Tuesday’s Titilating Business Tips
with The Luvely Rae

The media pundits are all a buzz about the sequester (much like the were about the fiscal cliff), and the volleying of who’s to blame is terribly tiresome. Minimum wage hasn’t been raised in 5 years and the suggested $1.75 increase has left many republicans balking at the idea of a slow increase over a 2 year period. Women still make significantly less than men who would the same job, and while it would be fabulous to rely on the government to set nationwide standards it’s time for business professionals (especially women) to set their own standards.

Titilating Business Tip #6: Invest in your self.

First to be clear, when I say business professionals, I am referring to individuals who are either employed or self employed, and are engaged in a line of work in which they would like to increase their earnings. If you are currently employed by McDonald’s and would like to move up the food chain within the coporation or even move on to a different job in which you will receive greater pay (and possibly greater responsibility), then this is for you. If you are a fully or partially self employed artists (burlesque dancer, actor, comedian, singer, etc.) and you wish to earn more money as someone who is self employed (and possibly greater responsibility), then this is for you. If you are a bank representative who is happy in your current position, not looking for a pay increase, not looking for additional responsibility, and really just want more vacation days/ work from home days/ snow days, then we’ll this isn’t for you.

So what does it mean to invest in yourself? Investing in yourself is two fold. In order to set standards, you’ll want to invest in both your present and your future. Today’s piece will discuss the investment in the present (investment in yourself will be a 4 part series).

Invest in your present by taking the skills you have and putting them on display. Do you consistantly get the customer to upgrade to the SuperSize meal? If so, is your employer aware of this? Does the restaurant keep track of who upsales and who doesn’t? No? Well, why not tell your employer about your upsales and ask if a contest can be put in place for the staff (most upsales gets employee of the month and a bonus). Even if your employer shoots you down (maybe corporate has to approve it, or your boss doesn’t want to track the sales), you’ve 1) stated you are fabulous, 2) shown an interest in the success of the group, 3) shown your employer that they can make more money, 4) told your employer that they can expect more from you.

Let’s try the same scenario for the self employed. You’re a burlesque performer and you need 3 gigs a night 5 days a week to really make the kind of money you want to make. You’re already close to that number but you feel like you are working your butt off. Why not put together a list of the shows you’ve done and make sure the people you are working with know what an asset you are. If you are frequently working the same shows, why not tell the shows, then why not tell the show’s producer that you’ll be happy to increase the promotion of a show for an increase in pay. Is raising your rates not an option? No? Maybe ask the event producer if you can sell your flowers or pasties at the show. Hand out flyers for your upcoming classes. Ask people to join your mailing list. If all you are doing is selling your performance, then it’s time to rethink your business plan. Even if the producer shoots you down (maybe more pay isn’t in the budget) you’ve 1) stated you enjoy working the show so much that you want to find ways to tell even more people about it, 2) shown an interest in the success of the show, 3) shown the producer that a successful increase in ticket sales & tips would benefit everyone, 4) told the producer they can expect more from you.

Now for the sake of argument let’s apply the same scenario to acting. It’s damn near impossible to work a Off Broadway show and an Off Off Broadway show at the same time. There’s only so many rehearsal hours in the day. Besides you are in New York City and there’s probably 200 actors auditioning for every role that’s right for you. A few good commercials would certainly come in handy, but it seems nothing is sticking. Talk to your manager or agent about whether they’ve had any feedback on your work from recent auditions (probably not). When they say, “No, we haven’t heard anything.” Ask them if they might have a moment for you to swing by the office and read some commercial copy for them. Tell them you know their time is valuable, but you’re really surprised that you aren’t booking presently and would appreciate their feedback. Maybe your commercial read is fine, but they clothes are are wearing to the auditions just aren’t right. Maybe your manager is sending you to the wrong auditions. Even if you are shot down at least you’ve 1)  stated you believe in your skills enough that you should be making more money for your agent/ manger, 2) shown an interest in the success of your agency or management company, 3) shown the manager that a little time investment on their part could potentially increase profit for everyone involved,  4) told the manager or agent that they can expect more from you.

The 3 employment situations listed do not involve more financial investment on your part. They do involve more time investment. They do not require you to make new contacts. They do require you to work your current contacts.

Even if you hate your job, hate your boss and think the ideas mentioned would never work for you, you can still take your current list of accomplishments and use them to promote yourself to the businesses or people you want to work with.