When we start to want something more from where we are now, usually it only ends up in 2 things: satisfaction or resentment. Satisfaction is when you’ve begun to actually do something about what you want, while resentment starts when you don’t negotiate and just start taking what you can get. In this episode, Rosie Zilinskas is joined by self-made digital entrepreneur and mom of three, Alexandra Nicole Nolan. They share a discussion on what it’s like to be a woman in the corporate world and why people have struggled to negotiate and often live in resentment for not being able to do enough about it. Tune in to learn how you can gain courage in chasing what you want in a dog-eat-dog world!
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Satisfaction Or Resentment: How To Start Negotiating What You Want And Deserve In Corporate With Alexandra Nicole Nolan
How To Negotiate In The Corporate World Podcast Series – Episode 3 Of 8
We have the second installment of the How to Negotiate in the Corporate World Series. We’ve had one episode so far with Joie Seldon and she spoke a lot about how to manage your emotions as you are going to be doing your negotiating. That’s an important episode because we’re talking about your emotional intelligence.
In this episode, we’re going to be talking to an influencer. The reason why I invited her on is that she is into a lot of different things, but primarily she’s an entrepreneur. Negotiating is important in her business. I figured the things that we could talk with her about negotiating also applied to your corporate career.
Let me tell you a little bit about this influencer. She is named on Yahoo’s Influencers to Inspire List and featured in Forbes, Hollywood Digest, Influencive, Medium, and New York Weekly Times. Alexandra Nicole Nolan is a self-made digital entrepreneur and mom of three from Memphis, Tennessee. She fills her days pursuing the dream of being her own boss as a full-time digital entrepreneur, business consultant, published author, and brand developer.
She is also going to school to obtain her PhD. She is doing a lot of learning about the ins and outs of running a business. That’s going to be important because she talks about some of the things that she’s learning in her PhD program. The point of this series is for you to get some ideas on how to negotiate when you are ready to do so. My intention is also to provide a document at the end of the series with some powerful phrases that you can apply to your negotiating project. With that, stay tuned to my conversation with Alexandra.
Alexandra, thank you so much for being here on the show.
Thank you for having me.
You are very busy. You’re a mom of three and you have your business. You just wrote your book and you’re an entrepreneur. The reason why I want to point that out is that our audience is women in the corporate world who have very similar lives. Women nowadays are responsible for so many different things and still have to work full-time.
The first question that I have for you is what are some of the things that you do that maybe could help women in corporate? I don’t want to call it work-life balance because that’s not achievable. Everybody thinks of work-life balance as this end-all-be-all when it’s life ebbs and flows. Tell me a little bit about how you are able to accomplish so much.
There are always the regular things that people talk about, keeping a planner, all of your to-do lists, and everything, but one of the things that I feel is a unique way that I stumbled upon that’s helped me to accomplish so much, and it’s going to sound a little strange. I used to work in Corporate America before becoming an entrepreneur. I feel like this has traveled over into the world of entrepreneurship.
Unfortunately, as women, we always have to brand ourselves. I don’t want to say the word prove or show that we’re capable, but in the corporate world, I learned that I had to brand myself. I had to advocate for myself in all of this. Moving into the entrepreneur world, you have to brand yourself. The way this ties in is when I’m branding and constantly advocating for myself and I’m strategically doing this, it allows me to achieve so many things at one time versus going down that to-do list and going down the 1, 2, and 3.
Being an influencer, every day, I’m posting on Instagram and do stories. I’m writing the book at the same time. I’m a mom and a wife, and all of these things are aspects of my life. I used to categorize them into work is work and family life is family life. I get it in Corporate America, you have to do that to some degree. I don’t want to say let those personal things seep into your work life, but if you let it all mesh together, I feel like you’re able to hold all the plates in the air at the same time versus compartmentalizing them.
When I say branding myself, it’s being open in the business world with, “Here’s my family, and here’s my life.” I feel like when we hide that they always say, “You don’t know what people are going through or what their life is.” When you hide that you have to compartmentalize everything. When you can be open to some degree, and I say brand yourself, but let other people know that you’re human too and the things you’re doing. You can almost spread the to-do list of all of the different things across everything that you’re doing.
That’s a weird way to go about it, but it has alleviated my stress for me. I started this, “I have to be on this level. I have to show this certain type of person in the business world.” When I started being kinder to myself and letting people know like, “I’m human like you.” I’m branded as the mom and the wife, but also a successful businesswoman, I was able to achieve so much more because I feel like the stressors weren’t there.
I was looking at your Instagram. One thing that I love about what you said is that you have some pictures where you have your hair and makeup, and it’s a photoshoot, but you also have pictures where you have no makeup. I saw one where you were trying to curl your hair naturally and you look like Pippi Longstocking, talking to your husband. I thought that was cute because, again, you’re incorporating the person, not the influencer.
The reason I like that is that corporations nowadays are trying to bring in the whole person to work and not the employee. They are now trying to maybe recognize that people have lives outside of work. A lot of companies are now asking people to come into the office once a week or maybe sometimes once a month. They recognize that, “Working from home has your perks. It can help you be the parent or a mom, taking care of your household, working out, and you still get to do your job.” It’s very relevant to what you were saying. It’s incorporating both of those parts of your life into one so that you can navigate both of those.
It’s not an easy thing. My mom is in corporate and my dad owns companies. I’ve always been pushed to, “Business is business. Keep the tears and the personal life out.” I don’t want to say be a robot, but this is who you are in this setting, and then if you need to go cry behind closed doors, wait until you get home and let it all out. I am a hum of that generation, but a few years behind me, that generation is more open about feelings and mental health.
It’s a hard thing to be out on the internet and being raw. I have to pep-talk myself up and say, “Do this.” You have to train yourself, but it’s doable and it is so much easier on your soul. You’re able to do so many more things at once. Don’t be so hard on yourself and brand yourself to be an all-around person. People can relate to you and then they sympathize a little more.
Especially if you’re working full-time. When my kids were young, I felt that mom guilt of, “It’s a field trip day. My child is asking me to go and I can’t go because I have this important meaning,” or they always got sick when I had big meetings. It’s inevitable. That mom guilt is always going to be there, but men don’t generally feel that guilt. It’s a hard balancing act even though you are never going to get that 100% balance between both. You’re also going to school for your PhD. That’s incredible. Tell me a little bit about what you’re going to school for and what your goals are with your PhD.
When I started my companies, I left Corporate America and I was there for six years. I loved it and it was great, but I’m an entrepreneur by heart. When I left, I first got the opportunity four years into running my own business. The University of Memphis was doing scholarships for Master’s programs and they had an entrepreneurial focus. They wanted to bring in local entrepreneurs to learn the business from the academic setting with the hopes that they can go back to Memphis, which is a very big small business city and create these small businesses that flourish. That’s why they offered that degree. I did that degree and finish that one in 2016.
One of the folks that were in that program with me said, “They’re doing a PhD program. It’s not focused towards entrepreneurship, it is straight business,” but it’s a completely different aspect in a PhD program and I had no idea. I should have done my research before going in. I love it, but it is 100% focused on business research.
I’m taking a class that’s Diversity and Stereotypes. It’s a management-focused class. I’m taking a Statistics class on how to run research and read research with survey data and Marketing courses. Honestly, I’ve had so many people say, “Why are you doing this? You got your own businesses. Is this a stepping stone?” At first, it wasn’t. Both of my parents are strive-to-the-top people. I thought, “There’s a degree above a master’s degree, so I want that too. I don’t know why, but I do.”
Since being in the program, I’ve learned that with this research and learning how to do research studies and stuff, I can help other people. 1) From the HR standpoint of understanding how to manage other people and understanding the ins and outs and the psychology behind other people. 2) Hopefully, it creates some programs within our city that promote entrepreneurship.
A small business owner has a lot of money on the front end, which I didn’t. You struggle to get there for years financially. I thought, “There’s got to be some magic formula that if I can do enough research, I can figure out where you can say, “This is how you start.” The percentages of successful outcomes are going to be so much higher.” That’s now why I’ve gone in to do it to help other people to be successful.
I admire that a lot. Being the influencer, you are dealing with a lot of brands, pictures, and all the pretty parts of entrepreneurship, but you are not only getting your Master’s, but then this PhD in business is going to elevate your knowledge as an entrepreneur, and also your compassion for helping those other people whether they’re entrepreneurs. People in the corporate world can still learn from the things that you do. I wholeheartedly support and admire that you’re going a step above and beyond in getting that PhD. That’s absolutely fantastic. You have been researching in your PhD some biases that you have learned about in the corporate world or in the business world. Why don’t we talk a little bit about that?
My mindset has changed so much, especially with this one class I’m taking about stereotypes and diversity. We do things on race, gender, and pregnancy. It’s a different topic every week. I grew up with the mindset of everyone’s equal and has equal opportunity. You work hard and work your way up to the top. There are going to be some people that are going to maybe discriminate against you because you’re a female, maybe do not like your personality, or have these preconceived notions about you, but you keep forging your way forward. The other people that are being discriminated against should do the same, and that’s that.
“There will be people who will discriminate you because you're a female or your personality or these preconceived notions about you, but just keep forging your way forward.” – Alexandra Nicole Nolan Click To Tweet
I’ve always had that hard mentality. I took this course and it helped me to empathize and see things from a completely different light. The corporation I worked for was wonderful. I never felt like I didn’t have an opportunity because I was a woman. My boss was a female. There were more men than women in leadership positions, but I was young and didn’t realize that. I was ambitious and I was going for it.
One of the things that were interesting is that women are seen by other women and men, that are not in top management as less competent. These are studies that have been done. Men and women say that women are less competent if they’re not in top management positions, but they’re seen as warm like feelings of warmth, “This person is warm, understanding, and they get me,” but when that same woman hits top management level, they’re seen as more competent, even more competent than men because they’ve made it. Sad to say, but, “You must be really smart if you can beat a man out.”
All of a sudden, that same woman is instantly seen as cold, not warm, and not relatable. When we had that session, I thought how crazy that is that I’m a very warm person and feel like I’m a very competent person, but there are these preconceived notions about me and about other women, especially in Corporate America. They can be thought, “Why should they even have to be? Why do these things exist?”
I wanted to mention and be clear. This survey wasn’t taken by just men. It is other women that were viewing our own like that. I don’t have the golden answer of how to fix it, but getting these studies and data out there and in the right places where corporate women can read them, we need to know these statistics so that we as women can do better for our fellow females.
A follow-up question to that, so we are clear, did the woman’s behavior change from when she wasn’t in upper management to where she was?
This was the perception of other people that worked with her. They did control for asking to say, “Did you notice any difference?” What was found is that wasn’t a factor in this.
It’s the fact that she went from middle management to an upper senior position and the perception of that female by other females and males changed from her going into that executive level?
It’s crazy because you see it on TV and in movies too. It’s almost like we all have these preconceived notions because what the word and the message that’s being put out there. For instance, The Devil Wears Prada. It’s a great movie and it’s fun. It’s a girl’s movie. Every girl has seen it, but in that movie, maybe the top management woman is portrayed to be all the things, but Hollywood’s putting that out there and we’re watching it. It’s a movie that we all cherish. I love it. I’m not saying, “Don’t go watch this,” but it’s a message that is constantly being delivered.
I watch Lifetime Movie Network. There are all the murder shows, all the things like that, and all the drama, but if a woman is in top-level management, she’s always portrayed to be that way. The message that’s being delivered and put in front of us and we’re soaking it up, whether we want to or not, or even realize that we are.
That’s why you and I are having this important conversation so that we can enlighten other people as to how you are perceiving your fellow coworkers. I’ve had some conversations with some amazing corporate leaders on the show here and you can lead with compassion and kindness. You don’t have to yell and scream at people because you’re upset. That goes along with emotional intelligence and being able to control your reactions and all that good stuff, but you can still be a good leader, firm, fair, compassionate, and still be looked at in a good light. Does that make sense?
Yes. It’s unfortunate for us as females. I feel like it is a very hard line. It’s a balancing act. It’s harder for us that I don’t feel like it’s even considered for men. I used to own clothing stores. When I left International Paper, the corporation I was at, I felt like I was managing at one point 30 other people. I felt like I’d got to be tough or I’m going to be taken advantage of, but then the employees are walking on eggshells, “Is this even enjoyable for them?” I then try to like be more compassionate and ask more about home and family life, but then I swung all the way to the other side, and then I wasn’t able to get the output and productivity that I needed. It is a hard thing to do. I never mastered it.
I had my clothing stores for several years. I feel like I got close and I’ve had some employees that have come back and said, “You inspired me. I’m so happy I worked for you,” but I’ve also had other ones that said that I’m like The Devil Wears Prada. That’s why that movie popped into my head. I’m like, “I don’t feel like I’m that way,” behind my back saying that. It’s such a hard balancing act and it’s unfortunate that we have to do that as women and that other women are perceiving us that way.
I agree. We talked a little bit about women being pregnant. What happens when you become pregnant? You have to take leave and come back. Tell me a little bit about what you’ve learned about that.
Not only that there’s discrimination against women that are pregnant. It’s not direct discrimination, which most people will think, it’s more like passive discrimination. They also are hard on themselves and they have fear of losing their position. Especially in Corporate America, studies have shown that they take that time off, but the stress levels and the worry about work are still there.
From the other standpoint, the subtle discrimination, first of all, people think this person isn’t going to be as committed to their job after they have a baby. This was another study that we did of women that said that they were not going to have a child versus women that said that they would. People perceived the women that said that they would, to be less committed to their job.
I was never less committed to my job when I had children. If you’re in the financial position to be like, ” I want to stay home,” I’m not saying that’s wrong. I can see that. Having a baby doesn’t make you all of a sudden not capable of doing your job or not mentally there. A lot of women that are pregnant or go through pregnancy, studies show they have this fear of losing their job. They’ll overcompensate before that and go over the top so they can hope that their position’s still secured. There are laws against that, but it’s still a fear and not everything is as just as it should be.
I am willing to bet there are women that come back and maybe lost their steam of where they were within the organization from the viewpoints of others. That’s a message that needs to be out there and people should be aware of it because I feel like maybe top management thinks, “There’s going to be a child involved and I don’t know how committed she’s going to be,” but they need to realize from her standpoint, maybe her job is still very important and there’s going to be some adjustments. There’s a fear within these women that are getting pregnant and they’re having to deal with that too. That’s a lot, especially having children.
I was divorced at the time and I was very fortunate that I had a family that gave me unconditional support. My sister and parents always helped out when I’m like, “Mom, Virginia, or Lisa, can you guys take the kids?” You are stressed out when your child is sick. Again, you’re feeling that guilt of having to leave your child at home if again, you have an important meeting and then you go to the meeting and you’re thinking about the kid. There is a little bit of mental stress there, but to your point, I was not any less committed to my job. I was able to succeed in my career, and I’ve been in the corporate world for many years, and managing people is difficult.
When I was managing people, I did find a decent balance. It’s never going to be perfect, but I did find a decent balance between productivity. When we were in the office, I would go out and talk to everybody in their cubicles. I specifically went out and talked to them about their personal life, “How are the kids? What’s going on?” and did not ask any business questions.
I wanted them to be acknowledged as people first and secondarily as an employee. We did well together. We were like a well-oiled machine. It can be done, but it does take that little extra effort from the manager’s perspective as to, “How are you doing?” Especially now with people working from home, you have to make that extra effort of calling people and having a one-on-one conversation.
It is an art. I’ve always been ambitious so I thought, “This’ll be a breeze,” and it almost traumatized me. Whenever I sold my clothing stores, one of my friends goes, “What is your end goal, and what is your dream?” I said, “All I know is I don’t want to have a boss. I don’t want to be anybody’s boss.” In the end, I did pretty well. That wasn’t the reason why I sold my stores, but I remember 70% of the stress of that job was managing employees and they were all wonderful. It’s just different personalities.
I come into the conversation with my personality, which used to be probably a little less empathetic. “We got work to do. Let’s figure this out. Let’s come up with strategies,” and not acknowledging the other person’s personality of they’ve had a terrible week at home and they’re just trying. They want to tell me about it so that they’re trying their job. Also, I’ve never been open so they’re trying to hide it. I learned a lot. I did change and adopted some of the strategies that you were talking about, but it is tough.
I wanted to talk about negotiating. Part of my goal is to highlight some of the things that women like yourself do in your day-to-day as right now you’re an entrepreneur. What are some of the actions? What are some of the tactics? If you can maybe highlight 2 or 3 tactics that you use now to position yourself in a confidence space to negotiate, whether it’s your branding contracts, your vendor contracts, or anything like that. I’d like to talk a little bit about that.
I do have a chapter in the book that talks about knowing your worth and being able to put that out in negotiation. One of the hardest things for women is first knowing their worth. I bring something to the table. I know this internally. I’ve mastered negotiations now because I have to. I do it every day. In the beginning, people or brands would come to me and be like, “I would love for you to work with us. We would love to do this and this, and then this is the price.”
I knew the price was below what the going rate is for my engagement, follower numbers, and all of that, but at the same time, I felt so honored that the brand was reaching out to me because I was building up my company. I was taking all of these jobs, spreading myself thin, and not getting paid anywhere near what I should have.
It wasn’t the brand’s fault. It becomes a lowball offer where you’re offended. It was never like that. It was my fault because I would never ask. It took me a few years to get up the guts to be like, “I appreciate this, but this is not going right,” and put it out there. It was crazy because the first time I did it, my going rate was double what they were proposing. I thought, “They’re probably not going to take it, but I’ve got to start.” All of my other peers in the industry are killing it. They’re making what they’re worth and they’re not having to take on so much work and they’re able to live life.
I did it and said, “This is my going rate,” and in my head thinking, they were going to come back and say, “No,” but I can at least say, “For a first-time job, maybe we can meet in the middle,” but they took it. They were like, “That’s fine. We just didn’t know.” I get mad at myself because for years I was not doing this. I probably could have tripled my salary, but I was too worried about damaging the relationship.
We did a study on negotiations across different countries. They did it in the US, India, China, and one other country. They were trying to get like how women are so different in different cultures. They were trying to look across different cultures and that was the one thing we all had in common was that we didn’t want to damage the relationship by asking for more. When I calculated out and I knew what my worth was monetarily and started saying, “This is not what I’m worth,” but in a nice way, it’s just more commanding. I was shocked that it didn’t take anything else from my part, but being very confident about what I’m worth and what it would be to work with me.
One of the things that I want to point out there is that it took a few years to get to that level. The beauty about that is that you were willing to walk away from the job because they were not paying you what your worth was for that particular job. When you are willing to walk away from that, then that makes a big difference. As you said, it gives you more of a commanding presence and more confidence.
For women in the corporate world, how that translates is being prepared with how much you could make. That’s comparing it to a variety of websites, whether it’s Indeed, PayScale, or anything like that. Knowing what your job gets paid, and then, to your point, knowing your worth, that is listing out and outlining all of the achievements, what you’re going to bring to the table, and then having that conversation with your manager. There are a lot of pieces to that. It’s almost like a process. You have to prime yourself to be ready for that process. Are there some key phrases that you are constantly using whenever you’re negotiating contracts?
One of the key phrases and if I was going to transfer it into more relatable terms as far as the corporate world goes, is just saying, “My research shows,” and that translates into leverage. Not only does that say, “I know what other people are making,” followed by, “My research shows this within the industry,” followed by, “My credentials are this,” added to the base level. Not only are you commanding and you’re showing that you’ve done your research, but it’s a polite way to say that you know where everything stands.
I feel like that lets the other side of the negotiating table say, “We need to give the flat. Let’s not do the back and forth. She knows what the industry is. She also has told us that she has these different credentials and that she is worth this much. It’s either we need to come back with a final or maybe we can’t afford her.” I know saying that shows that you’re not coming in there clueless and hoping to take anything that they throw at you.
The biggest thing is being grateful for the offer. Women are viewed as, “You should be happy to have a job. You should be happy that we’re offering this to you,” but men have no qualms about negotiating any job and almost demanding it, but as we well know, women can’t do that. I was reading that 20% of women don’t negotiate at all ever. What happens then is that translates into a loss over a career lifetime of about $2 million with investments and things.
It’s important for us to get this message out in the world to women that it’s so critical for them to start negotiating from their very first job right out of college. Even in high school, you could start practicing those skills, but especially when you start a job where you start your own business, it is so important for you to start with that negotiating muscle so that it can get better and better. For you, is it second nature now? Do you even think about it? How does it work for you now?
It’s completely second nature. A lot of women can probably resonate with this. Resentment sets in when you don’t negotiate and take what you can get, but you’re happy to get that job. With anything, when the honeymoon phase settles and everything falls to the ground, you start realizing what was left behind. Resentment starts setting in and then the resentment bleeds over into everything in life. You’re like, “I should be making more. I’m doing all of this, but I jumped on this number and now I’ve got to work so much harder to get to where I probably could have started at.”
You start resenting your job and your mental health in regard to your work. Job satisfaction, performance, and productivity start going down. Other people start viewing you in a more negative light. There’s like a snowball effect. Preventing that feeling of resentment is huge. You said it’s second nature to me. At first, what ended up happening is I started resenting. I’m looking around and seeing everyone else make so much more money in my industry or we go to these blog conferences, people start talking and I’m over here like, “What? Did you get that deal? I did a deal with them last year and I got half.”
I started getting resentful and that’s when I started negotiating. Now, it is part of the job. I don’t even think to myself, “Is it going to damage the relationship?” Also, I realize the brands expect it. They ask me what my rates are, and I send them. Most of the time they say okay and take that, but if they come back and negotiate, it’s not far off from that.
One of the things that you said is that the brands expect it. To translate that into the corporate world, especially when you’re getting a brand-new job, HR individuals expect people to negotiate. If you don’t negotiate, they’re like, “We got a deal,” but when we, as women don’t negotiate, we’re leaving money on the table because the employers expect people to negotiate and men do it all the time. Again, 20% of women don’t do it at all. You also said that when you were at a conference, you were talking to other people. As I said, I’ve been in the corporate world for many years. When I started in the corporate world, it was taboo to talk about salary.
My generation still is like, “What?” Millennials and Gen Z employees are now talking about salary. Up to like 42% of Gen Z people are comfortable talking about salary. As a matter of fact, there’s a TikTok that it’s called Salary Transparent Street. The girl that started the TikTok account goes around asking people what their names are, what they do, and how much they make and people tell her. I was like, “Wow.”
At the same time, that conversation is lending us to have pay transparency laws. There are about seventeen states now that have pay transparency laws. Some states are required to put the pay range right in the job description. Other states wait until you request it, so it depends on the state. All of those conversations are going to collectively lend themselves to finally eradicating at least the pay gap. We’ll still have a long way to go to eradicate the gender gap. Hopefully, that will incite us to have more equality amongst all people with just, “Do you have the qualification to do the job? If you do, this is what you’re going to get paid.”
In the academic world, when you get your PhD, you’re generally expected to be a teacher, consultant, or something like that. It’s been new to me because I’ve been doing this for a few years, you can go online because it’s a government job and I can see exactly what each one of my professors is getting paid and also the professors with PhDs at different schools.
We were talking about that at our last conference. I went to a PhD conference and they were talking about negotiating if you decide to be a professor. The other professors were standing there so openly. They’ve been professors for many years and openly saying, “I started here then I went here. I then made this much here,” and they’re like, “We don’t feel bad saying this out loud because any of y’all could go look it up. You can see how much I make,” but they also started talking about how nice it is because you don’t even feel bad negotiating.
First of all, you can’t negotiate far off the number because you can see it so they know you can see it, but you could probably get anywhere between $5,000 to $7,000 extra and negotiate and know that’s there. It makes it feel better because you won’t feel resentful because you know you’re right where everyone else is, and then the negotiation is more expected. It’s not bigger pay jumps with negotiating, but you know that there’s a little bit there. It makes it more of an open game for everybody.
I read a study and it was a professor and her name is Linda Babcock. She was a teacher where all of the female graduate students started to complain because all the male graduate students had teaching classes, but none of the female graduate students had any classes. When Linda Babcock started researching it, she went to the person that was assigning all of the teaching assignments.
It was a gentleman, and he said, “The male grad students came and asked me and so if they asked me, I will give them a teaching assignment, but the women never went in and asked.” It’s another example of how we women were like, “Why did he get it?” It turns out that he asked for the assignment and he got it. After that, they started getting teaching assignments. It’s a matter of us having that conversation and asking for what we want and as you said, knowing our worth.
As part of the series that I’m doing with negotiation, I’m going to put together powerful phrases, and what does knowing your worth mean? I’m going to outline it because it’s like an abstract thing of like, “Know you’re worth.” What does that mean? We’re going to talk a little bit about that as well. Alexandra, you have a lot going on and you’re going to go meet some friends. If you were to leave our readers with two tips so that they could apply to their corporate jobs or even entrepreneurship, what are those two tips that you could relate to them?
One would be to speak with authority. Your words mean things. I don’t mean to say it in a harsh way but think about your words before you speak them like on the negotiation side of things. Ending a negotiation or a job, if you’re getting a job interview, with, “I hope to get to work with you all,” versus, “I look forward to the opportunity.” They say the same thing, but one is more passive and one is more authoritative and assertive.
I do talk about that in the book as well-being assertive and how it’s okay to be assertive if you do it eloquently. You can do that. It will get you so much further in any job because it sets precedence from the very beginning. If you don’t negotiate, that sets precedence for the people. We all do it and we all judge. I hate it, but it’s a part of humanity. You’re setting the precedence that you’ll take whatever’s given to you and the way that you speak and use your words sets the precedence of passive versus assertive. I always say it is much better to be gracefully assertive as a female.
The other thing I would say that I’ve had to learn about so much, I never had any issues with anxiety or anything like that until I got to my 30s. I didn’t even know what an anxiety attack was. I wasn’t buying into this whole talk about mental health and all of that because I never had those feelings. Now, I know what that is. It is terrible to live your life with anxiety. You’re always worried. I feel like the reason why it happens a lot is that you’re compartmentalizing your life into all of these different things and showing being this person for this group, being mom and family over here, and social life over here. It’s not that you’re trying to hide who you are, but try to manage all these different things.
Be kind to yourself and let your whole life go together. Let it be open, real, and raw. Some people aren’t going to like it, but it’s probably better that they don’t come around anyway. It’s probably better not to have them in your life. The minute I decided to do that, the anxiety and the stress levels dissipate. There are some stresses still but you’ll live a much fuller happier life if you’re kind to yourself.
The last thing is to tell me a little bit about your book.
The Unconventional Entrepreneur is a book about the change in the digital world and everything over the past several years, but with COVID, especially in the past few years. Traditional business strategies are now out the window. There are so many different ways. I was talking about branding yourself. The book talks about branding yourself and using social media to do so and all of that. I feel like it would be great for a woman in the corporate world as well, but it talks about how to use unconventional business strategies to get where you want if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or if you’re a woman that wants to brand herself and take that next level. It’s talking about how we’ve got to evolve.
The world’s changing fast. The business world is volatile. There are different things being thrown at us constantly. We got to be quick on our feet. We got to evolve and got to become this unconventional brand. The book is all about that. I do talk about some personal stories, being a mom, going through a divorce, almost having to go to bankruptcy, how I pulled out of that, having to get on government support, how that hurt my pride and made me feel less of a woman and less of a mom, and how I climbed out of that. The whole book is not all about that, but there are some pretty deep stories in there. Also, there are strategies and worksheets in there. There’s a QR code that you can scan and print out brand packs and all of that. It’s a mix of a story, but also there are the tools to achieve your dreams.
That’s going to be fantastic. I need to get myself a copy. Where do I get a copy?
It’s going to be available on Amazon. I do have them in hand. Amazon’s launching it in a few weeks, but it is available on my website. That’s www.CityChicLiving.com. That’s my blog. There’s a link right on there and you can click it and the book is there. Target, Barnes Noble, and Amazon will have also it on their eCommerce sites.
Thank you so much for spending this time with us. All of the information that you shared with us was awesome because especially from a busy mom, an entrepreneur, and a PhD graduate student. It’s incredible the number of things that you’re accomplishing. Congratulations on putting it all together and having this beautiful life and business. Again, thank you so much for coming to the show.
I enjoyed this time. Thank you for having me.
Alexandra is the perfect example of someone that spent time honing her confidence in negotiating. Now, negotiating with her comes as second nature. That is key to recognize that it takes time and practice. She did leave us with a couple of amazing, powerful phrases. The first one is, “My research shows,” and then you go and plug in the job title and the salary that you researched. You can research through Indeed, PayScale, and websites like that. The second phrase that she provided us is, “My credentials are,” and then you go and plug in your capabilities, skills, and what you bring to the table. That’s very key.
She also leaves us with two tips. Tip number one goes along with the powerful phrases. She says, “Speak with authority,” and another example of powerful phrases that she provides us is instead of saying, “I look forward to the opportunity,” you can say, “I hope to get to work with you.” It sounds more assertive and you are speaking with grace and eloquence.
Tip number two, Alexandra says that she didn’t know or buy into the whole anxiety thing until she was in her 30s when she started being super busy. She was a mom with kids and businesses, and then she started feeling that anxiety. She says, “Be kind to yourself and let your whole life blend together.” What she was trying to do is keep her business apart from her personal life, and it got too complicated for her. She started blending those together.
Now, she is able to incorporate both her business and personal life. That dissipated a lot of her anxiety and stress as she felt. In essence, she’s saying, “Be open, real, and raw.” There’s a time and place for everything, but if you try to not be as protective of your personal life, then you’re going to have a little bit of time to have relief and relax and then blend your personal life and your business life together. Those are great tips.
One of the goals that I have with this negotiating series is to put together a document with these powerful phrases. I’m going to be compiling a bunch of information together so that we can have these very unique documents that will help you in the negotiating process in your corporate life. I hope that this conversation has helped you and at least given you a couple of tips or ideas on how you can start honing your own confidence skills because it is a process. I am going to put together all of the components that you would need for the entire negotiating process. With that, remember to be brave, be bold, and take action.
- Alexandra Nicole Nolan
- Salary Transparent Street – TikTok
- The Unconventional Entrepreneur
About Alexandra Nicole Nolan
Named on Yahoo’s Influencers to Inspire list and featured in Forbes, Hollywood Digest, Influencive, Medium, and New York Weekly Times, Alexandra Nicole Nolan is a self made, digital entrepreneur and mom of 3 from Memphis, Tennessee. She fills her days pursuing the dream of being her own boss as a full time digital entrepreneur, business consultant, published author, and brand developer; while spending her evenings playing super heroes, bathing kiddos, making dinner, tucking in her littles and enjoying time with her husband.