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Navigating Career Changes Financially With Stefanie O’Connell

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Stefanie O’Connell, a champion for helping women conquer their work and worth, joins Jillian to discuss navigating career changes financially. Stefanie dives into the impact your mindset can have on your earning potential and your ability to take risks with work.

More About Stefanie O’Connell

Stefanie O’Connell is a nationally recognized money expert and the author of the book The Broke And Beautiful Life. Stefanie has been featured on major media outlets including ABC News, Forbes, USA Today, The New York Times, and many more. Stephanie flies around the world to help women feel confident about their money and their careers so they can build a dream life.

Topics Covered: 

  • Align your spending habits with your values
  • How the experience of generations before you impact your money mindset
  • Discover your earning potential
  • How to align your salary negotiations with the market rate
  • Deal with rejection in a healthy way
  • Leverage your past work to take the next professional step
  • Celebrate money and professional wins just as much as personal milestones

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Spending In Alignment With Your Values

Talking about money is a rarity among families. Stefanie’s parents fit this bill and thought they were offering some protection on the subject by not making Stefanie deal with it. Even without family money conversations, Stefanie made an important observation regarding her parents’ money habits. They spent in alignment with their own values. “Almost frugal to a fault” and unwilling to spend impulsively on things like take-out on the way home.

It wasn’t a lack of money. It wasn’t frugality by necessity. It was frugality by choice.

Because of this foundation as a child, Stefanie is now ruthless about the things she doesn’t spend money on.

Value aligned spending is personal. Stefanie uses the example of never spending money on a $50 haircut but feeling it’s perfectly acceptable to spend $15 on a cocktail. These are personal choices that you need to make based on your own values.

Money Mindsets Are Influenced By Generations Before

Looking at the generations before you can help give a structure to the money mindsets within a family. Jillian poses the question, “Did your parents learn they had to be frugal to thrive?”

The answer is yes. Stefanie explains, that her mother was born the same year her grandparents immigrated to the United States from Ukraine.

They were rebuilding their whole life.

Stefanie’s grandfather was a doctor and main breadwinner for the family. He passed away when Stefanie’s mother was only 6 years old. This left Stefanie’s mother being raised by a woman who didn’t speak English, had no income and two daughters. Still, they managed and Stefanie’s mother was able to gain scholarships and eventually go to college. They had an American Dream moment.

The experience of growing up in really uncertain circumstances…instilled a value system in the way my mom came across to teach us about money. Not directly, but in the way that she raised us.

The intent to have money go towards things that add value to your life, like education, was a money mindset instilled long before Stefanie arrived.

You Can’t Out-Frugal Your Way To Rich

Being frugal sets healthy spending habits. However, it’s not the solution to all money problems. You need to look at your income.

No matter how frugal or savvy I got about ways to save money and live on less, I still wasn’t going to find financial freedom or financial stability if I didn’t do something to address my income.

Discover Your Earning Potential

Knowing how much you’re worth can be hard to gauge. Stefanie had an experience that crystallized the idea of earning potential. She was asked to speak at an event that offered to pay $500. Her newly hired talent agent called to negotiate on her behalf. 10 minutes later he was on the phone saying she would be paid $5,000. One phone call added a zero. That’s powerful.

You can earn money with a valuable skill in a demanding market. You can also ask for more than what you’re offered.

Let’s add zeros. Rethink the mindset of what it means to really negotiate.

One of the key components of being able to negotiate is transparency. Stefanie shares her rates with colleagues and they do the same. Being open about your earnings and how much other people pay allows you to align your ask with the market rate.

Not Everything Will Work

Before you get to the negotiation, you need to find a gig. You should confront the reality that not everything is going to work. Be ready for rejection.

To have success, to book one job, you have to go to 100 auditions. I approach my career the same way. It didn’t matter that I was rejected 99 times. I accomplished the goal. I had a paid gig.

When you receive a rejection, think of it as one step closer to the ‘yes’ you’re aiming for.

Use Your Past Work To Carve The Way For Your Next Step

As time progresses it can be easier to find work based on experience. Stefanie wrote a blog that eventually led to a book deal. She then leveraged her book deal into more work with TV and media. It was a turning point in her career that helped line up the work she does today. Instead of thinking about a perfect plan or strategy, work on projects and use them to get to your next step.

Have multiple projects in the works. Things will fall through…but because you have so many things happening, one of those things will get some traction.

Value Professional Wins And Celebrate Them

Stefanie was in a situation relatable to many women. She was planning her wedding this past year. She was also making some major professional goals happen including launching a conference, Statement. Yet, when people asked ‘How’s it going?’ they were talking about the wedding. There was a focus on her personal milestone instead of her professional wins. Stefanie was excited about the wedding, but she didn’t consider it a huge accomplishment.

I thought that’s a shame if we don’t have a way of celebrating people for things like starting a business, paying down loans or money wins… Wins outside of getting married or having family undermines the importance and life-changing nature of those other things. Especially for women.

Acknowledging professional milestones like this can be especially important for women. Whether you’re trying new things, asking for more money or getting rejection number 99. Being able to celebrate each step as women is an essential piece of social structure that needs to change.

Stefanie asks if you can imagine talking about a professional milestone the same way you talk about wedding planning.  You would have suggestions, resources, and secrets about success right at your fingertips.

If you are allowed to celebrate it, you can talk about the process more…we allow ourselves to open up a wider dialogue about it.

Celebrating the professional wins for women is so important to Stefanie she launched her a new business around it. Statement cards is dedicated to celebrating women’s ambitions and milestones beyond marriage and motherhood.  You can also find her inspiring statements on Instagram where she talks work, worth and money.

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Choose FI has partnered with CardRatings for our coverage of credit card products. Choose FI and CardRatings may receive a commission from card issuers. Opinions, reviews, analyses & recommendations are the author’s alone, and have not been reviewed, endorsed or approved by any of these entities. Disclosures.
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