While my generation of working women debate having it all, the next generation will be out there trying -- and hopefully succeeding!

September 08, 2014

Would a pay raise improve your work life balance?

 

                                   Pay raise

 

 

What would you do with a raise?

Would you make changes that would make your home and work life easier? Would you buy a more reliable car to drive to work?  Or how about hiring someone to care for your elderly parent while you're not home?

My son gets minimum wage as a bus boy at a local pizza restaurant. He works like a dog for each cent he brings home. Still, he doesn't think a small increase would make a big difference for the dishwasher who works a second job to support his family. I disagree and have told him that every penny counts when you are living paycheck to paycheck.

Across the country, fast food workers have been rallying for higher wages, trying to get food businesses to pay at least $15 an hour. Now that's a significant increase from the $7.93 a cook at a Miami fast food joint says he makes. The cook says that extra $7 an hour would  allow him to pay rent and have enough left to buy an ample supply of food for his family.

White collar workers are struggling, too. In some workplaces, staffers haven't seen a pay jump in at least five years -- even if they are busting their butts.

The good news is U.S. employers are planning to give pay raises averaging 3 percent  in 2015, on par with the 2.9 percent average raise in 2014 and 2013, according to a survey of nearly 1,100 U.S. companies by compensation consultant Towers Watson.

A small raise is better than no raise, right? But what if you feel like you're working harder than your colleagues?

Who gets a raise and why can create major contention. Employees believe that employers are falling short in how pay decisions are made, and that there is much need for improvement,'' says  Towers Watson managing director Laury Sejen. Only half believe they are paid fairly. Their big gripe is that employers are not differentiating pay for top performers as much as they have been in recent years.

The median annual salary among the nation's 106.6 million workers is now about $40,560, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

"Base pay is the No. 1 reason why employees join a company or choose to leave,'' Sejen told USA Today.  "So there's value in companies making the effort to improve base pay."

Would a pay raise make a difference in your work life balance? How significant a raise would you need to see a real different in your lifestyle?

July 16, 2014

How much is your time worth? Why you need to outsource

My cleaning lady is at my house today. If I didn't have her, I would spend several days cleaning and not writing. I would be miserable and I'd have less money in the bank. By doing the math, I figured out I come out ahead spending my time writing rather than cleaning. 

Outsourcing is all about doing the math. What are your spending time doing -- maybe even not doing well -- that you could farm out and come out ahead? I've discovered that busy working parents need to outsource something if they want work life balance. Do you agree?

Here's my Miami Herald article on outsourcing...

How much is your time worth? Consider outsourcing some tasks

 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

TODD

(ABOVE: Todd Paton of Paton Marketing)

Todd Paton has a booming Miami business getting customers noticed on the Web. One tool he uses is generating online press releases to build brand awareness and create links that will send traffic to a customer’s website. But Paton, owner of Paton Internet Marketing, acknowledges that writing the releases is not his strong suit. Rather than spend his time doing it, he hires out the task.

 “You have to value your time so you know what is or is not a good use of it,” Paton says.

As a proliferation of outsourcing sites spread, today’s business owners have more options for hiring out tasks that detract from generating income and having a balanced life. For some small firms, outsourcing has had a compelling impact on their growth, productivity and bottom lines.

An important first step in outsourcing is figuring out what doesn’t make sense for you to do personally. Paton suggests dividing your income by the hours worked and coming up with an estimate of your time value. Then, factor in the time it would take you to become an expert at a specific function and complete it. “Often you find you are spending time on something you could have done by an expert for a lot less than your time is worth,” he says.

How much you can you expect to pay a contractor depends on the type of work you’re buying, the skill level and location of your provider, and your own preferences. For example, Paton goes to eLance to find U.S.-based freelancers, and pays about $30 a press release. Rather than spend half a day on the task, hiring it out is worth the expense.

Elance and oDesk (which merged in 2013) are two of the most popular marketplaces for employers to connect with talent on an as-needed basis. They are joined by an ongoing rollout of sites that give business owners access to a global pool of human capital such as virtual executive assistants, marketing directors, graphic designers, transcriptionists, paralegals, Web designers, human resources consultants, bookkeepers, public relations directors and information technology specialists.

Lesley Pyle founded HireMyMom.com seven years ago to allow owners in need of outside expertise to tap mom professionals. She finds small-business owners increasingly coming to her site to hire skilled, work-at-home moms to build or design websites, create social media followings and manage email marketing campaigns. For many entrepreneurs, the new demands of technology are the most natural tasks to outsource, Pyle finds.

“There are constantly new and better ways to do things online. Unless you enjoy that or have time for that, it’s an easy one to put on your delegation list,” Pyle says.

Mande White-Pearl, a South Florida marketing strategist for female entrepreneurs, says that even when a business owner outsources, she needs to understand the specific outcome she wants from whomever she hires. White says she has used more than 20 virtual workers to complete tasks like data entry, graphic design or project management while she concentrates on bringing in business and spending time with her new husband.

The first year she began using contractors to help carry her workload, White-Pearl says, she doubled her company's revenue.

White locates her freelancers on oDesk and has paid $5 to $50 an hour, depending on the task. She typically gives out small projects to new hires, testing them before doling out ongoing needs. “Over time, I have gotten much better about being clear on what exactly it is I need people to do. If I have had a bad experience, it has been because I had not properly communicated what I needed, wanted or expected.

To ensure quality from freelancers, sites such as Elance, oDesk and Freelancer.com allow the hiring party to see how previous clients rated prospective vendors’ work, as well as detailed profiles of the vendors and what they charge. There is no charge for freelancers to post profiles on the sites and to apply to jobs.

The sites make money by charging the employer a fee that equals a share of the total amount they paid the freelancer. Expect to pay U.S.-based contractors higher fees, but remember, with offshore providers there may be a language barrier. Fees are paid per hour or per project.

For more-creative tasks, business owners are finding talent on Fivver.com, which introduced a mobile app in December. While the site is now far from the original everything-for-$5 concept, the costs of specific jobs are straightforward. White-Pearl says she has used Fiverr to find individuals to do video editing, logo design, animation and proofreading, and she has spent from $5 to $40 to get the job done.

With the increase in demand, a variety of models for online hiring are gaining popularity. Sites like OnForce and FieldNation have created networks of independent workers in the same specialty who can be hired per gig and dispatched to a job site as opposed to working remotely. In Spring 2013, OnForce introduced a mobile app to help pair the buyer with the freelancer who might already be out on a job nearby.

Kevin Michael, managing partner of Invizio in Coral Gables, runs a business that provides IT support to local companies. However, Michael says he recently became a vendor on OnForce, a network of independent IT professionals looking for gigs in their area. “We see it as a way to get our foot in the door.”

While on OnForce he’s the independent contractor, Michael says that as a business owner, he, too, has at times been the outsourcer. He has used hiring sites to tap professionals to create logo designs or marketing materials. “If you are a small business and trying to grow, adding headcount isn’t what you want,” he says. “It is much better to find someone with expertise who is affordable. Now you have more time in your day, and you’re still getting what you need done.”

 

 

Kevinvmichael_datacenter_shot

(Above: Kevin Michael, managing partner of Invizio, IT Support)

May 13, 2014

Do you love your job enough to do it without pay?

 

Notabout

 

The other morning, I was listening to radio show host Elivs Duran talk about how much he loves his job. He said he would do his job even if he didn't get paid. Of course, the rest of his crew hushed him and told him his agent would be mad.

But today, when I saw a story about small business owners, it made me feel good that there are people out there who love what they do for a living. According to a new survey from BMO Harris Bank, ONLY 39% of entrepreneurs say they would sell their company if they won the lotto.

“Over half say they would definitely continue running their small business,” says BMO Harris Bank head of small business banking Daniela O’Leary-Gill. “They’re passionate about their business and committed to succeeding,”

With so much on our plates, having real passion for your work helps. But sometimes we don't realize we get more out of work than pay. Like what, you ask? I saw this on Payscale.com and had to share it with you. 

1. Social connection.

It's hard to make friends after you're out of school, and work is one place to do it. Even if you don't fall madly in platonic love with your co-workers, humans need company. Ask any unemployed person or freelancer, and they'll tell you: when people are alone too much, they start to get weird.

2. Structure.

What would you do if you didn't have to do anything? If you said "nothing," you're in good company. But doing nothing at all -- or even just doing whatever you want, whenever you want -- gets old fast. Having to show up at a certain time and do things because they're required builds discipline, which makes it easier to do everything else that makes you a healthy, happy person, from eating well to exercising, to keeping a regular sleep schedule.

3. A sense of identity.

Quick: who are you? We bet your job title or at least your field came up in the first five words. You're not just your job, of course, but what you do becomes a big part of who you are, at least eventually. Now, if after considering all of that, you realize that you hate everyone you work with, have a daily schedule that's the opposite of how your brain and body chemistry work, and can't stand the idea of identifying yourself as Job Title X or Y, then it might be time to rethink your career track. Not everyone can do what they love, but everyone should at least try to like what they do.

 

If your current job doesn't fulfill you, start thinking about jobs you would want to do even if you won the lottery. It might take some effort to land that job or start that business, but nothing is impossible if you work to achieve it. That's the message I heard loud and clear on my radio from Elvis Duran.

 

April 17, 2014

Is your paycheck stressing you out?

Our paychecks aren't big enough and that's stressing us out. 

For the fourth year in a row, American workers told Neilsen our low pay is our biggest stressor. That makes sense because most of us haven't had substantial raises in more than five years. 

When you're struggling to pay the bills, typically the padding is gone that gives you the leeway to better balance your work and family life. Who can afford a babysitter when food and gas prices are going up and our paychecks aren't. 

So what can we do about it? Fortunately, it looks like there may be some hope of raises or a better paying job in the near future. Here's what some experts shared in my Miami Herald column this week:

 

Low pay

 

 

 

 

Workers at all income levels are frustrated that their workloads have increased but they haven’t seen a raise or hiring of more workers. Even as revenues have improved, for the past two years pay raises at private employers have hovered at around 2.8 percent and are expected to be only about 2.9 percent in 2014, according to global services firm Towers Watson. At the same time, the cost of living has gone up with housing, gas and food prices rising.

Career experts suggest we get aggressive and creative to fatten our paychecks. For skilled workers, the best route may be a new job. “One factor has decreased: the fear of being fired or laid off,” says Wendy Cullen of Everest College. “Now that there are more jobs, people aren’t afraid to start looking, but there is still a big question as to whether it is better someplace else.”

This may be the time to find out. “Slowly, companies are starting to compete for talent again and add to their headcount,” said Matt Shore, president of Steven Douglas Associates, a South Florida executive recruiting firm specializing in finance, accounting and information technology. “People who are in stagnant jobs are starting to look around and, in some cases, the market finally is telling them they can do better.”

For those stressed by low pay because of underemployment, negotiation may be necessary. After losing his marketing position at a bank, Jorge Espinosa saw his finances fray as he spent month after month in a job search. Now in a job that pays much lower than his previous one, his credit card debt has piled up. Espinosa says he has begun a new search but notices job ads reflect far lower salaries than what he previously earned. “It’s stressful to think I may be locked into a lower salary for another few years.”

Rather than get discouraged, one CEO suggests having a conversation with your boss. Most employers still have the mindset that workers are fortunate to have a job, admits Michael Rose, CEO of Mojo Media Labs, a Dallas Marketing Agency. However, Rose says certain arguments could justify a raise: “Come to your boss armed with information. Maybe you’re doing more than what is in the scope of the job description. Maybe you just got a certification. Maybe you can work on project or learn new skill set that will allow you to start in a new role that pays better.”

Even if negotiations don’t pan out, there is hope. Recruiters say salaries in some occupations are creeping toward pre-recession levels. Terri Davis, a Miami recruiter for a global software company that specializes in IT solutions for the travel industry, said that in her industry, job offers are about 20 percent higher than two years ago. Davis says job seekers also have a little room for pay negotiation: “When an employer extends an offer, they are evaluating it, and if they don’t feel it’s competitive enough, they are questioning the potential for a bonus — and getting it.”

All of us have some control over our paychecks, depending on how much we are willing to invest in ourselves, by adding to our skills, Cullen says. “I don't think you can ever eliminate all the factors that cause workplace anxiety, but as individuals, we can definitely create a plan of action to improve our careers and change our lives.”

 

 

 

 

January 27, 2014

Why you need to make time to tweet

If you're not making the time for social media...here's why you should be.

 

 

Tweet success: Small businesses turn to social media marketing to build brands

 

REACHING OUT TO MOMS: Joanne Vivero, left, owner of R & J Baby in Doral, with Marirose Mardeni, R&J’s vice president.

THE MIAMI HERALD 

BY CINDY KRISCHER GOODMAN

It's mid-morning and Michael Mendez snaps a photo of the new beer he has just stocked in his convenience store. Within minutes, he posts it on Twitter to his 7,000 followers. If the response is typical, customers will stream in by late afternoon, asking for the rare brew.

Mendez strategically has branded his four Miami-area fuel stations as much more than places for a fill-up. Using Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, he has created buzz about craft beers and other products inside the station shop, where the profit margins are higher than at the pump.

“Branding in today’s world is knowing people and relating to them,” said Mendez, whose Mendez Fuel customers often share the photos and spread the word online about his new arrivals.

In recent years, small-business owners like Mendez have turned to social media, email and mobile marketing websites to build visibility for their brands. In 2014, say experts, digital marketing is no longer simply a way to bump up brand awareness: It has become essential. With 73 percent of U.S. internet useres turning to social networking sites and 53 percent of American adults carrying a smart phone, businesses that don’t employ social network marketing may find themselves losing out to the competition.

“If you are counting on your business to generate profit for a while or if you plan to leave it as a legacy for a family member, if you’re not branding and marketing online, you’re being irresponsible,” says Stephen Cabeza, founder of Amplification Inc, a Fort Lauderdale social media marketing company.

At a time when 85 percent of buyers go online to research purchases, successful social media marketing has the potential to generate more traffic to a website, send customers to a retail location, create awareness for a brand and build allegiance. According to a 2014 State of Marketing Report produced by ExactTarget digital marketing firm, 86 percent of the 2,500 global marketers surveyed believe social media is currently or will eventually provide financial return. “With this in mind, we expect to see marketers using social media to better boost their brand with customers,’’ wrote the report’s authors.

Already, more than two-thirds of small business owners are spending more time on social media than a year ago, according to a survey by VerticalResponse, a San Francisco-based company. Indeed, 43 percent of respondents said they spend six or more hours per week on social media activities for their businesses. They are posting to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, Pinterest and Google Plus and blogs. But those who do so effectively aren’t just spending hours blasting blindly into the ether.

“Conversation is the new marketing,” said Kellie Kuecha, a Boca Raton life coach who calls herself the Brand Re-Coder. The key, she says, is to consistently post meaningful, authentic content across all of your social channels and get people to trust you and talk about your brand. You want to interact with your followers by replying to direct messages and posing questions and you want to post more of the content that you notice followers like, share and comment on the most. That could include photos, videos, graphics, illustrations or words.

By sparking a conversation, telling your story and offering something special rather than just pitching your product, you have a chance to make your company stand out and chose you instead of a competitor, Kuecha advised. “You have to use social media to attract people into your world. Once you do that, the selling process is easier.”

 

November 15, 2013

What "Show Me the Money" looks like

This week I had one of those weeks that completely wore me out. I spent a lot of time out of the office and now, I'm playing catch up. One of the most interesting places I went this week was the Women's Success Summit. It made me think about how I spend my time and energy and whether I'm spending it in a way that pays off. At the conference, dozens of experts shared their thoughts on how to make more money and still have work life balance.

DSC_1553

Michelle VIllalobos, founder of the Women's Success Summit, explained to the hundreds of women business owners in attendance that we must get into the money mindset. It's not that difficult to inject money moneymaking mojo into our business or career, she convincingly argues. We just need to dream big and be ambitious! We also need to figure out whether what's holding us back from making more money is a mindset, strategy or execution challenge.

If we're going to spend our time in ways that pay off, we need to know our strengths, our weaknesses and our million dollar value. (how can we create a business or restructure it to make us a million dollars?) To find your million dollar value, you need to dig deep and get away from being constrained by the hours in the day. If you're in a business where you make money by selling time, you need to think bigger and maybe even raise your prices. "Ninety percent of the time when I work with women, their pricing is too low."

Michelle was followed by Mina Shah, a speaker, author and coach with Smart Women Making Money, who told us where we are going wrong in our myths about making money.

1. Being smart doesn't guarantee success

2. Working hard is only one ingredient to achieving financial success.

3. Making a lot of money doesn't guarantee financial success.


DSC_1590Shah, who previously worked for Tony Robbins, said many of us are afraid of making money or managing it. She said some of us are too quick to spend the money their business earns and then we feel guilty. She urged us to replace our previous emotion about making money with a new, more positive one and to tell ourselves we deserve to make more money and take our business to the next level.

Karen Talavera, president of Synchronicity Marketing told us, if we want to make more money, we need to know who are customers are: "Fish where your fish are swimming," she said. She also wants us to know the progression path for getting customers and how to move them toward buying more and spending more. "You need to know after the initial purchase, what comes next." 

Business coach extraordinaire, Jody Johnson, founder and owner of ActionCOACH in Coral Gables, told us to examine whether there is a disconnect between our strengths and our business model. If there is and we're not making money because of it, we need to refocus our business model or figure out our weak spots and plug them. That could mean hiring someone, creating a system for handling a process, or taking a course.  

DSC_1600 (Jody Johnson)  

And, if we're going to partner in business, Jody advises we chose someone who has complementary strengths, not the same ones, a mistake many make. When you have someone with different stregths, it helps with growing the business.

There's plenty of opportunity to shout "Show Me the Money" and seek it by refocusing marketing efforts, and determining new strategies. But, you might be suprised that you can gain from giving away money. Jessica Kizorek, founder of Two Parrot Productions, produces mini documentaries to help non profits market themselves and raise make money and gave her insight:

"If you're in the business of making money, authentically aligning yourself with a charitable cause can make you even more profitable," she said. "You can't just give in secret though...you have to effectively tell that story (hopefully through photos and videos) to your customer in a way that tugs on their heart strings and makes them fall in love with you."

I wasn't able to make it to the second day of the Summit, but I heard that Simone Kelly, founder of the Give N Take Network, made an awesome presentation on the art of bartering. Stay tuned because I'm going to try to track her down and interview her for a future blog post.

Cindyandjess

(Jessica Kizorek and I networking at the Summit!)