Taylor Swift Taught Me to Know My Value

Episode Transcript

Hello everyone, and welcome to If I'm Honest. So this week I get to see my my musical hero, Ms. Taylor Swift perform. And I know this is a touchy subject for some people, I will admit I didn't get these tickets My sister did, I was not successful. But I'm really excited to see her. I had gotten tickets to see her in April of 2020, when she was doing a show in Atlanta. And I obviously didn't get to do that, given the pandemic. I'm not the biggest concert goer, if I'm honest, I don't love the crowds and all the people and let's be real, I like to go to sleep at like 10pm. But this one to be able to see her in eras and to hear so many different songs. I'm just I'm really excited bonding with my sister, I'm thinking I'm going to be doing a lover era ensemble, I think my sister is doing reputation. But we will post on Instagram regardless. And we'll come back to Taylor Swift again a little bit later in this episode. So today, I want to talk about knowing your value. And there were three things that really sparked my interest in this topic for talking about it with you guys. And the first is that I'm working on a new project, it's gonna require me to kind of articulate my value and, you know, negotiate compensation. So I've been thinking, you know, from a financial standpoint, what what is necessary when knowing your value to be able to get what you deserve. The second thing that I was thinking about was, I was listening to the it's me Tinx podcast, and she has an ask me anything section and people call in and they ask her questions, and a lot of women will call in asking about boyfriends or situationships and, and there are a lot of times where they're describing just really less than behavior from their partners or guys keeping them guessing it's primarily female based audience. And as an outsider looking in, I want to be able to tell them like, look, oh, my goodness, you deserve so much more. You know, you should feel loved, you should feel wanted, there shouldn't be confusion in romantic partnerships. So I was kind of thinking about knowing your value from an interpersonal perspective. And then a couple weeks ago, I was talking with my parents about the importance of not letting people waste our time, specifically, if people say they're going to help you and then never follow through, you know, if they're all talk, no walk, and trying to be proactive, and moving on from people who make all these big proclamations, but then don't don't follow through because that, in turn wastes our time. So I was thinking about these things, I decided I wanted to chat with you about knowing your value. And I want to preface my discussion by saying that, you know, each of us will be in a different point in discovering our value, and in that journey of learning what our value is. And our value is also always evolving and changing. And as we develop more skills and more experience, our value goes up. If we jump into new new industries, then maybe our value shifts, but maybe not up or down. So it's just it's always evolving. And a lot of external influences, especially those experienced in childhood will play a part in shaping our own sense of worth. And I'm saying all this so that if anyone here is feeling a little lower on their self worth or their value spectrum, you know, there's nothing to be ashamed about with that. And I'm proud of you for recognizing it. And I hope that you'll frame it as an opportunity for growth and something where we can evolve together. And my hope is that this this episode can be helpful for you. And yeah, so let's, let's jump right into knowing your value. There are a few different ways we can look at knowing our value, you know, financially and professionally, in our romantic relationships and our platonic relationships, if we are working or not working, what strengths we have, or what weaknesses we have, and I want to focus on knowing our value financially. And I know this is coming from my own personal perspective as a freelancer and entrepreneur, but I hope it's valuable. So let's talk about financially knowing your value. We had a lot of financial transparency growing up. You know, my parents were always pretty vocal about how much money they made. I did go to a private school in New York for elementary school and middle school. And so you know, some of the kids in my classes had parents who are executives or movie stars, and so I feel like I just kind of knew, knew what they made. And my parents were pretty transparent about what it costs to lead the lifestyle that we had. And we talked about it a lot. We were aware of how much racing cost and you know, what our schools cost and, you know, percentage of what my parents made and all of that stuff. So I think that's really valuable. I think that it it kind of normalized the financial conversation and obviously, you know, there is a lot of secrecy around finances. And, you know, I think it's really cool that there's now job salary transparency in places like New York. So anyway, I digress a little bit, but we had all that growing up. So now if we, you know, fast forward to 2014, we're gonna go back to Miss Miss Taylor Swift. As I said, I'm a big Swifty. And, you know, I think it was around sometime in 2014, where she pulled her music from Spotify. And she said something to the effect of musical artists create value, and if you create value, you should be compensated fairly. And I just thought that was so great. You know, I thought that it was incredible that obviously, she has a lot of value, like net worth, and she is worth a lot of money and all this stuff, but you know, recognizing where different different systems were not helping the people who are providing value, I just thought that that was a really great thing to speak out on. And, you know, because I happen in 2014, you know, right, when I was graduating college, I went into the, quote, unquote, real world with this, like this idea seared into my brain, because one of my icons said it, so obviously, I'm gonna remember it a little more. But I'm really grateful for that, because I went into the world with it in the back of my mind that, okay, you know, if I create value, I should be compensated. And that's really, really powerful, whether that's professionally, I think you can kind of tweak that and make it more interpersonally as well. But it was just so so cool. So when I graduated college, my parents had made the deal with me that they would support me and pay my rent and everything, you know, for two years out of college, so that I could try to get racing off the ground and just focus on that 100%. So that's lucky, I really appreciate that. I'm grateful for that. But in the back of my mind, this whole time, I was thinking, Okay, well, how do I want to earn my living, you know, I knew that racing was gonna be really difficult, I knew that it was going to be all encompassing, that I would need some flexibility. And because I had really loved giving the TEDx talk at Stanford in May of 2014, because I knew that public speaking was a career path, if I could get good enough, then then that's something that could pay my bills. And it would allow me to have that flexibility to continue pursuing racing and other stuff. Knowing that it would be, you know, once a month, once every two months, twice a month, whatever that is. And so in April of 2015, so the year after I graduated, I started pitching myself. I did research, I literally just googled women's leadership conferences, because I knew I had the TEDx video that was women's empowerment focused, that I could send them as a really polished example of how I deliver a keynote. And I knew that it was good, I made people laugh. So I was really confident that I was good, at least at telling that story. And so I found a Women's Leadership Conference, and I sent an email pitching myself, and asked me if they needed any more speakers for their event. And quite Luckily, they did. And the woman had watched my, my TEDx video, and she said that she would love to have that be the closing keynote for the conference. I thought, great, amazing. Yes. So then comes the email where she asked me, What's my fee? You know, when can I travel in blah, blah. And I was really happy that it was an email interchange for this negotiation, because I was definitely super nervous to pitch myself. And before this, I had done a lot of research about, you know, what speakers earned. And it's a it's a pretty elusive topic, you know, obviously, you've got, you know, former presidents and athletes who give keynotes and make you know, tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I knew that starting off, that was not going to be my fee. And so I had read things like it was basically a range of you should do it for free as a first time speaker to you should get travel covered to you should request a video of you on stage. So you can promote that to potentially making thousands of dollars for every keynote. So it was all over the place. And so I again, remembered Taylor's quote and thought, Okay, I know that I have this polished product, I know that I will spark conversation and debate and help people be introspective. I know that I'll make people laugh, which is always a plus. So I knew that it was valuable. And I knew I didn't want to do it for free. And I knew that once I had one paying client, I would be able to build off of that. So full transparency, I decided to pitch myself for $1,500 Plus travel to go out there and give this keynote and then you know, do all that. And I was so nervous waiting for her to email me back. I I remember I was just like, my heart was racing every time I saw I got a new email. And then she responded said sounds great. I'm gonna send over the contract, blah, blah. So the fact that obviously we didn't have to negotiate at all, you know, I knew that at least I was in an appropriate ballpark and thought maybe I undervalued myself a little bit but Hey, I was gonna have my first paying client. And that was so cool. And then I did a good job, I was speaking to 2000 people. So that was another thing that I knew that, you know, if someone wanted to bring me in to talk to 2000 of their people, clearly there was value in that. So I then, you know, went to the cocktail reception afterwards. And let me tell you, these women were really walking the walk of empowering women, because I had a little liquid courage after two glasses of wine, but I went up to the woman who hired me. And I asked her, Hey, can I ask you an honest question, feel free to not answer but, you know, do you feel that I undervalued myself with the fee that I quoted? And again, I'm 23 years old at this point, right? And she was a probably a 40, or 50, something year old woman, and she just looked at me, I'll never forget her smile. And she said, Oh, yeah, I would have paid you double what you asked for. And I just thought, oh, my gosh, this is so great. One, it's a little annoying, would have loved to have made double. But oh my gosh, now I know that that's the going rate for this, you know, 15 ish minute talk. And so then I knew from there that I could build on that I could, as I expanded the keynote, as I made it a 30 minute keynote, a 45 minute keynote, I would be able to build off of that and just incrementally keep upping my rate. And I also got quite lucky, because she decided to introduce me to the speaking agent that she used. So then from there on out, I was able to work with an industry professional, who is able to help me realize my value from an external perspective and negotiate on my behalf, which, that's always nice, I'm not gonna lie. Anyway, it was such an empowering experience to kind of feel prepared that I knew where the value was, and knew what some kind of going rates were. And then I was able to pitch and then I was able to build, and it was just really exciting to know that I could put a dollar amount on what my value was. And obviously, this is, you know, a kind of specific career path. But this idea of knowing what your value is, and doing this research totally relates to salaries for more traditional jobs. And I recognized that I have not really had many traditional jobs and not for, you know, a multi year period. So I know, I'm not an expert on this. But it's still really important for each of us to you know, think about what our skill sets are, think about the scopes of the role, knowing our strengths, and really advocating for what we want and not being ashamed of wanting more money. I think that's a huge thing. And, you know, I think there's still some negativity around openly wanting to make more money or, especially for women, I can't speak to what it's like to be a guy and having these conversations because I'm not one. But I know that, you know, a lot of women's circles I've been in, they don't want to talk about money. And the thing is, it's, it's really important to be okay with having these financial conversations, and to encourage your women friends to be okay with that, because alright, I'm going to get on a little bit of a soapbox here. But women's empowerment and independence is so largely rooted with financial independence. And so I think it's totally fine to, you know, just want to make more money because you want to or not make more money because you don't want to right. So for some key things that I've researched that I've read about and I've talked with friends about in terms of knowing your value for, you know, salaries and compensation, really important to research, you know, glassdoor, obviously, or like any kind of website like that is good for getting a ballpark. Something that I heard on a webinar from the Ellevate network was that if women are asking or researching for salaries, they should ask men who are in the same type of position as they are because women are systemically underpaid. So asking guys what their salaries are, if you're moving to do a comparison of the cost of living from where you are, and where you're moving to. And just remember that the first number you throw out, you will probably never be offered more than that. So make sure that you err on the side of going higher than lower. And, you know, tying back in with my experience with my speaking client, something my mother told me when we were talking about compensation, she said something brilliant, and she said, you know, you may not be given what you deserve, but you deserve whatever you can get. And this is an example with that speaking client, you know, they thought I should have, you know, asked for double what I did. They didn't give that to me. They didn't come back to me after I said, my fee. And I like oh, no, we think we'll actually we have a budget for more. We're gonna give you more, absolutely not. But had I advocated for more, maybe I would have gotten it. And I really like that. I like that idea that you know what? We can't be comfortable. We can't be complacent. We can't assume that we'll get what we deserve. But we are justified in getting whatever we can. And it was super interesting. So I said this in a virtual keynote sometime in the last year. And one of the comments in our q&a Afterwards, was that this woman didn't like that I was going into situations Assuming I was going to be undervalued. And I thought, You know what, that's a very interesting perspective, I appreciate that I appreciate not going in with that chip on your shoulder. But overall, I disagreed with her because, you know, especially being part of a historically underserved demographic, you know, me being a woman, you know, people of color get paid less, women get paid less, it's a whole systemic issue. And I realize that other demographics still have it way worse than I do. You know, given that that's the case, I think I'm more likely to be able to build my my, you know, value quicker and build my, my capital assets, you know, quicker if I go into the situations, assuming I'm not going to be given what I deserved. And so yeah, I appreciated the comment, I disagree. But it's really interesting to hear those those different perspectives. And I hope that this next bit would go without saying, but obviously, when we're advocating for ourselves, it's then also super important to make sure that we're delivering, you know, I personally, would feel terrible if I gave a bad keynote after getting you know, contracted to at my fee to deliver it, you know, so making sure that we're giving good products that we're, you know, holding ourselves to high standards, that that we're really delivering is obviously an important part of being able to build professionally and financially. So for some key takeaways, I want you to sear it into your brain that if you are providing value, then you deserve to be compensated, unless you are volunteering, I forgot to say this earlier. But if you're volunteering, and you want to provide value that way, by all means, please, let's do that we should all be volunteering where we can. But unless you are intentionally volunteering, you should be compensated for the work that you're doing. The second key takeaway is to research the market and know kind of what the norm is for compensation, not just financially, but you know, in terms of, you know, paid time off and the benefits and you know, retirement accounts and all this stuff about like, do the research, diversify the research and know all that information going in. And the last little bit is that I, I do think that it's really important to talk about finances, whether you're starting a family or even with your siblings already, or friends, it's obviously touchy. But the more and the earlier that we start talking about finances, the more empowered everyone's going to be to know their value to get a sense of the landscape, and to be able to really optimize the chances that people get what we deserve. And I really believe that if we do this individually, it will undoubtedly be good for helping each other out and for helping all of us collectively get to a place where we're being compensated fairly for the value that we're providing. So that's our show. If you liked this episode, I hope that you'll share it with a friend someone you care about. So we can all help empower our loved ones to be financially independent and the best that they can. If you could subscribe and review the show and rate it that would be so helpful for me and thank you for letting me be honest with you. I'll see you next week.