Tag: Nashville career coach


How Your Grit Can Help You Negotiate a Better Salary

My grandmother was the hardest working person I’ve ever known (not just woman, but PERSON). She had grit. And she knew how to value her hard work. In honor of Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, allow me to share her story.

My Grandmother’s Grit

My grandmother worked in a textile mill for a total of 54 years, well beyond the age when most people retire. At the same time, she worked her and my grandfather’s farm until age 91. Because my grandfather couldn’t walk very well, my grandmother did much of the leg-work of running the farm. She also had a side-hustle doing alterations, and raised two children while doing all of this.

My grandmother could pick 100 gallons of strawberries in 90 degree heat at record speed. She was three times faster than people half her age. She was such a hard worker that when her shoe fell off while stooped over picking green beans, she never even stopped to put it back on. A few weeks later her sister noticed the shoe tangled up in some vines. She asked whose shoe it was. My grandmother responded casually, “Oh, it’s mine. I walked out of it and just kept going.”

My grandmother was such a hard worker that on the morning she had a major stroke and was paralyzed on one side of her body, she wouldn’t let my grandfather call 911. Instead she made him hold her up while she fixed breakfast for him with one arm. He had to sneak and call 911.

Know Your Worth

My grandmother was the hardest working person I ever knew, but there was one thing she wouldn’t do. She would never work a job that didn’t pay her fairly. In fact, when she had to enter a nursing home at age 91, she still wanted to work. So, she asked the nursing home director for a job. The director told her she could help deliver mail to the rooms, but they wouldn’t be able to pay her. She responded with, “No thank you.”

Don’t get me wrong. My grandmother was a very giving and generous person. She’d make sure everyone else had food in their stomachs and shirts on their backs long before herself. She denied herself a lot of things so others could have more. But she also understood her value, and never cheapened her skills.

My grandmother’s grit serves as an example to me, and hopefully to other women, that our skills and abilities are valuable in the workplace. We should not settle for a compensation not commensurate with our experience or the services we’re providing. Instead, we should stand up for what we’re worth, or be willing to walk away.

If you know you’re a hard worker and you’re good at your job, get the confidence to ask for what’s fair. Know your worth and negotiate that new job offer or that contract with a new client. Ask for your long over-due raise or promotion. Don’t demand this kind of respect, but instead, command it. And teach your daughters and granddaughters to do the same.

Need help improving your salary negotiation skills? paNASH can help! Email me to get started.

Could You Pivot to Become a Good Freelancer if Necessary?

Does your future include becoming a freelancer? It’s very likely!

“By 2027, a majority of American workers won’t be traditional employees. And with the decline of the traditional employment model, benefits like health care, sick leave, and pensions will largely become a thing of the past. Freelancers are ahead of that curve…in building the new safety net.”

Rafael Espinal, President & Executive Director of Freelancers Union

Last week, I asked my readers to share with me how COVID-19 has changed their career plan for the better. I received two stories from freelancers thriving in the fitness industry, one of the hardest hit industries during COVID.

Freelancer Story #1

A former client emailed me to say he’s used his time during COVID to make some necessary and helpful changes to his fitness and health business. John used the personal branding methods I taught him, along with my model for virtual courses, to create online classes for his own clients. This has opened up a whole new way to reach people he wasn’t able to work with in person.

He’s recently introduced a six-part course on helping you develop mindful eating habits to find peace with food and weight loss. Check out his site at JohnHolley.com.

Freelancer Story #2

Seth and Megan are a married couple I first met when they were both working in the music industry. Seth was a touring musician, so he was already a freelancer. Megan had more traditional employment in the music industry. They both started their fitness business as a side hustle in 2017. But 2020 forced them to go full-time with it.

“Seth and I started Fitness Porter on the side with the goal of eventually transitioning it into our full-time income. But we recognized that when we only put part-time hours into it, growth was extremely slow!

“In late 2019, Seth decided to come off the road. At the time, Fitness Porter wasn’t making enough to support our family, so Seth started personal training at a gym. A few months later the pandemic hit, and the gyms closed.

“With the gyms closed, we enjoyed spending a majority of our time working on growing our business, which gave us momentum. At some point, we had the insane idea of letting go of our steady income and going ‘all-in’ on our business. It didn’t take us long to make the decision to let go of the financial security of a salaried job. We both agreed it was the right thing to do. We wanted to continue with the momentum the pandemic provided us.

“Our plan to grow our business is still evolving. We’re still working hard and leaning into the many hats it takes to be an entrepreneur. If it wasn’t for COVID, we would’ve never tasted what it’s like to work a business full-time. We wouldn’t have seen the results, and we wouldn’t have been brave enough to take the financial risk.

“Since COVID, we’ve had a significant increase in clients, and we’re diving deep into new areas of growth.”

Key take-aways

The key take-aways from these stories are important to remember.

1. Prepare for the future

As you can see from Espinal’s quote above, freelancing is not just a major trend, but a cultural shift in the workforce.

I have a dear colleague and friend who has dreams of freelancing. Her husband already freelances. Because of this, she feels it’s wise for her to stay in her current job with healthcare benefits instead of going out on her own.

But what happens if her employer decides in the next six years to stop providing benefits? Will it finally open a door for her she wasn’t able to open herself? More importantly, will she look back and wish she’d started investing full-time into her freelance business sooner? Luckily, she’s already started freelancing on the side. But like Seth and Megan, she won’t see full income results until she either decides, or is forced, to go full-time with her side-hustle.

One day, you may find yourself working as your own boss and paying for your own benefits, even if you never planned to. There is no one right way to make this career shift. But wouldn’t you want to be prepared? Now is the time to start thinking about what this will look like for you, and how you should pivot when the time comes. paNASH can help you with this.

2. Get on the same page

If you’re married, make sure you and your spouse are in agreement with your career plans, because your decisions affect them too.

Even if you don’t plan to start a business together, you’re going to need your spouse’s support, especially in the beginning when business is slow.

3. Know what to expect

As Megan said, there are many hats a freelancer and entrepreneur must wear. You don’t have to have a business degree to start your own business. But you also must understand this:  a skill does not a business make.

Along with the service or product you’re skilled to offer, you have to have some basic skills to market your business and to manage the financials of it. These can all be learned as long as you maintain flexibility, discipline, and a teachable spirit. Just don’t let the learning curve of running a business intimidate you.

4. Don’t let fear intimidate you

I’ve been there. I know how scary it is to take the leap of starting your own business. I left my full-time job with benefits in August of 2008, right before the Great Recession hit. If I hadn’t left then, I would’ve been too afraid to leave my job once the crisis hit.

But I didn’t let fear or the the lack of experience running my own business intimidate me. Instead, I learned from various sources what I needed to know as I went along.

Having been through this career pivot myself, I’ve been able to teach my clients what I’ve learned. As a result, I’ve saved them a little time and energy in starting their own thing. I can help you do the same.

5. Make your product or services accessible

Like John, there may be a time when you have to shift how you deliver your product and services so they’re accessible to current and future clients. This is where your creativity comes in.

Look at what others are doing to see what works. Determine how you can tweak it to your own brand. If a necessary shift requires a re-brand, paNASH can help! We can walk you through the same branding process we taught John.

This service is useful for anyone having to make a career change, even if they’re not starting their own business, but just changing jobs or industries. Whether you work for yourself or not, your skill set is your product, and you need to make it as accessible for as many opportunities as possible to continue making a living.

Need help?

If you need help preparing for the future of your career, figuring out how to become a freelancer, or re-branding your skill set, email me. I’m happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you!

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How Has COVID-19 Changed Your Career Plan for the Better?

Recently, one of Keith Urban’s guitarists was telling me, and several others, about how the forced shutdown of concert tours due to COVID-19 has changed his career plan for the better. Since being forced off tour, he said he realized how much more he wants to be home with his family.

He decided, once concert touring starts up again, he won’t be going back. This requires a bit of a career change, from touring musician on the road, to session musician in the studio. As a result, he’ll still get to pursue his passion for music, now while getting to go home to his family each night.

Another friend of mine, who runs a mulch company, has discovered how the changes he had to make to his offices to help stop the spread of COVID, have actually saved his company a lot of money. He’s realized he can continue the new adaptations after COVID to further cut unnecessary expenses, without violating his no-layoff policy.

He told me, “Lori, I’ve learned to never let a crisis go to waste.”

What’s your definition of a better career plan?

While coming off the road was better for the guitarist who now has a family, the young single guitarist who takes his place might also find himself in a better situation than before. He’ll now get to travel the world and play with one of the most popular recording artists.

So, what’s your definition of a better career plan? Has COVID changed your career plan or your definition of “better”? I’d love to hear your story, so please email me! I may even feature your story in some upcoming content releases.

Don’t let a crisis go to waste

On the other hand, if you’re in a situation where COVID has negatively impacted your career plan, and you need help figuring out what’s next, paNASH is here to help. We can help you sort through your career crisis to find a better plan.

Don’t let this opportunity go to waste! Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. Any information you share will remain confidential.

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How to Know What Questions to Ask in a Job Interview

I’ve previously written on the importance of asking questions of your own when interviewing for a job. Not only do they help you make a wiser decision when it comes to multiple job offers, they also help you win the interview!

But with various interview processes, and the latest changes in the way we work due to the pandemic, there are more questions to consider asking in your next job interview.

Interview process-related questions

I’m currently working with a client going through a lengthy interview process. It includes tests, writing assignments, personality assessments, and several rounds of interviews. So far, she’s made it through every hoop to the final round.

But specifically, the personality assessment hoop can be a tricky one. While it’s not illegal for employers to require you to take a personality assessment during the hiring process, it does open the company up to potential liability. Even the creators of the popular DISC assessment do not recommend it for pre-employment screening. The reason is because it doesn’t measure aptitude, skills, or other factors critical to the position.

So, if you find yourself having to take a personality assessment in a job interview, I advise you to ask the same questions I advised my client to ask:

  • What is the test measuring?
  • How will you use the results in making hiring decisions?
  • What weight will it carry compared to other decision-making factors?
  • Are the results used to determine best fit for the company culture, or for the job role?
  • Are the results going in my file?
  • Will you share the results with me and interpret them?

Pandemic-related questions

The current pandemic has changed not only the way we work, but also the way companies hire. I’ve previously written about possible questions the candidate should expect in interviews during and after the pandemic.

Now I want to share questions the candidate should also ask during and after the pandemic. These questions include:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which adaptations will you keep after the pandemic has passed?
  • What is the projected outlook for the company and this industry based on the effects of the pandemic?
  • How have you supported your employees during the pandemic?

These questions will help you determine more about the company’s culture and how it adapts to crises.

Conclusion

Never forget, the job interview is a two-way street. You should always have questions of your own prepared. Doing so shows your interest in the company and helps you make better career decisions.

If you need help preparing for your next interview, let’s talk!

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How to Answer, “What Do You Do?” When Unemployed

It’s the question we all get when first meeting someone. “So, what do you do?” Although it’s not specified in the question, we know the person’s asking what we do for a living. But how do we answer this when unemployed, and without feeling like a failure?

A lot of people are currently unemployed due to the pandemic. They dread this question. Maybe you also dread it, even if you’re not unemployed.

Being unemployed doesn’t define you

First, we have to let go of the false idea that our worth is based in our work. Our careers and jobs don’t define us.

And while our worth also doesn’t come from our skills and talents, we can better answer this question by looking back to see which God-given skills are the common thread in our past experience, including paid work, volunteer work, and what I call “fun work.”

A personal example of “fun work” is when I filled in at the local paddle board shop when they were short-staffed. This job was fun because I got to be on my paddle board, and I got to be outside on the water. Plus, it was a nice way to add some variety to my regular career coaching schedule. But it was also fun because I got to use my gifts of teaching and encouragement when training new paddlers.

These God-given talents in encouraging and teaching others have been a common thread throughout my experience. Not only do I currently use them in my career coaching, I’ve used them in my past work in higher education while advising college students, and when working with aspiring recording artists in the Nashville music industry. I’ve also used them when volunteering in organizations like Project Connect. I’ve even seen how these talents have been used in my personal relationships to help friends and family.

I love encouraging others. It’s a natural, God-given gift and talent I can use whether I’m employed or not.

A new answer

After looking back and realizing this, I now answer the question “What do you do?” differently from my previous usual answer of, “I do career coaching.” Instead, I now say, “I encourage others.” This response  leads to more meaningful conversations.

What about you? What natural gift or talent have you used throughout your past experience and other areas of your life? You can use this to answer the question, “What do you do?”, both when your employed and unemployed.

If you need encouragement, or if you’d like to discover new and creative ways to use your own talents in helping others, let’s talk. I’d be happy to schedule a complimentary initial consultation with you. Click here to get started.

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