How Being A Certified Woman Owned Business Can Help Grow Your Company

How Being A Certified Woman Owned Business Can Help Grow Your Company

Looking for a community to have your back? You’re in luck. Ellevate Network is the largest community of women at work. We show up for each other, helping everyone — no matter their background or aspirations — build a career they love. And, more importantly, we mobilize our collective power to change the culture of business. Join Ellevate for free today.

If you’re a woman who owns a business — congrats! It’s fantastic to hang your shingle and go off on your own. There is another advantage to being a Woman Owned Business: getting officially certified as one on federal and local levels. The government and large corporations are the largest buyers of goods and services and often award contracts specifically to women. These contracts can be constant, reliable sources of income.

In her recent webinar, Jean Kristensen of Jean Kristensen Associates explained what it takes to get certified and how to navigate securing government and corporate contracts. Kristensen has started three businesses that have been successful thanks in large part to being a Woman Owned Business and winning government contracts. She now advises women on how to understand the system.

[Related: Join Ellevate virtually for our Inclusive Managers and Leading With Empathy Series Capstone Event, our final discussion about the next steps we all can take to create Inclusive Workplaces. During the 2014 fiscal year, the U.S. government awarded 267,168 contracts to Woman Owned Businesses for approximately two billion dollars. The top contacts were awarded for professional services, medical and surgical supplies and administrative support.

Some businesses also have a 5% goal for subcontracting work to Women Owned Businesses once they win a contract. This can be as high as 30% in some state and local jurisdictions. So even if a Woman Owned Business doesn’t directly win a government contract, they can still gain business through subcontracting. But you have to know how to find these opportunities in the first place.

What Is The Purpose of Certification?

Being a certified Woman Owned Business is a tool designed to increase opportunities for women. It’s not a charity program nor does it give women special treatment. It’s designed to increase visibility. It’s also a way for government and corporations that have the aforementioned subcontracting goals worked into their contacts to meet directly with Women Owned Businesses.

There are two kinds of certifications: Women Owned Small Business and Woman Business Enterprise. A Woman Owned Small Business (WOSB) is a program that provides greater access to federal contracting opportunities for Woman Owned and Economically Disadvantaged Women Owned Small Business. (EDWOSB).

The program allows contracting officers to set aside specific contracts for WOSB and EDWOSB that will help federal agencies achieve the existing statutory goal of 5% of federal contracting dollars being awarded to WOSB. An EDWOSB meets a certain financial criteria. The owner’s assets, excluding their business and their home, is under $250,000. That woman, and her business, in considered economically disadvantaged.

WOSB certification is overseen by the Small Business Association (SBA).
In order to be considered to be a WOSB the company must:

The SBA will verify this information by collecting documents such as tax returns, bank statements, operating agreements, etc. They will also ask for birth certificates and passports to prove citizenship. WOSB is unique to the Federal government. It is a program that a person can self-certify for. As long as you can prove that your company is owned by women you can start marketing your company, almost immediately, as a Woman Owned Small Business while the documents are being verified.

The second classification is Woman Business Enterprise. This certification is used by local, state, and other quasi-government agencies such as authorities, airlines and in the private sector. The qualifications for a WBE are similar to those of a WOSB. The company must:

It’s also important to know about:

What Does It Take to Succeed As A Certified Woman Owned Business?
Just because you get certified doesn’t mean that government contracts will magically start appearing at your door. Kristensen said the key is to have a plan when it comes to winning bids.

The Ability To Do Business And The Power Of Teaming Up

It’s important to know what type of project could you take on. Contractors will likely ask about the last project that you worked on that is similar to what they are looking for. Buyers often say that inexperienced companies are not going to cut their teeth with them. You need to have some level of experience in their space in order to be a contender. One way to get around this is to team up with someone who has experience for either a full contract or a subcontract.

Kristensen did this with a cleaning company whose contract with a large bank also needed to supply security. Kristensen ran a security company, and it was a great fit. She then went on to pitch her company’s security services to other banks and in turn won many more contracts.

Let Buyers Know Who You Are

Once you research what groups are buying in your area, make sure they know who you are. Research shows that it takes 18 months of continual effort before you score your first contract. That said, a commitment to marketing yourself is key to staying on buyers’ radars. Kristensen recommends consistent but meaningful communication with buyers.

Good public relations such as a professional website, social media, direct mail, email blasts, etc. are all tools to let people know about your services. Make sure your target audience sees you and knows you. Highlight your unique unique service offering and position yourself as thought leader.

Looking for a community to have your back? You’re in luck. Ellevate Network is the largest community of women at work. We show up for each other, helping everyone — no matter their background or aspirations — build a career they love. And, more importantly, we mobilize our collective power to change the culture of business. Join Ellevatefor free today. Read the rest of this article here

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This 29 Year Old Cancer Survivor Will Be The Youngest American Woman In Space

This year, the once-restricted world of space travel is about to open up in a way the nation has never seen, and a 29-year-old woman will help usher in that change.

Hayley Arceneaux, a physician assistant at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, was the first person selected last week to participate in the country’s first commercial spaceflight, scheduled to take off in the fall from Kennedy Space Center in Florida aboard a SpaceX rocket bound for Earth’s orbit.

The crew will all be non-astronauts, led by billionaire Jared Isaacman, who bought the flight from SpaceX in January and set aside two seats for St. Jude. Arceneaux, who was treated at St. Jude for bone cancer when she was 10, will join Isaacman and two other passengers who have not yet been announced on the flight. One will be a sweepstakes winner as part of a campaign to raise $200 million in donations for St. Jude.

Isaacman had previously said he wanted to give the seat to a frontline health care worker and someone who was a cancer survivor. Arceneaux, who started working at the hospital early last year with children who have leukemia and lymphoma, got an out-of-the-blue call in early January asking if she’d take the first seat.

“Yes! Please!” she replied, before agreeing to ask her mom first.

“[My mom], Colleen, is a tough lady, she has been through a lot. And I love to travel, I love going to new places, and so while this was so surprising to hear, at the same time, it kind of fit,” Arceneaux told The 19th. “When I told her about this, she was in total agreement that I couldn’t pass it up.”

With that “yes,” Arceneaux also agreed to shatter some existing limitations in the rapidly expanding industry of space travel.

Under current NASA medical guidelines, Arceneaux would have not been able to participate in the mission: She has an artificial joint in her leg and a titanium rod in her left thigh bone stemming from her treatment. She spent a year undergoing intensive chemotherapy and surgery to remove a lump that had formed on her left knee. She had to learn to walk again.

Astronauts undergo stringent physical tests to qualify for flight, and a prosthesis would have disqualified her for a mission if it weren’t for the commercial nature of the flight. Women were initially excluded from spaceflight because of assumptions around physical fitness and gendered expectations.

Although space is becoming more diverse — about half of the new astronaut class is made up of women — just 40 years ago, American women hadn’t flown to space at all. Even now, only about 12 percent of all the astronauts in the world who have been to space have been women; SpaceX, for example, has only launched one woman since it started operating missions last year.

Arceneaux would be the youngest American to go to space, as well as the first pediatric cancer patient. She will also be among the first civilian American women to reach space, following Anousheh Ansari, who flew to the ISS in 2006. Beth Moses, who flew on a suborbital flight in 2019 and is considered by some to have been a civilian when she flew, is a professional commercial astronaut. Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian woman selected to go to space, tragically died shortly after take-off in the Space Shuttle Challenger explosion that claimed seven lives in 1986.

“Women belong in space … I’m not going to be the last,” Arceneaux said. “And I am incredibly excited to represent women, and then represent those who aren’t physically perfect.”

Arceneaux’s experience at St. Jude — where she grew up playing pranks on staff and organizing dance recitals — marked her in such a way that she declared early on that she wanted to work there. In the years since, the occupations changed. Maybe she’d be a doctor, a nurse, or maybe a researcher, a fundraiser, a dietician. She eventually landed on physician assistant.

Arceneaux at St. Jude. (Photos courtesy of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis)

Since finding out about the flight, Arceneaux has become quite popular with patients who want to hear about her mission. She has already been to SpaceX’s California headquarters a few times, and she’ll be in Florida to watch a launch later this spring before her own takes off. She also has plenty of preparations ahead: centrifuge training to prepare for G-force, simulations in the capsule and learning the principles of orbital mechanics.

She will also serve as the chief medical officer on the mission.

Arceneaux will be in space about three to four days circling Earth before splashing down off the Florida coast.

She said she’s most excited about serving as a beacon of hope for other cancer patients who often don’t see themselves represented in historic milestones. The mission is aptly named “Inspiration4.”

Just recently, a mother and daughter approached Arceneaux at St. Jude and asked if she was the Hayley they’d heard about who was going to space. The little girl had just had a difficult night and she confided in Arceneaux that she was discouraged because she couldn’t run or jump.

Arceneaux perked up. “I can’t run or jump, either, but it’s not stopping me from going in space,” she told her.

“I hope that that shows them to not limit themselves,” Arceneaux said, “because they really can do more than they even imagine.”

As Arceneaux prepares for the mission, her family is excited to see her take on the responsibility. Her brother and sister-in-law are both aerospace engineers in Alabama, and they’ve helped reassure her about the safety of the flight. Her dad, too, instilled a big love of space in Arceneaux when she was a kid, encouraging her to watch space movies like “Apollo 13” and visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, which she did when she was younger.

She has a photo with her parents and brother in front of a green screen floating in what appears to be the inside of the International Space Station. It won’t be too different from what Arceneaux will do from orbit inside SpaceX’s Dragon capsule.

Ahead of the flight, she is also preparing to take something into space with her that holds some significance for her family. Three years ago, Arceneaux’s father, Howard, died of kidney cancer. She said whatever she decides to take, it’ll be to honor him.

Chabeli Carrazana portrait

 

 

Source: This 29-year-old cancer survivor will be the youngest American woman in space

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Hayley Arceneaux, a 29-year-old cancer survivor who has been selected as the second civilian member of the SpaceX Inspiration 4 crew, joins TODAY for her first official interview as a civilian astronaut. “It came out of the blue,” she says. “Immediately I said ‘yes, put my name down.’” » Watch TODAY All Day: http://www.youtube.com/today » Subscribe to TODAY: http://on.today.com/SubscribeToTODAY » Watch the latest from TODAY: http://bit.ly/LatestTODAY
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Six Reasons For More Aussie Women To Join The Tech Industry

The significance of gender diversity in the workplace is no secret and nowhere is the gender divide more apparent than in the tech sector.

This has long-term implications for the tech sector as studies show that the more diverse perspectives there are in the room, the better the ideas, outcomes and ultimately the bottom line.

The recent Women in STEM Decadal Plan found only 27 per cent of girls in Australia are likely to undertake science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in school – the lowest of all Asia-Pacific countries.

“The future of work will be dominated by STEM, but there is a huge shortage of these skills in Australia, with many organisations looking overseas to hire top tech talent,” says Rachel Gately, Co-Founder of Australian advanced machine learning company, Trellis Data. “The IT industry has long been dominated by men, but with digital technologies becoming more prevalent, there’s never been a better time for women to consider a job in the tech sector.”

If you’re thinking about a career in tech, here are six things you need to consider:

Financial stability

The technology sector often tops lists for high salaries and job opportunities – Seek’s latest data found ICT had the jobs with the highest pay in Australia. With COVID-19 forcing organisations to embrace digital, technology jobs are now in a stronger position compared to many other industries. The Federal Government is also investing over one billion dollars in the nation’s technology and innovation capabilities, so not only is there good money but job security is also assured. With strong demand for tech talent, there is more scope for women to build a career and progress quickly.

Work-life balance

There’s been a significant shift in work culture in recent years, with parents sharing responsibilities and employees expecting better work-life balance. Businesses now offer greater support for women, allowing them to work from home, part-time, or even providing on-site childcare.

Workplace flexibility has also accelerated over the last 12 months due to the pandemic. This means there is greater opportunity for women to not just enter the tech industry, but to reach senior positions.

According to Gately, “Providing work-life balance is no longer a perk for employers but a must-have. We encourage staff to work the hours that they’re most productive. Some leave work early to coach their kids in sport or pick-up kids from school. Others start late because they prefer to work later. Having women in leadership ensures this attitude towards flexibility is ingrained in company culture.”

Technology needs women

Despite a growing number of jobs in STEM, only a quarter of graduates in technology in the developed world are female – even though more women have degrees than men. So, there is a huge window for women to bridge the gender divide. Science has also found that women have higher intuitiveness and empathy than men, which are traits often missing when developing tech products – female led innovation creates tech with more people in mind. In fact, women are found to be better at connecting tech with business outcomes – according to Fortune, women-led companies have historically performed three times better than those with male CEOs.

Never get bored

We know that technology moves fast. The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report found 65 per cent of children starting primary school now, will have jobs that don’t exist yet. This digital future means there is always something new to learn, and scope to get creative to find new solutions. “A career in tech means you’ll never be bored,” says Gately. “We’re always looking for fresh ideas, so my staff have creative freedom to invent and discover new things in technology and machine learning – we specifically set aside time for this each week. It helps foster an environment where people can constantly learn and where everyone has a voice.”

Change the world

Emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the internet of things aren’t just transforming businesses but also being used to improve lives. In Russia, Impulse Neiry is using world-first neural interfaces to detect neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s several years in advance, and NASA technology is being used to conserve endangered whale sharks. Tech companies such as Google are also now leading investments in clean energy. There are so many ways to help people, animals and the planet using tech, and women have the potential to be a part of it.

Empower other women

According to a Microsoft survey, girls in the US consider tech careers at age 11 but lose interest soon after, with many blaming a lack of female mentors and gender diversity. With more women taking on STEM roles, we have the power to challenge the status quo and increase the voices of women in the industry. By considering a career in tech, you can empower more young girls to get involved. As a woman in tech, you have the opportunity to present in public forums, share your story with others and raise your profile in the industry.

Rachel Gately

Rachel Gately is the Co-Founder and Director of Operations at Trellis Data, a leading Australian advanced Machine Learning firm.

Keep up to date with Dynamic Business on LinkedInTwitterFacebook and Instagram.

Source: Six reasons for more Aussie women to join the tech industry – Dynamic Business

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Melanie Perkins’ $3.2 billion design platform, Canva, is one of the world’s most valuable female-led start-ups. CNBC Make It’s Karen Gilchrist met with the 32-year-old Australian entrepreneur in Sydney to find out how she’s taking on tech giants Microsoft and Adobe. —–

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How These Women Investors Crushed It In 2020

In an investment industry known for big egos, overconfident analysts and “activists” who routinely tell CEOs how to run their companies, investor Nancy Zevenbergen and her team of four portfolio managers differentiate themselves by simply listening.

Zevenbergen, 61, founder of $5.7 billion (assets) Zevenbergen Capital Investments, believes the crucial job of an investor in today’s economy is to uncover the next great entrepreneur or technological innovation early on. The style is about “optimism and a view toward what the future might be,” she says. According to Zevenbergen, her task is to be curious and “understand the ‘crazy’ visions of new leaders and become investors alongside them.” If she likes a company, her Seattle-based firm will load up and watch from the sidelines, tracking the business patiently and holding their shares so long as growth doesn’t stall. Rarely do they worry too much about valuation.

This humble approach to investing has yielded results that make Zevenbergen among the best investors in the world. She has stuck by mercurial Elon Musk and owned Tesla for about a decade; Tesla’s stock is up 730% this year, and is the top performing stock of the ten years. She discovered Ottawa, Canada-based ecommerce company Shopify and its founder CEO Tobi Lütke in late 2016 when it was trading below $50; it now trades for $1,170.

Last September, Zillow chief executive Rich Barton decided the real estate platform would begin buying homes, leading to complaints from skeptics who sent its shares cratering 20% to below $30. Zevenbergen’s team liked Barton’s experimentation and built a large position. Fifteen months later, Zillow now trades for $140.

Nancy Zeverbergen
Seattle-based Nancy Zevenbergen calls investing with a less than five-year time frame “truly speculative.” Case in point: She’s owned Amazon since it traded in the $60s and still holds shares after a 90-fold rise. Tim Pannell for Forbes

With stock-picks like these, Zevenbergen’s Innovative Growth Fund (SCATX) and Genea Fund (ZVGNX) are up a staggering 126% and 154%, respectively, in 2020. Of over 1,000 peer funds tracked by Morningstar, the two mutual funds rank in the top percentile. 

Zevenbergen created her firm from her living room in the late 1980s with just $500,000 in assets while she nursed a young child. Her flagship strategy has beaten the S&P 500 Index by around four percentage points annually since 1987, but 2020 was a watershed. Assets more than doubled soaring towards $6 billion, based on performance and inflows to her mutual funds.

Zevenbergen is not the only woman fund manager who has crushed competition in 2020. Forbes found at least a half a dozen firms led by women-led funds that have blown away their peers and drawn in tens of billions of dollars in assets collectively since the start of January.

Cathie Wood, founder of Ark Investments, had the best year of anyone. In 2014, Wood, 65, created Ark with the idea of packaging stock-picking into tax-efficient exchange traded funds, and focusing exclusively on breakthrough innovations in genomics, robotics, financial technology, autonomous driving, digital services, and artificial intelligence. 

Six years later, Ark manages nearly $44 billion in assets, up from just $300 million at the end of 2016. This year, Ark funds have pulled in over $10 billion in new assets, led by extraordinary returns. Her flagship Ark Innovation Fund (ARKK) has seen assets soar to $17 billion, fueled by a 154% gain in 2020 and a 46% average annual return over the past five years. Her $6 billion Ark Genomic revolution ETF is up even more this year. “I wanted individual investors to catch the wave,” says Wood of today’s enormous technological change. Her funds were designed for those “willing to step out and away from fixed income and into some of the most exciting stocks in history.”

Ark publishes its financial models, trading logs, and research to the investing public, and the firm’s analysts are happy to engage in discussion on Twitter, opening themselves to criticism and mockery. Wood’s $4,000 a share valuation of Tesla a year ago drew many scoffs on Wall Street. But her heady valuation was spot on. Short sellers have been burned by Tesla’s rise, while female investors like Zevenbergen and Wood have been patient bulls. On Friday, Tesla was added to the S&P 500 Index.

Female investing success in 2020 extends well beyond soaring growth stocks. Women-run funds are leading the way in everything from small cap stocks, to emerging market debt portfolios, dividend paying companies, and sustainable investments.

Amy Zhang, portfolio manager of the Alger Small Cap Focus Fund (AOFIX) and Mid Cap Focus Fund (AFOIX) was hired in 2015 to expand Alger’s presence in niche small and mid-cap stocks. When Zhang arrived at Alger, the Small Cap Focus Fund had just $16 million in assets. Now, after a 54% return in 2020 and a 30% annual average return over the past five years, Zhang’s Small Cap Focus Fund has $7.5 billion in assets.

Top holdings include refrigerated logistics upstart CryoPort and fast casual restaurant Wingstop. Her Mid Cap Focus Fund, launched in mid-2018, has attracted over $500 million in assets as it has soared by 84% in 2020, bolstered by casino operator Penn National Gaming and power equipment manufacturer Generac.

Long before sustainable investments became a prolific buzzword, Karina Funk, an MIT-educated engineer at Baltimore-based mutual fund giant Brown Advisory, was a pioneer in bringing sustainable investments mainstream. Funk, 48, a vegetarian who watches her carbon footprint by biking to work, launched the Brown Advisory Sustainable Growth Fund in June 2012, alongside David Powell, with a goal to back about 35 companies with products improving social and environmental sustainability, or efficient operating footprints.

Its focus on companies like Ball Corp. and American Tower has made it one of the best funds on the planet during down markets. Even in 2020, the fund has gained 38% despite its defensive posture, thanks to savvy picks like life sciences conglomerate Danaher and Etsy, which has empowered many small businesses during the pandemic. Funk can be a tough customer. She exited Facebook in the fall of 2018 due to data privacy concerns.

“Sustainability is a means, not an end in and of itself,” she told Forbes as part of a profile three years ago, when the fund’s assets were just $1.1 billion. “Our end goal is performance. We achieve that by finding fundamentally strong companies using sustainability strategies to get even better.” The fund’s assets have since soared to $4.6 billion.

Other female-led funds that have done well include Capital Group’s $128 billion American Funds New Perspective (ANWPX), led by a team of managers including Joanna Jonsson and Noriko Chen, and the $36 billion in assets JPMorgan Equity Income Fund (HLIEX), led by Clare Hart. The New Perspectives fund has beaten its benchmark by four percentage points annually over the past decade, while Hart’s Equity Income Fund has returned an annualized 11.65%, two percentage points annually above its benchmark, according to data from Morningstar.

Rebecca Irwin, Natasha Kuhikin and Kathleen McCarragher of the $1.3 billion in assets PGIM Jennison Focused Growth Fund (SPFAX) have returned 68% in 2020 and 25% over the past five years, ranking in the top decile of peer funds. At Alger, Ankur Crawford, co-manager of the Alger Spectra Fund (ASPIX) and Alger Capital Appreciation (ACCAX) has seen returns surpass 40% this year.

In fixed income, Tina Vandersteel of the $4.4 billion in assets GMO Emerging Country Debt Fund (GMCDX) has been able to outperform emerging market bond indices despite underweighting China and many Gulf-states due to her skepticism of the veracity of their economic data.

The bull market of 2020 is also creating new opportunities for female fund managers to shine. Two years ago, Julie Biel of Los Angeles-based Kayne Anderson Rudnick, was a rising star at the $30 billion (assets) firm and excited about the looming public offering of software company DocuSign. Known for investing in established businesses, Kayne had never participated in an IPO. Biel was late in her pregnancy as the IPO progressed and trying to win an allocation. She needed a doctor’s note to fly to the Bay Area to meet with DocuSign’s management. Kayne eventually won a large block of shares, quickly becoming one of its largest outside investors.

Biel also began to manage the firm’s KAR Small Mid- Sustainable Growth strategy around that time and made DocuSign the fund’s top holding. Its shares have risen 225% in 2020. This year, Biel’s fund has returned 42% through November. In December, Kayne decided to launch a mutual fund version, launching the strategy, called the Virtus KAR Small-Mid Cap Growth Fund (VIKSK), with Biel in charge.

Like Zevebergen and Wood, Biel is starting small and manages just $60 million. But the investment industry rewards performance above all, hinting at much larger things to come. Entering 2021, Biel’s portfolio is loaded with hidden gems like Ollie’s Bargain Outlet and MarketAxess that could grow for years to come. Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Send me a secure tip.

Antoine Gara

 Antoine Gara

I’m a staff writer and associate editor at Forbes, where I cover finance and investing. My beat includes hedge funds, private equity, fintech, mutual funds, mergers, and banks. I’m a graduate of Middlebury College and the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, and I’ve worked at TheStreet and Businessweek. Before becoming a financial scribe, I was a member of the fateful 2008 analyst class at Lehman Brothers. Email thoughts and tips to agara@forbes.com. Follow me on Twitter at @antoinegara

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Women Risk Losing Decades of Workplace Progress Due To COVID-19 – Here’s How Companies Can Prevent That

American women have made strides in the workplace over the past half-century in terms of earnings, employment and careers – in no small part thanks to the efforts of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

The COVID-19 pandemic risks undoing many of these gains in a matter of months. Without concrete action, I believe a generation of women may never fully recover.

One group of women who are at particular risk are those in professional fields. While fortunate enough to have quality jobs, many are being forced by the increased demands of child care to reduce working hours – or to stop working altogether. Mothers have always handled more of a household’s child care than fathers have, but it has become further lopsided since lockdowns began earlier this year.

As a result, more than one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce completely, according to a study of 317 companies released Sept. 30. And the latest jobs report out on Oct. 2 found that women’s participation rate in the labor market continues to fall faster than for men.

With schools across the country struggling to open classrooms for in-person learning, many women will have little choice but to either continue juggling the needs of their children with the demands of their jobs or give up on the latter. The longer the pandemic goes on, the more it threatens to cause permanent damage to women’s ability to advance in their careers and earn more income.

However, this outcome is not inevitable. As an expert in business ethics, I believe companies have the ability – and duty – to prevent many of these negative outcomes.

Child care responsibilities

The pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of all working women.

Since April, for example, women – especially Black women – have lost jobs at much higher rates than men, in large part because they tend to hold jobs in sectors that have been most devastated by the pandemic, such as service, travel and retail.

At the same time, women do a majority of the low-paid essential jobs. Women make up 77% of health care workers, 77% of teachers, 94% of child care workers and 70% of cashiers – jobs that tend to be underpaid and undervalued and also put them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

But it’s professional women, such as lawyers, analysts, engineers and other executives, who have the most to lose because of the great advances they’ve made in their careers compared with women a generation ago – even if there’s still a ways to go to achieve gender equality.

Since women are generally responsible for organizing child care for their families, the demands on their time have increased significantly during the pandemic. A study looking at the period of time prior to the first widespread U.S. outbreak in February through the first peak in April showed that mothers with young children had reduced their work hours four to five times more than fathers, exacerbating the gender gap in work hours by 20% to 50%.

Another study, which examined data from the Census Household Pulse survey in late April and early May, found that over 80% of U.S. adults who were not working because they had to care for their children not in school or daycare were women.

And with the school year currently in full swing, women continue to cite child care at a much higher rate than men do as a reason that they are not able to work. Management consultancy Boston Consulting Group found women are spending 15 more hours a week on domestic labor during the pandemic than men. And Catalyst, a nonprofit focused on helping companies better serve women, reported that women are twice as likely as men to be responsible for homeschooling.

We know that part of the reason for all of this is because of workplace norms and societal gender biases. Some of it, however, has to do with what’s most practical for a family. If someone needs to reduce hours, families will choose the person who makes less – and usually, that is the woman. And since women also tend to work fewer hours and are more likely to work part-time, their jobs are the lower priority when there is a disruption.

But it’s not just mothers. Women without children are also more likely to be in caregiving roles, even more so during the pandemic. Two-thirds of caregivers in the U.S. are women, meaning they provide daily or regular support to children, adults or people with chronic illnesses or disabilities – and are also at risk of losing job-related ground due to stress and burnout.

What companies can do

Fortunately, companies can do a lot to soften the impact and offset disparities altogether.

It begins with communication. The first thing companies should do is survey their employees to determine what they need. The results can guide the types of policies that could best address workers’ unique concerns and situations.

Whatever management changes are made, it’s imperative that businesses communicate clearly and often with all employees and set appropriate and reasonable workloads. Given the increased strains workers are under, it’s also very helpful to organize and distribute mental health resources and encourage employees to use them.

Increased flexibility is something all women need right now. Women taking care of young children especially need more flexibility to help them juggle competing demands on their time.

Flexible work can mean many things, such as allowing employees to continue working from home even after others return to the office, helping them balance hours and scheduling key meetings and other duties at particular times. For example, many parents are driving their children to school to avoid the bus, so companies can help by simply not scheduling important meetings at common pickup and drop-off times. In my own department, some shared their personal calendars with management to help with this kind of scheduling.

Other families may have their children home all the time because of online school or child care issues, so recording meetings and events for people who cannot attend – or who have disruptions – will ensure everyone has access to important information.

But it’s not just about providing flexibility to women. Men need flexibility too so they can handle more of the child care duties – including after having a baby – allowing women to spend more time doing their professional jobs. Some men have been reporting that they do not have the same flexibility as women to manage family care even when they say they want or need to take on more of the responsibilities.

And when workers are expecting a baby, offering equivalent leave to both mothers and fathers can make a big difference in helping women stay in the workforce and advance in their careers during the pandemic. Most states and companies have policies that are more generous to mothers than fathers – often twice as much.

One more step companies can take is to more actively assist with child care, whether by providing outright subsidies or simply information and guidance about available resources.

Companies can also correct for some of these issues during performance reviews by adjusting unrealistic productivity expectations.

Helping women thrive

Companies need to understand how gender bias further disadvantages women during times of crisis. Women are typically penalized for being “visible caregivers,” while fathers benefit from a “fatherhood bonus.”

[Deep knowledge, daily. Sign up for The Conversation’s newsletter.]

And even when companies have supportive policies in place, there’s often a disconnect in how these policies are implemented and integrated.

That’s why I believe the best and most important strategy for ensuring women thrive and continue to make gains in business – and society – is to increase representation and inclusion at all levels of planning and decision-making.

By: Stephanie M.H. Moore Lecturer, Indiana University

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CNBC Television 999K subscribers CNBC’s Julia Boorstin reports new data from LeanIn and McKinsey’s annual ‘Women in the Workplace’ report that shows the effects of coronavirus in one year could erase years of progress women have made in the workforce.

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I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love

Over the past few years, I’ve interviewed hundreds of successful women. They have every type of journey you could dream of: There are women who have reached the C-suite in Fortune 500 companies and well-funded startups, women who have started and run their own ventures, and women who have made dramatic career turnarounds.

They’re all extraordinarily unique, of course, but there’s one thing they have in common: They’ve charted the path to work that they love.

That doesn’t just mean big jobs with important tiles and sizable paychecks (though in some cases, that’s true). Instead, these women have thoughtfully built careers around their innate strengths, their personal passions, and the type of work that brings them meaning and purpose.

Yes, creating a career like this may seem like a lofty goal. But if there’s anything I’ve learned from these interviews over the years, it’s this: Every single one of us has the power to find work we love. It’s just a matter of confidently taking steps to get there. As Katie Fogarty, founder of The Reboot Group, shared on my Facebook Watch show, Work It: “Do not wait for people to give you permission. Seize your permission. Seize control of your career.”

Ready to get started? Straight from some of the most successful women in the world, here are five crucial lessons about taking the reins and crafting the professional life of your dreams.

Today In: Leadership

1. Expand Your Idea Of A Dream Job

Often, we have a pretty narrow view of our ultimate goals. We envision achieving a specific job title or working for a particular company. But what happens when we achieve that singular goal, and it doesn’t live up to expectations? That’s all too common—and so the most successful women I’ve interviewed have made it clear that it’s key to widen your perspective.

For example, Kristin Lemkau, Chief Marketing Officer of JPMorgan Chase & Co., emphasizes that it’s critical to be flexible when thinking about your dream job. If you’re only focused on getting your current boss’ job, for example, you may miss other options—inside or outside of your company. “By staying flexible and open,” she explains, “you might encounter an opportunity that you had never before considered.”

Lindsey Knowles, VP of Marketing at Winc Wines, echoes this sentiment. “Be open. And try different things. There’s so much you can’t know until you do it,” she shares. “Until you’ve been in a few different types of workplaces, you can’t know what your preferred working style is or the types of problems you like to solve.”

2. Pursue What Matters To You—Not To Anyone Else

Similarly, we’re conditioned to believe that the traditional markers of success, like money or a C-level title, will make us happy, too. But for most people, that’s not the full story. Instead, it’s key to dig deep and understand the very personal factors that drive meaning for you—whether that’s constantly learning new skills or being involved in radical social change—and pursue jobs that incorporate those elements.

According to Aditi Javeri Gokhale, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Northwestern Mutual, a good place to start is thinking about the people you want to work with and the issues you’re passionate about. “I have always identified with jobs where I have a good connection with my leaders, with the mission of the company, and with the team that surrounds me.” When you have that connection, it’s easier to excel at—and enjoy—a job, no matter what your title is.

3. Be Intentional About What You Say Yes To

Cathleen Trigg-Jones, journalist and founder of CatScape Productions, once explained to me her strategy for evaluating opportunities. She would yes to the things that would move her closer to her dreams, and she would say no to the things that didn’t serve her. (Even if they looked like good opportunities on paper!)

This simple rule can move you toward a career you love in two important ways. First, it pretty much guarantees that you get to do more of the work you’re excited about. Second, you get to incrementally step further away from the tasks you don’t enjoy and that don’t help you get where you want to go—even if there are certain aspects of them that may be tempting. Keep following this formula, and you will organically move in the right direction.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks

If you want a meaningful professional life, you have to be willing to take risks. Why? “If you don’t do things because you’re scared to fail, you’re not really getting the best out of yourself,” Sabrina Macias, Senior Director of Global Communications at DraftKings, once told me. “Risk is healthy; it makes you more creative.”

A risky move, of course, doesn’t necessarily spending your life savings to start a company—maybe it’s accepting a position you’re not sure you’re qualified for, asking for more responsibility, or volunteering to head a bigger project than anything you’ve ever tackled.

Maybe it’s simply giving yourself permission to try something wildly different. Cindy Gallop, founder and CEO of MakeLoveNotPorn, explains the concept this way: “Stop and ask yourself what would make you happy, and design that.” That might be advocating for a new offering at your company or working on that creative side project you’ve been thinking about. “Just start doing it,” she said. “You’ll be amazed at how many people will be drawn to somebody who is doing things differently—and enabling other people to do things differently.” But that’s the key: You have to first be willing to do things differently.

5. Know That Change Is Inevitable

Finally, know this about career paths: What you want and what works for you is likely going to change over time. As Carol Lovell, founder and CEO of STOW put it: “The meaning of success for me has altered throughout my life. What you think it means at 25 is very different to what you know it means at 50.” The lesson? Don’t be afraid to adjust course when you realize that you’ve changed.

On a smaller scale, even if you have a specific goal you’re working toward, you’ll undoubtedly encounter new information, opportunities, and roadblocks that make you rethink your course. And that’s OK. “It’s not a matter of creating this rigid plan of like, do this step, do this step, no matter what,” explains former CEO and board director Shellye Archambeau. “And things will happen! There will be roadblocks, things will happen that’ll cause you to change and that’s okay. You have to be open to that.”

The road to a career you love isn’t easy. It requires saying no, taking risks, and sticking to your guns. But as a result, you’ll be doing the work you’re passionate about and building a life that works for you. Take it from hundreds of women: It’s worth it.

Carrie Kerpen is CEO and co-founder of Likeable Media, an award-winning digital agency that achieved Crain’s 6th “Best Place To Work in NYC.” She is the author of WORK IT: Secrets For Success From The Boldest Women In Business and the host of the popular podcast All the Social Ladies. Follow her on Twitter @carriekerpen or visit her at carriekerpen.com.

Source: I’ve Interviewed 300+ Successful Women. Here’s What I’ve Learned About Creating a Career You Love.

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After running through what to wear for a job interview with a friend, I thought it might be fun to run through some options depending on the kind of workplace you’re interviewing for. If you’ve got your own tips on what to wear to a job interview or if you have a go-to piece, I’d love to see it or know what it is! Hope you’re wonderful! X Jodie

A New Study Reveals Hiring Effective Female Leaders May Be the Best Thing for Your Company’s Success

Do you believe in your company — its mission, purpose, and what it stands for? Belief in a company is one of the main factors behind why employees work and what they do.

The belief that the company is moving in the right direction, has room for personal and professional growth, and that the employee plays an active part in the strategy are all crucial to keeping employees engaged.

For leaders guiding the way, belief in a company is something that is earned and must come naturally for employees. And according to a new study, attracting and promoting more females into leadership roles is the way forward.

Employees respond better to women-led companies

A recent Peakon study found that employees of women-led companies, meaning those with more than 50% female leaders, feel a stronger connection to the company and their products.

When over 60,000 employees were asked the question of “how likely is it that you would recommend [Company Name] products or services to friends and family,” those at women-led companies answered 0.6 points higher than employees at male-led companies.

Women-led companies also answered higher in terms of satisfaction in the company, an important part of being an active, efficient employee.

Female leadership could be a major enabler in driving the company culture, and female-led companies are proven to be better in communicating mission and strategy, and managing more engaged employees.

Why belief in a company and its products is so important

Belief in the company is also strongly tied to the company strategy. When employees believe in the company — the origin, mission, and value the company offers to consumers and clients — they will subsequently have stronger belief in the strategy as well.

According to Roger Dooley, an experience marketer and author, believing in your company and its product makes you more persuasive. Employees with a strong belief in their product will be more able to effectively sell products or services the company offers, and will have a stronger connection to the company itself.

Belief in a company and its values is also critical to employees’ commitment and persistence. Employees with stronger belief in their company tend to be more willing to continue in their hard work when they trust the path the company is moving on.

According to the Harvard Business Review, belief in a company and its goals will enforce motivation throughout all of the employees — both to get work done when needed, and to keep up the same work ethic when it gets harder.

Belief in a company also helps leaders. When your company supports the same goals, it becomes easier to manage and communicate.

In Authentic Happiness, psychologist Marty Seligman writes that employees become their “happiest” selves when they are doing work they find worthwhile. Leaders who are able to motivate others to work towards a communicated, shared goal — and a shared belief in the goal — are able to maintain morale and engagement throughout the employee lifecycle.

Moreover, belief in a company and its goals also creates a feeling of solidarity among employees and their leaders. If at any point there is a disconnect between employees and leaders, it can be mended quickly and easily when there is a strong belief that the company is going in the right direction.

Ari Weinzweig, a founding partner of Zingerman’s Community of Businesses, points out that belief in a business is one of the most productive foundations that employees and leaders can both share. It creates a shared purpose that may otherwise not be found, as most beliefs are formed before a person is even old enough to be in the job force.

Forming a community where there is a belief in a business allows for clearer actions towards the shared belief, and helps everyone’s job within a larger company make sense.

Clearly the research proves that you must care about the belief in your company strategy and its product. But we must not ignore the key component. As Peakon’s study revealed, investing in female leaders will help you bring deeper conviction about the company and its services, and therefore empower your business to grow in a sustainable way.

By:By Marcel Schwantes Founder and Chief Human Officer, Leadership From the Core @MarcelSchwantes

 

Source: A New Study Reveals Hiring Effective Female Leaders May Be the Best Thing for Your Company’s Success | Inc.com

21.4M subscribers
Why are there so few women leaders? Weaving together scientific research and personal narrative, Alexis Kanda-Olmstead explains why women may be reluctant to take on leadership roles and what we – women and men – can do to disrupt the powerful internal forces that undermine women’s leadership aspirations and confidence. 1. Alexis Kanda-Olmstead leads talent and diversity initiatives at Colorado State University for the Division of University Advancement. Throughout her twenty-year career in higher education, Alexis has worked to help students, faculty, and staff actualize their potential as leaders through self-knowledge, personal empowerment, and service. As a student and practitioner of women’s development, social justice, and organizational psychology, Alexis believes that with grace and humor we can create positive change that benefits everyone. Alexis is a blogger on women’s issues and the founder of AKO Collective, a women’s leadership development company based in Northern Colorado. This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx

 

Here’s How Companies Can Be Proactive About Women’s Equality

The World Economic Forum has estimated that it will take 208 years for women to gain true equality in the U.S. To decrease that timeline, campaigns like Melinda Gates‘ Equality Can’t Wait are prompting people to take action, rather than just continuing to point out the problem. As the co-founder of a female-focused company, I often think about how to focus on equality from a leadership perspective as well.

Women’s Equality Day on August 26th is an excellent opportunity to continue talking about how to achieve true equality for women at work–and in society at large. But talking will only get us so far. Without urgency and action, nothing is going to change.

When it comes to equality in the workplace, I know for a fact that plenty of companies want to become more diverse and offer more opportunities to people from a variety of backgrounds. But if you don’t make diversity a goal, then it won’t happen. You won’t see change unless you tell people it’s a metric to measure.

If you truly want your company to become more diverse, then you need to take tangible actions. Here’s where to start:

Recognize bias.

It’s more difficult to stop and think about how you can improve a process than to keep doing what you’ve always been doing.

Hiring is a great example. If your startup only hired men for its first 10 job openings, then you’re probably going to hire men for the next 10. The key is to actively look for your own biases, rather than assume it’s just coincidence that everyone looks the same and comes from a specific background.

Trust me, I know that my own network is full of people like me–women from New York and San Francisco who went to certain schools and have similar work experiences. But creating a diverse organization is about recognizing that fact and then actively working to get outside of your network.

For instance, at ThirdLove, we’ve always had more women than men on the team. While our demographic will always skew that way, we do believe gender diversity helps balance the environment and the culture. So when considering candidates for a position, we take a moment stop and ask ourselves, “Have we been open to people of a certain gender, age, or ethnic background? Do we even have that type of person in our pipeline?”

If the answer is no, we expand our efforts to bring in more diverse candidates.

Start conversations at work.

Due to limited budgets, startups generally don’t often think about hiring for diversity of age, ethnic background, or gender until they’ve grown.

To combat that norm, one method you can take from Gates’ campaign is to start conversations at work. If you look around the office and realize that your company skews young, white, or male, you should question that. Why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? Why aren’t certain demographics represented on your team? Does your company offer paid parental leave? If not, why?

I realize that a small company can’t tackle all of this at once. At Third Love, we now offer four months of maternity leave and six weeks of paternity leave. As we’ve grown and gained more resources, we’ve increased the amount of leave. And our policies will continue to evolve as we continue to scale.

Talking about diversity–and what policies or practices can contribute to it at every stage–is crucial to affecting real change.

Create groups and support networks.

Hiring for diversity is a great step forward, but it’s not the final step. Even if you hire a diverse team, you still need to make sure they’re supported.

According to the Equality Can’t Wait website and research in the Harvard Business Review, women are much less likely to have what they call a “sponsor” at work. In this sense, a sponsor is analogous to a mentor–someone who actively advises and helps you on the road to success.

But this support doesn’t have to be a formal mentorship. At ThirdLove, some of the moms on our team formed a group to support each other and talk about balancing family, kids, work, and everything else life throws at them.

There’s always work to be done making sure that everyone in your office is supported and has access to the same networks and opportunities as everyone else.

Give to organizations that assist diverse groups.

Creating a diverse work environment within your own company is an admirable goal. But if you want to help make a larger change worldwide, then you should look into extending your support beyond your company or customers.

For instance, our team partners with the bra donation program “I Support The Girls” as a way to help women in a basic, but also very tangible, way. Even if you don’t make a product that can be donated, money talks. There are hundreds of organizations in the U.S. that support women and minorities, so you don’t have to search across continents to find ways to use donations effectively.

Taking action is what will get us to equality. It doesn’t matter if it’s donating to cause that promotes equality or reexamining your hiring and promotion practices–it just needs to happen. And there’s no day like today to start.

By: Heidi Zak

Source: Here’s How Companies Can Be Proactive About Women’s Equality

As this animation makes clear, gender equality in the workplace is good for business, and it needn’t be difficult to achieve. For more information, please visit: http://www.ebrd.com/ebrd-and-gender-e…

A Missing Factor In Women’s Leadership: Leave The Mean Girl Behind

I recently launched an intimate dinner series called The Whisper Network covering taboo topics facing women’s advancement in the workforce. Many of these topics aren’t addressed because women don’t feel comfortable raising them or might be nervous about repercussions if they are openly talked about in larger forums. As women we tend to have a stronger reliance on one-on-one bonds and smaller, more intimate networks vs. men in order to discuss more controversial subjects such as how much money we might make or not make, how we were passed over for a promotion by a male peer or worse, “the mean girl.”

As we sat around the table, everyone had a story about a mean girl they dealt with in their careers. Certainly, in more male dominated industries, the mean girl, sometimes referred to as the “queen bee” is not just a theory, but a reality. Further, this isn’t just about the women at the top, but also encompasses female peers. With all the focus and momentum on raising each other up as women and building support networks, it should have surprised me that the mean girl continues to present as such a big issue but it didn’t. I hear quite often that while there are so many women walking the walk, there are still many that just talk the talk.

Jennifer DaSilva, President of Berlin Cameron and Founder of Girl Brands Do It Better, wrote an article earlier this year talking about women and the power of community and stated “Among all the women I talk to, the overall sentiment is that the energy of women helping other women is at an all-time high. We’re in a moment where women are less competitive and more willing to help each other succeed. We’re all starting to understand that lifting each other up doesn’t mean you put yourself down.” While I completely agree and as someone who launched a business focused on developing women, I think we need to add to that sentiment: that lifting each other up doesn’t mean you have to put yourself or others down.

Competition is healthy until it’s not. DaSilva also stated in the article that “while women are still supporting each other, [in a recent study] 55% of respondents still feel there’s work to be done. This can especially be said in the corporate world, where a lack of female representation can lead to competition and a lack of camaraderie.” How do we continue to advance and support each other with a little healthy competition in our networks, if we continue to face or be the mean girl at the table?

As a woman, there is heavy competition with men but there seems to be even more competition with some women, mainly because there are fewer of us. This competition is not just at the senior levels of organizations. We live in a culture that perpetuates women’s feelings of insecurity. It’s one the reasons we are banding together to support one another and creating real change. We are also human and filled with insecurities around career advancement, success, financial wealth and power. Company cultures often mirror grade-school school culture, dividing their employees into different groups: top talent, high performers, needs improvement, etc. This can further fuel unhealthy competition, meanness and exclusive behavior.

How we do leave the mean girl at the door but also work with her? It’s hard to escape the mean girl at the office, out with new clients, at women’s events and in other professional environments. “Mean girls exist in business networking events too,” shared Cindy Ashton, CEO of Minerva Enterprises. “They stand in their circle, staring at the other women, making comments on what they are wearing and criticizing what they do. It lowers our self-esteem and confidence. We need to catch ourselves when we get ‘catty’ and reframe – ‘what would it take for me to truly get to know this other woman and collaborate?’” Roll out the welcome mat instead of pulling it out from underneath their feet.

After much deliberation in our dinner, we unanimously decided to call out the mean girl and make them aware of their behavior. At a time when we are calling out certain men for their lack of support, why don’t we call out the women who don’t have our backs and perpetuate the culture we are fighting so hard against? I’m not advocating for confrontation, but I am talking about communication. If we don’t bring awareness to this challenge, those cracks in our networks get larger and success for all vs. just for one decreases.

Focusing on positive reinforcement and how we can work together is just as important as building community with like-minded women and male allies. Share in our successes and in our struggles. We need to team up to help move forward by sharing what we know, how we can support and empower each other, and how we build real community. As women we need to lend our voice and support at the table for other women, become their true advocates for new opportunities, be open and make connections as well as follow through. Walk the walk.

To circle back to DaSilva’s article, Kristy Wallace, CEO of Ellevate Network states “a community is a group of people who are active participants in your success.” Supportive communities celebrate each other and their wins, large and small. This definition of community leaves no room for the mean girl and it’s time to leave her behind. Leading by example is critical and we need to exemplify the qualities we wish to see in others. When we think of the next generation of female CEOs, politicians, activists, entrepreneurs and more, what do we want those women to see when they look up? We don’t want to embrace a future with negativity and bullying. Creating an even playing field that is collaborative and supportive is something I am striving for.

Follow me on Twitter. Check out my website.

I am the Founder and CEO of Luminary in NYC, the premier collaboration space for women who are passionate about professional development and expanding their networks. Luminary is the ultimate career advocate providing our membership community with unparalleled programming and access to industry leaders and pioneering entrepreneurs. A long-time advocate for empowering women and girls, I serve on the National Board for Girls Inc. I have over twenty years of leadership experience in financial services. Previously, I was the Executive Vice President and Global Head of Multinational Corporate Banking for HSBC managing roughly $2 billion in revenue and teams in 55 countries. Prior to that, I was a Managing Director and Head of Multinational Corporate Banking at J.P. Morgan in EMEA. I’m committed to leveraging my corporate experience to support and encourage women and push for gender parity in the workplace.

Source: A Missing Factor In Women’s Leadership: Leave The Mean Girl Behind

How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $100,000 Year Working From Home

The Savvy Couple - Brittany & Kalen Kline with daughter Kallie

It sounds like an impossible dream…an ordinary couple launches a blog that become so successful that they’re able to quit their jobs and live lives of freedom and adventure after just three short years.

Impossible? Actually, thousands of people have already successfully made that journey into blogging, with many making six figures.

Kelan and Brittany Kline are such a couple, and they think you can do just what they did: Get out of the rat race, create a successful online business, work from home, have complete control of your time, and live lives of greater freedom and adventure.

Who Are Kelan and Brittany Kline?

In most respects, Kelan and Brittany Kline fit neatly within the definition of an ordinary couple. Not quite 30, they reside in upstate New York with their daughter Kallie and their dog, Charlie.

Brittany is a teacher by trade, the fulfillment of a lifelong career dream. She holds an M.S. degree in education, and began teaching after graduation.

Kelan’s career path has been less settled. After receiving his B.B.A with a concentration in finance, he bounced between several different occupations within a few years including insurance sales, UPS driver, ecommerce, jail deputy, and most recent office manager.

How did their occupations lead them into blogging?

While Brittany was comfortable as a teacher, Kelan was not. With each job change he hoped to find a position that would bring him that elusive combination of happiness and more freedom.

None of it was leading in that direction.

To remedy the situation, he was beginning a home inspection business. That’s when he discovered blogging. It held the prospect of making money online, which is hardly an uncommon desire these days.

And apart from Kelan’s career conundrum, there were other factors in the couple’s lives providing additional motivation. With Brittany working days as a teacher, Kelan worked nights as a jail deputy. They also had more than $40,000 in student loan debts that they couldn’t seem to crack, even with Kelan working overtime shifts.

The combination of all the above – along with the missing sense of control – was what turned them to blogging. The original strategy was to start a blog focusing on personal finance. Specifically living a happy life on a frugal budget. That was something they had experience in and knew they could help others with.

They reckoned if their blog could be a good side hustle and earn them an extra $500 per month it would help them find that better future.

It did that, and more. A whole lot more!

The Road from Start-up Blog to a Six Figure Income

The Klines began their blog, The Savvy Couple, in July of 2016. That means they went from zero to $100,000-plus in barely three years! That’s what makes their story compelling, in addition to the fact that they used blogging as their path out of the rat race.

As you might imagine, the trek toward six figures started off inconspicuously. They made no money at all for the first eight months.

If you’re considering taking the plunge into blogging, this is an outcome you should fully expect. It can be shorter or longer, but going several months – or even a year or more – without earning any income is a big part of what causes so many blogs to fail, and would-be bloggers to quit.

But the Klines didn’t quit. In Month #9, they finally hit paid dirt – $50! 

And that’s when Kelan did quit – his job that is. He made the decision to become a full-time blogger.

Risk Reduction and Taking the Dreaded “Leap of Faith”

Now that isn’t advice he’d give to other would-be bloggers, but he made the decision because the couple had “removed most of the risk involved with that decision”. That risk removal included the following:

  • They had close to a year’s worth of salary saved up.
  • They cut their living expenses in their budget to a minimum.
  • Kelan had a back-up plan to revive the home inspection idea in case the blog didn’t work.
  • He also took freelance work after quitting his job.

That freelance work included a remote digital marketing position that also helped him learn online marketing. He also taught English online every morning. The basic idea was to make sure there was at least some income coming in at all times.

Kelan took that step that all entrepreneurs will eventually face – the leap of faith to make the new venture a full-time occupation. By doing what was necessary to make it work, he replaced the income from his full-time job in just a few short months.

The next goal: to spring Brittany out of her job and into the blogging venture.

That meant the income from the blog would need to be enough to support the entire family. By their reckoning, they needed to hit $10,000 per month – six months in a row – before making the full transition into blogging for Brittany as well.

They hit the $10,000 income mark on the blog for the first time in June, 2018. But as is typical of blogging, that income level didn’t prove consistent.

The Savvy Couple’s Income Pattern

The graph prepared by the Klines below tracks the progress of The Savvy Couple’s income since the blog began, through this past May when it earned more than $43,000:

The Savvy Couple blogging income

The Savvy Couple blogging income

The Savvy Couple

The up-and-down nature of the income is a situation nearly all successful bloggers are very familiar with. But notice on the graph the general trend line is moving consistently higher. Though the blog may not earn at least $10,000 each and every month, the higher earning months easily offset the lower ones.

And as you can see from the graph, the couple have clearly made well in excess of $100,000 from their blog in the past 12 months. That income level has enabled them to pay off their remaining student loan debt of $25,000 in just five months, as well is to grow their net worth to over $100,000 before turning 30!

What Blogging Has Done for The Klines, Apart from Money

If you’re at all curious about blogging, the income it can produce is a natural attraction. But like many other successful bloggers, the Klines have discovered the incredible satisfaction that goes beyond income.

“Being a teacher was my dream, but also God put me on this Earth to be a mother,” says Brittany. “I want to be able to teach my daughter and spend as much time as possible together with my family. We only get one life to live. I want to spend mine making unforgettable memories with my family. I did not want to look back on my life and think I gave more to my students than to my own children.”

Kelan adds: “We now have complete control over our lives. We have no one else telling us when to come to work, how long we are going to stay, and how much we are going to make. We get to decide all of that on our own. If we want to take a vacation, we just take it. We get to travel so much more than we used to.”

The couple makes an effort to finish working each day by 3 pm or 4 pm, giving them more family time. This is especially important now they have their daughter, Kallie. They wake up around 5 am to get in a few hours of uninterrupted work, then head to the gym as a family at mid-morning.

They also embrace the idea of being able to use their blog to help families take complete control over their time and money, so they too will find freedom to do more of the things they love in life.

Blogging has been so good for the Klines that they openly share their success and strategies with others.

What Does it Take to Be a Successful Blogger?

By now, you’re probably wondering if you can do what Brittany and Kelan have done by starting your own blog. They believe you can, and in fact they dedicate much of their blog to help you do just that.

We’ve already discussed how the Klines pre-positioned Kelan to transition into blogging full-time by removing risks. That included saving money for living expenses, doing freelance work to generate a steady income, and having a Plan B in case the blog failed.

If you hope to make blogging a full-time venture, you should use a similar strategy.

The Klines also warn that building a successful blog will take a lot of hard work. This is a critical realization going into the venture, since your effort can be short-circuited early if you think it will be easy. It will take months before you begin seeing your first revenue, and several years before it becomes a full-time income.

Choosing the right blogging niche is also mission-critical. There are hundreds of different blogging niches, but it’s important to choose those that will be easiest to monetize.

Kelan recommends the following niches:

  • How to make money
  • Personal finance
  • Health and fitness
  • Food
  • Beauty and fashion
  • Lifestyle
  • Personal development

The Savvy Couple focuses on how to make money online and personal finance, but adds a solid mix of lifestyle and personal development.

They also recommend reinvesting a significant percentage of your blogging income – as much as 50% early on – back into the blog. Blogging is like any other type of business, where you will need to spend a certain amount of money to make more money.

Specific Strategies Kelan and Brittany Recommend for Would-be Bloggers

The Klines recommend doing plenty of research before launching your blog. Learn the ins and outs of popular blogging tools, like WordPress – a very common blogging dashboard, and learn all you can about social media marketing. Follow other blogs regularly, and carefully study how they create content, what social media platforms they focus on, and how they monetize their blogs.

“A good exercise we have anyone do that is considering starting a blog is have them sit down for 10 minutes and write down as many article ideas as possible,” advises Kelan. “You should be able to come up with at least 100. If you struggle to come up with that many, you might adjust your niche.”

They also recommend the most basic first step of getting started. “Don’t over analyze things,” says Kelan. “Take massive action and make things happen in your life.”

Kelan also recommends surrounding yourself with other bloggers. Follow other successful bloggers on a regular basis. Comment on their websites, swap emails, and join blogger  networking groups, especially on Facebook.

The Klines even have their own Facebook group, Blogging With Purpose.

Other resources they offer include their step-by-step tutorial on how to start a successful money-making blog and their free Profitable Blog Bootcamp and Workbook.

The bootcamp and workbook will show you how to:

  • Create a successful mindset
  • Design an ideal avatar
  • Develop a workable monetization strategy
  • Create purposeful content
  • Drive traffic to your blog
  • Implement email marketing
  • Create systems to save time and scale

The Klines are so dedicated to helping others follow their path into income earning blogging that they make all these resources available to their readers for free.

What Not to Do If You Want to Become a Successful Blogger

Kelan warns that you should not think of blogging as a get rich quick scheme. “It’s the most challenging job I’ve ever had in my life,” he warns. “And I used to babysit 53 violent inmates by myself when I was a jail deputy.”

He stresses being ready for a learning curve. If you’ve never had a blog in the past, especially one that generates income, you’ll be learning the business from the ground up. You’ll need to be open and teachable.

The time factor is another hurdle many new bloggers may not be ready for. Kelan stresses it will take a good 6 to 12 months before you even begin to make money, and get a grasp of how to run a successful money-making blog.

Most of all, he stresses the need to treat your blog as a business, not a hobby. That means having a good work ethic, and working on your blog on a daily basis.

Can Anyone Really Create a Money-Making Blog?

If “anyone” includes those who are willing to put in the time and effort to learn the business of blogging, then the answer is a resounding yes!  But don’t think it will happen without those important first ingredients of time and effort.

The Klines had very ordinary jobs before going into blogging, and had to learn the whole process from scratch. But now that they’ve been working at for three years, they’ve hit pay dirt with a six-figure income.

They, and many other bloggers, are willing to share their blogging secrets with others. It’s a matter of being ready to commit to a journey that will be difficult at first, but will lead to a life of higher income, more freedom, and options most only dream of.

Follow me on Twitter or LinkedIn. Check out my website or some of my other work here.

I am a certified financial planner, author, blogger, and Iraqi combat veteran. I’m best known for my blogs GoodFinancialCents.com and LifeInsurancebyJeff.com

 

Source: How This 28-Year-Old Couple Quit Their Jobs And Make $100,000 Year Working From Home

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