Aug. 20, 2021

#3 On Negotiating, Amplifying Your Voice and Leveling Up Your Career with Claire Wasserman

#3 On Negotiating, Amplifying Your Voice and Leveling Up Your Career with Claire Wasserman

In this episode, our guest is Claire Wasserman, an educator, author, and founder of Ladies Get Paid, a global community that champions the professional and financial advancement of women. 

Claire is also the host of John Hancock’s podcast, Friends Who Talk About Money. She has traveled the country teaching thousands of women how to negotiate millions of dollars in raises, start businesses, and advocate for themselves in the workplace. 

Listen as she talks about how she got started with her mission and shares her tips for beating back imposter syndrome, finding a career champion, and negotiating successfully. Claire was named one of Marquis Who's Who 75 Most Influential Financial Leaders of 2021, as well as Entrepreneur Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women. This episode will provide great value for anyone interested in amplifying their voice and acknowledging their worth in the corporate arena.

Resources
Claire's book: https://ladiesgetpaid.com/book/#order-online
Decision-making matrix: https://fs.blog/2018/04/reversible-irreversible-decisions/

Claire Wasserman
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/clairewasserman/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clairewasserman
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairegetspaid/

Ladies Get Paid
Website: https://ladiesgetpaid.com
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/ladies-get-paid/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/ladiesgetpaid
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladiesgetpaid 



Transcript
Claire:

Listening to yourself, believing in yourself. And then you can say, all right, what opportunities are out there that really utilize the things that make me come alive? The strengths that I have,

Vicky:

Hello and welcome to the chasing party podcast by SheSyndicate. A nonprofit dedicated to closing global economic gender gaps. I'm your host Vicky Lay and today's guest is Claire Wasserman, a writer, career coach, and founder of Ladies Get Paid. On this show Claire shares tangible strategies for beating back imposter syndrome, finding a career champion and negotiating successfully. We also discuss the importance of choosing the right partner and how they can contribute to your success. Enjoy. And let's dive in. Welcome Claire.

Claire:

Thank you so much for having me.

Vicky:

I am so pleased that we finally got on a call together. I know we've been trying to get how time zones to work. So whereabouts in the world are you at the moment?

Claire:

I am in Washington, DC today. I'm in New York tomorrow, and then back to my home in Los Angeles And then Arkansas, next month. So I guess, you know, is COVID over? Not sure, but I'm getting on a plane.

Vicky:

Well, thank you kindly for making time for us. I know you're so busy. So why don't you kick us off with a self introduction for our audience?

Claire:

Sure. Yes. So I am an educator or a writer. a podcast host and the founder of an organization called Ladies Get Paid. We are a platform that teaches women how to level up professionally and financially, we do that through webinars events. We've got a private community with a hundred thousand women from all 50 states and more than 120 countries. And our mission really is to make sure that women are advancing in all the ways that they want. But for us in particular, man, we want women to have power and particularly through. Expanding the money that they have, the options they have in their career. And just self-advocate, let's not wait for somebody to give us what we want. And part of that is my book that came out in January. It's also called ladies get paid and I can't believe I wrote a book like it's done. It was two years in the making. So really happy about that. Really exciting.

Vicky:

Well, done Congratulations. That is such a big feat to have achieved. Talk to us about the journey of trying to get your words on paper and all of the key lessons you've learned over the years and distilling that into

Claire:

Yeah. So just a quick synopsis of the book. I followed the lives of nine real women that I interviewed each of them going through a different kind of professional challenge and the sort of chronology of the book, and the way that it begins, the way that it ends is a career. So who am I, what do I want to do? Do I believe in myself, Then you get the job, then you have to do well in the job. And then finally at the end, what can you do on a more macro level in terms of seeing change, policies at your company policies in general? Because we're giving the tools to women so that they can improve their own lives, but that's not going to close the gaps. Right. That's systemic stuff. So the book begins with you, but it ends with all of us. And here's the ironic thing I was writing about perfectionism and imposter syndrome, as I am experiencing the worst case of imposter syndrome and perfectionism ever. Here's the thing though. Listen I'm certainly empathetic. I've been in everybody's shoes. You know, I started ladies get paid because I needed ladies get paid. just something that really, really helped me in terms of that imposter syndrome and the perfectionism is I was focusing so much on the things that I couldn't control. Like will people like this book? Will I get on bestseller lists? Will I get canceled? Will people hate this book? Will they hate me? Well, guess what? I don't really have a say in that I could write the best book ever and somebody might not like it. So when I shifted my mindset to focusing on, okay, well, what can I do? You know, what do I have agency over? And it was. Really the value of why am I writing this? Who am I helping? thinking about her, right. This woman reading the book and, talking to her And teaching her also in terms of the perfectionism, I kept thinking about kind of the book as a whole. Well, that's overwhelming. So instead I got a post-it note I wrote on the post-it note, write. Like crap. And I looked at it every day because the goal really was. Not to write an amazing book each day, it was just to write. So it was just get the damn thing out and trust in the editing process. That's where at least, you know, some of the perfectionism could happen. Although I think we all need to let go of that and so I did things like handwrite. I would say I wrote most of book, handwriting and then transcribing my notes and then putting it, on the computer. that helped me slow down and really integrate the editing process into, The whole process. Also, I found that writing by hand, freed me up. It allowed the words kind of the flow from my brain without stopping without self judgment. So I did a lot of hacks like that. Even things like challenging myself. Can I write in the moment? Can I be present in my writing? Can I. Find joy as I write. That was game-changing. Although, one, quick funny story is I was seeing a therapist at the time and I go in to, have a session. I say, oh, I can't finish this chapter on perfectionism. I'm I'm just stuck. And she said clear that that's because you're still working on your perfectionism. I was like, thanks for that. Not helpful.

Vicky:

I love that approach look right, like crap and then trust in the editing process. And you almost lived your book before you wrote it, which is the best way to teach others, right? They always say education is best done from the student who just went through a curriculum or a course, rather than the PhD professor who did it 20 years ago. So I love how you actually went through the process. Struggle, you know, was working through with the therapist and then got it down on paper.

Claire:

Struggling is the operative word. Yes. I have like years going into this, but I am very proud and it's not perfect. And that's totally okay.

Vicky:

I thought it was pretty damn good. So on the editing side, you talked about writing it down, using pen and paper to get your thoughts out. Is that what you do with your business as well? what you've done really well as you've evolved your brand, I'm sure that's taken a long time, many years to articulate, evolved your community to best suit this woman that you were talking about serving. Do you involve others in the editing process or in the co-creation process of visioneering as I call it of trying to get your ideas down and in a format that people can understand. What's your process there? Is it, I'm just gonna get down and give to someone else to fix, or do you do the whole thing from ideas, paper to editing, transcribing all on your own?

Claire:

I have an amazing partner who is the CEO I gave that up. I recognize that my interests and skillset and strengths really come from the evangelizing. So the part that I'm very much in charge of is program, Hiring, instructors. Creating my own classes. we're now doing a ton of video courses that we're about to debut intense courses that I'm filmed, YouTube Tik TOK, teaching at companies. So I'm sort of like front of house and then Ashley, my partner is kind of back of house. So she's figuring out how do we monetize, all of this, and operationalize all of this. Now of course, together, we do the. Visioning so of course it has to be collaborative. It's interesting. I say, have a big vision, but also have patience right. Have an urgency to make change, but also be sort of reasonable with yourself. Otherwise you constantly feel like you're playing catch up to your vision. and it's never good enough. So it is, you know, thank God for her because we have that back and forth. Whenever she's feeling antsy about the business, I sort of remind her of the things to be proud of and vice versa. we're going to be launching some really exciting things in the next month or so, in the fall. So that's taken a lot of, white boarding, and we did get a whiteboard, massive whiteboard that we put in. You know, a whiteboard with two sides on it. and so sometimes that makes us feel more professional just to whiteboard it. But, I love handwriting stuff. I just find them way more creative. I also found when we were living in New York and it wasn't COVID, something that really helped me in my process, both ideating for the business and also in my writing. I did it on the subway. So got you know, my handwriting and an iPad where I would just ride the subway to nowhere just spending, you know, 45 minutes. Yeah. You know, getting my ideas out and then it was Okay. Now I'm going to sit down. I'm going to put it in a Google doc. And now from there, we're going to make a spreadsheet and actually have the deliverables and the deadlines. Then we're going to put it into a calendar, so it was very much a system it's almost like spending more time getting ready. and then at some point you have to go, Okay. let's launch the damn thing, like enough with preparing, just go for it.

Vicky:

Just go for it. I love that. I think that's a great message for all women everywhere and something that I think came through in your book. you're an expert on negotiation in particular. I know you do a lot of speaking. You're invited by big corporate companies to come in and talk to women about the careers, about their jobs. What do you think the most successful negotiators do? And if you had to pick a few strategies, any advice you could give to our audience.

Claire:

Yes. So know yourself and know the market. So try to do as much research as possible, you know, and it's not just looking on glass door, you have to really talk to real people, talk to white men because they make the most. And if that means. Finding somebody you don't know on LinkedIn, first of all, they have to be similar to you in terms of years of experience, what kind of company they work for, et cetera, email them say, Hey, I'm trying to figure this out. I'm concerned about the wage gap. are you open to, if not sharing your salary, here's a range of research that I did, you know, am I off base so there, I have lots to say about how to talk about money. so first you gotta do that. Second. You have to really know your impact on the business bottom line. How have you made the company money and that could be how have you saved the company time or resources? so again, I can go more into that. That's really more for a full-time person. for me, it's testimonials, Whereas if I taught, what have they said, here's a video, I even share my classes, right? Here's the presentation deck. when you're getting started, I took things for free, you know, and I know when ladies get paid. Well, you got to get started somewhere. So at some point you go, okay. Do I need to say no to this. And that's really a personal decision. It has to be, really looked at as what's my overall goal here. What's my overall bank account. why am I saying yes to this? And if they're not paying you enough and it's really not adding anything to your repertoire, whether it's practicing a new class or you want the network, or you need the name of the company on your resume, then you have to learn how to say no. So I've actually found. For me, it's more difficult to say no than it is to negotiate. Last thing I would say, and this is a tactic, that's a bit of a secret, but oh, well, cause I'm saying it now is you say that your amount is really high, but then you say, but I want to hear your budget let's talk it out. I'll see if I can make an exception for you and whatever quote, exception that I make. Well, it's still higher than I probably would've asked to begin with. Now I could ask from the beginning, what is your budget? And that's great. Usually it's smaller than I'd like, so then I say, well, I normally ask for this and that's a very large amount. What's a compromise we can come to? So just make sure that whatever you start with has to be the highest amount possible. and even if it's outrageous, that's when you temper it by saying, I'm open to negotiation. So you're able to both assert your worth, but also not close the conversation immediately. So of course, if something's a deal breaker, then that's kind of what I was saying before. It can be hard to say no, but just don't begin with the actual amount that you want. We're going to assume they're going to negotiate you down, so you have to start high.

Vicky:

How high So we were talking about throwing a number out there. That's just anchor, we'd say 100. Is it like 10 X? What you think you're worth or you normally would go for? Is it five X, two X, just to get tangible for the audience.

Claire:

Yeah, I mean, it's different for people like me who speak at companies who do brand partnerships. it's a bit tough to get the market research. I mean, I've asked around and people. amounts that are so big that honestly I've never been able to get. Maybe it's cause I don't have an agent. People tell me they make $25,000, $30,000 for an hour of their time speaking. I mean, that's not something I've been able to get, so I don't begin with that. I begin with something a little bit lower. Am I doing the right thing? I don't know. I don't think there is a right thing other than. There's a wrong thing, which is, you know, not negotiating for somebody who's full-time it really does need to be rooted in the market. Otherwise you look delusional. So, you know, again, with brand partnerships and speaking, you really can throw out an enormous number because people do, that's kind of part of the, the negotiation full-time, that's based on what you've been able to find in the market. And you just say the highest number possible. Maybe you go a little bit over, but in full-time work, it does need to be. I guess more reasonable than in the work I do. People just throw out the biggest, most random numbers I've ever heard. and listen, if you say that you're open to negotiation and they still say no, nevermind. And they walk away, then they're probably not a company you want to work with. Anyway,

Vicky:

That's true. And there's something really interesting in some of the advice you're giving around. being comfortable asking for more and also the other side of that, which is being okay, doing stuff for free, making sure you're adding value and knowing how you contribute to someone's bottom line and being able to work with someone's budget. I feel like this is a piece that a lot of women do struggle with, in terms of negotiating or in terms of going out there for the first time to pitch, they tie their self-worth to the dollar or to the amount they're asking for which can sometimes hold you back because. If you want to get started in a new field or get your first client, you may have to take a pay cut or do something for free in the moment just to get you going. So do you find that's the case or am I completely barking up the wrong tree here?

Claire:

No, no... Again, it doesn't seem very ladies get paid of me, but how do you get started? everything has a place in your life and you may say yes to something. For reasons that have nothing to do with money. And that's fine, you say yes, because you really want to work with this company, Or you're going to be getting to expand your skills or expand your network. so sort of like, what can you leverage from this opportunity? and if it's something you don't really want to do, but they're paying you enough to do it. Well, then you have to ask her. Okay. Is this, is this enough? are they paying me enough? for me to not do something else? Right. That's the other thing it's really an opportunity costs. So if I say yes to this, what else am I saying? No to? and it's something that I have to be reminded of is my energy. So let's say, I say yes to a speaking gig. That's paying me not enough money, but I, you know, there's reasons. Well, it's not just about the time that I spend speaking there. It's about the time I spend preparing it's my exhaustion. After flying back home, then there's a half a day of, you know, sort of decompressing. So do think about not just the time you spend doing the thing, but also kind of all the brain power and the energy that goes around it. So it's like, okay, if this, if you think it's going to take you this amount of time, maybe just double it. So that needs to be part of the overall calculus. As well, that's why, there's really not a one size fits all with this stuff. It's just make sure you are negotiating, whatever it is.

Vicky:

Absolutely. I guess we're sort of talking around these common self talk cycles that women are getting themselves into. And I remember in your work, you sort of talk about how often other people's voices can influence our own and, the difference between a serious versus a silly profession and how we should act. Can you just talk a little bit about that and how we can start to recognize some of these storylines that may be holding ourselves back?

Claire:

Yeah. Just think about if you ever had like a should in your life. Right? I should, or I shouldn't do this. Well, why? I mean, always question things. Why, listen to your instinct and I find that. As women, we're socialized to be accommodated to others, to be people pleasers, we want to be liked. And so what unfortunately happens is other people's voices, other people's should, we absorb and then we don't know how to listen to our inner voice anymore. We don't know what our instinct is. We don't know what to trust. So, I would begin with. Just reflecting on your childhood and times in your past, where, you maybe had a gut feeling about something or you made a decision and that of didn't give you joy or satisfaction. And then it's like, why can I back up here from where did this begin? Even just, how do you define success? who told you this? Because we all got it from somewhere, we weren't born. Fully formed thoughts. Like, it was either modeled to us indirectly or explicitly told to us. So I would also say looking at your life in terms of the things that give you energy times when you've sort of come alive and they don't need to be professional. What you're doing at this point is just getting comfortable. Listening to yourself, believing in yourself. And then you can say, all right, what opportunities are out there that really utilize the things that make me come alive? The strengths that I have, and again, think outside the box as much as you can. And at the end of the day, it's really about making relationships with people and learning from them about their career paths, how they made decisions, what their lives are like, you know, their everyday lives or like in the jobs that they have, because. Trying to figure this out on your own. I mean, I don't know how you do that. I mean, we just don't have enough exposure. we haven't had enough experience to sometimes know what's out there, What we want, you know, life can be so much bigger than we've imagined it to be. And usually you only figured that out by. Quote, making mistakes, learning the hard way, or being able to connect with somebody who inspires you. So even just Googling, inspiring women and reading their biographies and just finding the small ways that they got started. So don't let them intimidate. You always go back to, how did they begin? you know, obviously I have a lot more to say, but listen, I got a 320 page book that you can all read, but that that's a way to begin kind of peeling back the layers of when have I, you know, had the should or the should not in my life. And where did that come from?

Vicky:

Speaking of making relationships with people who's made you really change your mindset or just rethink one of your shoulds

Claire:

yeah. Yeah. So somebody at the beginning of my career, who really challenged me to think outside the box in terms of my kind of definition of success. So I, you know, I tell the story in the book, this was a guy, his name's Stefan, and he one day asked me, Claire, how do you define success? And I, as I began to answer, he cut me off and he goes, no, no, no, Whose voice is that. And I was like, no, one's I didn't even say anything. like you didn't even let me say anything and he goes, try it again. So I started to answer it was no, no, no. Whose voice is that. is that your mothers, your fathers, your school, your, so he already got me thinking, you know, and sort of agitated, like you wanted to push me from the beginning. And then he said, go with whatever comes to mind. Just one word. And I instinctually right back to like, do you know and trust your instinct? I just said the word freedom. he said, okay.

Vicky:

hmmm.

Claire:

How do you then define freedom? What does freedom look like? What does freedom feel like? And I, just, freedom to not have to go into an office every day, freedom to have, autonomy in some way, to me, to not be tied down into one place, freedom to do many things. Right. It was like, okay, how does that get manifested in a job or in a career? And we went through this whole kind of visualization of it. And then of course I did other things, It wasn't like. That necessarily gave me the answer to what I was looking for, but at least it gave me information of a value. So it wasn't necessarily at the end of the day, like a definition of success as much as it was. a definition of a value. And so I've really kept that in my life as a sort of lighthouse, as I was making decisions, part of the calculus was, is this giving me freedom in some way, And freedom gets expressed in many different ways and at different. Moments in your life, things change. And so what he had me do in the beginning of my career is something I've consistently done. and not just when I felt frustrated or wanted to change my job, we should just all get into the practice of checking in with ourselves so that we can see sort of the warning signs before of when, okay. Am I starting to get burnt out or agitated or bored? Am I not growing? So i really credit him and I feel. very lucky in the sense that that happened at the beginning of my career. So it really set me on a good path.

Vicky:

It's amazing. The role of mentors and the role of men in the success of women. I always hear so many stories about that within my own career, my own network within our nonprofit network as well. So can you talk to us more about the role that you think men can play in fighting for gender equality? if you had the ear of men out there, what could be the one thing that they could do to help their female colleagues or their female peers?

Claire:

yeah. With ladies get paid. I mean, we are an organization by And for women because I just think we all need to get on the same page and support each other because there's strength in numbers. That being said, if we want to get into positions of power, Leadership, expand our wealth. We have to do it with men because they're the ones who currently hold the wealth and the power. Okay. I mean, just like this word called sponsorship, It means connecting with a person of influence who can advocate on your behalf. So that whatever you want it's amplified, No one is an island and nor should we be an island? Well, sponsors are men. Sponsors can be men. They should be men. So I would say for anybody listening, who's a man, best thing you can do right now is start talking about salary negotiation, make sure your female friends or colleagues. Hey, are you negotiating your salary and share your salary? what's worked when you negotiate, ask women, you know, what is success to you? where do you want to go in your career? And then. Just to ask, what can I do to help you? So you don't have to just jump in and do things, right? It's simply asking somebody how I can support you is a lot. and just opening doors like you don't have to sit down with somebody and do a whole mentorship thing. It can be, Hey, can I introduce you to somebody I'd love to connect you? that goes a long way and it doesn't take a lot of effort.

Vicky:

And on the flip side of the equation. it's women supporting women as well, and we do speak more. So in terms of your community, my community to females, what can they do to get a man on their side? How do they advocate for themselves and how do they ask and find a mentor?

Claire:

I would just, I'm going to challenge a little bit and say, let's let go of the word mentor because it connotates, I think time spent energy spent and you really can, you know, connect with somebody in just one meeting, really like you have a great lunch with somebody and now they believe in you, you stay in touch. You know, an easy way to do that is send them articles that remind you of them that you think they'd find helpful. Tell them what you're up to. Don't be afraid to ask for things. Right. So is that a mentor? I don't know. That's just somebody who. believes in you and you support them in whatever they need as well. you have to ask for it, Otherwise you're not going to get it. A lot of the people have become champions of ours in our business and who become speakers and things like that. Cold outreach or asking somebody to connect us. So we just went for it. I mean, listen, You don't make a hundred percent of the shots you don't take. So. What's the worst that can happen. As long as you're asking in a way that respects their time, it's not entitlement. You have to respond to me. I mean, I have a whole networking chapter in the book. it's also paying it forward. It's connecting other people, asking people how you can support them being proactive in that way. willthat's enormous. That's really how I've grown my career as being a connector. And it will flow. It just, well, but you have to, if that means cold outreach, don't be afraid of that.

Vicky:

The it will flow. That's a great sentence. I think for, almost like banner or, as a bumper sticker, you know, that idea of, having faith in the process. And if you show up things will come back your way. Can you talk to us about, your biggest failure? What did you learn from it? And how did something that you were trying to manifest find its way to you when you were least expecting it?

Claire:

Yeah, it's so funny. I'm not a huge fan of the word failure because it's like, if it taught you something, which honestly, everything that's hard in our lives, everything that's quote a failure. That's often where the biggest learnings happen. So is, is it? a failure either that, or I'm trying to make myself feel better because I've definitely failed

Vicky:

I know, I love these corrections of my terms like, Hey, mentor failure. I'm like, yes, do need to think about the way I say things.

Claire:

No, it's just, those words are just, they feel like so heavy. They feel like they bring a lot of pressure. Right? I'm connecting with somebody who's a champion, Who can give me insight, who can support me Or failure, a lesson that I can learn. So, anyway, again, this is all mindset shifts. Cause I just find, it makes things, a little bit easier to carry. I had a company. a couple years ago that did fail in the sense that particular company didn't work out, but it was kind of the seeds that were planted that eventually became ladies get paid, including what I learned from it. So the idea was about wanting to give people a direction in their career, wanting to show them that, Career paths could be unique and interesting and non-traditional, and giving people exposure right beyond just Googling it. So the idea was I went around and I filmed, I started with people in creative careers, mostly in advertising and design. I did filmed interviews with them. Then I cut up the film into small bite-sized pieces. And then it was tagged. So if you wanted to Google. Even things like failure, right? The video clips that were the times where that person talked about failure would come up, Or you could say design and all the people who worked in design would come up. And, my biggest issue, a couple of things. was, I just didn't really know how to make decisions. I'd make a decision. And then I would not trust in that decision and like go back and say, no, no, no, no, nevermind. Let's make another decision. I didn't know if this should be incredibly, highly produced and curated. Right. Beautiful. And not that many interviews or if maybe it should be open source, anybody could upload a video of them talking about their career path. and then making money and just the major decisions that come with creating and growing a business. I just didn't feel like I had enough confidence in that part of it. Yeah. You could say maybe you only was a woman and we don't have confidence, whatever I'm going to put that aside. Honestly, I just didn't have enough exposure to entrepreneurship. and I realized, man, I should work for a business, a small business, a startup at the ground level and, and watch, observe, learn from somebody else. And so then I said, all right, let me go get a job. Obviously it was a bummer to, you know, quote, feel like I failed, but it ended up being a great decision. Cause I learned a ton from working for a startup and I always kept the sort of, the spirit of my own company. I got, he held onto the spirit and I would say what I do now is very much a more grown-up version, I'm ready to make decisions, you know? And I, well, and I have a partner who can help me.

Vicky:

Yeah, that always helps when you've got, a co-partner or a copilot. And. Just, I want to dig into both of those as two separate themes, working with a partner, but also trusting in your own decisions. That's something I struggle with. I've always struggled with, whenever I get advice from champions, new term from champions, they always tell me how, Hey, you're actually very talented. And your problem is that you don't trust your gut enough. You double back and that takes you so much time. Your first instinct is usually right. Any advice you can give me and anyone else suffering from this? I guess another version of imposter syndrome or another of self-confidence issues.

Claire:

Yeah, no. And it is, I think just know that the best strength that you can have is the ability to learn, to be flexible. And if you just do it, then you'll have more time. Right. You'll have more information to make an even better informed decision and that, you know, so we're going to launch, in alternative platform to slack. That's how the community's been growing and connecting since 2016, so it's still free. We're going to have to get everybody on it. And we're also going to introduce a membership, the option to upgrade, never done that before coming out with really nice, well produced videos and creating a YouTube channel. Right. There's so many unknowns and that's scary, but what's scarier is well to never know. Because then you can't make another decision. So one decision will make another decision, which make another decision. And I would say nothing is totally undoable. you're going to make tweaks. So whatever happens in the fall, we're obviously very nervous about it, but otherwise I'm not going to move forward. And that's the worst part If you don't grow, then you're dead. Like, or you have to be okay with it. Like, all right. I'm too nervous to gather more information here by making this decision. I don't trust that I can learn quickly. So I'm going to stay where I'm at and that could be the best decision for you. So you do have to decide and you know, yeah. I'm willing to take this risk or I'm not, and what's the consequence. I just think our lives are only as big as the decisions we're willing to make, but I would say the best thing to do is have faith that you'll be able to learn and then to like iterate quickly.

Vicky:

You know, jumping off the cliff and building the plane as you, falling right in assembling and having faith that you'll figure it out. There was this great, decision-making matrix that I found, that sort of talked about this idea of consequences and making sure that you are allocating only enough worry for the consequences. If you can change it, you should delegate it and, and just, you know, get it done because you can always go back. So I think understanding the weight of consequences to that matrix. it was really helpful for me, so I'll make sure I include that in the notes because you just reminded me about it., so going back to that first thing I was talking about, what was the process of engaging your partner and working with her around what you wanted to do for the business? Like how did, that process become, Hey, I'm giving this CEO role. away that was that, what was the decision-making process there? And how did you end up working with your partner? Because that's really emotional communication issues can arise from that. So please enlighten us.

Claire:

For sure. Yeah. So I started ladies get paid by myself and there was this woman that kept coming to all of my events sitting in the front row. She comes up to me and says, how can I support you? So by the way, for anybody who wants to expand your network, the most strategic and efficient way to do that is to join groups. And go tell the person who started or runs the group. How can I help you? And if it's an in-person event, offered a check people in at the door, because now you are literally getting face time with every single person who walks in. So she wanted a new job. Now, did she come up to me and asked to help? You know, because she was trying to necessarily get a job with me. No, it was, I'm just. Wanting to get to know interesting people and especially interesting people who are doing things I believe in and who have big networks themselves. And part of that was she was head of business development at Vimeo and I wanted sponsorship. So I was looking for companies that wanted to hire women who wanted to market their business to women. And I said, listen, I would love for Vimeo to come here. sponsor one of our events so I can come in and I can teach. And so then she connected me to somebody at Vimeo. and so she really put her money where our mouth is. So it was, yes. How can I support you? But she showed up and really jumped in and started helping. and then at some point it was just obvious that she should be part of this because she was already doing the work. And so I went to her and I said, I know you want to get a new job before you go and take. a job with somebody else. I'm going to throw my hat in the ring. What do you think about coming on? Now, I didn't say come on as my co-founder, I didn't say c'mon as a CEO, I said, basically be employee number one. And she said, yes, now she didn't quit her job. At first, she was doing this on the side, but in an official capacity right before it was sort of like ad hoc as she could do it. And then we got to a point where we were making enough money where this felt stable enough, where she could quit her job. And so it was after, I don't know if it was like a year later. Yeah. I can't remember the exact timeline, but at some point I realized that I was not into or good, particularly at the business stuff. You know, I really came alive when it was content creation, when it was me, evangelizing for the company, getting on stage, getting on camera. And that. when I had to do the business stuff, I was like, Oh, you know, I suppose sort of dreading it. And she was good at that. She was good at it. And that was what excited her. And so then I went to, and I said, I think you should be the CEO. And she said, great. And then she had the conversation with me. I don't again know how long afterwards, where she said I'd like to have half the equity. I think we should be equitable partners. And she was very nervous because she thought I would be territorial about it, or I would be emotional about it. And I said, no, I think this is absolutely fair. and I was so thrilled, you know, honestly, I didn't go to her and say, you should have half because we were just moving fast. I just wasn't thinking. And so when she came to me, I was relieved because I also knew that if she hadn't, then it might've bred resentment, that this was the fair thing to do. And so that's how it's been. the hard part is we are in a romantic relationship. Uh, are getting married in January, so the tanks. Thanks. So we have very good communication. So that's something, you know, we're always on the same page, but. I'm not great. if she's like telling me, do this, do that. I have emotions as part of it because we are in a romantic relationship. but I also think there's so many benefits to working with your partner as well, because we are so in sync with our vision and we, and we're just so we can like, communicate without speaking. So there's pros and there's cons and anybody out there who works with their romantic partner, like, I'm sure you're nodding your head. Right.

Vicky:

I absolutely am. And my husband is my business partner, too, and it is, yeah, it's the reason why I'm asking is completely selfish. So thank you for sharing your insights about that. I wanted to get like super real and feel free not to answer this, but. What's the argument that, You may not be having any more, but in the early stages of working together with your romantic partner, what were you constantly fighting about? And then how did you resolve it?

Claire:

Hmm, by the way, I love answering all questions. So bring it on. you know, in some ways, I was about to say in some ways the beginning was easier, but actually it wasn't because one week after she quit her job to come onto ladies get paid full time. We were actually sued by a group of men's rights, activists accusing us gender discrimination. I know. And it went. For over a year, anybody's curious to learn more. We actually made a whole website about it, you can go to ladies, get sued.com. So our life was really hard from the beginning. I also was in the process of getting a divorce, and he believed he owned. Half of ladies get paid. So for the first half of our experience working together, we were going through so much turmoil. Then. I got a book deal. So then she was kind of doing ladies get paid on her own because I had to like really sequester myself and focus. Then that's done COVID hits. So this has been hard because it's a business it's been hard because of personal reasons. And it's been hard because of. a plague, right? So there's no arguments there. It's just tough. The argument or the issue now is, and something I've really had to learn. And I do write about it in the book. I have to be able to not see everything as criticism,. Or to not feel like I'm doing something quote wrong and just very sensitive. If I feel like I've quote, messed up in some way. and if she's saying, Hey, can you do this differently? she's nervous about giving me any feedback because I immediately go what, I just have like a gut visceral reaction that I need to work on. So, that's probably the biggest issue, right now

Vicky:

I think there's sort of like that gut visceral reaction. I'd heard to have it too. I think if you're in the creator role your role is quite scary to as the visionary, as the face of the product. And there's quite a lot of pressure that comes along with that. How are you talking to yourself so that you can receive feedback in a way that's more palatable for person who's communicating with you?

Claire:

Yeah. I'm not doing a great job but something, yeah.

Vicky:

Honest, you are.

Claire:

Yeah, no, I mean, we're all works in progress and the best we can do is see, am I making progress in some way? And I would say the progress I have made is recognizing what's going on before it was just feeling okay, now I'm like, I've done this enough time. I see that this is. Something that isn't me, it's like a reaction that comes from somewhere else. Right. And I, you know, that's where the therapy work comes from. you. know, that goes into that. Right. who taught me this behavior? It's my father. And so I can make this like a little bit more objective, right. Distance myself from it. And I can feel myself when it happens. And so it's just let me just walk out of it. For a minute and guess what? I walk out of the room for literally 10 seconds. I'm calm. like, it's stress. I need to like mark the time off and doing that thing again. I need to take a breath. You need to take a beat. And I actually read just last night from this book, to, to kind of name it, meaning Give it a name, Right. Like raging, nasty Nelly or something, give it to the literation ah, it's this part of myself that is not actually myself. I have a name for it. And then you can kind of communicate with it and it somehow loses its power when you do that. So I would say that's the progress I've been able to make, but you know, listen, if you have her on this podcast, you can ask her how it's going.

Vicky:

I feel like she and my husband should get together and talk about our respective. You know, I call mine spiral. But I definitely think a lot of kudos needs to go to our partners is for, supporting us in our creative journey.

Claire:

Yes.

Vicky:

Amazing. So, you know, I think we had a really great discussion and you've been so generous with how real you've been with the information that you've shared, but we'd love to hear from your perspective. if there was one area within the economic gender gap. Cause that's where we focus on as a nonprofit. What's that one thing that you'd love to fix, if you could just, go in and change that for women everywhere and for the gender equality movement, what would that be?

Claire:

Universal child. Which anybody who's outside of the U S is like what? You guys don't have universal childcare, what you don't have adequate paid family leave guaranteed by the government.. Two things, the wage gap, if you had to boil it down, it's that women are not getting into leadership positions. They're not rising up. And usually that's because they're the default caretakers. That's how we're socialized as a society. And so if your kids need to be picked up at a certain time, well then you have to stop working at 3:00 PM. Now a lot of women, when they become mothers, they say they become way more productive and efficient. They Get back online, working after they put the kids to sleep. So it's not that they're working less. They're just looked at as if they aren't working as much. So how do we help these women. Well, let's give them childcare support. So that's one way, the other way is, the wage gap really also is from, hourly workers. So it's women tend to be in industries and roles that are compensated less, whether it's, caregiving or teaching as a society, we've decided to value those jobs less. and many of those jobs are hourly. So do we raise the minimum wage perhaps? it's interesting. The wage gap is both complicated, but also straightforward. It's complicated in the sense that there are a number of factors that contribute to it, right? You can't just flip one switch. And the whole thing changes that being said, we all know what those factors are A big problem is that people just don't believe that there even is a wage gap or that women are discriminated against. So that's where I want to just start with, okay. Women let's get on the same page and let's get loud. Let's get loud. But yeah, if there was one thing it would be in America would be universal childcare.

Vicky:

Get loud. I love that let's get loud. That's a great way for us to close off our discussions. How can our listeners follow you, support your work? How do they get in touch and where can they find your book?

Claire:

Yeah, well, ladies get paid.com. Join our newsletter so you can get invites to our events. You'll join the slack group. you'll also see there's a page. Ladies get paid.com/book, where you can buy the book. It's also available on Amazon, everywhere that books are sold and then Instagram that's a great way to be in touch with me because I do respond to the messages that I get. and I'm at Claire gets paid and also there's ladies get paid on Instagram.

Vicky:

Fantastic. Well, thank you so much for your time. You have been so inspirational and once again, I really appreciate the generosity with your honesty and being raw and just all of the compounded work that you've done to help ladies get paid.

Claire:

Oh, my goodness. Well, thank you for giving me the opportunity to get loud and, to get real. I just find when we share what's actually going on in our lives, everybody goes, oh, me too. Right? Like this is the struggle is universal. It is. And so, you know, when you speak up, when you talk about money, you're talking about your struggles, man, you are helping another woman. So again, thank you for giving me the opportunity. And hopefully some people were inspired and learned from this..

Vicky:

Our, pleasure. And thank you so much again, Claire.

Claire:

Thank you, Vicky.