Category Archives: Ways to Make Money

How to Negotiate Your Salary As a Woman

Pinning for my next annual review! Great, unique tips on how to successfully negotiate your salary.

Women get paid less than men. It’s a fact.

Part of the wage gap has been attributed to the fact that women don’t feel comfortable negotiating. There is some level of truth in that. According to a study done by Glassdoor, only 32% of women negotiate their initial salary with an employer compared to 48% of men.

But do women have justification for being more hesitant?

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. In Glassdoor’s study, only 4% of women secured more pay via negotiations, while men had a success rate of 15%.

Another study–this one scholarly–showed that women are 25% less likely than their male counterparts to get a raise when they request it.

Still others show that not only do women not get the raise, but they’re sometimes punished for asking at all.

But that doesn’t mean all is lost. Today, we’ll get some hot tips from the experiences of four successful women–all of whom have successfully negotiated substantial pay increases.

Have a job offer on the table? Here is how to negotiate your salary.

Negotiating Your First Salary

Being one of the millennials that unfortunately reached career-entry age at the height of the Recession, I understand being hesitant to negotiate with no experience. If you have a job offer on the the table, you don’t want to lose it.

But the year is not 2008 anymore, and the pay at which you enter the workforce compounds over your entire career. Negotiating your very first salary will mean higher pay throughout your working life; if someone wants to convince you to make a lateral move, they’re going to have to offer you more money than your first boss is paying you. The more money your first boss is paying you, the more money you’ll be able to demand for that lateral move.

“I was too afraid to negotiate my salary when I landed my first career-level position,” says Chonce, a current freelance writer who runs My Debt Epiphany. “Now, I regret that because I probably could have earned more money instead of just accepting the raises I was offered.”

Chonce’s regrets are not unique. In fact, only one of our experts negotiated her first salary. She also entered her career in a 1099 position rather than being a W-2 employee.

“I started by negotiating my fee for my first piece of content written for a client,” says Miranda Marquit, freelance writer of Planting Money Seeds. “It went reasonably well, I suppose. I didn’t get what I asked for, but I did get more than they originally offered. However, I didn’t really understand market rates and I perhaps should have done more research.”

Talk to people in the industry to find out the nuances of current market rates. While finding info on the internet is a starting point, it’s unlikely to be completely useful for regional markets or your specialized skill set. That’s assuming the data you find is even current.

Talking to a real-life person is the best way to get an idea of what you should be charging.

If you're good at what you do, use it as leverage to negotiate your raise during the interview.

How to Negotiate a Salary Increase

Are you great at what you do? Then don’t be reluctant to ask for a salary increase!

Natasha, who works in Public Health and owns Inspiring Single Mothers, didn’t feel comfortable negotiating her pay until she was offered her third professional position. But when she did, she went in prepared.

“I became more confident and knowledgeable of salary ranges for various positions,” she says. “I talked about my knowledge of the work, and had a reputation for being the subject-matter expert in that area for the division.”

Even if you know you’re phenomenal at your job, you might still feel nervous asking for a pay bump. Freelance writer Kayla Sloan has a life hack for knowing what to say when negotiating salary–or, in her case, freelance rates.

“I use a script–this makes me less nervous about what to say! I point out our past working relationship, the results we’ve achieved, and how I’ve helped their bottom line.”

She also shares what she’s done to increase her skills and knowledge base since the last time compensation was discussed.

When you’ve been doing everything right in your career, document your efforts. It’s the information you’ll need to convince your client or boss to up your pay, and simply reviewing your experience and training should give you the confidence you need to ask for the raise in the first place.

Let's get into the finer details of negotiating a salary increase.

The Nitty Gritty of Negotiating a Raise

Okay. You know it’s important to negotiate for more pay. And you know you need to have an idea of what others are paid on top of a documented list of what you’ve done to bring value to your employer.

But how do you even bring this topic up? And once you do, how do you exude the necessary confidence  to do this successfully?

“Leverage your annual review if you have an employer,” Chonce advises, “or just reach out to your boss or clients and ask for any feedback on your performance.”

She does so every six to twelve months.

Once you’ve opened up the conversation, Natasha has a specific formula for your conversation:

  1. Receive an offer.
  2. Reply with a counteroffer only.
  3. If the recruiter/manager/boss asks why they should give you the amount you countered with, present the information you’ve prepared on your value and accomplishments, including  formal and informal commendations and awards.

Oh, and that counteroffer? Miranda reminds us to make sure it’s higher than what we actually want. That way if they come at you with another number, you’ll have room to negotiate without going below your bare minimum.

Get a script together before negotiating your salary so you know what to say.

What if I really need this job?

If you can’t walk away from negotiations, it does take a lot of your bargaining power away. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t make an attempt.

“If I were in this scenario,” Kayla says, “I’d ask for more than I wanted, hoping that during negotiations the final number would be closer to what I had in my head as “ideal”. For example, ask for 25% if you really want 20%. If you want 25%, ask for 30%.”

If you find you’ve hard-lined yourself into a position where you have to walk or cave, another tactic is to negotiate something other than money.

“In the past I accepted what I had to and actively looked for other gigs that would pay more so that I could quit the lower-paying job,” Miranda recounts. “Another tack is to talk about other benefits, like flexibility or days off, rather than pushing on higher pay. ”

By bringing these other benefits into the picture, you may be able to convince your boss to still give you something–even if they’re unable to give you a raise. This allows you to keep both your job and your confidence as you’re not walking away defeated or empty handed.

If you really need the money and an extra day off just won’t cut it, Chonce suggests taking more on.

“You can also ask that you add an additional task to your workload. That way, you’d get your pay increase, but you’d be doing more or different work. ”

This isn’t necessarily a raise in the traditional sense, but it does allow you to pad your bring-home pay so you can make ends meet. It also provides your boss or client with even more value so they’re not walking away from the meeting with a bad taste in their mouth.

Be Cognizant of the Pay Gap at Your Place of Employment

You may have heard the argument that the gender pay gap only exists because women choose to go into lower-paying fields. While that does have some effect on the overall numbers, it doesn’t account for the entire gap. Women frequently get paid less than men for doing the exact same job.

“Do your research and know your worth,” Miranda advises. “Talk to men in your field to find out what they make. I was shocked when I talked to another writer, and he was charging twice my fee. I was a better writer. I just didn’t realize that I could charge that much. Know the going rate, based on experience, skill, and knowledge, and ask for that.”

Increase Your Negotiating Power with Your Personal Finances

When asked what a woman should do as she prepares to negotiate her salary, Natasha gave sage advice that she should empower herself by getting her personal finances in order.

“She should put herself in a strong and steady position as soon as she’s employed–whether entry-level or mid-range–by staying out of debt, building savings, and forming genuine connections in her field. By doing these things, she is in a stronger position to negotiate or walk away.”

 

 

 

Have you ever negotiated your salary? Share you experiences in the comments!

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?