It took me many late nights of below minimum wage pay to stop and think about how I was charging for my services; actually, it took my husband’s inquisition. After I noticed a discrepancy in my work and pay in my side gig/small biz, I began to evaluate and change my pay structure. These guidelines can be applied to a wide range of businesses as they uniquely focused on the small business owner.
Be Honest with Yourself
How do you work? Are you a like a tortoise: methodical, research-based service provider that explores all possible avenues then performs extensive editing before submitting your final product? With all of the in-between-the-lines work, you should charge your services by the hour. Or you may be a hare: an efficiency queen who can churn out your project with astonishing speed. In this case, it’d be best for you to set up a pay by package structure. Your speed doesn’t matter as long as you are supplying a top-notch service, but stepping back and taking stock of your workflow is vital in determining how you present payments to your clients.
Transparent Work Break-down
The first step in building a strong relationship with yourself as a small business owner is fully understanding your service and the steps necessary to provide your it. I recommend tracking your work from start to finish. Set up an excel worksheet with each mini task and the amount of time it took you to complete it. When you are tracking, be sure to include the administrative work, research time, and communication minutes. This tracking is especially important for a side gig, small business moms because we tend to collage our work hours together.
Share your hours and itemized work with your client. This can be communicated through a formatted visual, you might use Canva or a similar platform to build an appealing aesthetic for this document. Or you might have it prepped and ready to reference in your initial discovery call together. The point is to have a clear picture of your project information compiled for you and your client so that you’re on the same page through the service lifecycle.
You’ve polished off your work steps, so now you can begin to configure how much your time is worth. You need to separate your hourly wage from that of your past full-time, corporate, 9-5 job. Now that you’re a contract/freelance/gig worker, your hourly will be higher because you are not garnering the benefits and additional hours like in a corporate position. Landing on your rate of pay takes research. Here are questions to guide your quest to nail down your hourly rate or packaged rate of pay:
These research points will also help you to frame your compensation package. You may start with an hourly rate then merge to a whole sum tab once you’ve become more efficient. Like your business, your earnings should be fluid; by that, I also mean they should increase with time, experience, and reputation.
Now that you’re clear with your numbers it’s time to present them to your client. Use a clear contract to share your specific services and cost sheet. It is helpful to give your client options to meet their needs, and boost your chance of booking an initial service with you, then adding more as they grow to adore your services. The most important piece in building your compensation is to be clear and fair to yourself and your client.
Empower yourProfessional Pause: 5 Career Exercises to Boost Marketability and Strengthen Professional Trajectory while Out of Work
With 22 million out of work and nearly 14% of moms considering stepping away from work due to childcare needs, many moms have an unforeseen professional pause reassess their career and professional self prior to their next step. Here are 5 powerful strategies and resources to help continue strengthening your professional awareness and make clearer career decisions while on a work pause.
#1 DIY 360 Review
When a job ends it can throw a ratchet in your career plans and destabilizes your professional confidence. A DIY 360 Review will facilitate a pow-wow amongst your closest professional allies to gain a comprehensive scope of your professional strengths from the outside-in and build a clear picture of what it’s like to work with you. We are all critical of ourselves in the workplace, asking a variety of trusted professionals how they see you will build your confidence and lend verbiage to support your job search documents. 360 Reviews are used a lot in corporate settings to assess a candidate for promotion or explore an employee’s work to aid improvements. It’s usually anonymous and filled with a lot of questions. We’ll use the concept and modify the execution; here’s how you’ll do it:
· Request responses
Type and send 2-3 questions to 2 people you’ve reported to; employer, director, manager. Another two questions to 2-3 peers that have worked alongside you. Finally, send questions to 2-3 professionals that have worked for you or in a different department. Use the sample template (found in the right column of this webpage) or links to explore possible questions. Take into consideration your next step and build questions that will be useful in your acquisition of it. For example: If you want to move up from a PR Associate to a Communications Manager, you might ask your past work teams how you led projects, strategized long term plans, or built relationships with internal and external stakeholders.
· Read and Digest Feedback
Take a day or two to sit with your responses, feel good about the good. Comb through their responses and pick up on any trends. Evaluate their experience collaborating with you or reporting to you. Respond with any questions or clarifications you need.
· Weave Feedback into your Resume, LinkedIn and Interview Responses
Integrate the feedback into your job search documents. The easiest places will be your career summary in your resume and your LinkedIn profile. This is pertinent information in both because your future employer wants to know what it’s like to work with you. Through this exercise, you can share who you are professionally and answer confidently in an interview with direct quotes (added bonus!).
#2 Strengths Assessment
Gallup’s Strengths Assessment totally changed my life. The theory behind the assessment is: celebrate your strengths and don’t waste your time feeling like you’re not enough because everyone has a unique toolkit to bring to the table. It completely shifted how I work and how I see others in the workplace. The assessment costs $20 and you’ll receive a detailed report of your results. It is time and money well spent. With the results, you’ll be better equipped to articulate why you are a strong candidate for ANY position.
#3 Job crafting
What do you like about your current or last job? Have you ever taken the time to dissect all the pieces of your role and analyze what you enjoy and don’t; what aspects increase your energy and what zaps it? Job crafting provides the framework to use the results of these questions to build out a more satisfying career.
Amy Wrzesniewski and her colleagues researched many working people in a myriad of industries for years and found that if you find meaning and interest in your work then you are more likely to be engaged and experience more fulfillment. It seems like common sense but most of us just take a job and do it. We don’t take the time to analyze the job and build it into something better for us and our company.
I personally used job crafting in a past job; working in career services constantly prompts me to ask myself the same questions I inquire in others. While working in higher-ed career services, I realized that I loved working with students, reviewing resumes, and educating the university’s faculty on career-focused curriculum integration. I could do those things all day and it would make me very happy. But I had another piece to my job in alumni which required event planning and lots of coordinating. This work overwhelmed me and try as I might I just couldn’t connect with the value in it. I was motivated or engaged. I talked to my boss. I requested to step away from that work and do more of the things I enjoyed. My analysis also helped me to build in new partnerships with other departments to work as a liaison which produced more of an impact for student services. Through my job crafting practice and its validation by my boss, my work improved and my commitment to it skyrocketed. Taking time in your work pause to look at your job and think about what you love and how you can do more of it is a powerful practice that is sure to pay off for the rest of your career.
#4 Possible Lives Chart
Your career options are limitless. Possible Lives mapping helps you to explore your options in an organized and thought-provoking manner. For moms, there are many factors that you’ll need to build into your map to cultivate a holistic picture: What will childcare look like in this role? What will it take to get there? What’s the family budget impact of this decision? This idea comes from Dr. Kate Brook’s work with students at Vanderbilt University; she eventually created an entire space in the career services building to allow students to explore their options through possible lives mapping and others.
To jump in-start with 3-5 possible job titles that you are interested in, and the one you’re currently in should be included. From here you’ll draw a circle around each job title and draw several lines coming from it. These lines are for facts about the position building a possible life with that role. For example: If you’re currently a teacher or considering it you will surround the circle with individual lines and words like: summer’s off, parent communication, grading, lesson planning, and public/private/charter. There will be many lines for each possible job. As you go through think about each one and how that will play into your life. This process alone may help to illuminate some options.
The second step is to write a typical day scenario. You’ll think about who you will interact with, what projects you’ll potentially work on, possible companies and their locations, who your team and leadership will be. Allowing your mind to walk in the shoes of possible roles is a way to make a clearer decision moving forward. Give yourself some time and lots of paper to play with your possible lives.
#5 Career Accomplishments Journaling
How can you move forward if you haven’t looked at where you have been? In this journaling exercise, you’ll go through each position you’ve had since you were able to work and write your accomplishments and joys. I recommend created a two-column list to write this down. I ask clients about their accomplishments a lot and most of the time thoughts jump to official awards or certificates earned, but that is just the top of the accomplishment iceberg. Write down projects that you have helped to complete, how your work saved money, strategies you came up with to make work more efficient, and ways you positively impacted work culture. Joys will answer-what were your best day in this role? What are you most proud of?
You’ll use this information to find trends of what you’ve done well and what you have enjoyed. This will play into your jobcrafting work; you will look for jobs that include the work that has afforded accomplishment and joy or request to include more of in your current role. You’ll also use these accomplishments to bolster your resume and interview responses. Voicing your accomplishments will display to your future employer that you will continue a legacy of achievement.
Mama, I hope you will take some time to step back and see the big picture of your professional life. The practice of knowing yourself and what you want out of your career is powerful for you, your family, and your next organization. It’s in your hands-let it be good.
Please email or text if you have any questions or would like to book a session to work through these points together. I’m here for ya, mama 😊
Ace Your Job Search While Managing Virtual School: A Practical Itinerary for Work Re-entry Success in COVID Times
Your kids are set up with the correct Zoom logins, pencils, headphones, and snacks; feeling confident, you walk over to your workspace, open your computer, and pull up your dusty resume… “MOM!” The juggle to land a good-fit position while managing your kids’ class schedules and homework picture submissions are overwhelming, to say the least. But in mama fashion, we can rise above this and find a way to move toward an exciting next step in your career. Here’s a day-long itinerary to guide your career transition success:
Early Morning Grind
Rise and resume grind. You'll find the advice to wake up before the kids on most mom-success lists, and in your job search-it's critical. Research backs an early rise work session as it aligns with your circadian rhythm’s most focused and productive time of the day. Jon Rumens, creator of FocusMe app recommends, “you should try to perform your most complex tasks, the ones that require the most brainpower and focus, in the morning. That’s the time of day when your brain is working at its best.” Work with your resume is invaluable for job search success and it requires an immense amount of concentration. Full disclosure, after years of attempting to churn late-night resumes, I primarily work on them in the early morning and the results are better for it.
To answer one of the most FAQs posed to all resume writers: YES! You absolutely must customize each resume per position. A recruiter can see a generic resume from a mile away; it is the top gripe I hear from talent acquisition professionals. Take the morning to focus on one job that’s the perfect fit for you. Use Jobscan to ensure appropriate keyword implementation. Add accomplishments to your job descriptions. Create a forward-focused summary that informs the hiring manager exactly why you are the perfect fit for the position. Then take a big sip of coffee!
A Coffee Buzzed Morning Routine and Networking Session
Making progress on a strong resume will launch you in the family morning routine feeling accomplished. This is important because your kids need you to be present and positive as they begin another day pretending to be in school, confined to their desk chair and computer screen. For the mid-morning chunk of the day when you’re an on-call teacher, step away from your resume and start networking.
Networking in the midst of a quarantine? It can happen. Maybe easier with all the at-your-fingertips touchpoints to broaden your connection base paired with a heightened necessity for human connection via screen time. This late-morning chunk of the day reports more optimistic social media interaction than any other time. Here are a few realistic goals you can set for yourself that will make a big impact on your job search.
Spouse Shift Change, Interview Practice
Since COVID, the only consistency in my life has been virtual interview coaching sessions. In a recent chat with a top Talent Executive Recruiter she quips, “we are all learning” in regards to virtual hiring. I remind my clients of this-it’s not easy for interviewers or interviewees. One thing you can control is your confidence, and the more practice you get, the more comfortable you are when you’re thrown to the Brady Bunch face tiles of professionals to impress. I recommend setting up 2-3 phone calls a week (perhaps when your spouse completes their day of work to limit interruption) to keep you in the swing of conversing professionally. This may take the shape of an old co-worker listening to your elevator pitch, a quick informational interview with a mutual friend at a targeted company, or a mock interview with a career coach (such as myself). You need a time that is blocked off for you to practice articulating your value in the workplace. This will be beneficial for your job search and your emotional strength to move toward your next steps.
Late Night Recap
The kids are in bed and there's a 50/50 chance of dishes waiting in the sink. Take the final bookend of your day to reflect and plan. Journaling about your successes or just chatting about the ups and downs with your spouse is beneficial to grow and move forward. Look ahead to your early morning by identifying the position you hope to pursue and loosely brainstorm how your experience and skills fit. Then turn off the job search and do something completely unrelated for yourself.
In a recent episode of the Women @ Work podcast, Daisy Auger-Dominguez, Head of HR at Vice Media, suggests setting intentional times to commit to your job search. Your day may not comply with this suggested itinerary but prioritizing intentional pockets throughout your day to devote to your job search and self-improvement is essential in propelling your career forward.