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1 Thing You MUST Have In Order to Earn MORE Money!

Everyone must have a personal brand. This is no longer an option, but a necessity. Personal branding is about finding our power and using it. Most people don’t realize that they have an edge―a uniqueness that they bring to the world. Don’t be insecure about your power; know that you have more power than you think you have.

Thinking of yourself as a brand can be very powerful, especially in the workplace or the marketplace. If someone at a company is good at something or known for something, this is their personal identity, or their personal brand. It gives them relevance and visibility within their work world. So what’s your personal brand in your work? If you don’t know, no worries … we’ll discuss how to develop your personal brand later in this blog.

Thinking of myself as a brand has been absolutely key to my success, whether it is “Jennifer Smith, the VP/Corporate Executive” or “J.J. Smith, the Dating Diva.” These are two personal brands that I manage very carefully every day. To give you an idea of other personal brands, these could be a Corporate Executive/Philanthropist or Stockbroker/Financial Expert or Image Consultant/Fashion Diva.

You must have a personal brand no matter what your job, work or career is today or in the future. Branding allows you to think of yourself as a “product” in a competitive marketplace and forces you to think about how to differentiate your product, which is you, from the competition. Your product consists of all the skills, competencies and value you bring to the marketplace. Your brand helps you to think strategically about how to differentiate yourself from others, visually and verbally; this includes the image you project (how you look) and what you say (how you communicate).

You have to develop a distinct personal brand, whether you’re a teacher, corporate professional, dentist, retail manager, artist, basketball coach, consultant, business owner, etc. You should be able to articulate your brand in clear, simple terms and be consistent with it. So when someone thinks of “A,” they think of you. As an example, one of my Facebook friends is a foreclosure expert and this friend constantly provides tips on Facebook about foreclosure sales or the best way to handle your own foreclosure. Now whenever I think of foreclosures, he is the first guy that comes to my mind.

Tips for Developing Your Personal Brand:

• Identify your personal brand name. It begins with a name as this will be the verbal identity for your brand. A great name can really help build your brand. In my corporate job, I have a specialized skill or certification in the IT field, and because of it, I’ve been referred to at work as the “ITIL Master.” Whereas for the “J.J. Smith” brand, I’m known as the “Dating Diva” by the media. In fact, the CW DC50 (the CW network’s TV station in Washington) calls me “DC’s Dating Diva.”

• Develop a statement (one line) expressing your personal brand. Once you identify your personal brand name, this work should then be followed with the writing of a clear statement expressing who you are or what you do better than everyone else at work, in your career, or in your market. It must be authentic, genuninely “you,” and be different from everyone else. What is special about you? I can think of two of my employees with the same skill set, but one has a stronger personal brand because of the effort they spend differentiating their skill set from everyone else’s in the industry. So you can guess which one gets paid more. You may want to take a personality test or assessment as a starting point for identifying your personal strengths. I took the Myers-Briggs personality test when I was in my 20s, and it gave me so much clarity about my personal strengths and weaknesses.

• Package your brand. The next step is packaging for your brand with a strong visual identity. Many large companies spend millions of dollars on the packaging of new products, such as soda or candy bars, so we have to invest time (and money, if necessary) packaging “you.” The one advantage to being a woman is that we have so many tools to enhance our packaging: clothes, hair, makeup, etc. The goal is to have a memorable style that aligns with your personal brand. During the day, I try to be an attractive, feminine corporate executive, and by night, my goal is to be the sexy Dating Diva. Of course, this comes with some effort, because growing up as a tomboy I’d rather be in sweats all day!

• Identify your target audience. Your target audience should clearly know and understand your brand. If you work for a company, your primary target audience should be your immediate supervisors and the senior executives within your firm. Your secondary target audience will include your peers, employees, partners or customers. Once you’ve identified your target audience, make sure they know how you and your brand can solve their problems or bring value to them.

• Identify your competition. Know who is doing what you do and make sure you do it better than they do. Looking at your competition will help you differentiate yourself from them. You will never appeal to everyone, so don’t worry about everyone liking you; just be sure to reflect a personal brand―which is authentic to you―as this helps you get noticed and will be viewed more positively in your career or work environment.

• Create your brand experience every day. Make sure that every interaction people have with you reflects your personal brand. This includes how your office looks, what your voicemail says, how you communicate or lead meetings, and the type of emails you send. Ask yourself, “Am I reflecting my personal brand today?”

Trust me, developing your personal brand is so important. If you don’t brand yourself, someone else will and you can bet that they won’t brand “you” as well as you can. Also, don’t be afraid to rebrand yourself if you’re making a career change. If you want to enter a field in which you have little experience, brand yourself as a “promising radio host,” for instance, and continue to build your skill set in that area.

JJ Smith ( is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ

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Get a Promotion At Work By Doing These 5 Things!

Make the most of your current work situation today. Find the sweet spot in your career, that place where your passion meets your talents. Always be excellent at what you do. When I worked at McDonald’s as a teenager, I had the same work ethic then that I have today. I only earned $3.35 an hour but I worked hard for every cent. As a result of my hard work, I won a scholarship from McDonald’s that paid for my first year in college.

My advice is to maximize your job, no matter what it is. Be sure to show up at work on time, volunteer for assignments, become a problem-solver, and remain excellent at everything that you do.

One quick jolt of reality. It’s important to realize that if there is no one at your job or in your field earning six-figures, then your ability to make six-figures is slim to none. You can’t overcome that. As an example, I worked at McDonalds for three years, and even if I had become the Store Manager, I would not have made six-figures. So you have to get yourself in a job, career or field that has unlimited earning potential.

5 Suggestions for Getting Regular Promotions at Work

1. Create the “Unofficial Organizational Chart” at Your Job.

I always tell people that there is the organizational chart, and then there is the “unofficial organizational chart”―and the unofficial one shows how things really get done at work. This is that informal network of movers and shakers who get things done, regardless of their title. These movers and shakers have the right influence and relationships to drive decisions and other people’s success or failure. So sketch out the “unofficial organizational chart,” and once you’ve identified the movers and shakers, begin cultivating genuine relationships with them. How do you do this? Figure out their hot buttons, priority projects, hobbies, and family life, and then begin to communicate with them around these items. Any way that you can help them advance in their professional or personal life is providing genuine value to them.

2. Volunteer to Do Additional Work.

I know this might be hard to swallow, but this is the best way to develop new skills. One way to do this is to begin to pick up the slack of a worker who never gets any work done. You’re not trying to bail them out, but rather to learn their job, and make yourself more valuable to senior management. This is about having a mindset that you’re going to learn all aspects of what makes your company run on a day-to-day basis. So learn a new product line, a new corporate system or application, or how a new technology can help your company. Today the world is so dynamic that you need to adopt an attitude of being open to learning new things, which includes some volunteer work―otherwise you will be passed by.

3. Develop New Skills and Competencies.

Take advantage of any local or company-sponsored training seminars, workshops or other professional development activities. You should clearly be able to identify three development areas that you need to improve upon, such as communication, leadership/management, presentation skills, analytical/research, planning, listening, technical/computer skills, time management, facilitation skills, interpersonal skills, problem-solving, decision-making, creative thinking, etc. If possible, don’t hesitate to invest some of your own money to enroll in classes or attend a conference. The more you learn about mastering your job, the quicker it will be for you to advance.

4. Write a Five-Year Career Plan.

You need to have a written, tangible plan of action with specific steps and dates for completion. Reflect on your career goals, and write down where you want to be in five years and what things you need to do to get there. Will you need a college degree or certification? How many promotions will you need to get within this time frame? If someone is in the position you wish to attain at your current company, then work on developing the same skills or mastery that they have at their job. That way, if that slot opens up, you will be the likely candidate to fill the position, and if the slot doesn’t open up, you could easily apply for that job at another company, because you already have the skills to do the job. Just be prepared to leave your current company in order to get that job. But, by all means, get the promotion and get that money!

5. Dress For the Position You Want and Not the One You Have.

I remember when I was in my mid-20s, I had a goal to be Vice President before I turned 30. So it was important to look older and “Vice-President like.” If you saw photos when I was in my 20s, I looked alot older there than in most of my photos at 40 years old! A Side Note: I didn’t achieve this specific goal by 30, but I was able to achieve it by 32 years old by becoming Vice President at a Fortune 500 company.

My advice is to always maintain your financial independence. When I speak of financial independence, I don’t necessarily mean being super rich, but rather having the ability to take care of yourself and buy what you want and need!

JJ Smith ( is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ

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10 Common Mistakes That Keep You From Earning More Money!

1. Working hard instead of working smart:

Too many women think that the way to get ahead is to work hard and the opportunities will come. However, it’s more important to work smart and be strategic about your career moves. I know too many people who work hard but remain underemployed. Don’t get so busy working hard that you forget about creating wealth in your life.

2. Not negotiating for the perks:

Don’t forget about the perks that come along with your work, just because you feel you earn good money. I remember negotiating for a bonus because I helped my company win a large multi-million dollar contract and they said they couldn’t afford to increase my salary. But I decided to ask them if they could pay my car note, which could easily be written off as a company expense. They agreed, and the car that I drove became a perk. Other possible perks for readers with employers include training programs, tuition assistance, sign-on bonus (I think I’ve gotten this at almost every new job I started and most people never negotiate for it), gym membership, etc. For women with their own businesses, this might include reimbursable expenses, meals paid by clients, specialized training for a particular project, bonuses for performance, and part of the revenue from what you help create.

3. Not using professional development training and tuition assistance:

I calculated the amount of money that had been invested in my professional development training over my career and I was surprised to say that number came to $60,000. However, the better fact is that my employer paid for the majority of that. In fact, most good companies offer some training or professional development programs and too many people don’t take advantage of them. I’ve taken IT certification training, presentation skills training, facilitation skills training, speech training, proposal writing training; you name it … if they offered it for free, I was in the front row of the class. Clients will also pay self-employed women for training if they feel you are the one they want to work with the most.

4. Not speaking up for themselves:

Ladies, don’t worry about being too aggressive in the work world. Please speak your mind, in a tactful and professional way. If you disagree with something, be disagreeable or you don’t have a right to complain about it. If you don’t speak up, it will be really frustrating to hear other people take your good ideas and capitalize on them. I’ve spent 20 years as an IT consultant and I “sell ideas.” If I don’t speak up, my value as a consultant decreases. However, this applies to any line of work. Don’t yell, scream and cry, but make your point and make it well with authority and confidence at all times.

5. Forgetting about Quid Pro Quid:

Quid Pro Quid is something that’s exchanged in return for something else. It’s actually inherent in all relationships, and it is an unspoken rule. As an example, if I work for a company, they pay me do a job. However, what about all the favors we do for people on a day-to-day basis that we don’t tap into. Women too often do favors and expect nothing in return. Women, you must capitalize on the Quid Pro Quid system. I could not have advanced in my career without it.

6. Not attending or making time for meetings:

Why do people try to get out of meetings? I get it if you don’t want to advance in your career. However, if you’re reading this, I’ll assume you’re looking to “move up like the Jeffersons.” So many people don’t want to waste time at meetings because so many of these gatherings are unproductive―but that is your time to shine. You need to be present when decisions are being made, and hopefully, be a contributor to decisions that matter. By all means, speak up at meetings, learn the key players’ communication style, and begin to speak in a language that gets you not just noticed, but needed at meetings. In some cases for employed women, you should be asking to attend meetings when you feel you can bring something of value. For women business owners, meetings can be a time to connect to clients, learn more about their needs, and communicate what you can do to help them meet their goals.

7. Allowing people to waste your time:

Can you tell the difference when someone needs to talk to you versus when they just want to talk to you? Why do we allow people to spend so much time talking to us about nothing? You never get time back, so guard it like it’s a precious commodity. I’m not saying don’t talk to anyone unless it’s work-related, but consider how much time you waste per day talking to people about nothing. Feel free to say to people, “Let’s chat later today or tomorrow because I have a tight schedule today.” Be about the business of getting ahead in life, which means you’ll have to guard your time very carefully.

8. Asking for permission:

I always say I’d rather apologize later, than ask for permission and someone tell me no. We have to stop taking no from people who don’t have the authority to tell us yes! Think of it this way, every time you ask for permission, it puts you in an inferior position―as opposed to being perceived as a confident risk-taker. As an example, I’ve heard employed women ask for permission to take a vacation or personal day. I say, just put in your leave, because you’ve earned that time off! A manager will let you know if she has a concern. Regardless of what your work is, you have the right to be an independent thinker. So think smart and make solid decisions on a day-to-day basis. One of the most important attributes of a leader is the ability to make good decisions.

9. Not knowing how to meet people:

This may sound petty, but it is a pet peeve of mine. When you meet people, offer a strong, firm handshake, make great eye contact, and do the best you can to remember their name. Your handshake says so much about your confidence level and leaves a lasting first impression. I don’t mean arm wrestle them to the ground, but make sure your handshake is firm and lets people know that you are confident. If you have trouble remembering names, learn the game of association―a technique used to remember names more easily. As an example, if I meet a new colleague named Mary, I associate her with my Aunt Mary and create a mental picture of them in the kitchen baking a pie. This image (which really reminds me of my Aunt Mary) will stick, and every time I see my new colleague Mary, I think of my Aunt Mary and immediately remember her name. Trust me, it works!

10. Forgetting to take care of YOU (your most important asset):

In so many areas of their life, women tend to neglect themselves while taking care of everyone else. As an example, women neglect their physical health and don’t work out, eat right, nor take care of their physical body. However, it is imperative to take care of your mind and body in order to maintain the stamina needed to earn and enjoy your wealth. Who wants to have wealth, but poor health? Take care of you so you can truly enjoy the life you’ve worked so hard to create!

JJ Smith ( is a nutritionist and certified weight-management specialist who has been featured on The Montel Williams Show, The Jamie Foxx Show and on the NBC, FOX, CBS and CW networks. Her advice has also been featured in the pages of Glamour, Essence, and Ladies Home Journal. Since reclaiming her health, losing weight, and discovering a “second youth” in her forties, bestselling author JJ Smith has become the voice of inspiration to women who want to lose weight, be healthy, and get their sexy back! JJ may be contacted by email at and on Twitter: jjsmithonline and Facebook Page: RealTalkJJ

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