Entrepreneur and CEO of Likeable Media Carrie Kerpen shares the highlights of her new book, Work It! Secrets for Success from the Boldest Women in Business. We talk inspirations from #MeToo, why building networks and relationships is vital, and how not to negotiate against yourself in business.
Melinda Wittstock: Carrie, welcome to Wings.
Carrie Kerpen: Thank you so much Melinda, excited to be here.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s exciting to talk to you again. I enjoyed being on your podcast. I always love to ask what’s really inspiring you right now?
Carrie Kerpen: I’m really inspired by women who are coming forward to tell their stories on all various forms of social media. Really, really looking like the tides have turned in terms of sexism no longer being an acceptable behavior in the workplace. So that’s really inspiring me today.
Melinda Wittstock: It is inspiring, the #MeToo movement, where so many women are … it takes a lot of bravery to do that but I think in numbers it’s such a strong-
Carrie Kerpen: I think social media allowed for the collective power of those numbers to come out and there is safety in numbers. You know, things that we all felt like we were experiencing on our own, we were actually all kind of in it together.
Melinda Wittstock: Yes. Exactly and a real nice segue from there into what are our challenges? What’s challenging you right now as a female entrepreneur?
Carrie Kerpen: I think ultimately I’m very positive about being a female entrepreneur. I think the sky is the limit for us right now and I think this is the time where we’re moving. But I think ultimately the biggest thing that holds us back as female entrepreneurs is a real aversion and almost a coaching from birth aversion to risk. We talk about this … Reshma Saujani, who is in my book, talks about how we teach our boys to be brave and then we teach our girls to be perfect. And a lot of times we as women, and particularly as female entrepreneurs are so focused on the being the most competent … we have to be the best at what we do. And we have to really know what we’re talking about. While male entrepreneurs are really focused on being the most confident. Can they speak with confidence about what they do? Even if they don’t do it that well are they able to present and package it well? So that they’re able to get the business and ultimately win!
And so I think for us, for women, it’s really about a crisis of confidence and a focus too much on competence. Competence is a good thing but it is equally important to confidence.
Melinda Wittstock: It’s so true. You know we can keep our heads down and make everything perfect and accomplish so much but if nobody knows? Hmmm. So we have to get out there and really develop our personal brands and confidence.
Carrie Kerpen: Yep.
Melinda Wittstock: I mean that’s really good advice right there but what are your top three pieces of advice for women too, as you say, in terms of the title of your book, to work it?
Carrie Kerpen: Okay I’ve got some really good practical ones for you here, Melinda. I’m excited. So actually given in the context of that last piece that we just talked about … I think for women to succeed in terms of confidence over competence, one of the things we need to do … this is very simple and very practical … take lunch, and don’t eat lunch alone. Use that time to actually network with other people at your company or go out to lunch with whether it’s a client or a prospect or anyone. Just really use that time. You know, many women are keeping their heads down, as you said earlier, doing work at their desk, working through to make sure they get everything done. While men are sitting in the cafeteria having conversations and making deals. We need to make sure that we are out there and socializing with other people in our industry and just really overall the world. Really understanding the power of networking is key and that starts with taking lunch. So that’s my first piece of advice. Eat.
We are paid less than men on the dollar and we’re looking at this as something that we shouldn’t earn as much, we don’t deserve what others do. I think ultimately we have to learn how to negotiate for pay. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @CarrieKerpenClick to tweet
Melinda Wittstock: Yes, eat, I mean you need to eat anyway and the relationship is everything in business. That’s great advice. What’s number two?
Carrie Kerpen: Okay, number two from the book is actually one of my most practical and favorites. We, as women, nobody teaches you unless you’re going to school for an MBA, nobody really teaches you how to negotiate and negotiation skills. And in particular, women who often are … obviously we are paid less than men on the dollar and we’re looking at this as something that we don’t really … oh, we’re supposed to have children, we shouldn’t earn as much, we don’t deserve what others do. I think ultimately we have to learn how to negotiate for pay. And so when we’re negotiating for pay, what I want you to think of, is I want you to create a mental mute button. I want you to ask someone, “What is the salary for this position?” and then put your mental mute button on. The same thing I want you to do is if you’re not even negotiating for pay but looking up how you can move forward, what steps are necessary to move forward to the next role at this company. What do I need to do to move forward?
By putting your mental mute button on and having silence on your side, you’re putting the onus and the awkwardness on someone else. So you don’t have to have an awkward conversation, you only need to ask an important question. Use your mental mute button.
Melinda Wittstock: That’s wonderful advice. Often we talk ourselves down. We talk ourselves out of things before we even begin. So that’s wonderful. What’s number-
Carrie Kerpen: If you look at the awkwardness, you can actually learn to enjoy it. You can enjoy putting it on someone else. It’s quite freeing.
Melinda Wittstock: I think that’s excellent. So what’s number three?
Carrie Kerpen: So the last piece is really, for me, it’s all about learning how to trust your gut and what I do is … there’s a lot, there’s a lot of philosophies out there and working it is all about that there’s many, many different philosophies but there’s only one you, right? So not every philosophy … not every woman can lean in. Not everyone can be a girl boss. Not everyone can subscribe to each of these things but what we can do is really learn to know ourselves. And the way that we really know ourselves is to really understand the concept of listening to our gut.
So I would encourage every woman here … this actually ties back to mental mute button. But I would encourage every woman here to get comfortable in silence. If you have to make a tough decision, if you have to think about something that you really don’t know what you want, so many people don’t know what they want because they’re not able to channel your gut. So the best way to channel your gut is to get in a place of silence, to get outside, get out of the environment that’s stressing you out and really sit with yourself in silence and see what gives you a stomach ache and what makes you feel good. By practicing the silence and taking the time to really understand how you feel about something, you will come to decisions faster. You will feel more confident in your decision and you will have really a mentor that’s inside of you, which is your gut. At all times, you’ve got somebody there who’s guiding you and helping you lead the way. And I think ultimately we all have that, it’s just a matter of learning how to listen to it.
Not everyone can be a girl boss. Not everyone can subscribe to each of these things but what we can do is really learn to know ourselves. And the way that we really know ourselves is to really understand the concept of listening to our gut. #WingsPodcast #WomeninBusiness @CarrieKerpenClick to tweet
Melinda Wittstock: Yeah and that’s how … sorry, just to pick up there. And that’s really how we step into our authentic feminine power. I mean really just knowing ourselves. Because the best businesses are really the ones where we’re aligned with our true purpose in that business. And if we’re out of alignment for some reason, it’s just much, much harder and less joyful to go build a business that’s not in alignment with our core purpose or gut. So I love that. So Carrie, how can people find you? And work with you?
Carrie Kerpen: Okay so people can find me on all social media. Same handle, Carrie Kerpen. Ways they can work with me … well you can first buy my book, which is great. You can find it on Amazon or at Carriekerpen.com. You can hire me to speak or give a workshop if you want to actually learn how to channel your gut. We can do lots of workshops around that or if you’re a large brand looking to do social media content, a company in my day job, I run a social media agency that creates content and does social media advertising for brands that’s called Likeable Media and you can check us out there.
Melinda Wittstock: And you must also listen to Carrie’s podcast, it’s awesome. All The Social Ladies podcast…and I was delighted to be on it with you.
Carrie Kerpen: Yep. You were a great guest.
Melinda Wittstock: Aww, thank you. Well you’re a great guest too. So thank you so much for putting your wings on with me today.
Carrie Kerpen: Of course. I love wearing wings.
Melinda Wittstock: Has to be done.