It’s been almost 60 years since the passage of the Equal Pay Act and Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, and here we are still fighting for equal pay. 87 cents: that’s how much women in the U.S. who work full time are paid for every dollar paid to men, with Latinas earning .55 cents (view the full break down). Only 6% of women earn executive titles in their career while 12% of men do. Women and people of color continue to suffer pay inequity and that sh*t needs to stop.
Part of the reason why I took the self-employed route back in 2010, and never looked back, was because of the treatment I received as a woman. I was so tired and disgusted of the corporate boys club. I wasn’t down with the slime ball down the hallway making more money than me despite our similar job roles and level.
The gender pay gap is so real, and it’s time we flip the script.
In celebration of Equal Pay Day, I’m sharing some money-making tips that have helped me succeed as an entrepreneur. I want my fellow working women to be paid equally for the work they do. I want them to be paid well and competitively because of their skills, experience and merit — and not because of what is or what isn’t between their legs, or how they identify.
1. Leverage All Your Socials
So the brand wants to pay you for a sponsored Instagram post, but you also have a pretty great Pinterest, Twitter or whatever. Offer it up! Let them know how many followers you have, but more importantly, your impressions and reach. By now, brands should be smart enough to understand that it’s not all about follower counts and engagement — but more so about your reach and impressions with their target audience. Screenshot your stats from your pins, Tweets, etc. and let them know that you got game on other socials as well!
Alternatively, maybe you have an entirely different platform that can reach a niche audience. Most career bloggers have more than one blog. For me, I have Grimy Goods. I’ve learned to leverage its 13-years of Google real estate (that’s what I like to call blogs that get high traffic due to their seniority and SEO) and social media channels. The sponsored Instagram post may be going on my personal gram, but it might be getting Story shared on Grimy Goods’ Instagram or RTed on Twitter. By doing this I’m giving the brand 100s if not 1000s of more eyes on their product / service, but I’m also letting them tap into a very niche market (music industry). Just be careful when double-dipping. You want to stay loyal and relevant to your core audience. For example, I’m not gonna push ABC Mouse on Grimy Goods, but I might push these badass kids’ guitars. You can also do this with blog posts! Here’s an example of where I double dipped on both blogs and here’s another.
Negotiating licensing terms can offer you a big pay out, especially when working with a brands directly and not an influencer marketing platform. For example, I worked with a brand last year and created an epic video for them. They loved it so much that they wanted to license it beyond the 6-month social media license I had agreed to in the contract. I was able to score an additional 4 digits to my paycheck so they could use my work for a year-long license that went beyond social media.
I encourage you all to really focus on the art of creating quality content that resonates and can be used over-and-over again. Sometimes, in order to achieve this level of content you may need to use more than your iPhone. Invest in your camera equipment! Invest in your lighting set up! Invest in your “home studio”! Invest in yourself and level up your photography and editing skills. You can never have too much knowledge. Trust, I’ve been blogging for 13 years and every day I’m still teaching myself something! The digital landscape is always changing, and you want to be on top of your game.
With that said ….
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3. Invest in Learning Videography
Video is the future. I’ve been saying this for the past decade when I first started dabbling in video content with band interviews, and then a few years later with Grimy TV. And you know what? I’m still saying it today. Invest in learning videography. I’m not just talking about investing in a kick ass camera (btw, almost all my video are shot with his gal), lenses and lighting — I’m talking about style and technique. Understanding how natural and artificial light can work for you, knowing how to frame people and products, recognizing the value of empty space, learning how to shoot for the edit, and of course, experimenting and taking risks.
If you want to always hit 4 and 5 digit paychecks, up your content game. There’s a reason why I stick to videography: because it pays very well. And for me, it’s the best way to tell a story and captivate. Think of it this way: if you’re already getting paid a good rate just for posting something on your Instagram, imagine how much more money you can get when you’re also delivering an elevated video product that can be used across a brand’s marketing channels beyond social media. Food for thought.
And don’t forget! If you chose to invest in your business this way, save those receipts, mija! All of this can be used as a tax write-off.
Pro Tip: You don’t have to be a video professional to start offering video content. If you have a crazy good idea, pitch it! Team up with a videographer to help make your vision come to life. Just make sure you account for how much you’re going to pay this videographer to shoot and edit, and be sure to include that price when you negotiate your rate.
Which brings me to …
4. Negotiate the F*ck Out of that Contract
Everything from late fees, exclusivity, to payment terms and more can be negotiated. I once made an extra $300 due to my late fee clause. Getting paid late is a pain in the ass, ain’t nobody like chasing down invoices! Whenever possible, and to protect your creative work, you should always add late fee terms to your contract.
I’ve also had success in negotiating a couple extra zeros for being flexible and agreeing to a NET60. It can also work the opposite way. Let’s say you don’t want to wait 60 days, and rather get a NET30 pay out, negotiate a fair rate that works for you so you can get paid sooner. This might mean less money for you, or maybe throwing in some B roll or and an extra social media push — everything can be negotiated! The same could be done for hard paychecks vs digital deposits.
5. Pitch Brands Directly
Cut out the middle-person and go solo! 90 percent of my campaigns are done without influencer marketing platforms. I’ve negotiated some 4-digit pay checks through some of those platforms, but they are far and few. You want more money for your work, then put in the work to chase the big paying jobs. Yes, you’ll have to learn how to pitch as though you’re creative agency, but when you get that first 5 figure check for a campaign, you’ll be thankful you educated yourself in the art of pitching.
If you’re already delivering high end content, stop thinking like an influencer and start acting as a creative agency. I see the photos of some of the content creators I follow and I’m blown away by the quality of their work. I’m talking some Martha Stewart ish! Some of y’all should be pitching brands directly for product photography!
Just remember, honing in on a new skill is a marathon not a race. Everything takes time, and sometimes money. I’m thankful to have been creating content and working for myself for over a decade. Much of what I have learned in creating content (especially kick-ass high ranking blog posts) was learned through educating myself through trial & error and taking risks. This is how you find out what works and what doesn’t.
When it comes to leveling up my video content game, I am so grateful to my husband for working with me, and for teaching me so damn much. When we work together on my bigger projects, I take the role of the producer / director, and he is the cinematographer and editor (despite being a professional career director and producer). There are times when I get behind the camera, or when I edit the entire clip, but for the most part he is the movie-maker and I am the idea-maker and shaker.