A Quick + Easy Run-Down on Small Biz, Side Gig Service Agreement Contracts: Tips and Tactics from a Legal Expert
Many side gig, small businesses start organically for women and the wheels begin to turn before the structure of the car is built. A friend asks you to do a little photography or design project, then she tells a few friends what a swell job you did, and before long you’ve got a full-fledged side gig, small biz. It’s exciting and feels good. But there’s an inevitable point in a small business where you begin to venture out of your friend zone to build a more robust client base, there lies the time for visible processes to be set in place for formality and optics sake.
Contracts convey legitimacy and cover your ass, so they’re well worth understanding and integrating into your initial small business set-up. My legal knowledge is limited, like my marriage license and parking ticket procedures are my only exposure to the justice system, so I reached out to my dear friend Whitney; she’s Corporate Counsel for Fortune 500 healthcare and life sciences company and has specialized in corporate contracts for the last five years. She spends most of her days pouring over high-stakes contracts, then interpreting and negotiating these complex documents. She beautiful and knowledgeable-the interview was a crash course in liability– here’s the scoop.
What You Communicate to a Client via a Service Agreement/Contract
“Contracts impart a business is successful enough that they want to protect their assets,” Whitney weighed in regarding the importance of contracts for a small business owner. What I didn’t expect is the feeling of success on my end, as a small business owner, when I emailed my first contract to a client. The contract carried transparency between the client and myself, along with a formality of our relationship. With a contract, you are stating that you respect your client and your business.
As a mom and side gig, small business owner, it’s obvious things will come up that could hinder the delivery of agreed-upon services. Your kid will inevitably jump off the bed and break their arm right before your first scheduled photo shoot or on the day your design project is due. Establishing a document to ensure a back-up plan is in place will put your mind at ease and cover any consideration of transgression by a client. When implementing this aspect into your contract, here are some clauses to Google search:
Best Practices in Contract Cultivation
One important takeaway I wanted to gain from my conversation with Whitney is a big picture understanding of a contract and how to build it well. Here are some guidelines she recommended:
What to do if Things Start to Sour with a Client
Contracts are a channel for communication; they’re also an agreement and framework to hold a business owner up if hardships arise. Whitney suggests, “Mediation or arbitration for disputes. They can be less expensive and quicker, and they’re confidential.” She prompts the consideration, “What’s your big loss going to be if things turn sour?” It’s important to consider your reaction to questions such as this when composing your contract and conducting service-based business. Your customer is extremely valuable. In the unlikely circumstance that your business falls into a dispute, it’s best to connect with a lawyer or mediator in the early stages to ensure you are taking proper steps to reconcile. Whitney’s final sage advice: though cyber-legal support is plentiful, it’s always best to confirm with a professional.
Virtual interviews are a 50/50 blend of excitement and fear. I have coached many women to articulate their unique value in an interview, and a critical piece to a virtual interview prep puzzle is the few minutes prior to your Zoom call. This video will walk you through a quick, seated series with easy breathwork and movement channeling the calm of yoga and the confidence of Power Poses by Amy Cuddy, leaving you feeling ready to share your best self in your upcoming virtual interview.
Want individualized interview prep support? Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a mock interview. Here's what a recent client said about our work together:
"So grateful for your help! They said I kind of blew everybody away during the panel interview and that was all because of your help!" -Carly
You got this, mama!
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.
A past client aspired to migrate away from corporate HR and into a government agency; I supported her to land a job as a career coach using her abundant knowledge in hiring to serve a host of clients funneled by the government agency. Months later she emailed and asked about supporting executive-level clients, knowing I'd spent years tailoring my services to fit that top-tier professional population. Here's the email I sent her:
Encourage Executives to Reach out to Head Hunters
There are many great independent headhunters and firms that are willing to do a lot of the job search work for executives. It broadens the reach of the executive's network and can help them to identify their next steps because headhunters are acutely aware of employment market trends for the executive level.
Tap into their Network
Many executives have an advantage over entry and mid-level professionals because they've likely been in their field for years and know many people in it. For some executives, there is a lesson in humbling themselves to reach out to those in their network; but, in times like these, there are more people than ever willing to lend help, connection, and support.
Business Cards/Virtual Business Cards
Business cards are a timeless, tangible way to stay top-of-mind for professional connections. It's also a valuable exercise for executives to hone in on their professional tagline. For many, they have so many skills that it is hard for them to nail down their expertise in just a short headline or elevator pitch which is essential in their job search. On a business card, they'll need to include their name | phone | email | LinkedIn URL and a succinct tagline encompassing their professional skill set/accomplishments. I like recommending Vista Print for paper business cards and Canva for virtual.
What are your Competitors Lacking?
Executives have to have an in-depth understanding of their competitors; when he/she loses his job, many competitors try to grab an accomplished executive for that reason (I have several clients to prove it). I advise many of my executive clients to connect with competitors and expose ways in which they can fill the gaps they've witnessed. This is an advantageous move to show value to a potential employer.
Executives can Create their next Position
With a well-known reputation, executives can clearly articulate how they've impacted their previous companies as an expert in a specific niche. Many companies may need that service or skill and not know it; by explaining the worth, a position could be created to build in the executive.
Along the lines of niche expertise, building up consulting gigs is a growing venture for many executives leaving their corporate jobs. It's appealing because they can lend their expertise across multiple outlets and cultivate a professional portfolio that suits their interests. There are lots of gig-based websites that make collecting potential leads a cinch.
Image: Albert Bobbera
Photo by Content Pixie on Unsplash
Stop Scrolling and Consider a Temporary Position and its Long-Term Perks
If you’ve been scrolling through the job boards, it’s obvious that temporary job opportunities have risen significantly over the past weeks. A major remote work job board, FlexJobs, recently found that temporary positions have increased by 10% points (Guilford, WSJ, 2020). When I encourage clients to consider temporary positions, they often bock a little. Temporary jobs have a stigma of not being influential in your career trajectory but in our current pandemic-stricken job market, taking a temp job is a definite way to sustain your career in uncertain job terrain.
Temporary is Temporary
The Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that 801,000 employees have been laid off temporarily. This means that a large percentage of employers plan to rehire their previous employees. Taking a temporary gig will make you more accessible to get back to your previous job. The Brookings Institute recently projected an optimistic 40% or more of the furloughed workers to return to their previous positions based on data from the Great Recession and 2008.
Employers Like to Hire Working Candidates
Have you wondered why a recruiter is reaching out to you on LinkedIn when it clearly states on your profile that you’ve got a job? I recently posed this question to a recruiter friend and his response was a quick “because most employers want an employed candidate.” Recruiters are creating a pool of candidates to share with an employer seeking to hire and they, like all the hot guys at the bar, think people are more appealing when they are already taken. Yes, I compare job searching to dating a lot. So the temporary job will help you to be more appealing as you continue your search for the perfect fit.
Outstretch Your Roots
Most folks can't get past a temporary position's timeline to see its long term potential. Temporary jobs, especially those at a company on your target list, help you to get your foot in the door. Sure, the initial work may be tedious or a demotion, but if you get in it’s your choice what you make of it and how you choose to impact the company and its decision-makers. Quoted in a Forbes report, a New York-based staffing firm CEO, James Essay affirmed that nearly 70% of temp workers would be asked to jump into a full-time role. My advice: take the temporary job and ask for more responsibility, notice where the holes lie and extend your expertise, and always say yes to an extra assignment. These additions to your normal workload may impact your hourly rate along with your reputation at the company, so when a full-time position becomes available you know the inside stakeholders and can shoot your resume to their personal email.
Avoid a Resume Gap
As much as I’d like to say there is no such thing as a negative bias around a resume gap, especially as a return-to-work career counselor who has to face it constantly, it is there. I experienced it firsthand in bed with my husband a few months back. Nothing kinky. We were both looking at resumes for the first time in our entire married life and it was a total bonding experience. I was just about to start a rousing conversation about formats when he quipped “Ugh, nope.” I peered over at what looked like a beautifully crafted document and asked: “Why?” His response: “I have no clue what this guy has done for the past two years.” Sure enough, his career story was lacking a huge chunk. The temp role doesn’t have to be a dream job but it can show that you have been working, keeping your skills intact, and potentially acquiring new ones, too.
Because there are various uncertainties in accepting a temporary position, you may consider asking for a higher hourly rate. Most temporary roles don't come with benefits and don't guarantee the duration of the position; with that, you can leverage these deterrent along with your applicable skills and experience in the hiring process. I will add the caveat that most temporary agencies take a cut of a placed employee's hourly rate, some up to 30%. This is important to keep in mind when you are preparing the rate you'd like to present to your potential employer. If you ask for $30/hr you are really asking for $33/hr. Even though we are in a pandemic, you can still negotiate your time and worth for any position, but keep it classy-research the position, geography, and add your years of experience and special skills into the equation.
Ultimately, there is a larger picture at hand. How will this temporary position impact your day-to-day and your overall financial standing? Please email email@example.com if you'd like to discuss how a potential position will play into you current life and overall career goals. Happy to be a sounding board for your next decision!
Connect the Dots: Transferable Skill Bios and Pivot Positions for Hard Hit Industries-Travel, Retail, Construction and Transportation
It's not just your job that's been lost; your entire industry is in danger. Strategically evaluating your transferable soft skills can help you successfully land a new job in a thriving industry. A recent LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends Research piece reported, “92% of respondents say soft skills are more important than technical skill and 89% told us that bad hires typically lack soft skills.” Listed below are some of the hardest hit industries accompanied by a tailored transferable skills bio and potential pivot positions with thousands of opportunities on top job boards which call for the transferable skills you’ve built through your career.
You curate an experience. Customers have millions of options, they come back for the memorable experience; this expertise, within itself, is one of the most marketable skills right now. Value your attention to detail and the web of logistics which goes into travel, hospitality services, and events. Connected with:
· Coordination; your above average communication skills enable you to stage events, schedules, meetings, etc. You can connect all necessary dots to yield flawless execution.
· ERP, Mail, and Facilities Management Software; you can juggle multiple software platforms simultaneously to mitigate customers’ information and travel data. This prepares you to use similar databases in your next position.
Rebekah Martinek-Williams, Director, Human Resources Medical Group and Foundation, City of Hope National Medical Center explains “There are many areas of healthcare that someone with a customer service background would be a prime candidate for. For instance, most healthcare organizations have call centers, patient advocacy, and receptionist type roles. For positions in these areas, a background in customer service would be necessary. Healthcare is an industry that will continue to recruit during this COVID-19 crisis, which means candidates shouldn’t feel like they need to wait to apply.”
Possible Pivot Positions- Healthcare Administrator, Project Coordinator, Customer Experience Representative
Whether you’ve sold lingerie or software, you have had the key experiences to share product knowledge to boost revenue with seriously strong communication skills. Showcase your understanding of sales strategies and theories. Combined with the following key transferable skills:
· Advisement; you have listened, understood company and individual needs, and advised customers and management teams to choose the best product.
· Budget; sales folks have a keen grasp of budget, metrics, and KPI showing comprehensive awareness of financial responsibilities.
Possible Pivot Positions- Telecommunication Sales, Personal Shopper, Sales Development Specialist
Construction and Auto Makers
Cleanliness, safety, and adhering to production guidelines with complex tools are key components in your day-to-day, these prized work practices are praised in many top-hiring industries, including manufacturing at Mondelez International and Lockheed Martin who have combined 250+ manufacturing opportunities, highlighted by Wall Street Journal’s most recent Who’s Hiring and Who’s Firing list. While following the procedural tasks, you may have devised efficient practices that have cut time and boosted productivity. Tout these skills along with:
· Problem Solving and Critical Thinking; in construction/auto-making you have built an ability to focus on the job at hand and assess possible outcomes when presented with a production problem; you’ll jump into your next role equipped to strategize producing team success.
· Training; your construction or manufacturing team relies on your skills, and you have had countless opportunities to teach others. The ability to break down a skill to be shared with another is a highly sought-after experience that can support you to be a stand-out candidate in any industry.
Possible Pivot Positions: Clean Room Technician, Safety and Health Gear Manufacturing Associate, Food and Product Manufacturing
App-savvy work experience coupled with your high customer friendly ratings are sure to be appealing to your future employer. Your experience with query engines to find your clients and their destinations, along with online financial transfers can be translated to cross-industry data platforms. Pair these skills with:
· Customer Service Life cycle; you have captured the customers' needs, exceeded customer expectations and analyzed post-services experience. Your ability to follow through and uniquely support each customer is ideal for many customer-focused positions in a myriad of industries.
· Expert Oral Communication; it’s required that you excel in verbal and written communication as a transportation professional. These skills can be translated to support orders, individual services, and product data. Forbes Coaches Council named Communication as one of the Top 15 soft skills when entering the workforce (2019).
Possible Pivot Positions: Customer Service Representative, Transportation Specialist, Product Delivery
Wall Street Journal, Who's Hiring, Who's Firing
Forbes, Skills You Need When Entering the Workforce
Forbes, New Jobs are Being Created in Response to the Coronavirus
Forbes, Coronavirus Here are the Jobs that will be Added
For some, chaos is motivating, for Angela and her husband it was a wake-up call. “We worked too much and too hard and didn't have the family life we desired and quickly realized we wanted more.” They sat down and decided somethings had to change. Angela had spent years building her professional life in education as an Assistant Principal alongside her husband climbing the ladder toward corporate leadership. "What good is the hard work if you’re not enjoying it?" she remarked. The couple stepped back, weighed the what ifs, sorted out work options and landed on uprooting to Florida (from North Carolina) to pursue her husband’s push toward the top. “This meant giving up my career I had worked so hard for. BUT I got to be with my babies, I wasn't sure for how long, but I knew it was what was best for us at this time.”
Angela joins the over 43% of women leaving the career to find explore work/life balance (Light, 2013). Soon after she settled in Angela felt an itch to get back to work. But, like many of us moms, she felt a strong pull to be at home and having tread the waters of a full-time load wanted something with more of a work/life balance. Angela reflects, “I was craving work and my personal battle with anxiety and depression was getting worse. Being a stay at home mom vs. a career mom is such a personal journey. It is absolutely individualized.” And like life happens, the realtor who sold Angela their new home in Florida turned acquaintance turned friend, and called Angela to ask: “Would you be interested in doing a little work for me?”
I love this! Career counseling ideology, chaos theory , is built upon these scenarios. Stating that for many it’s not necessarily the path you’ve planned for yourself that propels you to career success, rather your connections and saying YES to new opportunities that lead you to explore career possibilities.
Angela responded with a huge YES. The little bit of work assigned to Angela was returned in stellar condition and the realtor asked her to do MORE. Then through the realtor's stewardship, Angela earned her real estate license and began selling on her team; “My journey in real estate changed as I started working for myself along with for her. It all just fell into place and was truly meant to be.” All the while Angela has been able to take and pick up her children from school, attend all after school activities, make dinners, read books, implement the educational activities in her home that have been so important for her.
"It all just fell into place and was truly meant to be."
Interested? So-what does it take to get into Real Estate?
Every state is different in their courses, requirements and licensing necessary to become a real estate agent. Here’s a list of requirements by state.
Here’s Angela’s experience: “I decided to take the cram course- so I took the entire state course requirements in 7 days and took the test the very next week. From here-there are requirements for my first 2 year renewal and then different requirements for each 2 year renewal after that. In addition to state requirements, your brokerage will require certain training. Because I have my boss as a direct mentor- she hired me on her team- I have the extra support and access to a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips whenever needed. Being on her team and learning from her for an entire year before beginning my own transactions was the best decision for me as a total career chance realtor.”
What’s your typical schedule?
"Drop off kids at 8:30 and 9
Work in office or with customers from 9-12
Pick up youngest at 12:15- lunch with him and then put him down for nap
Work from home on computer and phone call to dos from 1-2:45
Get oldest off bus and spend time with her from 2:45-3:30 when little wakes up
Typical family stuff for the rest of the evening
I may need to show property when customers get off work- so neighbors help if it's before husband gets home, and I sometimes need to finish up some work after kids go to bed.
Open houses or home showings on the weekends occasionally.
The VERY best part about this career is the flexibility of the schedule. If there is a school performance- I go. If someone is sick- I stay home with them. It's a blessing in that aspect- but can be a curse- I have lost a few customers because my schedule didn't work for them. I generally cannot work from 12-4. It's a give and take- but in my eyes- it's the absolute best of both worlds."
"It's a give and take-but in my eyes, it's the absolute best of both worlds."
Transition to Real Estate
Mothers embody a host of realtor-ready transferable skills to capitalize upon. Motherhood births a new perspective to really notice your surroundings; mothers research their community in a different way, understanding its people, events, parks, neighborhoods. This is valuable information to be a successful realtor as you are incredibly knowledgeable in market information.
Additionally, becoming a mother helps to solidify a network. Angela states, “…everyone you know is a potential customer or referral- using your networks as a mom is a huge plus. I coached soccer, I am a girl scout troop leader, I am a mom of a competitive gymnast, I am a mom of a child in preschool and in Kindergarten, I am a neighbor, I am a wife of a corporate husband- ALL of these connections are potential customers.” Lastly, motherhood requires more organization, scheduling, documentation and attention to detail all very important as a realtor. Angela builds on this point in stating, “There is so much about school administration that mirrors running a business- budgets, communication, customer service, organization, and so on. These skills - especially my skills learned from online courses- helped me be successful in my boss's needs.”
Before You Jump In
In my research, I found many publications boasting the benefits of choosing real estate as a return-to-work option, authored by mom agents and real estate companies. Berkshire Hathaway even posted a return-to-work mom article encouraging mama readers to consider a career in real estate; part-time, full-time or somewhere in between. Please note, Angela has joined an all-mama realtor team and she receives salary plus a commission for her own work. These two factors are huge in her success in work life balance and overall fulfillment in her new gig. Angela states, “It balances because I choose for it to balance. I could put my youngest in full time day care and I could put my daughter in after care and I could work every evening and every weekend- but I choose not to. I choose to do what my boss needs me to do first, then in my time left I choose to work for me when my schedule allows. We are so fortunate that my husband can support our must haves and I simply support our wants and holidays and vacations. If this is not the case for a family seeking real estate as a financial solution- then the hours can be very different- especially when first starting out alone.”
As with any career venture, do your homework. Angela’s story proves working under an existing team builds a foundation of knowledge, mentorship and potential leads. If you are transferring into the real estate industry it pays to do your research and discover teams that will honor your career goals.
Check out these link to begin your research:
Women’s Council of Realtors
National Association of Realtors
Top 20 Best Real Estate Companies to Work For, As Rated by the Women Who Work There
How to Get Into Real Estate
Already a mama realtor? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below. Many thanks to Angela for her incredible insights.
Children unveil the best in us.
Children motivate us.
Children redefine how we use our time.
Children cultivate strategic efficiency.
Children manifest flexibility and adaptability.
Children mandate steadfast optimism.
Children inspire constant research initiatives.
Children produce a unique vision to value individual strengths of others.
Children expand our patience.
Children inspire us.
Children solidify our worth.
Children give weight to our worldly value.
Children remove laziness.
Children broaden our senses.
Children require more of us than we knew we had.
Motivated, Marketable, Empowered Mamas