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Before I became a full time business owner, I worked in my career for several years and over that time I learnt a lot about how to ask for what I was worth, how to negotiate, how to be confident as a woman in the male dominated industry I worked in and so much more.

 

 "Fresh out of college, there was so much I didn't know at the beginning of my career."



For someone who's just getting started on their career path, switching careers, searching for a new job in their industry or just wanting to do better overall at work, I'm sharing  these 4 lessons below to help you earn more money and get the better paying job that you deserve...because you are worth it.

 

Lesson 1: Always ask for more

When I first graduated from college, I got my first job that had a starting salary of $54,000 before taxes (after taxes it was around $40,000). When I got that offer letter, I was ecstatic. It was more money than I'd ever earned in my life and as far I was concerned I was balling. It didn't once cross my mind to ask for more money or even to ask for a sign-on bonus. I was just happy I got a job, that came with a good (to me) salary.


Well, as time went by once I started working, I got to know my co-workers and became friends with them, and then one day over lunch we randomly started discussing how much we earned (yes despite this being against HR policy we did it anyway because we were cool like that). As the conversation progressed, I realized that myself and another co-worker were the lowest earners in the entire group despite all being hired into similar positions and despite that fact that we all had similar educational backgrounds.


Some of them made thousands of dollars more than I did, and some of them even got sign-on bonuses. The reason why they were earning more? Unlike me, they didn't accept the first offer they received, instead, they asked for more. Not only did asking for more get them more money, it also positioned them to earn more in terms of raises and bonuses, which were given as a percentage of their base salary, over the life of their career at that company.


Needless to say, I was mad...at myself, but the lesson learnt and I vowed never again.


Tip:

Always ask for more money - Don't be shy or afraid to ask. The worst thing that can happen is that you get told no but at least you'll know that you tried. Before you start searching for a job, do some research to determine how much people typically get paid on average in your industry, in your city and by the company you are applying to. Also compare your skill set and education level to available data as well. 
 

Doing this will give you a baseline to negotiate with. Keep in mind that for every average salary you come across, there are people being paid on the higher end of that average - and that could very well be you too.

 Lesson 2: Benefits are up for negotiation too

Negotiating and asking for more doesn't just stop with your salary. You can actually negotiate your benefits too. Especially if there's isn't that much room to negotiate salary wise. Of course after my first job experience and vowing to never just accept the salary I was given, I decided that not only would I negotiate my salary, I would negotiate my benefits too because at the end of the day, what's the worst they could say? They could say no and I could keep it moving.
 

And so in subsequent jobs, I negotiated everything from vacation days, to work from home days, to summer Fridays, to the type of computer I worked with, to my work schedule, to future bonuses based on my performance. The best part? I actually got a lot of these things from negotiating. If you don't ask, you won't get!

 

Tip:

When it comes to negotiating benefits, do your research (just like you would with salaries) to see what people are being offered at the company in question, in your industry and even with competitors. This will give you more of a case when you go into negotiate and won't make your requests seem ridiculous. Also be mindful of existing company policies. For instance if your company has a strict policy around a benefit, you don't want to disregard their policy when you make your negotiation request.


 

Lesson 3: Exceed expectations and make yourself invaluable

Once you get your foot in the door at a new employer, you want to show them why they hired you and why they should reward you in the form of bonuses, raises and promotions by exceeding expectations and making yourself an invaluable resource to your company.
 

For every job I ever worked, this was a goal of mine. I came into work everyday, put my best foot forward, took initiative and made sure that I learnt what I needed to excel at my role. I asked questions, asked for and gave feedback, brought my ideas and suggestions to the table and always over delivered on every project I worked on even when I knew I didn't have to.

 

Even if you are not working at your dream job, it's still important to do your best work and be your best self. Why? Well, you'll be positioning yourself to take on your dream job when the opportunity presents itself as you would have already developed the habits and consistency around doing excellent work and in the meantime, you'll be positioning yourself for advancement where ever you are currently.

 

Tip:

Ask for frequent feedback from your boss. It could be through a monthly formal or informal check-in but make sure you are getting feedback and know what your boss is thinking about your performance.

 

When I was employed full time, I had a monthly 15 minute check in with my boss (that I initiated) to touch based on how I was performing and if there were any areas of improvement I could work on or additional projects I could take on or contribute to. This meeting made my boss aware of how serious I took my job and made me top of mind when it came time for bonuses, raises and promotions. In addition, my boss also began to advocate for me through the company because he was confident in my ability to deliver.

 

 

Lesson 4: Never stop learning

Just because you are really good at your job (or you become really good at your job) doesn't mean that there isn't still room to grow and just because a skill set is not directly applicable to what you do right now, does not mean it's not valuable.


Everything I learnt while working full time indirectly prepared me to be my own boss. From learning how to work within a team to learning how to develop systems and processes to project management to software courses I took related to data and analytics, they all apply one way or the other to what I do now in my business. If I had chosen to continue in my career, it would have applied to subsequents jobs as well.

 

Tip:

Find courses, certifications, conferences etc that you can leverage to improve your skill set. This not only help you become better at what you do now but also at any job you take on in the future.

 

***

 

Keeping these lessons in mind can make all the difference in helping you grow in your career and with increasing your income.

 

If you want a deep dive on how to put these lessons into effect as you start your career, switch careers or search for a new job in your existing industry, then checkout the Ace the Interview course from CareerContessa.com; A platform focused on helping women build successful careers. Career Contessa was created by my friend Lauren McGoodwin after experiencing (and learning from) several of her own professional challenges.
 

The Ace the interview course will teach you interview basics, how to properly research a company, negotiating for what you're worth, weighing an offer, accepting an offer, and putting in your notice plus a ton more.

 

Here's to your career success!

 

Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.

 
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Before I became a full time business owner, I worked in my career for several years and over that time I learnt a lot about how to ask for what I was worth, how to negotiate, how to be confident as a women in the male dominated industry I worked in and so much more.

 

 "Fresh out of college, there was so much I didn't know at the beginning of my career."



For someone who's just getting started on their career path, switching careers, searching for a new job in their industry or just wanting to do better overall at work, I'm sharing  these 4 lessons below to help you earn more money and get the better paying job that you deserve...because you are worth it.

 

Lesson 1: Always ask for more

When I first graduated from college, I got my first job that had a starting salary of $54,000 before taxes (after taxes it was around $40,000). When I got that offer letter, I was ecstatic. It was more money than I'd ever earned in my life and as far I was concerned I was balling. It didn't once cross my mind to ask for more money or even to ask for a sign-on bonus. I was just happy I got a job, that came with a good (to me) salary.


Well, as time went by once I started working, I got to know my co-workers and became friends with them, and then one day over lunch we randomly started discussing how much we earned (yes despite this being against HR policy we did it anyway because we were cool like that). And as the conversation progressed, I realized that myself and another co-worker were the lowest earners in the entire group despite all being hired into similar positions and despite that fact that we all had similar educational backgrounds.


Some of them made thousands of dollars more than I did, and some of them even got sign-on bonuses. The reason why they were earning more? Unlike me, they didn't accept the first offer they received, instead, they asked for more. No only did asking for more get them more money, it also positioned them to earn more in terms of raises and bonuses, which were given as a percentage of their base salary, over the life of their career at that company.


Needless to say, I was mad...at myself, but the lesson learnt and I vowed never again.


Tip:

Always ask for more money - Don't be shy or afraid to ask. The worst thing that can happen is that you get told no but at least you'll know that you tried. Before you start searching for a job, do some research to determine how much people typically get paid on average in your industry, in your city and by the company you are applying to. Also compare your skill set and education level to the data as well if available. 
 

Doing this will give you a baseline to negotiate with. Keep in mind that for every average salary you come across, there are people being paid on the higher end of that average - and that could very well be you too.

 Lesson 2: Benefits are up for negotiation too

Negotiating and asking for more doesn't just stop with your salary. You can actually negotiate your benefits too. Especially if there's not that much room to negotiate salary wise. Of course after my first job experience and vowing to never just accept the salary I was given, I decided that not only would I negotiate my salary, I would negotiate my benefits too because at the end of the day, what's the worst they could say? They could say no and I could keep it moving.
 

And so, in subsequent jobs I negotiated everything from vacation days, to work from home days, to summer Fridays, to the type of computer I worked with, to my work schedule, to future bonuses based on my performance - the best part? I actually got a lot of these things from negotiating. If you don't ask, you won't get!

 

Tip:

When it comes to negotiating benefits, do your research (just like you would with salaries) to see what people are being offered at the company, in your industry and even with competitors. This will give you more of a case when you go into negotiate and won't make your requests seem ridiculous. Also be mindful of existing company policies. For instance if your company has a strict policy around a benefit, you don't want to disregard their policy when you make your negotiation request.


 

Lesson 3: Exceed expectations and make yourself invaluable

Once you get your foot in the door at a new employer, you want to show them why they hired you and why they should reward you in the form of bonuses, raises and promotions by exceeding expectations and making yourself an invaluable resource to your company.
 

For every job I ever worked, this was a goal of mine. I came into work everyday, put my best foot forward, took initiative and made sure that I learnt what I needed to excel at my role. I asked questions, asked for and gave feedback, brought my ideas and suggestions to the table and always over delivered on every project I worked on even when I knew I didn't have to.

 

Even if you are not working at your dream job, it's still important to do your best work and be your best self. Why? Well, you'll be positioning yourself to take on your dream job when the opportunity presents itself as you would have already developed the habits and consistency around doing excellent work and in the meantime, you'll be positioning yourself for advancement where ever you are currently.

 

Tip:

Ask for frequent feedback from your boss. It could be through a monthly formal or informal check-in but make sure you are getting feedback and know what your boss is thinking about your work performance.

 

When I was employed full time, I had a monthly 15 minute check in with my boss (that I initiated) to touch based on how I was performing and if there were any areas of improvement I could work on or additional projects I could take on or contribute to. This meeting made my boss aware of how serious I took my job and made me top of mind when it came time for bonuses, raises and promotions. In addition, my boss also began to advocate for me through the company because he was confident in my ability to deliver.

 

 

Lesson 4: Never stop learning

Just because you are really good at your job (or you become really good at your job) doesn't mean that there isn't still room to grow and just because a skill set is not directly applicable to what you do right now, does not mean it's not valuable.


Everything I learnt while working full time indirectly prepared me to be my own boss. From learning how to work within a team to learning how to develop systems and processes to project management to software courses I took related to data and analytics, they all apply one way or the other to what I do now in my business. If I had chose to continue in my career it would have applied to subsequents jobs as well.

 

Tip:

Find courses, certifications, conferences etc that you can leverage to improve your skill set. This not only help you become better at what you do now but also at any job you take on in the future.

 

***

 

Keeping these lessons in mind can make all the difference in helping you grow in your career and increase your income.

 

If you want a deep dive on how to put these lessons into effect as you start your career, switch careers or search for a new job in your existing industry, then checkout the Ace the Interview course from my friends over at CareerContessa.com a platform focused on helping women build successful careers that was built by my friend Lauren McGoodwin after experiencing (and learning from) several of her own professional challenges.
 

The Ace the interview course will teach you interview basics, how to properly research a company, negotiating for what you're worth, weighing an offer, accepting an offer, and putting in your notice plus so much more.

 

Bola Sokunbi is the founder of Clever Girl Finance and she's passionate about helping women take control of their money so they can live life on their own terms.

 
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I had no idea the decisions I made when it came to my finances would change my career. When I started on this journey, those decisions just seemed like a good thing to do at the time. Five years later, I’m now an author of a book where I describe what I did to pay off $30K in student loans in less than three years. 


"From the jobs you take to where you live, money will be a factor in every major decision in your life."
 

Your path may not look like mine, but the steps you take after college around your finances are just as important in your life - trust me. From the jobs you take to where you live, money will be a factor in every major decision in your life. If you make the hard choices with your finances early, you’ll have more control in getting what you want with no obligations.  
 

Here’s 3 steps I took after college with my money that you can too. Unlike some of the decisions you made in college, you won’t regret it. 

 

Step 1: I Paid Off $30K in Student Loans in Three Years  

How did I do it? I got to work and hustled to pay off my debt ASAP. My parent’s free furniture, tax returns, and paying above my minimum monthly payment, all helped me get there. I kept living costs low during my first year out of college by sticking in the Midwest and furnishing my (affordable) apartment with flea market finds. Any extra money I had I used toward payments on my loan; which included tax returns, bonuses, and money I found in the washer. Every month I decided to pay $200 over my monthly loan payment- I never let myself off the hook. 


It sounds a lot harder than it actually was. I simply kept my college mindset of living inexpensively, even though I had a “real income”. I let that attitude guide my decisions. Because, hey I was already used to living on nothing anyway. What was a couple more years of living frugally in grand scheme of things? I knew once I paid off my debt I could buy whatever I wished- minus the guilt! 


 

Step 2: I Started Investing Right Away and to the Max  

I was also investing while I was aggressively paying off my debt. If I can do it, you can too. There is no better time than your early twenties to create wealth! I took advantage of this time (and free money), by having a 401(k) and an IRA (Individual Retirement Account). I contributed the max in my 401(k) to get my employers matching funds and watched as my retirement savings grew. I contributed to my Roth IRA whenever I could. 
 

If you’re income allows you to multi-task and pay off debt and invest at the same time - DO IT. You’ll be glad you did when you have the option to retire from your dream job (not that you’ll want to!). Still it’s nice to have options. 

 

Step 3: I Got Help and Created Healthy Habits  

It’s important to note along my journey to financial liberty, I had help. Shortly after I paid off my debt, I saw a financial planner to help me with my short-term and long-term savings goals. I got more diligent about investing in my IRA on a monthly basis. I also starting saving/investing small funds of money for life milestones, and of course emergencies! Life is unpredictable, and I’m so thankful I had a safety net to catch me when I needed the extra funds. 
 

My financial planner also showed me how to budget (which I follow in my own way). Upon reflection, my self-discipline, sense of urgency, and persistence, have been more valuable than any budget. Those characteristics and factors were key in creating healthy spending habits in my life. Because of them I didn’t feel restricted to a budget. You can create healthy habits too, just start and keep at it. If you stumble along the way, it’s OK. Just try again! 
 

***


These 3 financial decisions, have come in handy in my life on more than one occasion. When I wanted to leave my corporate job to work at a non-profit, having my student loan debt paid off allowed me to take the jump. I was glad I had already invested a lot in my retirement accounts, because my new job didn’t have benefits for retirement. And when I lost my job unexpectedly, my safety net of 3 months of living expenses was there.


Every wise financial choice helped me ultimately live the way I want and make my own choices - not ones dictated by money. You have that choice too. 

Angela Ozar is the author of Close Your Tab & Don’t Look Back : A Guide to Getting Out of Debt and Getting Ahead in the Real World. She writes for young professional women on personal finance at www.angela ozar.com

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Last week I had lunch with an old friend of mine named Jovan. I hadn’t seen her in the year since she suddenly married a man she had been dating for a while. I couldn’t help but wonder if this distance between us was because I had rained on her love-parade awhile back.


When they were dating, there were many red flags about this man and I felt her love was clouding her judgment. I’ve learned in life that part of being a good friend is to say things you really don’t want to say. It is an act of love to help people not make terrible mistakes.

 

The moment we sat down for lunch, Jovan told me that she just filed to annul her marriage because of fraud. It was both heart-breaking and unsurprising to hear this. In short, he had been taking advantage of her for the past three years and conned her out of about $20,000 including taking out loans in her name.


In addition to this, he had a girlfriend and a baby who were in on it too. There were so many things that made my blood boil about this. Jovan is generous more than almost anyone I know. It crushes me that anyone would take advantage of that. I could see how this con artist had reduced my friend to a puddle of insecurity. It seemed to be all a part of her “husband’s” manipulation: crush her spirit, take her money.

 

"Insecurity can lead to terrible financial mistakes, possibly making you more susceptible to outside control."

 

When I was writing this blog post about what women should be doing to ensure they are securing themselves financially, I had just learned about this situation with Jovan. In a sense, the accumulation and growth of wealth knows no gender and while there is certainly income inequality, the principles are the same whether you are a man or a woman. 
 

However, sometimes financial struggles can be psychological, emotional, or relational and while these struggles are not gender specific, I think that on average, in my experience, women tend to struggle more with insecurity.


Insecurity can lead to terrible financial mistakes, possibly making you more susceptible to outside control. They may not be as dramatic as Jovan’s situation, but I’ve had clients whose husbands are major spenders, yet they themselves are very financially responsible. When you are married, it’s very easy to get tangled up in your spouse’s terrible decisions. I’ve had clients who are constantly bailing their spouse out financially or taking out loans because their spouse has terrible credit.


I know that these are tough places to be. You may have children, it’s hard to say “no” to your spouse, and many of us are wired to just “keep the peace”. However, those who may be taking their finances seriously, but if their partner is not on board with it, it will feel like treading water with a ball and chain around your ankle.

 

My advice is this:

1. Own your own

Take heart that your own personal finances, apart from your partner’s, should be regarded as precious. Just like with my friend Jovan, I will be blunt in saying that someday, it’s possible that you could face loneliness but the wealth you create between now and then could be yours and yours alone.

I’m not saying this is everyone, but between a divorce rate of 50% and the fact that 70% of wives outlive husbands (it would be 50% in a same-sex couple), we can estimate that around 80% of those reading this who aren’t financially alone, will be at some point. You need to "own your own". This means making solid financial decisions that will optimize your long-term wealth.

 

2. Save & invest as much as you can

The only way that anyone ever saves up money, is to actively choose not to spend it. Save up as much money as possible. Invest that money primarily in the stock market and never, ever sell it, particularly when the stock market goes into decline. This is the most important point I can make on this. 

 

3. Work on improving your interpersonal strengths

It is important to not let your interpersonal insecurities cause financial insecurities. Your long-term financial strength depends on you finding the interpersonal strength today and these would include working on how you communicate verbally and non-verbally, your assertiveness, how you listen, how you negotiate as well as as you approach problems and decision making.
 

***

These 3 pieces of advice will guide you as you work on eliminating your financial  insecurities and focus on your financial success.

 

Article by Chad Gordon, the founder and CEO of GreenStar Advisors and author of the book Wealth by Virtue. He advises individuals, couples, and families toward wealth-optimized decisions using holistic financial planning, disciplined investment strategies, and proactive personal service. 

 
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Is it possible to live a fabulous life while still finding more room in your budget to pay off debt, save or invest? Yes, absolutely!

 

"Living a fabulous life doesn’t have to equate to how much money you spend."
 

You can still find ways to improve your finances while enjoying the things you value most in life. You’ll have to make some conscious spending decisions and choices but it’s possible.

 

Here are 5 ways to live fabulously on a budget:
 

1. Repurpose the fabulous clothes you already have

Do you love to shop? Do you consider having nice clothes and shoes a part of your fabulosity profile? If so, you probably already have a closet full of items that you hardly wear. Instead of going out to buy another pair of shoes that you’ll only wear once and forget, consider shopping your closet.


There’s probably a bunch of clothes and shoes lost in the back of your closet, begging to be worn again. Organize your closet so that you can find some of these hidden treasures.Learn to repurpose the fabulous clothes you already have before spending unnecessary money on things you don’t need.  

 

2. Combine high & low  

Mix matching high and low priced items is a great way to be both fabulous and economical. While you usually hear about matching high and low items when it comes to clothes, you can do this in any area of your life.

 

Let’s say you want to redecorate a room in your home or have plans for a night out on the town. Find a way to pair high priced items with more affordable items for a reasonable blend. Pick something that you know you want to spend a little more money on and then something that you can save money on.

In the case of going out, if you decide to go to an expensive restaurant, choose to have drinks beforehand at home or take advantage of a happy hour. Likewise, if you want to redecorate a room in your home, pick a staple piece you know you want to spend more money on and then shop for lower priced items from Target or Walmart.

 

You don’t have to go big and expensive for every purchase or activity. Pick a couple things that matter to you in terms of quality and experience and then value shop the rest.


 

3. Budget for your splurges and events in advance

There’s nothing wrong with occasionally splurging on the things you like. Just make sure you’re saving for these purchases in advance. If you want to take a particular trip with friends, buy a nice bag or pair of shoes, start putting aside the money for it.

 

Select how much you can afford to save each month while still taking care of your other financial obligations and then plan out how long it will take for you to save up enough money to make the purchase. When the times comes, you’ll be able to spend money without any guilt or additional credit card debt.

 

 

4. Redefine what being fabulous means

Fabulosity doesn't have to be tied to material items and expensive purchases. Living a fabulous life doesn’t have to equate to how much money you spend. The price of an item does not have to determine its value. If you can identify the things that will add value to your life regardless of the price tag attached to it, you can begin to live a life of fabulosity, no budget required.

 

Living fabulously can simply mean the joy you get from having your finances in order and spending quality time with family and friends.


 

5. Recruit a fab & frugal girl friend

Find at least one girlfriend with whom you can share your financial goals with. Together, you can make better money conscious decisions on where you go to eat and what you do for fun.

 

You can serve as each others accountability partner and together find ways to live it up, the simple way without feeling pressured or judged by others who have different priorities.


 

***

 


Living a fabulous life is possible while prioritizing good money habits. If you follow these 5 tips, you’ll be able to live it up and reach your financial goals at the same time.

 

Jamila is a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI) and founder of JourneyToLaunch.com where she helps others on their journey to financial independence.

 
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When you think about the word 'budget', it has such a negative connotation associated with it, the same as treating it like that awful diet.
 

First things first, if it gives you that blah feeling, change the name. I personally like to address mine as my "glow up" plan because it holds me accountable and my dollars are flowing in my favor. I know you’re probably saying “I already tried, but it didn’t work.” Was it that it didn't work for you or was it that you weren’t realistic with it?  Budgets work, but you have to be willing to be transparent with yourself. The goal is to have every dollar work for you vs. the other way around.
 

To be clear not every budgeting method works for everyone. You have to find your style and flow that works for you. Whether it’s the envelope method, the zero-sum method or the cash diet method something has got to stick. I personally like to use a little bit of all three based on my current system, it works and it makes sense. If you’re still figuring out why your budget is not working. Here are 3 possible reasons:

 

1. You didn't count all of your real expenses

Budgets are not meant to be restrictive. In fact, it’s an important document that tells you your input and output of funds. If you aren’t including things such as your Netflix, Hulu subscription or Tidal etc, you’re probably going to go over every month. If your monthly expenses aren’t real then your budget isn’t either. Just sayin’.
 

Make sure you take the time to add every single expense every month. A great way to do that is to take out a piece of paper and start looking at your debit and credit card recurring expenses. One of my favorite apps that can help you do that is Clarity Money. It identifies your recurring expenses once you connect all of your accounts and the best part is that you can click a button and they’ll even cancel them for you. Mint is another popular app to use.

 

2. Spending more than you’re making

Often we make the mistake of creating a budget where the income doesn’t match our expenditures. If your income doesn’t match, it’s time to not only go through your expenses to see what you need but also what you can live without. If you need every single item in your budget it’s time to decide how you can make extra money to cover your expenses so you’re not in the red all the time.
 

Making extra money can be as simple as selling the clothes in your closet on Poshmark or creating a side hustle that brings you an extra income. Figure out what you’re good at and start selling. It won’t hurt to start with a t-shirt shop via Spreadshirt without even having to hold inventory. Make those coins!

 

3. You forgot to make room for 'fun money'

If you have the cushion in your budget you should, of course, make a line item for 'fun money'.
 

Let’s keep it real here, no one wants to not have any money to do some of the things that they love. Every month, I allocate a specific amount of money in my budget for going out to eat, entertainment, etc. It allows me to not feel deprived as I pay my bills and prioritize paying down debt and saving money.
 

Note that although you have 'fun money', there are times where you will need to cut it down as you prioritize some of your other expenses, but the line item is there for you.

 

***
 

Budgeting is only a piece of the puzzle when it comes to managing your money. Money can be an emotional trigger for most, but working through that towards changing your mindset and beliefs can help you as you move through your financial journey.


As you figure out what budgeting method works for you, remember that pivoting is ok. Pivoting is necessary for every aspect of your life when something is not working. Once you find something that is seamless for you, stick with it.

 

Article by Felicia Blaise, a Certified Financial Education Instructor (CFEI), Travel Strategist, and the Chief Budget Balancer. She helps millennials change they way they think about money so they can experience the world, not financial limits. Visit her website here.

 
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Getting an internship can be a little scary – at least for me it was. It meant leaving the comfort of the classroom and branching out into the real world. However, I got over my fear and found the perfect internship and in this post I'm sharing some tips that helped me out including how to go about finding one, handling internships that are paid and unpaid and preparing to use this knowledge towards school and a career.

 

"'As a college student, "internship" might sound like a scary word but it doesn't have to be."


Some questions college students face when looking into internships for the first time include:

Will I be paid?

Am I compensated for travel?

What if I don’t like it?

Does this mean every job will be the same?

 

These are all valid questions (that I'll be answering) and definitely not questions you need to stress over. Internships are actually one of the best things a college student – sometimes even high school students or post graduates - can be a part of, there is no age limit as to when you can start interning or go back to interning. Let's get into it:

 

How to find a well-suited internship1. Put your name on your schools job listing email list

I did this by going to my university's “Career Services” office. Every campus has a similar office and it could be called student services, career services or advisor services. I put my email on the important mailing lists that applied to my major there and received countless job listings every week (and still do).


Employers usually post their internship openings to nearby colleges all the time, whether it be fall, spring, or summer semesters – they’re always looking. This is how I found all my past internships.

 

2. Create a profile on the popular job board sites

Other places where you can find internships are job sites like Monster.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn.com (Be sure to fill out your profile completely and switch your settings to let job recruiters know you’re actively looking).  


It doesn’t matter what type of job you’re looking for, it's important to keep your social media and job search profiles updated – showcasing your past work such as portfolios or writing samples (even something done for a school assignment) can make you more marketable.

 

3. Network

Next, you need to network. Most jobs won't fall into your lap – especially if you want your dream job and want to be properly compensated.  Making a connection can many times simply happen over social media or via job fairs.


Start by identifying your target company and an employee you can relate to whether they’re an alum of your school or have mutual friends. LinkedIn connects you with your school’s alums and at what company they work for.


Then, you can reach out via email – start slow with questions inquiring how they like the company and their position, state your interest and make it known that you are looking for some mentoring going into the same line of work as them. You can also request a face to face meeting so they get to know you better.


Doing all of this can help you get your foot in the door since most companies hire internally or based off of recommendations. This will also give you insight as to if this job and position are right for you and help your resume stand out from other applicants in the internship pool.

 

What if it isn’t paid?

Taking an internship that is unpaid is very common. Companies save thousands of dollars a year by offering these internship positions for students and those alike. However, don’t think of an unpaid internship as free work.
 

Internships are meant to educate and to prove your worth to that company. The goal is to ensure that by the end of the internship, the company considers you a valuable asset and wants to keep you.


Yes, there are thousands of paid internships whether they compensate you for travel, give you an hourly wage or a yearly/seasonal salary, but in some cases, it may be best to suck it up and take an unpaid internship.


Throughout my experience – employers are generally aware of the sacrifice college students make by working as unpaid interns and that they may still have to work a paid job in addition to their new role as an intern. I’ve done this with all my previous internships and my employers have been extremely understanding of the circumstances – so there's hope!


Do not be afraid to juggle responsibilities as long as you are upfront with your employer about the financial strains, many employers will be able to work with you.
 

The point of an internship isn’t the money but the hands-on learning you will get. If your dream company is offering you an uncompensated role at their company - take it! You''ll learn first-hand if this really is your dream company after all. Don't let the fear of not making money dissuade you from taking a great opportunity to learn and grow in your professional work including trying new roles and responsibilities with each internship - that's something money cannot give you!


 

How getting an internship will help your future

Internships aren’t always required in college and some colleges might offer full college credit for these internships while some may not. Either way, I highly recommend you try interning for at least 2 different companies. The reason for this is the experience.


By being on the inside of more than one company and most likely doing different tasks for each one, you will quickly realize your niche. You realize what you do and don’t want to do and what job suits you best. You may even realize that you’re in the wrong field or major and your true calling is somewhere else – and that’s totally fine!


Internships are supposed to help you learn and realize your passion. Without testing the waters first – you may never know if there’s something else out there for you or maybe a different branch or a different field entirely that best suites your needs.

 

Once you're in an internship, there is a larger chance of the company wanting to hire you over a new applicant. If you live up to the intern expectations, most companies are more inclined to hire you after you complete your internship and are close to a graduation date over the pile of resumes sitting on their desk, who haven't gotten the opportunity to prove themselves.


Securing the internship is half the battle, proving you're a reliable and hard working asset to their team is the other half. Fueling your career and starting early is the best way to secure a future at a company of your dreams.

 

***


Interning might seem like a huge first step into the working world – but it's something that should absolutely be embraced. It will lead you to a career that is best for you and you will enter your newfound job prepared and well trained.
 

Remember, internships don’t always have to be permanent and don't have to be paid – if your employer mostly has you cleaning and doing coffee runs for the whole office – its time to look for something else.


Keep an open mind and make the best out of your sneak peek of the working world as a student. Good luck!

 

Article by Meghan Hoholick, full-time communications and business student and part-time inspiration to working college students everywhere. 

 
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All you want is to feel accomplished in your career. To love your job, go to work, kick ass and take names every day. But instead, you're tired, underutilized and frustrated. You have so much talent to offer. You have great ideas. Yet you aren't taken seriously. No one listens to you. Others take credit for YOUR ideas.
 

Or worse...
 

Your career is stalled, and your skills are stagnating.And you ask yourself, ‘Why does this keep happening?’ 'What am I doing wrong here? 'Maybe if I were more like one of the guys, it'd be better.' But there is just one problem.


You are not a guy.


And trying to act like 'one of the guys' for 40 hours a week is awkward, draining and disingenuous to ourselves, our team and our company. Not to mention that loads of research suggest that women receive backlash for trying to take on more 'male dominant' characteristics.

 

"Trying to act like 'one of the guys' for 40 hours a week is awkward, draining and disingenuous to ourselves."

 

So what can we do? Instead of trying to be more like men to succeed, we should focus on our strengths. And use those too so we can be comfortable in our skin while being a rock star at work.

 


1. Quit holding yourself back - this is business so play to win

Working isn't like going to the park. Where its open to everyone, anyone can stay as long as they want, and no one will ask you to leave.It's a job, with company rules, standards and politics. And trust and believe that they will ask you to leave if you don't perform.
 

Nothing personal, it's only business. Our parents taught us to make friends and be thoughtful of others. But there is nothing shady or repulsive about wanting more, marketing yourself, making sure folks know your worth or seeking out opportunities to give more to your company.The same way you would encourage a coworker, or praise them for hard work is the same thing you should do for yourself.
 

We have to change our mindset about competition. Your winning doesn't mean that everyone else loses. So make yourself visible. Volunteer to help whenever you can and use it as an opportunity to showcase your skills.


 

2. Stop working so hard

Women believe if we just keep our head down and keep working hard everyone will -eventually- notice our hard work and reward us appropriately.That'd be great if it worked that way. But it doesn't.
 

There is a reason they say business deals are made on the golf course, and it's because a large part of our job has nothing to do with the work we do for the company.Networking and building relationships is also a part of our job. If we are too busy working and miss the lunch opportunities, coffee break chit chat or after work happy hour then teammates and bosses won't get to know us. Again, visibility is vital.
 

People recommend trusted peers that they know for positions, not just people who work hard. So try to catch up with the coworkers whenever you can.


 3. Learn the rules of the game

Remember how clumsy you look when you played a game for the first time? Well, when you fail to understand critical players, acceptable behaviors and how things operate in the current state of the union, it's like having your awkward, clumsy first day ... every day.
 

So, observe and write down the unwritten rules of your workplace. Who are the influencers, what is the process for getting things pushed through? What do folks value when making a decision? What are the expectations of the high performers and high rollers? How do influencers behave? These questions help you figure out how to navigate your world and get things done.
 

It's especially if your voice isn't getting heard. Knowing key players means you can leverage an influencer as a 'big stick' to get people in line when your carrot approach doesn't work.


 

4. Use your superpower

Your emotional intelligence is your secret weapon to winning at work. It's your ability to 1) identify and manage your own emotions, 2) pick up on the emotions of others and manage them, and 3) in doing so - build trust and grow influence. In fact, many studies suggest that women have an edge over men in this category.
 

And this is a huge benefit in the workplace. Because workers with high EQ are better able to work in teams, adjust to change, anticipate needs and be flexible.

 
So it pays to be a chameleon and change your message and your delivery based on your audience. And be willing and ready to do what's needed. Recognize when a coworker needs nurturing to figure out the right answer for themselves, and when you need to gut-punch them (figuratively of course) and call them out on their bad behavior.


 5. Ditch mentors and find influencers

I know I'm not following the conventional advice here. So I'll ask you. Do you need a mentor to give you professional and personal help/guidance, or an influencer to bring you opportunities, advocate for you, introduce you to folks who can help you and tries to open doors for you? Basically, put you on the radar of those who can help launch your career?

 
If your stomach just dropped and you're thinking 'Bring opportunities?!?!? I'm not ready. That's scary! Nope, I need nice safe guidance' then think of this as gently shoving you out the nest so you can fly.
 

So often self-doubt sneaks in, telling us we aren't ready or we need more of '___' before we are ready for the next level. When we are perfectly ready for action! Don't hide behind the need for a mentor. Not only that, female mentors/role models are hard to find, and some are so busy staying on top they don't have time for mentoring so what are you going to do? We can't fold our arms and sit this round out.
 

Identify the most influential people in your firm and use them as a backdrop for improvement. Join the appropriate affinity group - for young professionals, people of color or for women because they usually have seasoned, more experienced folks who are hungry to help others.Do all the heavy lifting - set up the meeting, the agenda and come prepared. Remember if you weren't ready, they wouldn't stake their reputation on you by pushing you for a job you couldn't handle.



6. Don't  act like a guy, act like you

Playing like a girl and winning is being true to your personality. Don't hide or discredit what you bring to the table. You can be strong and assertive and still be feminine. You can be *insert stereotypical male character trait* and still be true to yourself. You have the tools to kick butt, without pretending to be someone else all day long. You're just someone to tell you it's okay.
 

So here you go. You have permission to be yourself, let your light shine and bring your best skills to the table. What do you have to lose? Let's get to it.

 

Jordanne Wells is a revived corporate mommy zombie, personal economist and founder of Good & Wells, who is unapologetically crazy about getting women fearless and confident in their life and money.

 

 
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Staying on top of your finances plays a major role in whether you achieve your money goals. When you have a life full of career, family and personal demands on your plate, a regular review of your spendings, savings, and debts can fall by the wayside.
 

If you feel like all the responsibilities in your life keep you from creating a budget or logging into your online financial account, even once a week, use these hacks to help you manage your money.

 

You’ll never be able to get more than 24-hours in a day, but with a few strategic moves, you can easily prioritizing the time you need to maintain your financial well being.
 1. Add Money Reminders To Your Calendar

Spending time on your finances deserves to be prioritized like every other important event in your life. Consider adding recurring money check-in dates to your calendar as you set up a meeting at work, or a doctor's appointment for yourself or your family.
 

For example, you can schedule a time to check your financial accounts daily, update your actual spending in your budget bi-weekly, get competitive quotes for vehicle insurance coverage quarterly, and review your retirement contribution and tax withholding amounts annually.

 

 2. Review Your Money From Your Phone

It can be challenging to routinely log in to all your different banking, creditor and service provider accounts to maintain a full understanding of where your money stands.
 

Overcome this challenge by using mobile apps, like Mint, that pull together all your account balances, upcoming bills, summarize the progress towards financial goals and offer the ability pay bills right from your phone.
 

Also, explore signing up for text alerts from your financial institution, to receive messages with account balances, transaction activity, and even bill due dates to your mobile phone, when it's available.

 

3. Tackle Major Money Tasks Separately

Important financial tasks like switching financial institutions, updating beneficiary designations, disputing charges, changing payment account information, rolling over an old retirement account or changing your legal name after a marriage, take more time and effort than a quick review of your account activity.
 

Although you might be tempted to procrastinate, pacing yourself and tackling these tasks separately, is a better approach. 
 

Take into account how much time you’ll need for each task and aim to complete one task each or every other week.

 

4. Take a Personal Day for Your Finances

Whether your employer offers an official Financial Fitness Day or not, taking some personal time off to tend to your finances is well worth it.
 

Use this time to schedule your money reminders for the next 6 months, develop your budget, open a separate savings account at a brick and mortar location one town over, or tackle those long overdue financial tasks, all in one day.

 

Melisa Boutin a personal finance expert passionate about helping millennials in the U.S. and the Caribbean. Read her bio and visit her website here.

 
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Whether you’re a blogger, infopreneur, online coach, social media influencer, or even own a small shop on Etsy, there are 4 things that every brand needs to be successful. And here’s the kicker - only half of them have anything to do with visuals.
 

That’s right, your brand is more than a logo or a visual style that you become known for. Every modern, successful online brand is made up of 4 essential parts for continuing to attract others and potentially earn some sort of income while doing so, this is what you'll need to do the same:

 


1. A needed solution to a real problem

Every successful business solves a problem, and every successful brand does so as well. Think of your favorite fashion blogger or finance guru - they’re either inspiring you on topics that interest you or giving you the lowdown where you may need some guidance.
 

To do this with your brand, make sure you’re addressing a problem that others are interested in or require help solving them. If people are already attracted to the content you’re putting out there, figure out what real issues you can expand on and help readers with. Then, make sure to highlight that problem - along with your solution - in your blog posts, emails, webinars, content upgrades, and more.
 

 

2. An ideal audience or niche

Now that you know what problem you’re going to focus on solving, you need to know and understand exactly who you are solving it for. Start by asking yourself these questions:
 

  • Who needs this problem to be solved the most?
  • What kind of pain/stress do people with this particular problem have?
  • What life circumstances might the readers have in common?
  • Knowing all this, what would be the best way to solve their problem?
     

Figuring out your ideal niche audience also sets the tone for your visual identity. For example, if you realize your ideal audience is for a professional woman over 40, powder pink with flowers may not be the best way to go.
 

Determining the problem you will solve and defining your niche are a HUGE part of what’s needed before you can even start to visually brand. Once you have an ideal audience figured out, it’s time to move onto the next step.

 


3. Visual graphics that resonate

Now that you know the problem that you'll be solving and who you will solve it for, you’re ready to start creating a visual brand that speaks to them. In case you haven’t caught the running theme yet, creating a successful brand has as much to do with who you’re trying to reach as it has to do with you, creatively and thoughtfully. 
 

When it comes to creating visuals, I recommend creating a simple concept for inspiration. Start off by choosing 1-3 words that you would want your brand to be known for. Then, use those words as a jumping off point for determining your brand colors and any visual elements you may want to be associated with your brand.


For example, if “empowering” is one of your words, a bold red or even deep purple may be a good way to go. Just try to stick to one main color and don’t go overboard. 
 

It’s also important to keep it simple and understated. If you’re DIYing your logo, start off by writing your brand name in a font that you like that is also easy to read. And don’t forget to keep your concept and ideal niche in mind! Again, women in their forties may not resonate with the same logos as 20-year-olds. 


 

4. A useful and engaging website

I recommend a website for everyone because social media channels alone aren’t enough. Your social platforms should all point back to your website because that’s where they can learn more about you and even purchase what you and your brand have to offer.
 

Your site is one of the only things in your business that you have complete control over, so be sure to take advantage of that opportunity! To do this, make sure you have a few key things in place:

  • A homepage with at least one big takeaway action for viewers to do

  • An "about" page that is more about consumers and the brand, than it is about you

  • Resources, blog posts, or products that showcase how you can best help them

  • A place for them to sign up and join your email list

     

The bottom line is that you need a website to act as a home base for everything in your brand, not just for you but for others as well.
 

***
 

In the end, your brand is only partly made up of what people see, the rest all comes down to how you make people feel.

 

Yuri Gibson is a designer turned Brand Clarity Coach  and the founder of ViaYuri.com. She creates epic Branding and Business Resources for side hustlers & those that like to “stay scrappy”. 

 
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