Tax Time Tips

It’s hard to believe but it is nearly April and only a few days away from the deadline to file your taxes (this year it is April 18th.) The NY Times recently had a great primer on tax tips for the gig economy. This is a MUST READ for all Second Shift members; it walks through all sorts of complicated deductions and tax structures and payments. One great tip to be organized about your deductible expense is to use a dedicated credit card and checking account for all business related expenses. 

Here is another resource highlighted in the article;

QuickBooks Self-Employed, an accounting program and app, recently introduced a new automatic mileage-tracking feature. And Xero Tax Touchis an app that helps on-demand workers keep track of their incomes and expenses on the go. The information can be transferred to a Schedule C at the end of the year.

Don’t know what a Schedule C is? you got a lot of work to do in the next 2 weeks!! 

Why do women leave?

The Harvard Business Review did a study on why women in their 30′s leave the workforce. Top answers:

1. New Job

2. Not enough opportunity here. 

3. Work is not that interesting

4. imbalance between pay and time at work

5. Starting a family

The researchers assumed #5 ie: work/life balance would be the top reason and were surprised by the results. Here at the Second Shift we think pay and opportunity play into people leaving, yes, but the underlying cause is family pressure. Working a full time job and taking care of your young family puts enormous pressure on working women in their 30s. If they see that they are not advancing because family needs, and their pay is lower than they think they deserve, and the opportunity for advancement is not there– then the emotional and financial calculation for staying tips the delicate work/life balance and drives them from the office.

Go Etsy!!

Yay Etsy! The company announced gender blind 26 week paid maternity leave over the first 2 years of a child’s birth or adoption Etsy joins other companies such Netflix, Microsoft, Adobe, Google, and Facebook, all of which are trying to make up for the lack of support the federal government has shown for any mandated leave policy.  You had us at homemade Ninjago party supplies… but now the love is official!

Listen Up!

We are so into the podcast BroadMic founded by  angel investor Sara Weinheimer and hosted by author, speaker and strategist Kelly Hoey. Just finished the episode featuring Second Shift friend Joanne Wilson aka GothamGal. Joanne gives entrepreneurs (including us) no bs advice for women in business that’s smart and inspirational. Go listen and subscribe to the show – we will be doing a featured segment in the next season!!!  Our new favorite line is from Joanne on the episode linked below “happy families, happy workers, better businesses.” We could not agree more!

Girl Power!

Today is International Women’s Day. This year the focus is gender pay parity. Obviously this is a very important cause and one that we truly believe in at The Second Shift. While our main focus is on jobs and creating flexibility in the workforce to accommodate the needs of working women, we stand behing anything that fights barriers to the success of all women.

Here is a scary stat:

The World Economic Forum predicted in 2014 that it would take until 2095 to achieve global gender parity. Then one year later in 2015, they estimated that a slowdown in the already glacial pace of progress meant the gender gap wouldn’t close entirely until 2133.

What can you do? Stand up and take the #PledgeForParity.

“Everyone – men and women – can pledge to take a concrete step to help achieve gender parity more quickly – whether to help women and girls achieve their ambitions, call for gender-balanced leadership, respect and value difference, develop more inclusive and flexible cultures or root out workplace bias. Each of us can be a leader within our own spheres of influence and commit to take pragmatic action to accelerate gender parity.”

NY Times keeps the convo going

This past Sunday NY Times Magazine was titled The Work Issue and we applaud them for continuing to push the topic. One article in particular, Parent Companies, focused on companies changing their entire office culture to create to increase flexibility Here is a sample that perfectly sums up why The Second Shift is not just trying to find flexible jobs for our small sample of women, we are trying to effectively change the way that businesses think about work/ life balance, career path fluidity and working women. This is our mission and we are thrilled to see that the cultural zeitgeist is moving in our direction. 

Workers in the experimental group were told they could work wherever, and whenever, they chose so long as projects were completed on time and goals were met; the new emphasis would be on results rather than on the number of hours spent in the office. Managers were trained to be supportive of their employees’ personal issues and were formally encouraged to open up about their own priorities outside work — an ill parent, or a child wanting her mom to watch her soccer games. Managers were given iPods that buzzed twice a day to remind them to think about the various ways they could support their employees as they managed their jobs and home lives.

The research found that employees in the experimental group met their goals as reliably as those in the control group, and they were, in short, much happier: They were sleeping better, were healthier and experienced less stress. Other studies examining the same workplace found that the effects even cascaded down to employees’ children, who reported less volatility around their own daily stresses; adolescents saw the quality of their sleep improve. A year out, and then three years out, employees in the experimental group reported less interest in leaving the organization than those in the control group.

Pitch Perfect

Whatever term you use, being a freelancer/ consultant/ independent contractor is tricky. One of the many difficulties is the need to understand and put a value on your own worth. The Second Shift is a marketplace, so it is up to our members to pitch themselves for available work. The pitch is often a source of uncertainty and stress. Some of our members are seasoned pitch pros and we asked them for tips on what works to sell yourself.

Linda Rink is a 20 year marketing consultant veteran, she says, “Keep in mind that the pitch serves two purposes: 1) To convince the client that you can do the job better than anyone else, and 2) To minimize the potential for misunderstandings between you and the client once you are awarded the work. So a well-thought-out proposal not only may land you the contract – it may also save you grief, aggravation, and even money.  Think of it as a “win-win” proposal – both you and your client benefit!”

Member Abby Levy is a management consultant who says being first to reply to a job posting may give you a leg up on the competition.  “The pitch is the chance for someone to really get to know you, and determine not only are you qualified, but will I like working with you.”

  • She lists a few important to steps ensure you pitch stands out:
  • Specify that you have done projects like this before, if you have, and how you will approach it in general terms.
  • Indicate your relevant background and/or transferable skills
  • Articulate what you at excel at.
  • Be available to Facetime, speak or meet in person ASAP.
  • Reference Relevant specific experience from prior projects
  • Share what working with you will look like – include your key work streams or activities, milestones, deliverables or outputs and what resources you will need.
  • Finally – show enthusiasm for their business or the problem you are solving.

From the flip side we spoke a repeat client, Mike Steib CEO of the XO Group.  He agreed with Abby that being first in really makes a difference. So does emphasizing your background and relevant experience for the particular project. In the what not to do column he says, “ I got one pitched that just said attached is my resume, I didn’t open it.”

So what did the winning pitch look like? The XO Group hired the candidate whose pitch was concise, specific and confident.

Greetings, I have 20 years of experience in market research and strategic consulting. I have worked with some of the top corporations in the world providing strategic advice and research services, including my current client Pfizer and others such as McDonalds, P&G, Novartis, XM Sirius Radio and Johnson & Johnson. I typically conduct multiple market sizing exercises a year for various clients and have led numerous due diligence projects and go/no-go engagements. Additionally, I have personally moderated several thousand market research interviews through the years, including focus groups, individual interviews and online interviews. Your opportunity sounds very engaging. I’m happy to sign your NDA and agree to your hourly rate. I look forward to hearing from you.

Here are some samples of pitches we really enjoy:

I am a journalist in the New York City area specializing in business, finance & economics. I spent nearly a decade at Forbes magazine, working my way up from reporter to staff writer, while covering a multitude of topics that included profiles on entrepreneurs and corporations large and small; numerous money & investing articles; and even some investigative stories. Currently I ghostwrite a column for a Forbes executive’s blog/column on Leadership. These articles typically focus on a technology entrepreneur–their story, how they started their company, and where they see their industry heading. Given my background and expertise, I think I would be an excellent candidate for the blogger/copywriter position. Below are a few examples of the columns I have ghostwritten. I am happy to provide other writing samples if desired. Thank you. 

Hello! I would love to work with you on your design needs. I have 10+ years experience as a freelance designer, working in advertising, layout, print and digital graphics, infographics and illustration. I have designed brochures for publishing houses like Random House and Penguin Books, created an anniversary logo for Columbia University and designed icons and infographics for magazines such as Fast Company. I am very familiar with working with brand standards, having worked with clients such as Knoll, whose signature style has really been upheld through a strong and consistent use of their brand guidelines. I am organized and responsive, and find it rewarding to have clients with whom I can form a long-term relationship. I was looking through your website and see you are building a new makerspace—I’m very interested in digital fabrication so think that’s particularly exciting! Please visit my website: to see some of the work I’ve done, and let me know if you have any questions or would like to speak further. Thanks so much!

I am a marketing strategist turned e-commerce specialist. I’ve worked on multiple market analysis type research projects in my many years as a consultant. I have experience and knowledge in skincare (worked at LVMH), healthy lifestyle (worked at PepsiCo’s Global Nutrition Group), and am very familiar with the involvement of technology in this field (i.e. wearables etc.). I served as a director of consumer insights at a public company and have vast knowledge in market research. Lastly, I’ve done independent research for various consulting groups and online retailers, who I am happy to provide as reference. Please let me know if you have any questions and if you’d like to set up a call to further discuss.

So go out there and pitch away. If you have any questions or concerns you can always reach out to us at Good luck!