Welcome to this #AskAkua episode about something we all have experiences and feelings about- money. A lot of people have a mindset about money that needs some updating. It makes many people uncomfortable, but it does not have to be that way.
Our attitude towards money will often dictate the results we get from it. Get comfortable with money and how you think about it by using the process Akua shares today. By cultivating our awareness around money, we can begin thinking about what we should be compensated with.
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What's Covered in this Episode About Money Mindset
- Recognizing the thoughts you currently have about money
- Engaging with your feelings about money and working towards your wants
- Akua’s formula for determining the compensation you should get
- Salaries pertaining to cultures, backgrounds, and passports
- Ways to compensate people other than money
Quotes from this Episode of Open Door Conversations
"Your identity and your values do shift, depending on the environment that you're in, and the people that you're around. And that means you're going to have access to a certain amount of resources, and specifically financial resources." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
"Money isn't not inherently good or bad, but it's something that we do need to live within the system to live within this environment that we all listen to, or that we all are within." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
- "Money is just a resource at the end of the day. I don't think money makes you any happier, or any unhappier. I guess it just matters what you do about it at the end, or do with it at the end of the day." - Akua Nyame-Mensah
Mentioned in #Ask Akua // Let's Talk About Money
Get to Know the Host of the Open Door Conversations Podcast
Learn more about your host, Akua Nyame-Mensah.
Akua is a certified executive and leadership coach, recognized learning and organizational development facilitator, speaker, and former startup executive.
Since 2018, she has had the opportunity to partner with amazing organizations, from high-growth startups to multinational brands all around the world, to maximize people, performance, and profit. Outside of her coaching and corporate speaking engagements, she is a regular mentor, coach, and judge for various entrepreneurship-focused organizations.
Stay in touch with Akua Nyame-Mensah, Leadership & Culture Advisor:
Here’s the transcript for episode 15 about Money
NOTE: Please excuse any errors in this transcript; it was created using an AI tool. Akua Nyame-Mensah 0:00 Hello, and welcome to this hashtag ask Akua episode of the open door conversations podcast, I decided to dedicate this entire episode to money. And I I'm really curious. So I say money, I see compensation. What are your first thoughts? When I say it's what comes up for you? Is that a positive feeling is a negative feeling? What emotions come up? Do any experiences or memories come your way? And I asked this question, because I think that's the first step in really having a better understanding of what is my relationship with money? And this is a question that's come up several times, both with my clients in terms of in terms of money that they want in return for the work that they're doing, and also thinking about money and compensation they give to their employees. And I've also had this conversation a bit around money mindset, and how service providers set pricing as well. And so that's what I wanted to dedicate this entire conversation to. And so I've broken it down, I think into some just different sections. So the first section I wanted to go over was talking a little bit about just compensation for yourself. So how I answer that question, what's my number? So how I answered that question when I was working full time for others, and sort of what I teach and what I share with my clients to help them gain confidence in, you know, negotiating and talking about what they want in return for the work that they're doing. It also can be used by service providers as well, that are starting out and want to figure out what they want in return, once again, how they value the work that they're doing. The second thing I wanted to talk a little bit about is sort of salary increases in my thoughts around how to think about salary increases, specifically for early stage startups, specifically thinking about it from the perspective of service providers, so people who don't necessarily work in the most structured environments, because when you're in a more structured environment, you probably have a matrix, you probably have some sort of, you know, pay scale that you use. But it also I think, if you listen to this, even if you come from more of a structured environment, we'll give you some thoughts to just really reflect on right. So once again, I'm not saying this is right, I'm not saying this is wrong, what I'm just simply doing is presenting you with alternative approaches to thinking about things. And then the last thing I wanted to touch on is more specifically thinking about my situation, and something that's come up specifically for one of my clients. And that's just really thinking about do our salaries should what we receive in return for the work that we do within this environment that we live in, within this capitalist. Yeah, it's a capitalist environment that we live in, be tied to people's perceptions of where we went to school, what passports we hold. And so I just wanted to talk about that a bit from my perspective of someone who's definitely benefited from having a passport from a certain place, being able to have access to education from a certain place, and also to a certain extent, looking and sounding a certain way as well. And I think it's really important that we take a second to really reflect on how we make decisions around someone's ability and competence. And recognize because we are human beings. And because we are biased, right, we all discriminate I talk about this probably in each and every single one of my episodes, that will have an impact on as leaders who are deciding what to compensate someone and what benefits to give them right. So some of it is more superficial, what we just perceive and others might be based on legal things that we have access to such as passports. So let's talk a little bit about money. Right? So the first question I asked earlier on our was, what is your first thoughts when I say money, and I think this is so important for us to cultivate our awareness on right? So using my three step process that starts with cultivating your self awareness, right? And that's simply because one of the things that we talk a lot about in coaching and you've probably heard if you've listened to my podcast is that our thoughts and feelings, right, our attitude towards something right? So our attitude towards money, right, our thoughts towards money. What we were told money was or wasn't right, the environments that we grew up in our culture, how we were conditioned, right has an impact on how we show up so that's our behavior and our behavior, our habits, and ultimately our results. Right? So if you think money is bad, if you think money is scary, if you say things like, you know, money doesn't grow on trees, you are probably more likely to not feel as comfortable and confident and maybe not even competent, negotiating your salary, asking for more. You know, feeling like you have to ask For a certain amount of money based on, you know, whatever values, you have an identity you're holding at that point in time, right? Because once again, your identity and your values do shift, depending on the environment that you're in, and the people that you're around. And that means you're going to have access to a certain amount of resources, and specifically financial resources. And right, Dan, you're only gonna be able to do certain things, right? So that's really something for you really to reflect on. And that's something that I spend a lot of time reflecting on, when I am, you know, pitching my services to people, what is it that I think, right? how, you know, when I'm coming up with my proposals, like, Am I sort of getting into their pockets and saying, like, well, they're from here, therefore, they might only be able to afford this, or they might think this is high, right? So just starting to really recognize that there's some things that really might come up for you. The second thing you probably want to ask yourself is how do you feel about money? Right? So what are your first thoughts? How do you feel about money? You know, I say money, what do you think, and so all of these things that really come up for you, right, and this is probably a little bit more conscious, this is what you're aware of, to some extent, will impact your ability to receive money will impact the decisions you make around money will impact your ability. And I put this in quotes, because for some of you listening to this, this might not be something that resonates, and that's fine, but also will impact your ability to attract it. And when you're also thinking about giving others money in exchange for the work that they're doing, it's going to have an impact on that. So really, just recognizing that these ideas that you have around money, your feelings towards money, your attitude towards money, your behavior towards money will come from your experiences, right will come from your culture, the society, you found yourself in your family, right? All of these things shape our thoughts, our feelings, and ultimately what we experience based on our behaviors and our habits. So if you feel like, right, you're not making enough, you're not getting enough, it's important that you build your awareness around it, right? And then that second step is really where you start to engage with it, and decide what you want to believe and what you want your thoughts to be right. And so a good way to do that is thinking to yourself, okay, what would someone in a particular position think? What would someone who has this much money do? What do people who make a certain money money, you know, make a certain amount of money? How do they show up in that certain way, right? And that's really how you start to write engage with those beliefs and thoughts, and start to think about what do I want to pick and be a little bit more conscious and aware around what's really happening around mine, right, you actually can pick and choose how you feel about money at the end of the day. And you can also start to do things like surrounding yourself with people who maybe are a little bit more aligned with the thoughts you have around money and how you potentially want to support money as well, or how you want to engage with money as well, because money is just a resource at the end of the day, right? I don't think money makes you any happier, or any unhappier write it, I guess they could just matters what you sort of do about it at the end, or do with it at the end of the day. And I think another thing to keep in mind here, especially if more negative thoughts, emotions and experiences came up for you around money, is just really recognizing that we do live within a system that demands that we have financial resources, I didn't create this system, you didn't create the system, we technically inherit it, inherited it. And it's so important that we do not try to diminish. It's so important that we do not allow others and maybe that that voice inside our head that says hey, like you shouldn't be talking about this. This is not important. Like we should not allow that to stop us from, you know, getting curious or asking questions or asking for more. If we feel like that's something that's important to us. And one of the reasons why I'm thinking about this is because I currently have a client who was just promoted to the C suite of a, you know, a fast growing startup. And you know, this is actually consuming a lot of our time and energy, right. So what she's trying to tell herself is, oh, it's not important, I'm happy I have a job, I should be grateful. But she's actually spending so much time thinking about the fact that she does not feel like she's making what she shouldn't exchange for the work that she's doing that she cannot concentrate, right. And it's making her or it could potentially make a resentful down the line as well. So just really recognizing that you should not ignore money. Money isn't not inherently good or bad, but it's something that we do need to live within the system to live within this environment that we all listen to, or that we all are within. And so it's really important that we acknowledge this and that we recognize this for ourselves, and for others as well, right? This is not a trivial thing. And so I'm going to actually put a link to a resource where I talk a little bit about the importance of acknowledgement and being recognized and financial resources. And money is just one of the many ways in which we can be acknowledged, and we can be recognized. And it's so important that as human beings, we, we we Yeah, we admit, I think we should admit this, I put my hand up, that, you know, being compensated for the work that I do is important. It's not the only important thing. I don't think it motivates me, like all the time, but I do think it's important that we acknowledge it, and we admit it to ourselves. And we don't downplay the importance of it, it's important to take care of your needs, right? It's not selfish. And we do need financial resources in order to do this. And so if you find yourself very much consumed with feeling like I don't have enough, you're feeling like, it's not what I need or feeling resentful. You really might want to start to build your awareness and cultivate your awareness around what's really happening, and then start to think about how do I want to engage? Do I need to shift my beliefs and thoughts? Do I need to potentially ask for more do I need to find other sorts of sources and there's nothing wrong with that. And so you keep that in mind for yourself. And also keep that in mind for your team, right? Whether they're employees or whether they're contractors, because you don't want angry and resentful people working with you, right? You want them to be motivated, you want them to be engaged, and having access to financial resources might be a part of that. And there's nothing wrong with that we are human beings. And once again, we live within a system where we need it. So that's the first thing I wanted to share really around thinking about financial resources and thinking about money for some people might think about it sort of this idea of money mindset, but just wanted to share some of those perspectives with you. The second thing I wanted to share around this was around gaining clarity on your number. So one of the questions I get a lot is like, what should I ask, you know, for this role, or this position, or how much should I pay this person in this role or this position. And so I wanted to share a really quick formula that I've used myself and that I also use with my clients. And so there are three basic questions that you can ask yourself to move forward and so if I was presenting this to you, we'd be actually like, you know, three different concentric circles that sort of overlap. And I think that when you're thinking about your number, you should have all of these information and data to yourself so this might not be what you share with other people. But I think that this is something that you should know for yourself, you should gain clarity on it for yourself and I think it will bring you so much confidence when you're going out there and you're having these conversations whether it's with yourself or sorry whether it's for yourself or it's with others that you want to work with you or have joined your company especially if it's a more of a startup company, I think that this is also very helpful for people once again who have existing you know, salary, bands, scales or matrices just to sort of reflect on this and I also want to say I know that in some industries that this probably will look a bit different or sound a bit different and that's absolutely fine. But we can always take a second to reflect on whether or not what we have in place is really going to support us and get us to where we want to be right so whether or not this is really relevant and helpful for where we are now or whether or not we're just doing it and using the excuse of well that's how we've always done it right and no one wins when we say things or when we think that way or we're doing things just because that's how he's already done it. So here is my sort of basic formula on how to find your number Okay, so the first thing that you need to keep in mind and that you should probably know and I hope that you know is what do I need to survive and for that what I will do is actually will look I had sort of a worksheet with this I think I even had like an Excel chaged Express expell Excel sorry spreadsheet for this. So I'll look for and put in the show notes. But asking yourself, what do I need to survive? And so that's really where you're getting very clear on what are the costs of you showing up as you show up? What does it cost to eat, what does it cost for this, what does it cost for that, and really getting clear on what that number may be looks like month to month, right? And to me that is the the bottom really of of that range, right? So when you're getting cleared into number you don't want to go below that is the minimum amount that you need in order to survive. And I think it's so important that we all have an understanding of this and we're keeping track of this because once again, it's going to give you so much confidence when you're going in there. to negotiate or to talk about what you want in return for the work that you're doing, it's also very helpful for service providers as well, because you have an understanding of how much money you are spending every single month in order to survive. And so when you're thinking about your services and your programs, right, that is like the minimum amount that you need to make, right? And so you can think about Dwight, how, like, how would I make that back? Would that be over 10 clients? Would that be over five clients, but I really think it's very important that you know, your survival number, that's the first thing, I think that's so important. The second thing that's really important for you to make sure you get some clarity on is, what do I want, okay, and this is where, honestly, you can go crazy if you want to, but what do I want, right? So you have an idea of your survival number, you know, you can think about the What do I want, as if I could do everything I want if I could go to the hairdresser's every single week, if that's what you want, right? So another way to look at it is in order to be, you know, to feel really good about myself to feel like I've made it, that could be one way to look at it. If you like, for me, what do I think about what do I want? That's, you know, just thinking about what are some of the things that make me feel really good, that I think are key for me to be able to show up and be really successful, which is quite different from thinking about surviving, right? That's the number that I put there. Okay, so what do I need to survive? What is my survival number? What do I want, right? And then the last bit is thinking about the fact that we do not live in vacuums, right? We live within a society, we live within markets. And so the last thing that you maybe want to ask yourself is what is the market value? You can also ask this question, it may not be very empowering to everyone. But to me, this is the way I like to think about it, what is potentially possible, right. And that's why I think it's so important to think about it as these concentric circles that sort of fit on top of each other. And what you'll end up with is some sort of range, okay? And so when you're gaining clarity on your number, you know, it could be this this sort of range that you're looking at, so you can look at this higher level of the range or the lower level of the range. And, and thinking about it really, from that perspective, but more thinking about it from what is my market rate? Or what is possible, right? That might look different in different environments, right, that might look different in different countries. So really just recognizing that I have a lot of thoughts about this. And that's the next question I'm going to get into. But you know, when it comes to what is possible, some ways in which you can get that information is by asking people, you know how much they make, maybe in the industry that you make in, you can maybe do a Google search and try and figure out maybe how that looks, you know, online, and what people are willing to share with you, you can also ask the company directly, they may not tell you, because for so many companies, that's not something they want to tell you, because it's actually in their best interest for you to ask for less, because then they make more money, or you can use that money for other things. Well, let's just be honest here. You know, as someone who's formally employed, hired and fired a lot of people, you know, that's not something I did, I actually would give people more money based on whatever budget I had. But I do know that there's some people, some, you know, some founders and CEOs, and also some HR practitioners, who will just give people whatever they've asked for, as opposed to whatever, you know, people have budgeted for it, right. So really just recognizing that there are some constraints potentially, that could be there, based on the market based on the industry, based on the size of the company that you're working for, right. So all of those things really should come into play when you're thinking about what is possible. All right. So I really think if you start with those three sort of questions, or those three thoughts, if you get very clear on what those things could look like, and you have the research to back it, you have the information to back at the data and back it, I think that's going to give you a lot of confidence, that's going to give you I think, a really good idea of what you could be asking for what you should be asking for in exchange for the work that you're doing. And once again, if you're a service writer, you can think about taking that number that range, you can take it from the higher side or the lower side and divide it by the number of clients you think you want to work with. And maybe that ends up being the the investment required to work with you within your service or within your program. All right. So that's just really my thoughts. When we're thinking about, you know, salaries, we're thinking about financial compensation, there's a lot more that goes into this, I'm a massive fan of benefits, I think I get a lot more excited about benefits, actually. And that's one of the things I think I was really, yeah, lucky or privileged to get access to. And I think that's actually it really accelerated my ability to save, which was more important to me when I was working full time. So let's let's get into this last bit that I have here. And so a lot of this will probably just be based on my perspective of what I've seen. And once again, my job here what I'm trying to do here is not change your mind, but just give you some thoughts on other ways that you can maybe look at this and some thoughts on maybe how you can shift your expectations as well. So when we are thinking about what is possible, especially from the perspective of an employer, one of the things I thought that was so very interesting and I ended up becoming very much against even though this is something that I benefited from when I first heard it off and you best believe like, you know, it's one of those things that I tell people, it's like don't hate the player hate the game, I didn't create this system, I work within the system and all of you listening to this are within the system. And so recognizing that we can either decide to play the game, or you know, we can still play the game and still not like it, we can get out of the game and you know, decide for ourselves what we want to do. So there's so many ways to play it, I don't think there's any right or wrong answers. But one of the things that I you know, definitely started thinking a little bit more about when I was starting to work full time was that different people got different salaries and access to different benefits based on where they were from. And you know, all those sorts of things. So there's many different elements that go into deciding what a person's salary or compensation should be. Some companies have very strict rules and matrices and calculators that they use other companies, it's a little bit more based on who you know, who you like, Who likes you, and all of that. And once again, I don't think any is better or worse. But I think it's so important for us to recognize that depending on how we do this, this will have an impact on our employees, and whether or not our employees feel comfortable had that psychological safety will show up and be effective. And whether or not the way in which we are, you know, doling out benefits and you know, salaries and compensation will lead to resentment, and will lead to possibly even theft, right. So really recognizing that different things can show up and come up, based on how we decide to distribute resources. We all are human beings, right? Nobody wants to be taken advantage of and, you know, once again, as someone who has benefited from this system, and I can say it's actually discriminatory system, because if you are making a decision about whether or not someone should make more money, based on where they have their passport, and there's a lot more things that come into it, I know. Because you could say that if you've brought somebody from another country to a different country, all those things can really play a role in it. But really just recognizing that, from my perspective, especially now, as someone who works for herself, and someone who, you know, pays contractors, the way in which I'm thinking about, what I give them in return for the work that they do is really based on the value that I derive from that work that they do for me, and how it impacts my bottom line. And once again, I know that not all companies actually working that way. Other companies have different ways of, you know, deciding what value is and what that looks like. But really, once again, just really recognizing, telling yourself that having someone on your payroll that you know, maybe had the opportunity to go to school in the US or Europe or elsewhere. I live on the African continent. So for many people that I'm working with, I'll hear something along the lines of Oh, but they went to school in the US, therefore, they're going to have a larger impact on my business. Okay, you know, I'm struggling, you can't see me. I don't think in all cases, I actually would say I don't think in most cases, that's necessarily true. So the question might be, or the way to think about it might be okay, well, if I think that's true, maybe there's a way of creating some variable compensation based on that based on the impact that they're actually having on my bottom line. So really just recognizing and starting to build your awareness around once again, and this is something that I talked about in that previous episode, where I was talking about how our perceptions of ourselves and our perceptions of others have an impact on how we engage with them, right, I was talking specifically about asking for help. But it's also the same thing when it comes to salaries as well. So really just asking yourself and getting really curious, once again, if you are in a position to be able to make these decisions, not everyone listen to this, you know, is, but I do work with a lot of you know, earlier stage, you know, startups and then of course, I work with people who also work within more structured environments, but those who have a little bit more control over the salary bands and salary scales, and sort of what they're paying people is asking yourself, is that story, that belief I hold, right, because it's not a fact, it is not a fact, that is not true, you can probably find some evidence to prove it, you could probably find some evidence to disprove it, right? So it's not a standalone fact. You know, where you went to school does not have a direct doesn't always mean that you will show up in a certain way, I've actually seen it work against people as well, because then people have this idea that, oh, you went to school, you know, in the US or you went to the school here, therefore, you know, you should be able to do X, Y and Z. So it doesn't help anyone at the end of the day. But you know, I feel like I'm rambling a bit here. But where I just really wanted to land here is really just asking yourself when you are thinking about, you know, putting yourself out there so if you are going out there to negotiate or think about your salary, is the fact that you have a passport from a certain place. The fact that you have you know, loans even maybe from a certain place entitle you, make you more valuable meaning that you're gonna have a bigger impact on the bottom line for that business. Right. And, you know, I think many of us like to think that we are somewhat merit based, right? Many of us like to think that we are somewhat logical. I don't think anyone's logical, I think that we all make decisions to some extent with our emotions, right? And we're constantly generalizing, and we're constantly stereotyping is what we do. And so I think it's a valid question to ask ourselves, when we are engaging with others, and also when we are putting ourselves in front of, of, you know, others, right, when we're asking for something in return for our work done. Right. So just something to think about. And I think at this point, that's really all I wanted to share all about money. So you know, I talked a little bit about, you know, thinking about like, where our salaries and compensation should really come from, I shared my three step formula for gaining some confidence in your number and sharing that number and how it could work for you whether you are a full time employee or service provider. And then I just shared a little bit about why it's so important for us to think about how we want to be acknowledged, how we want to be recognized and how we want to be rewarded and financial compensation money can be just one part of that. Alright, so please let me know what you think. Please let me know if you learned anything, please let me know if you completely disagree with me. I'd really appreciate your feedback. You can get in touch with me with the social media platforms that are linked in the show notes. But as always, thank you so much for taking the time to listen and I hope that you have an amazing rest of your week.