8 Things Millennial Women Should Be Learning

Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
By Koa Beck

When I was a wee lass, my grandmother’s common refrain was that I was “a very enterprising young lady.” So, I was understandably delighted to attend the second annual Bullish Conference — a summit for ambitious women in Miami, FL, hosted by Get Bullish founder Jen Dziura.

Get Bullish, a career- and business-advice website, addresses millennial women who aren’t sure they want to “lean in” to a corporate career or a traditional job (especially when there aren’t that many of those anyway). Get Bullish advocates designing your own career by finding fulfilling ways to create value in what you do. The intimate conference of about 40 women (or bullicorns, as they self-identify) allowed for optimal networking, learning, discussion, coaching, and workshopping about the professional world. Here’s what I learned.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
1. When you negotiate, remember that it’s a discussion.

Jamie Lee reminds us that when negotiating anything, both parties have their objectives. While it’s imperative to prepare for negotiations, the point is not necessarily to blurt out a rehearsed script and then clam up and wait anxiously for your prize. Negotiation is about listening as much as it is about being clear. Pivot appropriately based on the responses you receive. Remembering that negotiating is a conversation is also helpful if you stumble into some push-back. “No” is not a rejection of you, Jamie says. Sometimes, it simply means “not right now.”

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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
2. More ways to to ask for more money, money, money.

As senior editor of a career website, you’d better believe I have my own running list of talking points when asking for more cash money. But, at #BullCon14, I learned six more, thanks to Jamie:

“I’d really like to work with you on this. What would be the best way for us to move forward?”

“I’m invested in helping the company grow. How can I take on more responsibilities that will expand my role?”

“What is your philosophy and practice on compensation, raises, and bonuses?”

“I think it’s great that the company believes in fairly compensating its employees. I’d love to hear why you chose me as a candidate for this position.”

“Based on my research, the salary range for this position (in this industry and area) is $X-$Y. What can we do to bring my salary closer to market rate?“

“Would you agree that my contributions have added value to the organization?”
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
3. We could all use a little vocal training, ladies.

As a writer, I’m constantly looking to refine the power of my own words. However, this should also extend to my physical presence and my actual voice — attributes that are generally back-burnered as I make my deadlines, read books, and generally look for ways to avoid contact with other humans. I can’t help that I’m an introvert, but I can work on the pandemic that is baby talk, uptalk, and vocal fry. Vocal coaches and featured speakers Casey Erin Clark and Julie Fogh absolutely agree.

I’m from Los Angeles (like, the Valley), so I know how pervasive these vocal affectations can be. I’ve worked to leave my accent back home — but I could still stand to curb a few more question-statements and cut back on the “like”s.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
4. You can be your own assistant (if you have the resources).

Haley Mlotek, editor of The Hairpin, points out that virtually anything can be automated these days. You can streamline so many parts of your day with a combination of apps and devices. It’s just a matter of putting the proper systems in place. She advocates aiming for structure and consistency — not necessarily just a fixed routine.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
5. Just because you’re the boss doesn’t mean you should have your hands in everything.

This is challenging for me as much as I’m sure it is for a lot of ambitious women. We didn’t get to where we are by letting other people run the show. Our vision, directives, opinions, and protocols (along with some serious networking) most likely landed us our positions of power. But, when you’re the boss, you should be delegating, delegating, delegating. Either that, or simply automating the work that slows you down.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
6. When you’re the boss, you judge what’s working and not working.

We could all use feedback in nearly every professional corner of our lives (from our managing style to our ideas). But, when you’re the lady in charge, you and only you decide what the snags in your business/organization/company are. You cannot rely solely on external feedback, Haley points out.
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
7. Quantify everything. Seriously, everything.

Jen has spoken to the importance of quantifying your accomplishments, as have we when it comes to resume crafting. But, in addition to putting numbers to your wins in order to impress prospective employers, you should also be quantifying your time. Because, the old adage is true: Time is money. Nowhere is this more apparent than when you're starting a side business.

Femgineer founder Poornima Vijayashanker, who's also one of the founding engineers of Mint, speaks to the importance of quantifying everything, including no-brainers like units that you’re selling (whether that’s physical goods or article pitches) or the number of people you need to talk to in order to sell those units.

If you’re starting a side business or pursuing anything freelance, Poornima’s below tips are essential:

• How many units do I need to sell to make $X? → price
• How many people do I need to talk to sell Y units? → number of leads & conversions
• How can I reach Z people? → marketing channels
• What do I need to do to automate sales?
• What do I need to do to automate lead capture?
• What do I need to do to automate nurturing leads?
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Illustrated by Emily Zirimis.
8. Ambitious women are friendly — like me.

When you’re so focused on your own goals, it can be easy to forget that you’re not alone in your climb. I write for an ambitious site, work in media, and live in NYC — and even I forget it sometimes. Sure, networking is important, but it’s not just about handing out business cards. Being surrounded by like-minded women who won’t settle for anything is a precious and rare experience.

I can get intimidated in high-pressure “we are all here to network” scenarios, such as capital “C” Conferences. But the Bullish ladies I met were friendly, accessible, and (most importantly) compelling. Their reasons for attendance all varied, but the thread that ran through each was a desire to shape their lives according to their vision.

Details for the 2015 Bullish Conference will be announced in January 2015. Get on the mailing list at getbullish.com.