It was a fall evening in Washington, D.C., and I was in an Uber on my way to a book-launch event for my good friend, Minda Harts. As I was reading Minda’s book, The Memo: What Women of Color to Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table, I was shocked to come across an interesting section called “What About Your Friends?” In this section, she discusses the advantages of women of color sharing their career salaries and financial-management strategies with each other. We all know there is a wage-gap problem amongst women, and an even larger problem amongst women of color.
As a young child, I was always taught to never share my personal finances with my family, friends and co-workers. But, I wonder, what could happen if I did share my career, financial and business failures and successes with them? Maybe I could teach them new ways to advance, or maybe I could learn new tips to facilitate a promotion or create a new product or service for my business. I really like how Minda pushes her readers to be vulnerable, share their salaries and pursue business collaboration with other women of color.
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We all know that having financial conversations is never easy, especially if we feel like our current financial situation is not in a good place. But I believe that in order for us to move forward, we have to follow Minda’s advice and be vulnerable enough to learn more about how others have improved their credit scores, built a savings strategy and paid off debt. The best way to learn is from others you personally know who have overcome those financial challenges. If we all remain vulnerable, we can share the lessons we have learned and we can be okay asking for help when we need it. Financial vulnerability takes courage, but it also makes you a champion once you learn new ways to manage your money.
Share Your Salary
What if we could be open, with no ego, and didn’t create an environment of competition when it came to how much we earn? Women could advocate for each other on the job and during the hiring process for women of color. As we become more vulnerable as women, we should follow Minda’s advice and share our salary ranges and negotiation tips with each other. If you know a good friend has been having an issue getting promoted and you are constantly getting promoted, share your personal interview tips and job-search strategy.
Pursue Business Collaboration
Business collaboration is the best way to share your products and services with others. Some of us have similar company brands, and that’s okay, but we as women of color have to get to a place of ego-free collaboration. We all place our signature stamp on our products and services. It’s time to stop blocking each other from shining by being scared to share business ideas and strategies that work. If it’s okay to share your salary and credit score with others. It’s perfectly okay to share your speaking-engagement fees and consulting-service fees with others. We get in our own way when we try to outshine each other. We can all shine if we collaborate and market our businesses to the masses.
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Are you ready to embrace financial vulnerability for financial stability so you can level up your career, finances and business? The only way to push yourself forward is to shift those conversations during happy hours, birthday dinners and lavish trips. You may also find you have to shift the circle of friends you have now and join forces with women who see life, career advancement and business development the way you do.