Three Ways coworking and childcare helps to close the pay gap

Equal pay day is a sad, but honest, reminder that we have a long way to go to reform the way we balance work and life.

Women in their prime, child-bearing ages are greatly impacted by pay gaps. Mothers require more time off for doctor's visits, maternity leave and often spend more time than fathers for childcare. Women, even those working full time, spend almost double the time on housework and childcare. With the rising costs of childcare, it is often the mother who alters her career in order to support the emotional, physical and financial constraints of parenthood.

Women earn $25K less than an equally-qualified man after a child is born. This pay gap only widens with each additional child.

The New York times recently reported:

Low earners have a smaller pay gap in general, and people who have babies in their late 30s could have a smaller pay gap because they are less likely to have more than one child. But the fact that both groups of women recover their earnings, relative to their husbands, suggests there’s also something about having children outside the prime career-building years that hurts women’s pay less, no matter the occupation.

One explanation is that the modern economy requires time in the office and long, rigid hours across a variety of jobs — yet pay gaps are smallest when workers have some control over when and where work gets done. In high-earning jobs, hours have grown longer and people are expected to be available almost around the clock. In low-earning jobs, hours have become much less predictable, so it can be hard for working parents to arrange child care.

Work Nest, SC's first baby-friendly open workspace helps to close this gap by: creating a flexible working environment, offering an affordable childcare option and creating a community of like-minded women.

Flexible working options: Organizations can create a plan which permits new moms to work remotely at our location, one or two days per week, as a flexible alternative to leaving the workforce. This improves engagement, retention and overall shows that the organization takes a progressive stand on addressing a classic issue.

Affordable child care: The cost of membership includes two children, aged six weeks to four years for up to four hours per day for as little at $8 per hour. The average cost of a nanny is $12 per hour and part time childcare averages over $100 per week.

Community of Moms: Working moms can combat loneliness with a tribe of like-minded women. This creates camaraderie, increases accountability and overall morale as they know that Work Nest has an invested interest in their success.

When Someone Actually "Steals" Your Business Idea

The funny thing about launching a business, is that many are afraid to share the concept at the risk of someone stealing the idea. If I had a dollar for every time someone came to me and stated that he/she didn't want to risk someone stealing an idea...

So here's the thing, I know how that feels. 

When you have a non-proprietary, non-patented business model, you are in constant risk of this. It means that you are opening yourself up to replication. I get emails weekly from local and remote parties interested in replicating my model. Heck, Work Nest started after referencing some businesses in similar operation. I've had some connections attempt to pick my brain so that they could do what I do. As the media attention grew, so did the requests. It certainly showed another side of attention. 

I know how that feels. But I also have learned a valuable lesson from this: stay in your lane. 

When you start to do something different or new, you will get a target on you back. People will always try to compete. They will wish you well all while watching and waiting for you to make a mistake. They will try to figure out how to do what you do. But that's none of your concern. 

The only thing you need to worry about is how to continue to progress forward, without worrying about your competition. They will never be you or do what you do. 

I felt like I needed to share this for so many reasons today. Maybe just for myself. But just remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery. 

30 Lessons Learned from My First Month Doing Business

I cannot believe that I made it one month.

That may sound odd if you've never done anything bold, but launching Work Nest redefined the saying "faith of a mustard seed:" for me. I candidly share my journey. It's to track my growth, yes. But it's also a testament to my superpower: faith in myself. I am guilty of having a delusional sense of faith in myself. Work Nest and my coaching business happen to be the tools used to showcase said faith. But neither define me. Neither will break me should they fail. Because like Ms. Oprah Winfrey said in this amazing interview regarding the launch of Oprah show, "if it fails, I will still do well...we are defined by the way we treat ourselves and the way we treat other people". 

So here are 30 lessons learned so far in business:

1. Like MTV stated in True Life, "You think you know but you have no idea". Starting a new business is similar to birthing a child. I've had two. You have no idea what's REALLY going to happen. 

2. Likes aren't the same as sales. Don't confuse social media excitement with success. They are not one in the same.

3. Keep pitching until someone bits if you're looking to get you're story covered by the media.

4. Have an actual story to begin with. No one cares that you launched a business. They care about the impact of your business.

5. Find a tribe. Even if it's virtual. You need someone who lets you vent to them when sh*t gets real because it will.

6. But don't let being alone stop you. No one really understood what Work Nest was when I launched this self-funded venture.

7. Speaking of money...actually speak of money. Often. Don't just give your services away. 

8. You may have money for your business. It's not enough. It's never enough.

9. Don't quit your day job. It's hard to resist, but you've got bills and businesses don't just flourish over night. You need to keep some stability until you're ready to jump. 

10. Use your resources. Tap into anyone you know who has been in business and willing to chat with you about the lessons they've learned. You need to hear them.

11. Listen. You think you know everything. You don't. Shut up and listen to your audience. 

12. Don't "pick people's brains". It's rude and inconsiderate of their business, unless you are not a threat to them or their market. Have something to bring to the table.

13. Leverage your strengths. 

14. Be particular about your time. It's a resource. Especially if this is your side hustle, like mine. I have to allocate time wisely which means a lot of nos and the occasional yes to something I would have said no to.

15. Don't share your business with everyone. This sounds counter productive, but I grantee that you will likely not find your clients/customers from social media. 

16. Know your key audience. Through and through. Behaviors, needs, fears, mindset.

17. If you know your audience and your audience is in your personal network, then yes, share.

18. Posting on Facebook is not selling.

19. Create a sales systems. One that can be replicated.

20. Build your email list. It's your lifeline.

21. Having a business card doesn't make you a business owner. I don't even have business cards, by the way.

22. #teamnosleep can miss me. I try to ensure that I get at least six hours per night because you cannot think straight when you're exhausted. 

23. Personalize the customer experience. 

24. Test and pivot. Emails. Posts. Calls. Products. Test and pivot and leverage the analytics to see what resonates with your audience.

25. Be Yourself. No one wants a replica. Be genuine. 

26. Lead with gratitude. I take the time to tell my members how grateful I am for them every chance I get. I'd have nothing without their support. Your support.

27. Win the day. There will be more fails than successes early on. I kid you not, I have 'closed' Work Nest 25 times out of the last 30 days. Stay focused on the end goals by winning the day.

28. Know your numbers. Know how much you need in order to sustain and make payroll. Know how much you need in order to scales.

29. Pay yourself first. Even if it's just a few dollars. The point is to get in the practice and mindset of doing it. Over half of businesses owners do not pay themselves.  

30. Just keep swimming. Like Dory said. It will be scary. You will be alone. You'll want to go back to the starting line. But I encourage you to just keep swimming. Eventually you will see the light. God, I hope so. 

I am so grateful for you and your support of this journey. It's for parents like you and I who need someone to remind them to keep pushing. 

Happy one-month anniverysary, Work Nest!

 

 

Five Ways to Define Your Personal Brand

I am notoriously cautious of the people within my circle. I'm the type of person who watches your mannerisms, the way you interact with others, what you’re talking about, etc. I don’t do this as some superficial attempt to initiate people into my life. Instead it’s my way of recognizing that whether I like it or not, I am being judged by who I associate with.

If you have any ambitions of being a successful professional or an entrepreneur, then you already know the importance of branding yourself. A lot of people, women especially, tend to think that because they’re not in a sales career, they are not good salespeople.

Wrong.

You are selling yourself on a daily basis. The way you speak, your interpersonal skills and your attire are all a reflection of your brand. 

Think of  yourself as a brand of ice cream. (Because I’m hungry and it’s all that I can think of.) 

Most people have a flavor preference (your personality). But often, that flavor comes in many brands (people) that are unfamiliar to them. The very first thing that they will do is look at the brand (your name). Have they heard anything about it? Do they know someone who has tried it before? Then, they look at the package (your attire). Does it look cheap? Is it an appeasing picture? So you pass that test. Then they look at the ingredients-the most important part of the ice cream (values, attitudes, passions).

They want to know what it is that their consuming. All of this is necessary in order to choose an unfamiliar brand.

Your personal ingredients need to be expressed in the most concise way possible. They should be able to have insight on who you are in that brief encounter. No one should have to Google it. I had a conversation with someone a few weeks back trying to sell me on her coaching services. She said something like people "don’t get me because of my personal disposition to the coherence of metaphysical beliefs".

What the Wacka Flacka are you talking about?

Here are my suggestions that you should consider when defining your personal brand:

1. Do you have a static or dynamic personality?

A static person is someone who rarely changes. Experiences or interactions don’t faze them. they may be more introverted and keep to themselves. A dynamicperson is someone who evolves with time. They use experiences or interactions as an impetus for progression. People tend to gravitate to them as they are typically more outgoing and sociable.

2. What’s your speaking style?

Are you sarcastic? Witty? Conservative? Assertive? This is important to know because you don’t want to have your nonverbal style contradicting your choice of words when explaining who you are. Examples: You say that you are a great communicator or have great social skills. Yet, your voice lacks inflection. You say that you are confident, but you lack conviction and borderline whisper when you speak. Your speaking style should complement what you say.

3. What inspires you?

Become conscious of what you do on a regular basis. At what point do you feel the most invigorated? When do you have a moment of power? What are you doing during these moments? This is important to know because these are your selling points. More than likely, they are your strengths. We want to exploit the hell out of these. Find a way to summarize them in one or two sentences.

4. What exhausts you?

Do you feel depleted when interacting with a particular person? Are you reluctant to do certain things? Does it take a lot of convincing from others? These may be things that take you away from your position of power. Not that it’s a bad thing. You can learn from experiences outside of your element. People who exhaust you, that’s another story. If  you have people within your circle who send weird vibes, then you need to outsource their asses. No other way to say it.

5. Why should someone care who you are?

Brands don’t succeed because of their amazing capabilities and talents. They sell because they know how to convince consumers that they need THEIR particular brand. It’s the infamous, ‘So What?’ question. Yea, you can write, so what? You are well-organized, so what? None of your skills matter if you don’t know how to sell them to the buyer. Contemplate your goals when expressing your brand. Alter your explanation in a manner that will excite them about working with you. Ensure that person is clear on your brand and how you differ from others. 

Veteran. Student. Failure.

I was a veteran but felt like a total failure. 

25 Years Old, making $10/hr, finishing my undergrad degree after separating from USAF.

  I’d traveled the world. Been responsible for millions in property. Promoted early. Received almost every award imaginable. Spearheaded large projects. The first airman to shadow the highest ranking female on the base. Solely responsible for briefing hundreds. Yet, I was only making $10 an hour.   

Lost was an understatement. 

How was it that I was told that I was capable of so much in the service and yet hit a wall every chance I tried as a civilian? I knew that my manager At that time didn’t even know what to do with me. 

When I asked about a potential promotion, her exact words to me were “I don’t know how to develop you”. 

Wait. 

What?

But She had no clue how to develop a transitioning veteran and I had no clue how to help her. 

Despite many changes within the service, military members are still struggling to translate their successes into viable civilian career paths. A large part of the problem is also with the service member. We are not always sure how to leverage our strengths, network or even understand proper interview etiquette.

If you know a transitioning veteran in need of professional development or coaching, please tag them below. Share this post to show your support of our troops being just as successful on the outside as they are in the service. 

You Must Do This at Your Next Networking Event

Years of attending networking events has taught me this one key thing I want to share with anyone who says they're not great at networking events:

Shut up and listen. 

That's it.

I absolutely love networking. Nothing more invigorating to me than walking into a room full of strangers. But my eagerness can quickly turn into talking too damn much.  You know that nervous talk we’ve all been guilty of from time to time. That same talk that makes people slowly start to back away from the conversation or glance over their phones. 

So years ago, I had an idea: people love talking about themselves. Why not shut up and listen and see what happens? Instead of walking into a room with the expectation of someone wanting to serve me. Why not listen to more people and see how I could serve them? Early on, I lacked confidence in what I offered or wasn't sure how people would respond to me. The anxiety I experienced came from that. I was so scared that people would realize how young I was or that I didn't know everything. I associated sharp dress attire and business cared with a level of confidence that I lacked. 

Being a naturally curious (and a corporate recruiter) means that I already ask a ton of questions. So this was an easy adjustment for me.

I quickly noticed how much easier networking became because I made it 10% about me and 90% about the person I was speaking with.  I also learned that I wasn't the only one faking confidence in networking events. Many people were just as freaked at the idea of being outted for 'faking it until they made it'

Believe it or not, listening is not a common skill. It takes a lot of effort and self awareness. Make ‘em feel like they’re the most interesting people in the world. That’s how you rock a room full of strangers. 

Are You Affected by the 43 Percent?

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College educated. Qualified. Strong leadership capabilities. And unemployed.

Did you know that 43% of highly qualified women with children are leaving careers or off-ramping for a period of time?

This means that these talented women are choosing to exchange degrees and promotions for diapers and play dates. That is an unbelievable number to fathom with less millennials having children.

Full disclosure, I came pretty close myself. I chose to leave my then career and opted for contract work which offered less pressure. But I struggled at length with mom guilt, especially after having my second child. Life felt pretty easy during maternity leave. I nailed a system at home and felt like I was thriving in all fronts. However, I felt completely depleted after returning from maternity leave. I was surrounded by people who didn't understand what it was like to be forced to use a breast pump in a closet, let alone have smaller children at home.

Don't even let me get started on the cost of daycare for two children.

I absolutely loved the progressive company I worked for. But there weren't enough gym memberships, free lunches or discount programs in the world to make me choose that life over one in which my family was a priority.

So I walked away from a thriving career.

My story isn't unique. Employees are not ashamed to share that work-life balance is a priority. With children or without. They want to feel that they have control over their lives.

I have worked in staffing and recruitment with various industries. The issue is unanimous across the board: the candidate pool is slim and companies are struggling to attract (or retain) top, qualified candidates. Candidates are choosing companies that invest in their values, like work'life balance. This means that slow-changing organizations are left with an unfilled vacancy for months at a time, costing thousands of dollars.

The Harvard Business Review recently shared an article titled "Why People Thrive in Coworking Spaces"

This sums up exactly why I founded and launched Work Nest, South Carolina's first and only shared work space offering onsite child care. If this resonates with you, let's talk soon.

Tales of a Side Hustling Mom: Meet Jen!

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Meet Jen Savage

Mom Coach & Montessori Teacher


Tell us what you do!

I coach women to navigate the identity of motherhood and help them to uncover their creative voice so they can step into their purpose and rediscover who they are. I offer one to one and packages for mamas who want to be more mindful and present throughout their motherhood journey as well as a flexible mastermind program for mamas who are ready to take it to the next level and want to be supported by a group of like-minded seekers.

What was your "why"?

My why has been the transformation I have seen in my own journey and all of the breakthroughs that have resulted from my own breakdowns of unprocessed energy and not receiving enough.  I want to help women understand that they are not alone and that taking time to uncover their purpose and heal all the way through will not only benefit them but all of those around them as well.

What's your full-time job?

I am a secondary Montessori educator.

What's the hardest part about having a side hustle?

The hardest part is dedicating the time it requires to nurture this passion of mine on top of full time work and, of course, motherhood.

What are you currently listening to or reading to keep you focused or inspired?

My mastermind group is delving into Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements and I am also reading All Women Are Healers by Diane Stein.  And I just finished Emily Ley’s Grace Not Perfection.  I also listen to The Boss Up Podcast, Magic Lessons, and the Amber Lilyestrom podcast pretty regularly.

What's been the best app/software/hack to help you manage your business and being a mom?

This may not seem like an answer you would expect but the Mealime App has been a game changer for me.  In order to maintain full time work, full time motherhood, and my side hustle, I need an organized system and meal planning is a major part of that.

Story time: How did you land your very first client or earn your first $1K

My very first paid client was a friend of a friend.  Before I delved into work specifically for moms, I worked with people undergoing major transitions.  This client was contemplating a big physical move and needed to clear some baggage.  I remember so vividly the email that I received from my friend who introduced us.  I had done lots of pro bono and practice work but I never expected anyone to pay me for my services.  I had just moved to North Carolina from MA and was really practicing what I preach about making a big move.  I was on my planning period at the new school I was teaching at and received this email about working with a new client.  I was ecstatic.  This client gave my dream to coach life.  5 years later and we still meet sporadically and have developed a friendship.  

Tell us about your worst entrepreneurial moment thus far?

I think the worst is when you are so excited and inspired by something and it is not received by your people. For example, I put a lot of time and effort into the launch of my Virtual Soul Spa program, and it was not met with the amount of excitement.  However, it was a great growing experience for me because it caused me to pare back my offering and to offer mini, customized soul spas and those were received a lot better.  

What's one thing you want to share with other moms who want to start a business?

Start somewhere and reach out for support from those who are further along on the journey.  And don’t get stuck in the comparison game.  We are all at different phases of the journey and are all unique, so honor where you are and don’t let your lack of experience hold you back.  We all start somewhere.

 

What are your goals for 2018?

I am going against my own nature in 2018 and trying for a simple and slower approach to my life and business. I am also 7 months pregnant so that comes into play and I am feeling the need to  go back to what is sacred.  With that said, I hope to contain to grow my mastermind program and start my Sacred Bliss Women’s Circles and retreats.  I also am toying with starting a non profit, but realistically that probably won’t be in 2018.  


15 pounds in one week....

...that's how much I gained from mom guilt and poor work/life balance after I returned to work from my second child. 

Mom guilt. That struggle is real.

If you’re a working parent, especially a new mom, you may connect with my story.  I'm a mom of two small children, both of whom were nursed for an extended period of time.

While I was adamant about growing my family I was also committed to my career and company, at that time. 

After returning to work from maternity leave, I hit an ultimate low.  My mom friends didn’t understand my struggles in my career. My colleagues didn’t understand my struggles as a new mom. My leadership was limited in their ability to provide any additional support.  My workload began to increase as my productivity decreased. This also meant I was working at home after I put my kids to sleep and on weekends.

Due to the stress, My body was unable to continue nursing my infant. I gained 15 pounds in less than three weeks. The mom guilt I had was eating me alive. I remember trying to pump at work, (backstory: as if mom guilt wasn't bad enough, I had to pump while in a restroom for the medical team. I could overhear EVERY conversation they had), and one day it took me over an hour to produce anything.

I sat there and cried like a baby. 

Eventually, I left my promising career. It was the hardest decision that I made because I absolutely love my company and I knew that I could continue to grow. But I also knew that my stress levels were unsustainable. Everything around me was falling apart and all I could do was watch. 

I never want another working mom to feel that way. I know the struggles you face. But I also know that many companies lack the resources to support them. I am on a personal mission to see that that changes. 

So often, women returning to the workforce just need a safe place to talk through their struggles. Or someone to remind them that it's okay. Companies often lose out of knowledge and experience when a mother resigns during maternity leave. It costs them an average of 1.5 times her salary when she does. From a recruitment standpoint, there's a demographic which has left the workforce due to the lack of flexibility. Highly educated, organized and ambitious women who may want to work but feel that the cons (lack of support, flexibility or expensive childcare arrangements) make working not worth it.

Question: In what ways could your organization better support you as a working parent?

Tales of a side-hustling mommy

I've convinced someone from attempting to go through a window. Intercepted a tiny ninja kick to an innocent bystander's knee. Removed hazardous material from a pool. Acted as an arbitration lawyer in an estate settlement. Became an elite mind reader.

Am I some type of genius or renaissance woman, you ask? Hell no. I'm a mom. 

That window is on my second floor and my daughter loves throwing things from it. That ninja kick? Also her, as I fought her to get into her car seat while in the daycare parking lot. Hazaradous material, or also known as poop, was removed from the bath tub for the third time this week. My kids have a new bunk bed and constantly fight over who gets to sleep on the top. And any mom can tell you that our secret skill is reading our children's minds because you KNOW when they're about to do something they're not supposed to. 

All of this done within one hour of being home from my full-time job. I type this right now hiding in my powder room with the lights off so that I can get some work done. #thestruggleisreal

Having a full-time job, a side hustle and being a mommy is tough. It's endless working days and sleepless nights. I cannot remember the last time I slept for more than five hours. I am a huge advocate for work-life balance so this post feels a bit hypocritical. But I also want to set the expectation of how much work goes into being successful as a parent, professional or within your passion. It's extremely difficult. The amount of drive needed on a daily basis alone is enough to eliminate the faint at heart in the first round. 

But anything worth having is not meant to be easy.

I had a moment the other night where I truly cried all night. I just felt like I was failing before I even got started. I wanted to throw in the towel and see how to get out of my lease with Work Nest. 

But I simply closed my eyes, silenced the world around me and asked God for focus.

The very next day, I kid you not, I received three calls from interested members (Hi Sol, Leslie and Lauren!) There's so much power to silencing your thoughts and aligning your mind and spirit. I've noticed that I've struggled the most when I cannot find 30 minutes to be alone. It's really difficult to listen when you're surrounded by the noise of responsibilites. You owe it to yourself to center yourself.

If you are out there grinding through all the necessary work needed to get to your greatness, just know that you are not alone. I'd love to share your journey here, too. I would love to hold a weekly series showcasing the mom side hustlers out there who are trying to get their projects off of the ground. Interested in being featured? Email me at hey@theworknest.com