“I am pleased to recommend Tamara Rasberry to my clients and for all my consulting engagements. She not only knows immediately how to engage each client, but also she delivers to each client–ahead of aggressive deadlines–quality, thorough social media services. As one who is organized, professional, and a skilled communicator, Tamara has an acute business sense to lead teams in maximizing business relationships and increasing profitability through social media platforms. Tamara exemplifies both teamwork and leadership. Also, she has a strong grasp on the customers’ business objectives and requirements. She demonstrated these skills while revamping my company’s Facebook and Twitter business pages, and she marketed them well to my current and prospective audiences. Tamara possesses the attributes of one who is extremely goal-oriented—true visionary. Needless to say, I will–without hesitation–hire Tamara Rasberry to satisfy any social media management requirements!”
CEO, QualityOne Communications Consulting, LLC
I’ve had several conversations lately about money, in particularly, being fairly compensated for services rendered. We often hear the phrase, “know your worth,” in relation to relationships and self-esteem, but it is equally as important when it comes to business. I’ve learned that often when people are just starting out as business owners or consultants, they tend to work for free and/or an unreasonably low rate. This probably seems like a good thing to do in order to help build a client base and gain experience. Nothing could be further from the truth! What it actually does is teach people to undervalue you. Even if you are just starting out, your knowledge, skills and abilities (or KSAs as the Federal Government used to call them ) deserve to be valued. Don’t sell yourself short.
Tia Peterson of Bizchickblogs.com recently wrote a post discussing how women in particular tend to settle for less when it comes to compensation, both as employees and consultants. She referenced Mika Brzezenski’s book, Knowing Your Value (which I plan to add to my reading list.) I realize and understand how tempting it can be to offer to work for free or at a reduced rate simply to gain the business, thinking that some money is better than none and/or that the work will give you experience/exposure. That’s what I like to refer to as a “fail move.” In other words, you are setting yourself up for a fail. You will be working just as hard, but for little to no money which will only end up with you feeling resentful and frustrated. Oh, and probably still short on needed funds. Trust me, I know what it’s like to operate out of fear- “When will I get my next client? When will I get paid again?” -but sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and believe that you are doing the right thing.
Follow these three tips to knowing, and earning, your worth:
Do your homework. Research the going rates for the services you are providing. Even if you start charging at the lower end of the range, it’s better than charging well below the range.
Be confident in your abilities. Hopefully you decided to go into business for yourself or to be a consultant because you found something that utilizes your skill set and about which you are passionate. Be confident in that and believe that the right clients will be willing to pay you what you are worth. Don’t settle for less.
Have a Plan B. In this case, ‘Plan B’ refers to having multiple streams of income. We frequently hear how important it is to have multiple streams of income, but this is especially important when you are not “employed” and therefore not receiving a paycheck on a regular basis. If you don’t have money coming in from one stream, another stream can help fill the void. This will help you to not have to sell yourself cheap. Optimally, your streams would be related, but of course they don’t have to be.
I’m speaking to entrepreneurs/consultants here, but this is just as important for employees. The same theory applies – if you undervalue yourself, so will everyone else.
YOU are your brand! Represent.
What lessons have you learned about knowing, and demanding, your worth? Please share in the comments.
What lessons have you learned about knowing, and demanding, your worth? Please share in the comments.
Some people may wonder why I don’t show before and after photos of my makeup and image consulting clients. After all, you may be thinking “how will I know that you can really help me if I don’t see photos?” I have two words for you: high school.
My teen years were a definitively non-photogenic period for me. I have purposely not retained a single photo from that period. Recently, as part of a reunion website for my graduating class, my senior yearbook picture was posted online. I immediately insisted that it be removed. I have no desire for that photo to be spread across the internet – or anywhere else.
When it comes to my clients, I think of them as being iterations of my teenage self. This is not to say that they are in any way ashamed or embarrassed of their looks. They are; however, coming to me for an upgrade of either their makeup, wardrobe or both because they feel they need a change. So why would I post photos of them in a state from which they are trying to evolve? That doesn’t seem right to me. When I am finished, they are pleased and that pleases me. I suppose I could just post ‘after’ photos, but alone they don’t pack quite the same punch, so I don’t bother.
So there you have it. No tabloid shots here. I respect my clients and hopefully you will respect that and my current and future clients will appreciate it.
Nearly a year ago, during DC Week 2010, I had a brief encounter with Anthony Braddy at a seminar called Black Tech Blazers. We were both in attendance and he made a comment I can’t recall now but at the time it struck a chord with me. I felt I needed to learn more about him and Capital Management Consulting, LLC (CMC, LLC) the management and IT consulting firm of which he is CEO.
Fast forward to May 2011 – I’ve seen Braddy at a couple of events and spouting his special brand of wisdom on Twitter, but I had yet to have the opportunity to have a real “let’s sit down and let me pick your brain” conversation with him. Well, after several cancellations, I finally had the opportunity to find out a little bit more about what makes this tech entrepreneur tick. Believe me when I tell you, his thought process is one of a kind; and I haven’t even scratched the surface.
“It was all a dream…” – Notorious B.I.G.
Braddy hails from a small, rural town in North Carolina. At not quite 40 years of age, he recalls growing up without running water. Yeah; it was THAT rural. At a young age, Braddy was bitten by the entrepreneurial bug as he watched his father run his own business. He appreciated the flexibility that being a business owner allowed his father and recalls that he was “always there.” This, along with the later realization that he isn’t cut out to work for other people, set Braddy on the path to being the successful business owner that he is today.
“You can’t lead the people if you don’t love the people. You can’t save the people if you don’t serve the people.” – Cornel West
Braddy’s road to renowned and award-winning tech entrepreneur was an unconventional one. Though as a child he was given the opportunity to attend several math and science camps – and excelled in them – he attended the University of North Carolina (UNC) as an African-American Studies major with aspirations of becoming a Cornel West-inspired professor. He states that attending UNC gave him the perspective that he could do great things, due to it’s well-known alumni roster. He never felt that he could not accomplish something because he was black, hailed from a rural town, was male, or any other labels. Braddy considers this outlook on life to be his greatest takeaway from UNC.
So how, you may ask, did he end up in the tech/IT field? It just so happened that a friend knew of a company that needed smart people, well versed in logic, to take their systems from being client based to being web based. Well, he was smart, and most certainly logical, so he interviewed and was hired. The rest, as they say, is history. Braddy has now been in the tech arena for almost 15 years.
“I place a high premium on being rational.” - Anthony Braddy
Part of the beauty of being an entrepreneur is that you report to yourself. Of course you may have clients and deliverables, but at the end of the day, you run the show at your company. This has fared well for Braddy for two main reasons: 1) He doesn’t really like working for people and 2) He needs to respect the intelligence of his supervisor. Well, when YOU are your supervisor, what’s not to respect? He also has a non-typical hiring theory; regarding intellect and ability over resume’ and accolades (or lack thereof.) Having been an HR professional for over 10 years, I can tell you that that is unusual; especially in the DC area. One of the header images on the CMC, LLC website says “A strong brand begins with a strong team.” This should give you an idea of the value that Braddy places on being surrounded by the right people.
“DC is different.” - Anthony Braddy
Braddy and I had more of a free flowing conversation than a traditional interview; however, I did have a few questions that I definitely wanted him to answer; especially pertaining to his views of the strengths and weaknesses of the DC area tech/social media scene.
TR: What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
AB: I’ve had to learn that I need to take every call and talk to everyone. As an introvert, this does not come naturally to me; but as a business owner, it’s necessary.
TR: How would you describe the local tech/social media scene?
AB: As a bunch of the same people kissing each others’ asses and young people who are not realizing that this is the case. DC has a younger brother complex. It’s not New York City and it’s not Silicon Valley, so it doesn’t quite know where it fits. There is a lot of talent here; but we need to stop comparing DC to other areas and be comfortable with being DC. If this is achieved, tech can be pushed to the top, over marketing.
TR: What other changes would you like to see?
AB: You can’t paint society with one brush. I’d like to see different cultural graphs come together to establish their own hierarchies. Different groups need to be having conversations amongst themselves to address their tech/social media needs, challenges, etc. and then come together as a larger group to discuss. The cultural gap is being closed on consuming tech, but not on producing it and this is due to economic discrepancies in funding, etc.
Braddy went on to question why the black tech/social media professionals that he sees being vocal on Twitter don’t form their own group offline. Before you ask “why doesn’t he start a group?,” I already asked him. He sees himself as more of an idea person. The man behind the plan, as it were. He won’t start the group; but he’ll join and promote it.
I asked Braddy how he thinks social media tools should be used. Though he didn’t become a professor, he still has a teaching spirit – “To change a couple of people’s perspectives on what they can accomplish or on life in general.” When asked how he uses Twitter and Facebook, he responded “I use Twitter to share enough thoughts that people want to come back for more. I want to build connections. Facebook? I don’t use Facebook.” Ha!
“…Portrait of the artist as a young man…” - Talib Kweli
The five words Braddy used to describe himself were: Relentless, Teacher, Genuine, Passionate and Hungry. I would add to that list Insightful and Visionary and change “Genuine” to Super Genuine. Braddy calls himself a “Reality Promoter.” Agreed.
I couldn’t even begin to include everything that Braddy and I discussed (we did a lot of talking for two introverts,) but I hope I’ve given you enough to pique your curiosity about one of the DC tech/social media scene’s leaders of color*. Please do yourself a favor and follow Anthony Braddy on Twitter at aeb_it for more of his sharp intellect, humor and wit – not to mention a nice playlist from the self described “hip hop aficionado.”
*Initially this was slated to be a one off interview, but as my conversation with Braddy continued, I realized that this would be a great opportunity to do an interview series with local tech/social media leaders, especially those of color. This series will be called ‘DC Social Hues.’
Rosetta Thurman (entrepreneur, speaker and co-author of How to Become a Nonprofit Rockstar) wrote a blog post titled ‘The Case Against Outsourcing Social Media’ in which she explained why she believes that nonprofit organizations (her target audience) would best be served by not outsourcing social media and instead having someone internal be responsible for it. As a social media consultant, my initial reaction was “What the heck?” I mean, basically, she was telling her audience why they don’t need people who do what I do and hey, I need to eat! I have to admit though, that having worked within and in support of nonprofit organizations for 10 years, there were parts of her argument that resonated with me.
As mission-driven organizations, it’s important for nonprofits to get people to buy in to their mission in order to raise awareness, increase donations, encourage volunteerism, etc. The argument can be made that someone who works in the organization and is therefore, presumably, passionate about the mission and knowledgeable about the organization, would be the best person to manage the organization’s online communities, etc. So, on that hand, I understand Rosetta’s viewpoint. However, on the other hand, many nonprofits don’t have the bandwidth to be able to support an internal hire for this function.
Often nonprofits focus their hiring on positions that have a direct correlation to the mission (i.e. development, programs, membership, etc.) and don’t hire additional “non-essential” staff if not deemed critical. Positions that do not have this direct correlation (even internal operations such as accounting and HR) are frequently either undervalued, underpaid or both.
I can tell by the number of ‘Social Media Manager’ positions within nonprofit organizations that I’ve seen advertised lately that many are realizing that in this day and age, having a social presence is important. The downside is that the majority of the positions that I see are asking for interns to handle this important responsibility. It puzzles me as to why an organization would want to leave the development and maintenance of their social presence to an intern. This is not to say that there aren’t plenty of smart and wonderful interns out there, but let’s face it, what you’re willing to pay for is what you value and if you don’t value your organization’s social presence, why should anyone else?
The other option that many organizations utilize is to assign the social media function to a staff member who 1) doesn’t know what to do and/or 2) is already overworked and underpaid and now this is just one more thing they don’t really have the time or energy to do. Why do that when there are wonderfully capable social media consultants (ME!) available? Many will make the financial aka the “we can’t afford it” argument, but I’d argue that you can’t afford NOT to have a consultant take on this task.
First, from an internal perspective, there’s no overhead. You don’t have to have office space or pay for benefits, workers compensation, payroll taxes, etc. You may be paying the consultant a higher hourly rate than you would pay a staff member, but when you add up your true costs, you’re getting off cheap.
Second, you only pay the consultant to work. Out of a 40 hour workweek, how many of your employees do you think actually work 40 hours? Few, if any. Trust me. Unless they are hourly employees and don’t get any type of paid leave, they don’t have any motivation to do so. Consultants can be paid on an hourly, project or flat fee basis and it doesn’t benefit us to not get the work done or not meet deadlines. It’s much simpler to terminate a contract than to terminate employment, even in an employment-at-will state. Even if you hired someone part-time, you would still be responsible for the aforementioned overhead and if you hired someone who would be responsible for social media as well as one or more other responsibilities, it could be easy for them to get caught up in their other responsibilities and not be able to really focus on what needs to be done on the social media front. This is especially true if their other duties are completely non-related.
Third, and perhaps the most important thing – there’s much more to the developing a social media strategy/campaign than simply having a Twitter/Facebook account. I think one of the main reasons that organizations feel comfortable delegating social media management to interns is because they don’t have an understanding of the full scope of what is involved. “We’re not going to pay someone just to tweet all day!” Of course, if you contracted a social media consultant, you wouldn’t be paying someone just to tweet all day. Yes; Twitter may be one of the tools that is used, but you’d be paying them to develop and implement a strategy based on predetermined goals and most likely to provide you with feedback and data. Just because your intern has 2500 Facebook friends doesn’t mean that he/she can develop a strategy or manage multiple projects.
Earlier I stated that I can understand the argument for having someone familiar with the organization (employee) be responsible for social media, and I can, but I don’t think it’s requisite for successful social media management. A consultant can very easily become familiar with the mission, vision, stakeholders, etc. of the organization. In fact, that would be a key part of strategy development. I’ve been a consultant to nonprofits for years and I’ve seen firsthand how beneficial to an organization outsourcing can be so I am a strong believer in it. Even if the organization utilizes a consultant to develop and implement a social media strategy prior to turning the function over to an internal employee, I’m sure it would prove to be money well spent. The internal employee would at least be given a blueprint with the groundwork having already been laid.
Now, of course, I realize that nonprofit organizations and their budgets run the gamut from miniscule to magnificent, so there certainly are organizations that CAN afford to have at least one full-time employee responsible for social media management and that is a wonderful thing. There is also the school of thought that social media should not be the function of just one person, but rather should be a part of everyone’s job as brand ambassadors/mission advocates for the organization; or at the very least a part of the job of everyone in a particular department, such as communications. I can understand that viewpoint as well, and each organization has to choose what will work best for it. Here’s a scenario for you to ponder: Your organization is already fully staffed. You can’t afford to hire another employee, yet realize that your organization needs a social presence and needs someone to manage it. What do you do? Outsource! If I have an issue with my plumbing, I don’t try to fix it myself or ask an electrician to fix it, since he’s already there working on something else. I certainly don’t ask the college kid down the street to come take a look at it. I hire a plumber. Same concept.
So there you have it, my case for outsourcing social media. Granted, I’m biased, but I also believe wholeheartedly in everything that I just said and I wouldn’t steer you wrong. I’d love to hear your feedback. Which side are you on?