Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

Pittsburgh Programs Helping Women Get Back to Work

This is such a great resource! List of programs that help women reenter the workforce after a period away or a life tragedy.

There are so many situations that can lead to hardships in returning to the workplace. Divorce, becoming a displaced homemaker, being a single mother trying to decide between childcare or a pay check, or other life circumstances can make it difficult to get things like training, transportation and appropriate clothing to get you that job that you need to get back on your feet.

There are organizations out there that exist to help women get back into the workforce. Here are some of my favorites in the Pittsburgh area.

North Hills Community Outreach

Get scholarships and training to go back to school as a mom.

These people really do it all. They connect you with the programs that will best meet your needs–and they have a slew of programs.

Currently you can get hooked up with WorkAble, a program that helps people get in touch with a career coach.  From there your coach can help you get the training  you need along with information about job openings in the Pittsburgh area.

North Hills Community Outreach also runs Community Auto–a program that helps you get a used car at a seriously reduced price. There is usually a long wait line for this one.

They connect women in Northern Allegheny County with scholarships so they can get the education they need to get that great job.

They provide computer training courses which are particularly wonderful for displaced homemakers or those who may be mature and didn’t get computer training in their traditional schooling.

They can help you set up a basic financial plan so that you can live within budget and improve things like your credit report that will help your lifestyle overall.

Believe it or not, they offer even more resources than the ones listed above.  To check all of them out in depth, go to their website.

Treasure House Fashions

Get help getting clothes to reenter the workforce with Treasure House Fashions in Pittsburgh, PA.

Founded 16 years ago, Treasure House Fashions on McKnight Rd. is a gently used clothes store for women. Slightly more expensive than Good Will, the quality of the clothes is guaranteed and in season.

Anyone can shop here. Absolutely anyone. But the heart and soul of their business is helping women in transition or need.

Places like North Hills Community Outreach often distribute Treasure House gift certificates, which can be perfect if the expense of a professional work wardrobe is the thing holding you back from employment.

If you’re a single mother or a woman who is 55 years of age or older, ask about their SMART card which gives you a 50% discount certain days of the week.

Treasure House Fashions also holds bag sales every February and August–pile as much as you can into a brown Giant Eagle bag for only $20!

Pennsylvania Women Work

Check out these programs that help women in Pittsburgh reenter the workforce.

If you’re trying to get back into the workforce but just don’t see how it’s feasible, Pennsylvania Women Work has you covered in all areas.

First, there’s their New Choices program. This provides training in areas such as reading, math, computer literacy, Microsoft Office and career development. You also get one-on-one career counseling.

There are sites across the whole state, including one in Pittsburgh that will start its new season in the fall.

That’s not all the organization does. They also provide discounted transportation to those seeking employment or who are in career-training.

They have a clothing closet where, once referred, you can get free, fashionable clothing for job interviews.

They’ll help you write  your resume, do mock interviews with you and get you individualized job placement.  Childcare assistance is even available.

I know they’ve hosted a sort of job fair in the past where major companies from the region come with the goal of specifically hiring women. There seems to be absolutely no losing with this organization.

Jeremiah’s Place

Check out these programs in Western Pennsylvania that help women get back to work.

Jeremiah’s Place is a crisis nursery, but you don’t necessarily need to be in the middle of a crisis to utilize it.

Here’s the problem: in order to get childcare assistance, you have to have a job. Getting a job can be a challenge if you are bringing your kids along to interviews.

Jeremiah’s Place solves that problem by providing drop-in daycare services so Mom can go nail that interview.

They also provide services in instances of domestic violence, hospitalization, emergency respite and more.

The United Way

Need help getting back into the workforce in Allegheny county? This list of resources will help.

Check out your local branch of the United Way.  In Allegheny County they are able to provide you with transportation assistance, programs at local colleges that will fund your tuition, programs that subsidize childcare costs and access to even more agencies that will help you on your way to employment.

 

Know of any other organizations that should be added to the list? Please leave them in the comments!

Making Money as a Rover Dog-Sitter

Today’s post is written by Nat Smith, Rover community member. Rover is the nation’s largest network of 5-star pet sitters and dog walkers.

Holy moly can you earn some extra MONEY by dog-sitting adorable puppies! Signing up for this platform pronto!

Becoming a Rover sitter is a wonderful and rewarding way to make money. As a dog-sitter or dog-walker, you get to spend time with dogs and get paid for it. The best part is that it’s totally flexible! You can easily arrange your side gig around everything else you already do.

What will you be doing?

Play with puppies. Earn extra income.

Owners will pay you money to spend time with their pets and look after their needs. Typically, owners book Rover caregivers when they’re traveling, or they’re away at work all day and want their dogs to have a mid-day adventure. Services fall into two broad categories: overnight and daytime care.

Overnight Care: Dog Boarding & House Sitting

Looking for a side-hustle that pays well? Sign up to be a dog-sitter on this primo platform!

Dog boarding takes place in your own home, and is ideal if you have dog-friendly infrastructure in place. You might want to dog-proof your home, add a doggy door, and make sure you have a secure fence around your yard. If you already have a dog, you’ll need to ensure that they get along with your canine clients, or create a separate space for each pet.

Many sitters prefer house sitting, where they stay in the client’s home. The dogs are already comfortable in their own homes, so the transition can be easier. This is a great option if you’re able to spend your nights away from home.

Daytime Care: Drop-In Visits, Doggy Day Care & Dog Walking

Get paid to play with puppies!

Owners want their dogs to be happy, and sometimes that means extra care during the day. They seek out Rover sitters because of the site’s reliability and the high quality of the care provided.

A client seeking doggy day care might drop off their pet in the morning and pick them up after work. For drop-in visits and dog walking, you’ll stop by to check on the dog and provide exercise, food, or potty breaks.

The beauty of Rover is that you can create a perfect schedule for your own needs, and Rover 101 walks you through every step of the process to create your profile and build a steady client base.

How will you be paid?

Earn extra money by dog-sitting with Rover!

Exact rates vary based on several factors, mainly your location and experience. Check Rover’s site to find out what local sitters are charging. When you start out, set your rates slightly below the local average.

You can raise your rates as you gain loyal clients, five-star reviews of your services, and more experience.

You keep 80% of the rate you set. The rest goes to Rover—covering insurance for booked stays, 24/7 emergency support, advertising, and site features. You earn excellent compensation without having to do the legwork of running a business; Rover makes it simple.

Owners are charged for the stay when they book it. Payment will be released to you two days after the service is completed. This way, the company ensures that both parties uphold their agreements—and that you’re paid promptly.

The Rover referral system is an amazing bonus, too. For each Rover sitter you invite who books a stay, you receive a $50 Amazon gift card.

Dog lovers have great things to say about Rover, and it’s bringing financial independence to women everywhere by providing both part-time and even full-time income to its sitters.

 

This post about earning extra income is compensated and contributed by Rover.

Help! I Can’t Pay My Bills!

This is insanely helpful. I'm having trouble making ends meet but these tips will help me get back on track and pay my bills on time. Maybe then I can start saving!

A couple of weeks ago Femme Frugality had a post go live addressing what, exactly, a good credit score is. We also talked about how you can improve your score to get into the “good” range.

But a recent study from US News & World Report would indicate that 32% of people with bad credit don’t stand a chance of finding that article–because they’re not actively trying to improve their credit.

Those numbers would make it appear as if 32% of people had just given up. Maybe they have. But maybe they just have other things to worry about–like how they’re going to pay rent or get together enough gas money to get to work.

The same study reveals that about 51% of people with bad credit have needed plastic at least once–and in many cases more frequently–in the past year just to get by. They’ve used credit to purchase items like gasoline, groceries or other household necessities.

When we consider that more than half of this group is swiping just to get by, it makes a whole lot more sense that a third of them aren’t actively working on their credit score. There are more immediate problems at hand.

I know you think you’re not poor, but…

When we think of a group of people that has problems meeting their basic needs, it’s easy to mentally classify the whole as impoverished. Their income must be crazy low. They probably live in Section 8 housing. They must not have access to resources or education. The more crude among us may even imagine someone that’s gaming the system because they’re too lazy to get a J-O-B.

Just to be clear, that last one is not something I personally would ever, ever say about welfare recipients.

But these assumptions may not be accurate. As middle-class income has become more erratic, it has become harder for families to budget. In many cases, these families have to charge household necessities after wiping out their savings for a series of unfortunate events–which usually includes a slow down or loss in one of several income streams.

Since 2000, the largest pockets of poverty have not sprung up in urban areas; it’s the suburbs that have seen the most dramatic shift in economic standing. Many of us are just one emergency away from watching our finances spiral out of control.

Whatever you consider your socioeconomic standing to be, get real with yourself, because this post is for everyone.

I can’t pay my bills.

If you are struggling so badly that you can’t meet your basic needs, get help. Welfare recipients get a really bad rap, but the vast majority of people are just trying to get through a tough time until their hard work pays off.

Humble yourself and get basic needs like food, electricity and childcare met. Qualifications are going to vary based on where you live, but look into eligibility requirements even if you think you make too much money or don’t consider yourself to be “poor.”

In many areas, those limits are higher than you may think, and simply filling out an application can make you aware of programs you didn’t previously know existed.

Maybe you don’t qualify for those programs. Maybe you can’t meet your basic needs because you’re in massive debt and your minimum monthly credit card payments are insane. If you have bad credit, you’re not likely to qualify for a card with a 0% introductory interest offer–so you feel like you’re stuck paying interest rates above 20%.

But you do have options. You could attempt negotiating with the credit card companies, though it’s more difficult with bad credit.

You could refinance and consolidate your debt into a personal loan. With bad credit, you’re not going to get the best rates, but they’re likely better than the interest you’re paying on your credit card.

If you need help figuring all of this out, you may want to go in for credit counseling. Do your best to stay away from debt relief and debt settlement firms, though, as they tend to be shady and sometimes even predatory in their dealings. Vetting a good one is difficult, so credit counseling is not only safer, but easier.

Budget

I’m not going to patronize you here. If you’re having trouble making ends meet, I totally believe you when you say you know  your budget down to the penny. Been there. Done that.

But I will suggest the Golden Rule of Budgeting. Use it when you sit down to crunch your numbers next paycheck. If you come up short, the Golden Rule allows you to be aware it’s going to happen ahead of time, which in turn allows you to hustle like crazy before you’re in a bad spot.

If done properly, you’re also highly likely to have a little bit of extra money left over at the end of the month. Take every penny and throw it at your debt and an emergency fund. Paying down debt should eventually up your credit score as a nice side effect. Having even a small emergency fund can mitigate the damage of the next financial emergency that is surely around the corner–it’ll keep you from having to pull out the plastic again.

Stop Using the Credit Card

This is really hard when you can’t make ends meet. But it has to be done. Do whatever you can to make sure that balance is going down instead of up. Frugality is key, here as you attack the big, monthly bills first:

Find Ways to Make Money Now

The biggest problem is that you don’t have the money you need to pay your bills. Reducing your bills definitely helps that problem, but the best way to solve it is to bring in more money.

Getting a promotion at work or going back to school are great long-term plans to alleviate the stress of not having enough to pay for household necessities, but they’re long-term. And you need money today.

Find ways to hustle in your off time. I know there’s not much of it. And I know it adds even more stress to an already depressing situation. You may already feel hopeless. But if you can do this for a little bit of time, there’s a decent chance your tomorrows will be far less stressful.

Here are some hustles I picked up when going through a seriously rough financial patch:

You can also do things like temp part-time, become a brand ambassador, teach English online or become a virtual assistant. This last one is particularly good if you’re into social media–it’s a task a lot of small business owners, even bloggers, don’t always have time for.

You’ve got this.

Just because your money’s a mess doesn’t mean you’re lazy. You’re going through a hard time, and it’s a lot. You’re not alone in your suffering, but you can get through it.

While you’re worth far more than money, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a handle on it. Once you do, come back and we’ll talk about specific ways to get that credit score up.

 

Should I Hire Employees or Contractors?

Definitely had this question when my small business started to grow--should I hire an employee or a contractor?

Women-owned businesses are growing disproportionately to small businesses in the rest of the economy.

These businesses tend to start out as an entity of one. But when you experience growth, you need to get more hands on deck to handle the workload.

At this point, you’re faced with a question: do I hire employees, or do I contract it out?

Hiring Employees

Hiring employees means establishing loyalty and priority, but those things come at a cost.

Cons

  • You’ll have to pay payroll taxes.
  • In all likelihood, you’ll have to pay for healthcare.
  • To be competitive, you may have to offer a retirement plan.
  • Once you get big enough, you’ll have to hire someone to manage all those people.
  • Unless you have a completely remote staff, you’ll have to rent a bigger space.

Pros

It’s not all bad, though. There are some added benefits of having a staff that’s W-2’d:

  • All those benefits mean people are likely to stick around longer.
  • Less competing priorities.
  • More ability to delegate without renegotiating contracts.
  • Though you may need a manager or have to become one yourself, your team will be far easier to coordinate than a group of freelancers.

Hiring employees? Be sure you follow this 12-step process to keep everything legit.

Contractors

I operate primarily as a contractor. When I’ve needed assistance in my business, I’ve hired contractors rather than full- or part-time employees. While there’s good things about us, there are some undeniable hangups, as well.

Cons

  • Because there are no benefits, contractors don’t have as many scruples hopping from one job to the next. In fact, you probably aren’t your contractor’s only client.
  • Because you aren’t their only client, you may not always be priority #1. While I always try to make each of my clients feel like priority #1 and have been able to maintain some decently long relationships because of it, the fact remains that in order to pay the bills you almost always have to have more than one project going.
  • It’s difficult to coordinate contractors. They’re not all required to be in the same place at the same time for meetings, so communication may get fractured across different aspects of your project.
  • If you add tasks to a contractor’s workload, expect a conversation about contract renegotiations.

Pros

  • Contractors are cheap–even if you pay them more than you would a typical employee. No payroll taxes. No obligation for healthcare. No one’s expecting a 401(k) nonetheless a match.
  • Contractors tend to be extremely self-motivated. While coordinating between different aspects of a project may be difficult, once you sic them on a task they’ll likely require less management than a group of employees.
  • Contractors are much more likely to work remotely, reducing your overhead costs for rented space.
  • If you run into a budgeting problem, you can cut a contractor–or their hours–within the legal scope of your contract. This makes trimming costs easier when things are lean, and because you know they probably have other things going on in the background, you don’t necessarily have to feel like you’re putting them out of house and home (in most cases.)

The Best Way to Retain Workers

Once you’ve found good help,  you want to keep it, whether it’s coming from an employee or a contractor. The best ways to do this are to be fair in your compensation, flexible in your workplace structure and kind even in those teachable moments.

No matter who you hire, we’re all human beings, and the respect that breeds loyalty is a two-way street.

How have you handled new hires as your business grows?

 

Why Mothers Make Phenomenal Intrapreneurs

Intrapreneurship is like entrepreneurshiph but it changes businessnes from the inside. The reason why moms are so good at it is super interesting!

Though she was only twenty-two years old, Sam Paxson was going places with her career—and she knew it. Ambitious and driven, she secured a position at a large marketing agency where she worked on big-name accounts like Aston Martin, Billabong, Ford and Fender.

Her biggest priorities were paying off her student loans and having a vibrant social life. With a career that allowed her to increase her income proportionate to her performance, her financial goals were obtainable. Being so young, she was untethered by familial responsibilities and lived that vibrant social life she sought after.

Life was good, and she kept working hard to make sure it stayed that way.

A Step Up

Eight years passed. Sam was now 30, and she happened upon a job with a very different type of company. A little ATM network, called CO-OP Financial Services, was looking for a VP of Marketing.

Bold and unafraid, Sam applied for the position—and got it. Today she largely attributes finding and getting the position to luck. But if luck is when hard work meets opportunity, Sam had done her part on the “hard work” end.

“CO-OP offered me a job because I was a very driven person who was delivering. I was also probably the most inexpensive candidate,” she admits, nodding to her youth. “They were getting a great deal.”

Since Sam joined on twelve years ago, CO-OP has evolved into a FinTech company that serves 60 million consumers. As a back-end tech provider striving to help people lead better financial lives, the company helps credit unions connect to each other so they can share branches and ATMs. Add its digital apps and fraud protection services, and CO-OP plays a large role in helping credit unions compete with banks.

“It’s a very fun and purpose-driven business,” Sam relates. “We’re living in a tech world that’s evolving so quickly that we constantly have to race towards what’s next. It’s been really exciting as a leader to live in that world.”

Lead she has. Sam has helped the company grow, and she’s been rewarded for it. She’s a big believer in meritocracy—when you deliver excellence, you’ll be compensated well for it.

Getting Paid What You’re Worth

You have to do more than simply deliver excellence, though. You have to advocate for yourself and ask to be compensated according to the value you’re providing to your employer.

“A book that really influenced me was Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do,” says Sam. “It taught me that it never hurts to ask. It never hurts to go for it. The more you do, the more you’ll get paid.

“Every time I add value to the company I’m in my bosses’ office telling them, ‘Look at the value I provided to you! You should pay me more because of it!’

“’You are relentless and hilarious,’ they all say. But doing so has served me over my twenty years in the workforce. You need to tell them, ‘Look I’m doing this great stuff–and you need to pay me well so I’ll continue doing it for you.’”

Changing Priorities

As Sam’s life progressed, her priorities changed. Today, her friends are still important to her, but her number one priority is her five-year-old son.

“He’s only going to be five for a year,” she says, “and I’m going to miss it if I’m completely focused on work. I was offered other job opportunities that required being in the office five days a week. I had to turn those opportunities down.”

One offer in particular came with a pay raise and a better title, but something about it didn’t feel quite right.

“You should always interview your potential employer as much as they’re interviewing you,” Sam notes. “During this interview, I could feel in my gut that the opportunity was more conservative and they would be more old school about how they were getting the best out of me.”

At CO-OP, Sam is given flexibility to work from home many days while still holding meetings with coworkers in their physical office on others. This setup gives her opportunities for creative engagement with others, yet also provides her with the time she needs to think and work independently.

The arrangement works best not only for the production of her work content, but also for her family as she saves hours per week that would otherwise be spent commuting. Those hours can now be dedicated to her husband and son.

Why Women are Great Intrapreneurs—and Why Big Business Needs Them

With the rise of technology, the business world is changing rapidly. As old companies try to adapt, they are in desperate need of intrapreneurs.

Intrapreneurs are the movers and shakers inside a traditional nine to five. They have the creativity and drive of entrepreneurs, but are able to direct their energy to change and innovation within an existing business rather than using their energy to build a new entity.

Sam identifies some of the necessary traits of an intrapreneur as problem solving, being creative, and possessing the ability to think on your feet. She notes that these same skills are necessary for women as they navigate motherhood.

“According to Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule, you become an expert at something once you’ve devoted 10,000 hours to practicing it. I think back on the first five years of my son’s life and what I had to juggle in order to make my life work.  As a mother, you have to problem solve, think on your feet and be creative to get things done. That’s a part of what women do. They have more practice than many people in the working world.”

Indeed, just before a child hits age two, mothers hit the 10,000 hour mark. And that’s if you’re accounting for eight hours of sleep each night, which any mother will tell you is a liberal estimate in the first twenty-four months.

Mothers have an incredible amount of experience practicing these skills, making them effective and powerful intrapreneurs.

Retaining Talented Mothers

You may remember Chatón’s powerful argument that by providing flexibility, employers can retain talented mothers and enhance their bottom line. Combine this with Sam’s theory on intrapreneurship, and there is a very real reason to accommodate mothers’ needs for flexibility.

Sam has seen this with her own team. In an industry where people climb the ladder and increase their salaries by hopping from company to company, the women and men she oversees have a typical tenure of six to eight years.

“They stay because they get to work on exciting things,” she explains. “They get to work the hours they want to work–where they want to work them. All they need to do is deliver excellence and they can keep working in that way. In return, I get a happy, connected and loyal team.”

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