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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