#WCW Cyndie Spiegel

CyndieLast week we chatted with on of our favorite new feminist friends Cyndie Spiegel about following your passion, asking for your worth, and finding a team to help you dream big. Check out this inspiration interview with our #wcw!

Introduce yourself to our readers! Tell us who you are and what you do!

Informally, I’m an inspiration conduit, collaborator and a connector. But formally, I’m a small business strategy consultant and coach. I work with creative entrepreneurs to help them collaborate and build successful small businesses. I spent many (many) years doing work that I enjoyed but wasn’t passionate about. When I had the realization that I wasn’t “all in”, I knew that things in my life would have to shift. Since then, I’ve dedicated my life’s work to empowering and supporting others in doing the same thing.

Being a small business consultant must be fascinating, can you tell us how you figured out this was where you needed to be on your career path?

For 15 years, I worked on the operations (business) side of fashion in both full-time and consulting roles. At the same time, I also fostered my own passions outside of work. I dedicated time and money to everything that I loved, from graduate school to yoga teacher training (twice!) to teaching business classes at design schools. Throughout that time, I inadvertently mentored students, entrepreneurs and colleagues on personal and business development. Though it wasn’t my intention, many times, it changed the direction of their lives. And because of that, it changed mine as well.

A year ago, I made the decision to walk away from the fashion business and focus full-time on merging everything that I spent over a decade building. Without working in a creative global business and fostering my own passions, I wouldn’t be able to support entrepreneurs. It’s through everything I’ve done and learned up until now that I am able to successfully teach small business owners how to dream big and then plan and execute those dreams.

We met at a women's networking event (the Hatch bash!) can you tell us about the power of the women's network in your life? How are you supported or enhanced by a great group of women?

We did, yes! I’m a huge advocate of women supporting the growth of other women, especially entrepreneurs. I’m also a firm believer in the power of collaboration and networking.  It’s through the reciprocal mentorship and business support of many women that I’ve grown personally and professionally. I’ve consciously chosen to build this into my own business model as a tool for supporting and connecting women.  I recently started a collective that includes 20 women entrepreneurs from across the country. The mission is to support creative small businesses through business planning and collaborative networking. The Collective is the intersection of business strategy, collaboration and social media.

I think a lot of women are scared to charge money for their services. I love that you put your rates right on your website. Can you tell us about charging for your skills? What advice do you have for our readers who might be struggling to ask for what their worth.

There is a definite mind-set shift that has to happen for women in this area. Charging what you’re worth takes getting used to and adding that information on your website is a declaration of that. The idea of stating self worth is scary because we don’t want to be judged on “over-estimating” our value. Ultimately, it’s about having confidence in the work that you do and the service that you offer your clients.  I find that we’re worth exactly what we ask for so when we charge less than our value, we offer less than our best work, as well.

Assuming you are clear on who your target audience or client is, do the research to understand what is appropriate to charge for your experience level and target market. Having an understanding of your competition’s pricing makes it easier to speak confidently about your own value. Also, know that you can always change your pricing if you find that what you‘re currently charging isn’t serving you financially (whether too high or too low.) There are no hard rules on deciding what to charge but there is no question that we do our best work when we are authentically compensated. If you are awesome at what you do (and I know you are) then you should be fairly paid for it.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 10.05.48 AMAnything last plugs!

Feel free to follow me on Instagram and sign up on my website for inspiring life and business strategies as well as updates on upcoming workshops and info on the Collective, which will open up to new members in March.