For the past year, businesses have been met with unrelenting challenges. Because of this, founders are more careful about where to put their time and funds. Longevity in business is desired, so thinking critically about the strategic principles of business is a must. Growing a pandemic-proof business is possible. But how are you going to make it happen? We took our questions to Facebook groups Tech Ladies and Societygal to ask women in the industry about their input on how to grow a business successfully and efficiently.
1. How important is getting your business assets right? (logo, website, branding guidelines, etc)
When it comes to the creative aspect of building a business, there was a split in what is necessary. Recently, founders and business owners have been turning to creative services like Penji for increased design output. While there are still repercussions from the pandemic, businesses are learning to adapt by discovering these new innovative solutions.
Some of our friends at Tech Ladies and Societygal believe that it is crucial, especially when it comes to setting yourself apart from competition. Others choose to focus on other aspects of the business. Here’s what they had to say:
“Hi. I think that for number 1-It doesn’t really matter. I think what people want is results. Connect with them, and show them what your products or service can do for them. How does it solve the problem that they have.” – Prerika Agarwal, Tech Ladies
“I think that these branding pieces really matter as a way that establishes how your company will move and grow. I’ve seen a lot of small businesses that kind of wing it and I think that especially in terms of social media and web, a cohesive brand can really make a business stand out.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies
“I think it’s less about getting it right and more about being consistent and looking professional. A business that visually appears fractured hurts its own credibility.” Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies
“The first 1-2 years, really not important! I see so many starters get lost in this search for the perfect font-pairing, the perfect logo blah blah – and what they REALLY need to be focusing on is nailing down their product suite and getting good at copy. Most of us leave corporate and can’t write a blog post or sales post for shit because we sound so wooden and stuffy! 😂 You need a website to get your message out – but honestly? Nobody cares about your logo. Would you stop buying Nike/McDonalds/Pepsi tomorrow because they switched up their logo and it sucked? No, you stay because you like the product.” – Alex Sheach, Societygal
What is a common mistake that businesses make when trying to grow?
Growing a business is not easy, especially during a pandemic. With the increased number of businesses shuttering their doors because of COVID, one can only benefit from avoiding common mistakes.
“I think that one mistake is that businesses don’t take advantage of how research can validate and verify your ideas going forward. There should be a certain level of confidence in what your next steps are and how they’ll fair.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies
“The main pain point of scaling I’ve seen is failure to document and inform. If one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing then you aren’t on the same page and you can’t help each other when things go wrong.” – Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies
“Getting sucked into downloading YET ANOTHER (usually very disappointing freebie) which moves them no closer to their goals. Get your UNSUBSCRIBE vibe switched ON, tune out all that low-level noise and commit to your OWN ideas and vision.” – Alex Sheach, Societygal
What can people take advantage of now that is often overlooked?
Innovation and creative thinking is key to a pandemic-proof business. As we adapt to the current lifestyle of consumers, founders are taking advantage of what is in front of them. Here’s what members suggested.
“What’s overlooked is the human aspect of things not being perfect and just going with inspired action once you have some clarity about your business.” – Prerika Agarwal, Tech Ladies
“With staying at home still being a large part of life, I think people should take advantage of having more people online and the ability to do webinars, virtual networking, and doing research directly with your specific users or customers.” – Charlotte Clark, Tech Ladies
“Digital businesses should take this opportunity to rise to the occasion to help their local communities. As a digital business owner I can confirm we spend a lot of time virtually hustling. Show the world around you that you exist and that you care. It pays dividends for both of you.” – Natalie Sharma, Tech Ladies
“Not enough people are stepping up to lead with vision. They’re waiting for permission to release, launch & grow. JFDI!” – Alex Sheach, Societygal
Billionaires Be Warned: Organized Labor on the Rise
Last week, Apple retail workers in Towson, Maryland, voted 65-33 to seek entry into the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers trade union. It’s a story that’s consistent with a promising trend.
In the last several months, a number of victories have been tallied for worker’s rights around the country.
In December, a Starbucks in Buffalo became the first of its company-owned U.S. locations to form a union. Since then, at least 150 of the 9,000 company-run U.S. stores have voted to unionize, with 10 stores rejecting the union.
In January, engineers and other Google workers announced that they had formed a union—the Alphabet Workers Union— named after Google’s parent company, Alphabet. It represents about 800 Google employees.
April saw Amazon workers in Staten Island, New York vote to unionize, marking a first for the retail giant.
In May, video game workers at a division of game publisher Activision Blizzard voted to unionize, making them the first to create a labor union at a large U.S. videogame company.
Per a 2021 Gallup Poll: at least 68% of Americans approve of labor unions, the highest since Gallup found a 71% approval in 1965.
A resurgence of unions after years of decline.
President Biden has been vocal about his support for the decision.
“I am proud of them,”
Biden said in a statement to reporters.
“Workers have a right to determine under what condition they are going to work or not work.”
This is a far cry from the days of President Reagan publicly firing striking air traffic controllers, a move that signaled to the weakening labor movement that times were changing. Of course, labor rights weren’t always such a contentious topic.
In the mid-1950s, approximately one out of every three non-farm workers were unionized. This was, of course, the peak of labor’s power in the US.
In subsequent decades, the ranks of unionized workers would shrink. By the 80s and 90s, due to a combination of economic and political developments, the decline in unions accelerated.
The opening of overseas markets and the emergence of outsourcing put organized labor at a severe disadvantage.
Around this same period, U.S. employers developed a set of legal— and illegal—practices that could effectively rid establishments of existing unions and prevent new unions from organizing.
These practices included: threatening union sympathizers with firings and holding a mandatory meeting wherein workers would be subject to anti-union propaganda. Additionally, many employers hired permanent replacements for striking workers.
But Biden has been relatively labor-friendly. In February, a Biden administration task force issued a set of recommendations aimed at making it easier for federal workers and contractors to unionize.
The report argues that the trend of declining union membership has coincided with a rising share of income going to the top 10% of earners.
Youth movement gives labor unions a new hope.
After decades of decline, U.S. unions are finding hope in a growing movement among the youth. Union approval is high— and growing—with the youngest workers. This is reflected by membership levels, which are trending upwards for workers between the ages of 25 and 34. Even as they decline among other age groups.
According to the Federal Bureau of Labor Statistics, the percentage of union members among workers aged 25-34 rose from 8.8% to 9.4%
The aforementioned Alphabet Workers Union, for example, is run by five people under the age of 35.
This is consistent with a greater political trend among young people: the youth is less susceptible to the anti-socialist boogeyman rhetoric that successfully fleeced previous generations of working people’s rights.
It’s important to remember that many of the things we take for granted today are the products of union involvement. The eight-hour work day? Labor unions. Job safety laws? Labor unions. Overtime pay? Labor Unions. Weekends? Labor unions. Worker’s Comp? Labor unions. Employer-based health coverage? Labor unions.
And the list goes on.
Who Does Tori Dunlap Think She Is?
If you haven’t heard of Tori Dunlap, you’re probably not seeking financial advice. If you are seeking financial advice, you can do a lot better than Tori Dunlap.
Tori Dunlap is an entrepreneur who claims to have saved $100,000 by the age of 25. After achieving such astonishing success so early in life, she simply had to quit her corporate job so she could devote her energy to helping women learn their financial independence and unassumed dominance in our white cis male-run society.
Her mission? To create the brand HerFirst100K and…
Idk man… seems kinda gimmicky.
Disclaimer: I am a cis white male with no financial expertise to speak of criticizing a cis white female financial pundit. I have zero doubts that Dunlap could balance a checkbook better than I ever could. I am not here to offer any financial advice. Rather, I am criticizing Dunlap’s approach to fiscal responsibility and her overall authenticity.
In short: We’re not buying it and neither should you.
How Did She *Really* Get $100K by 25?
At 25, I was working as a barback in a local gay bar and on the cusp of starting my first professional writing job. I had maybe $600 to my name and very poor financial instincts – you could call me a ‘spendthrift.’
My peers around the same age were all fairly financially inept or carefree. Sure, we would meet our responsibilities but we sure as hell weren’t saving – and not for lack of trying. We all worked incredibly hard, dirty, thankless jobs for very little money and could be fired on a whim. None of us would have been able to save up to $100K by 25.
By 25, I had been working steady jobs for 10 years. Even if I didn’t spend a single cent over those 10 years I don’t think the number would have ever reached $100K. Pardon my doubts, but how is a 25-year-old, any 25-year-old, able to save up to $100,000 all by themselves? After some digging, it turns out she did it with a lot of discipline and a lot of luck.
She graduated college with zero debt, landed a job in digital marketing with a salary of $55K/year, and put a disciplined percentage of her take-home into saving and an investment fund. These are all great, very privileged ways to save $100,000 in three years.
I’m curious to know how a 22-year-old snagged an investment fund and knew which investments would pay off and how much they earned but… I digress.
I don’t sneeze at this kind of discipline. Many people would benefit from a financial discipline such as that. I do sneeze a little by using this as a marketing tactic. While she qualifies this by admitting her privilege, she makes her achievement the main marketing point of Her First $100K.
“I did this and so can you!” the sentiment screams. Except most people can’t. And I think Ms. Dunlap knows that.
Tori Dunlap Is Not Qualified To Give Anyone Financial Advice
The only thing I trust Tori Dunlap to do is market and brand herself effectively. She’s cool, she’s hip, she can play along with the broader trends, she TikToks with the best of ‘em, and it all feels so desperately empty and deeply phony.
I think Tori Dunlap has a keen eye for self-promotion that masquerades as “woke financial advice.” This would be fine if it wasn’t potentially f*cking with people’s money. There are people out there with some serious financial issues and concerns. If they trust Tori Dunlap, they could be misled because she doesn’t know what she’s talking about.
I don’t mean she doesn’t know how to assert her value and practice financial discipline. I mean she doesn’t have the financial authority to be profiting off the advice she gives. It’s like getting medical advice from a sickly friend – they’ve got experience but no expertise.
TikTok Advice Isn’t Real Advice
If you take a look at Dunlap’s TikTok, it looks pretty much like every other TikToker out there. On her page, the financial advice is few and far between. It appears that TikTok is the space where she promotes her brand, podcast, and book – with a whole lot of cookie-cutter trends you will find on any account.
When you finally do get to her financial advice, it’s no different than if you were to ask your fiscally savvy friend. For example, “know your worth and advocate for it” is a great bit of advice, it’s one I tell my peers at work – but it’s not expertise. It’s a good ol’ fashioned, “you can do it!” Which is nice, but it’s not practically helpful. What you’re getting from Dunlap are educated tips from someone who is being nice to you.
When you present yourself as an authority figure you have a responsibility that comes with it. Telling people you are the savior from the patriarchy if you pay for her course doesn’t exactly scream “hero.”
There’s nothing wrong with providing a service and charging for it. There is, however, something really gross about masquerading as a feminist hero when you’re actually an unqualified financial nobody with no serious credentials to speak of.
Tori Dunlap is not qualified to be giving financial advice to anyone. She says so on her site:
“LEGAL STUFF: I am not a licensed financial advisor. I offer education, not prescriptive advice. The information that is found here are my opinions and the opinions of other readers/contributors and should be taken as such.”
“Legal stuff.” Cute, so relatable.
All of Dunlap’s success stories are social media posts, texts, and emails. Hardly a case study.
Dunlap claims to be “leading a movement of financial feminists,” but a quick Google search on female financial advisors yields no results for Ms. Dunlap. What exactly is she leading? You cannot be a leader when you don’t show up on the first 12 pages of Google.
Here’s What An Actual Financial Expert Says
We spoke to Danetha Doe, an economist with over 10 years of experience in the financial industry. She has worked as an accountant and a CFO. She also created Money & Mimosas, a financial education resource for ambitious folks.
In short, Ms. Doe knows her sh*t.
We asked Ms. Doe about how the average person could save up to $100K by the age of 25.
“I don’t think it’s reasonable to believe the average person can save $100K by 25.
“In order to do that, they would either need to be born into wealth, have zero student loans, work for a startup that goes public or gets acquired, or start a business that is financially successful.
“All of those scenarios do not apply to the average person.
“The median salary for an individual is under $40,000. Therefore, the average person earns about $40,000. In order to reach $100K in savings on an average salary could take decades in the United States.”
Ms. Doe has a lot of excellent financial advice without being patronizing or weaponizing oppression for profit. She has a professional and personal background that makes her an effective authority when it comes to fiscal responsibility.
“My two grandmothers [are the financial experts I admire most].
“They came to the United States as immigrants and became real estate investors during a time when Black women were systematically shut out of wealth-building opportunities in this country.
“Their lasting legacy guides my financial decisions.”
If you want to learn finance tips from someone who can relate to or understand your experience fully, Danetha Doe is the way to go.
Besides, who doesn’t love a mimosa?
What In The Hell Is ‘Feminist Financial Advice?’
What is it about financial advice that needs to be tailored specifically for women? Let’s take a super casual and lazy glance at successful women, shall we?
Suze Orman is a trusted financial authority and has been around for a minute.
Madonna has built herself an entertainment empire by being unapologetically female.
Rihanna became a billionaire through her music and some super-savvy business moves.
Laverne Cox bulldozed expectations and helped establish a foundation for trans artists.
“I watched female friends get paid less than they were worth. I read stories about women being denied career opportunities because they were seen as ‘less.’
“Male colleagues said sexist, negative comments to me at work. I learned that women hold the majority of debt in America and that they invest less of their money than men, yet live for seven years longer.
“So I knew that I had to fight back.”
Fighting Sexism By Leaning Into Sexism
I don’t think anybody disagrees (save for a few members of the Republican Party) that women have a tougher go of it than men. To be honest, it’s a bit of a stretch to connect general sexism with financial education. I learned how to budget from my mother, a woman who has had to fight her own battles with sexism and misogyny as the only female partner at her law firm.
Frankly, I think the assumption that women need help from an unlicensed non-expert in order to learn fiscal responsibility is teetering on sexism. At the very least, it’s grossly condescending and certainly inauthentic.
If you’re in a position where you need financial advice, you want it from someone who is a serious advisor, not a trending influencer with no qualifications. With inflation at a 40-year high and an underpaid workforce fighting for its value, we cannot afford to take financial advice from someone clearly more interested in self-promotion and branding.
Dunlap appears to be less focused on offering genuine financial advice and far more focused on hitting woke buzzwords in an effort to patronize marginalized communities for profit. If you want to find a female-focused financial authority, try Ellevest instead.
Tori Dunlap’s Communications Lead declined to comment.
Vince McMahon Stepped Down From WWE. Or Did He?
The news rang out around the world on Friday.
Vince McMahon, father and face of the modern WWE, is voluntarily stepping down from his CEO position. The news came amid allegations of misconduct, affairs, and hush money.
And then, the strangest thing happened. Moments later, WWE announced that McMahon would make an appearance during Smackdown. Many speculated that McMahon would take the opportunity to admit remorse, address the new path, or prepare a last goodbye for fans.
Instead, he did this.
“It is a privilege, as always, to stand before you here tonight, the WWE Universe. Especially a privilege to stand here in this ring in Minnesota.
I’m here simply to remind you of the four words we just saw in what we call the WWE signature. Those four words are then, now, forever, and the most important word is together.
Welcome to SmackDown!”
“Bizarre spectacle” is a phrase that could appear under the dictionary definition for World Wrestling Entertainment.. But even fans were left scratching their heads by this appearance, with one caught on camera appearing to ask “That’s it?”
What really happened to Vince McMahon
If you didn’t read past headlines about stepping down amid misconduct allegations, you might be stunned that McMahon would appear on TV at all. The truth, as is often the case, is a bit more complicated.
Per The Wall Street Journal, an inquiry began in April concerning a secret payout of $3 million that a WWE paralegal received in January. McMahon allegedly had an affair with the employee. The investigation opened up other, older NDAs relating to sexual misconduct by McMahon and talent relations chair John Laurinaitis.
The misconception at hand comes from WWE’s announcement. While it’s true that McMahon is stepping down from his chief position while the investigation continues, that’s not the whole picture.
McMahon is maintaining creative control of the WWE. For an entertainment company, the creative aspect is a pretty massive slice of the pie. As evidenced by Friday’s appearance—and another appearance on Monday—he’s not stepping down from the public eye either.
McMahon’s WWE character, “Mr. McMahon,” it seems, is not under the same scrutiny as his actor. There are no signs that his exaggerated persona will cease making appearances on SmackDown and at other WWE events.
In a way, it’s a delicate PR chess move. The headline, “Vince McMahon Steps Down Amidst Investigation,” reads like a victory. The sticky truth, that he’s not really exiting at all, will have little impact on the general public.
Wrestling fans, on the other hand, are seeing both sides play out, and it’s leaving some confused. It’s an interesting twist on “kayfabe,” the suspension of disbelief at the root of the WWE community. In reality, Vince has stepped down, but in kayfabe, Mr. McMahon hasn’t gone anywhere.
This bizarre in-and-out response might reflect the inherent flaws in wrestling’s mesh of fantasy and reality. In pursuit of kayfabe, what happens if McMahon is fully ousted? Will an attachment to his fictional persona keep justice from being served? At this point, it’s hard to say.