I am so excited to be here today with my very, very dear friend Jacquette Timmons. Jacquette has been on this podcast before. I love having Jacquette on here just to have conversations with a different perspective and with greater nuance.
Jacquette is a financial behaviorist. She has been doing this for a very long time. She has weathered, I remember us talking about, Jacquette, how you had weathered the 1987 crash when you were working in private banking.
Jacquette had said to me the other day that she wants to have a conversation around ethical business practices that are getting I think their turn in the marketing hopper so to speak and everybody now wants to have ethical business in their marketing. Then I said, “Would you also be open to talking about capitalism?” Because I know Jacquette and I have had that conversation around capitalism as well.
Welcome, Jacquette, for what I’m sure is going to be a conversation that is worth listening to and might even piss some people off but I’m looking forward to it, girl.
Jacquette Timmons: Oh my god. Me as well, Tara. Thank you so much for having me. I am so delighted to be here again.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I feel like this might even be your third time.
Jacquette Timmons: It is.
Tara Newman: You might be one of my longest-running guests aside from somebody maybe on my team which makes me really excited.
Jacquette Timmons: It makes me excited as well.
Tara Newman: Okay. We have a whole constellation of events happening in the world right now. I think that you and I have both been putting out some content that has been similar where you put out some content the other day where it’s like, “Hey, I don’t mean to be tone deaf but recessions happen, economies blip, this is just a cycle.” I had a podcast the other week that was like, “Why I’m not worried about what we’re seeing happening?”
Jacquette Timmons: Yes. I listened to that.
Tara Newman: There’s a sliver of me that’s concerned but not for myself. There’s a part of me that’s concerned and looking at saying, “I’m not going to spend my time worrying when I could possibly be a part of the solution.” That comes with my privilege in the position that I’m in and another reason why I’m not worrying. But in full transparency, I am concerned that when we hit the fall, if we can’t get oil prices under control along with food costs, we might have a humanitarian crisis in our country.
We use home heating oil, we just calculated our home-heating costs come September if things don’t change and it’s two and a half times what we paid the last time. For folks who are already strapped, I’m going to say I don’t believe that probably impacts my demographic or even maybe your demographic of people that we’re talking to, but it is something that concerns me and I just wanted to start with that. I just wanted to start with “Hey, we’ve got a constellation of events happening right now that has got people really on edge.”
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah and your point about who it affects, even if it doesn’t affect us to the same degree, even if the cost of living increases and it’s more of like “darn” versus “oh my god” for us, we are part of an ecosystem, and so if it really significantly negatively impacts others, that’s going to eventually have an effect on us too. None of us are immune from it, it’s just I think the degree to which you might feel it immediately versus at some point later on.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I know that you and I will be putting out content over I’m sure the next few months that address these things. I want to do it in a way that is positive, that really I hope ignites women to see how they can be a part of the solution and how running a small business can even be a part of the solution. I know that in terms of women and money, the pandemic was a huge catalyst and I think that this is going to be a really big catalyst as well for women looking to be more informed.
That really I think ties into the conversation that we’re having. As small-business owners, how we can be protecting our businesses during this time, the steps and measures that we want to take? Now I’m going to wheel us into ethics because I think that some of what we’re seeing proposed, and then I’m handing the mic over to you, what I’m seeing proposed as ethical leans almost into not protecting the business owner.
Jacquette Timmons: Yes. I totally agree.
Tara Newman: Ethical business practices, Jacquette, go.
Jacquette Timmons: This is stemming from a conversation that I heard and it was all about ethical marketing. As I’m listening to it, as I’m listening to the person facilitate the conversation, the thing that keeps coming up for me is well, ethical for whom? Let me just put a little bit of context around even that follow-up question.
We all know the definition of ethical. If for whatever reason not, the definition is involving an expression around moral behavior and what gets approved and what gets disapproved. I was thinking about it because as your audience probably know by now, my heritage is Jamaican-American. I’m black. So I’m always going to look at things through the lens of being a black woman.
I’m listening to this person and one of the things that they said that just really made my ears perk up was this whole notion of whether or not you charge a fee for people that want to do a payment plan, and that basically the implication was if you do that, that is not ethical. My reaction to that was, “But why?”
When you talk about protecting your business, I’m thinking of it through the lens of, “Well, actually, this is a way of protecting my business because it’s a convenience factor, the fee is not supposed to be punitive, it is to offset the additional processing costs that come with that. And oh, by the way, I am trying to make sure that, I can’t make up for the gap, but in so many ways in terms of what black women earn, what white women earn, what black women earn compared to white men, I can’t make up for that gap but in so many different ways. This is one of the ways in which I can actually address that.” That’s what got me thinking about this whole conversation of well, ethical for whom?
Tara Newman: Yeah. I’ve seen this argument in the online-business space. I think that there’s the online-business space, there is the not online-business space or what I call real business, and I think that they sometimes operate by two different sets of rules or beliefs. I’ve seen on one side that that would not be ethical to charge an administration fee of some sort because that would be considered a poverty tax, I’ve heard it called.
On the other side, to what you’re speaking of, you are fronting in some ways or allowing people to have a more generous payment plan that then puts more burden on you as the business owner to follow up if payments don’t go through, to potentially lose that payment, have it drop out, and have it fall to non-payment, to, like you said, just the admin costs, like the fees of running that payment through every month, that there are realistic fees that are inherent in the doing of the business.
Jacquette Timmons: Yes. That was the thing that really got me. There was one other thing that was mentioned and it’s escaping me right now so I apologize that I’m not pulling it forward but it was the payment plan thing that really struck a nerve with me.
Tara Newman: I don’t think that most people understand that even though we may be running a service-based business, that there are costs associated with running a service-based business, that it’s not just if I charge you $2,000, now I’m running to buy a Birkin bag for $2,000. Depending on the size company you have would determine how much of that you actually get to keep after taxes, after business expenses, after putting some money aside for profit so that you can have some cash cushion for operating your business which are all very responsible things that benefit your consumer when you do that. So no, you’re not just taking that $2,000 and making off with it. I think we have a lot of people entering entrepreneurship that don’t understand how business actually works.
Jacquette Timmons: Oh god. I totally agree with that. It’s so interesting because recently, I presented my Pricing Made Human masterclass and one of the things that I talked about was how you start a business often influences how you price. If you started your business as a side hustle or you started your business but it doesn’t really need to cover any of your lifestyle expenses because you’ve got a husband, a wife, boyfriend, girlfriend at home, whomever, or maybe because you come from a wealthy family and therefore there’s no financial pressure on your business, that influences for a lot of people (a) how they price and then (b) it gives them this false sense of, like you said, “Oh, I earned $2,000. It’s all mine.” No, it’s not.
Tara Newman: Right, it’s not. Jacquette and I are not saying this to disparage anybody at all. There is a very steep learning curve that comes with owning a business and there is responsibility that comes with owning a business that is not talked about in the Facebook ads that are coming across your feed or even in the programs that you’re taking that are really marketing programs sold as business-development programs.
We have a very large knowledge gap in my opinion that is getting even larger so that when these things come across, we don’t really know who to believe. Somebody might hear what you heard, Jacquette, and be like, “Oh, my gosh. I don’t want to harm anybody with my policy and then default into maybe essentially harming themselves.”
Jacquette Timmons: I totally agree with that. I think a suggestion I would make is whenever you are in a group, scan the room, whether it’s literally a room or it’s a virtual room, scan the room for diversity because I think that will give you a clue as to the nuance that the person espousing whatever they’re saying, like in the case of this particular instance when they said charging a fee for recurring payments is not ethical, I think maybe if someone had scanned the room, they may have paused and considered, “Well, maybe I’m not taking a perspective or a reality in consideration here and I need to.”
Tara Newman: I think this goes into a conversation almost on cognitive errors. Not to get too nerdy but I know I’m in your wheelhouse.
Jacquette Timmons: Yes.
Tara Newman: A couple things: One, I think sometimes we need to pause and know when there needs to be a conversation. Can we have a deeper conversation about ethical business practices or marketing practices instead of just listening to one version of what’s being said? Opening that floor and being open to being challenged in the room, it’s something that I know you and I try and practice.
I think that we have a lot of cognitive errors or biases happening in the business space; (1) because we have a knowledge gap, (2) because humans just like to be validated for their thinking. So we wind up getting into these echo chambers in which we almost seek out, this is how social media and the internet actually works, is that the algorithm is built around things that confirm our bias.
Jacquette Timmons: Right. That means you have to be that much more intentional and proactive about hearing a voice that challenges your own.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I agree. Now I’m curious, how would you know if you were in a room that was just confirming your bias or helping you think differently? What are some things that you look for?
Jacquette Timmons: Well, one is going to sound really interesting I think, one is a body check from the standpoint of is someone saying something and I’m having a physical reaction because they’ve triggered me and I’m pissed off? Or am I having a physical reaction because I feel affirmed? I’m not saying that either reaction is better than the other but I think that is one way of getting a sense of what room you are in.
If you are being triggered, I think the other thing you’ve got to do is think about if you speak up, will you feel safe? Is there anyone else in that room that you can sense or maybe you’ve had a conversation with them that they might be supportive of you if you do in fact speak up and you’re saying something that’s different than whatever may be the majority voice in the room?
Those would be the things that I would think of is checking in with your body how are you feeling, especially if it’s a situation where you’re feeling triggered. Before you speak up, make sure you feel safe in speaking up.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I would agree with that. Here’s how I look at it is I actually do put myself in rooms where I feel activated and confronted around my beliefs intentionally because I feel like sometimes then there’s something there for me to learn. Something that I think is happening in the world is that we are discrediting experts if they don’t share the same values that we share. That doesn’t mean that they’re not an expert, it just means that there may not be a values alignment. That’s not good or bad.
For example, just because someone doesn’t believe what I believe, that doesn’t make them wrong and me right. Of course, if somebody had values that I felt were harmful, dangerous, or predatory, no, I don’t consume that type of content but I’m also not going to discredit them as an expert. They can still be an expert and have harmful and predatory beliefs.
Jacquette Timmons: Right. There are two things that I want to say. One is I’m glad you are intentional about putting yourself in different spaces. I end up in different spaces just because it’s very rarely the instance where I am in a room and it is all black women and all black women business owners. Just by default of how I show up in my space, I’m already putting myself in situations where there’s going to be one or two or maybe even more people that don’t share my perspective.
But back to what you were saying in terms of disagreeing but not discrediting, I was listening to Guy Raz, oh, my goodness, what is the guy’s name? He was one of the original founders of PayPal. Mark something. Anyway, I’ll find it before we get off. Guy was asking him a question about Elon. One of the things that he said was that he and Elon would have basically drag out fights but they were never personal, both of them were coming at those fights from an engineering standpoint.
It was basically saying, “Look, I don’t agree with him on a lot of different things but he’s really, really smart and when we fought about stuff, we kept it focused on the engineering problem and not the personal stuff.” I thought that was really interesting. I thought it was a graceful way of not potentially falling into a gotcha moment.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think another example of this too is RBG and Antonin Scalia. They had very different perspectives but they considered each other friends and they were able to engage in healthy debate. Maybe they did learn something from each other or maybe they did broaden the other person’s perspective around something.
I’m finding myself in the divisiveness of the world we live in today in all aspects of our society, whether it’s online business where almost marketing is intentionally polarizing, of really leaning into finding common ground opposed to fueling the divide.
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. I gotta admit that one’s a little hard for me right now.
Tara Newman: I appreciate that. I also want to say that as a very privileged white woman, I feel like that’s my job. I feel like it’s my job to take in different perspectives, to have conversations that are difficult, to question things more deeply, to then boldly share my perspective and my values in some of these rooms that maybe wouldn’t normally hear that from me and to have difficult conversations. That’s something that I’ve just been practicing over the last few years.
Jacquette Timmons: That’s great. I also think that sometimes, the conversations that you’re having, whether or not those people that you’re in discussion with change anything about their mindset or behavior, at the end of the day, they’re listening to you and I think they will listen to you perhaps more than they might listen to someone like me where it might just always feel like as a defensive posture. There’s that. Oh, by the way, I just wanted to go back, it wasn’t Mark, his name is Max Levchi.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think that we’re in a space—and again, I’m going to pull this back to you at the ethical business practices—we’re in a space where we are questioning so much and we’re trying to find, we’re trying to improve systems, we’re trying to figure out solutions, and the pendulum is swinging very wildly, and I think it’s going to do that for a while before we land someplace that hopefully is a better tomorrow. There’s a lot of upheaval.
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. There’s a great deal of upheaval. I think part of that upheaval taps really into one of the other definitions of ethical, which is all about conforming to an accepted standard of conduct. But again, who sets that standard? Who’s setting the standard? Why is it being set in its particular way? What has been the considerations of setting up that standard? You set us up in terms of our conversation by talking about nuance. I think so often it is the nuance that gets overlooked because the nuance is freaking hard.
Tara Newman: Yeah. The nuance is where we get very uncomfortable because it often requires us to hold maybe two competing thoughts in our head at the same time where multiple things can be true. There isn’t a black or white answer. That’s cognitive dissonance. We want to then go and find and confirm what we believe so we don’t have to change our thinking.
Essentially when people have to change their thinking, we’ve been taught that if you change your thinking, then you were wrong or now you’re being contradictory and there’s something bad about that. I have somebody going through my content right now because we’ve got a project that we’re working on and she’s like, “I just want to check in because I don’t think you’re saying something contradictory, but if we take it out of context, it could seem contradictory.” I’m like, “Well, there’s a good chance I’ve contradicted myself over the years because I changed my perspective and I changed my mindset.”
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. It’s so funny that you would say that because I think one of the things that you’re touching upon is permission, it’s not giving ourselves permission to get new information, and based on that new information, change our opinion, change our mind, change our perspective. Then similarly, when someone else changes their mind, their perspective because they’ve gotten new information, not having the grace to give them the space to change their mind.
Tara Newman: Yeah. The other thing that I think about often with ethics—and we were touching upon this in a conversation you and I were a part of around refund policies—and first and foremost, I’m very present to women not trusting themselves. I’m very present to women having a hard time, especially in the noisy landscape that we’ve all become a part of to really hear themselves, and like you were saying, do that body check, almost like we’re losing our intuition.
I know that the women who come into my space and who work with me are women who are ethical humans and I trust them to make good decisions. I trust them to make good decisions with the information that they currently have, and when they have new information, that they would consider the new information that they have. I know a lot of women that I work with look out into the internets and go, “Ugh, this doesn’t sit well with me. This doesn’t feel good to me. I don’t want to be like them.”
What I really consider is “Is it the policy of the practice that’s not ethical or is it how it’s being executed? Is it the person who’s executing it?” Because there are a lot of things we’ll say, maybe just talking about sales practices, that can feel icky, and smarmy is what people say, but when you come at it with a different energy, that is actually not true.
I think that you could have a practice or a policy where you are adding a fee on or making it more expensive for somebody who takes a payment plan and I think you can do that in a way that is genuine, honest, and transparent, and I think that you can do that in a way that is sleazy and gross.
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. It’s so funny in that regard. I’ve always been transparent about you have two options, a single payment or a payment plan, but now I’ve gotten even more explicit around making sure that people know that it’s not punitive. That came about because a client asked and I explained, “It’s not to punish you but we’ve got additional fees every time this happens so we’ve got to cover that.” Then they were like, “Oh.” There are two options and the payment plan was more but for them, I wasn’t clear enough so now it’s like there’s no ambiguity.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I think for us, honesty and transparency is a corporate value. That is what I have found to be the thing that I can do that is of greatest service to everyone in my ecosystem. That is a part of being ethical, in my opinion, is being a clear and direct communicator as best as possible and re-communicating because people forget, things happen.
Instead of going, “Oh, I feel like they’re questioning me. When they are asking this, why are they coming back to me on this? We’ve already discussed this?” I could just be like, “Okay, either they forgot or they weren’t present in the moment that I said it or what have you.” I joyfully go back and just reiterate, remind, and direct them back to what our policy and our practice actually is.
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. It’s interesting because as you were talking, another thought that came to mind for me is sometimes we’ve got to do the work of sharing our definition of a word because while Merriam-Webster may have a definition—and even Merriam-Webster has a few different definitions for a word—I think sometimes we can get lost in the fact that how we might be applying a particular definition may be different than how someone else is accustomed to it and we don’t even realize that there’s a gap. If we’re just up front about, “This is how I’m defining ethical.”
Tara Newman: Yeah. I always say there’s denotation and connotation. Denotation, what it’s defined as, and then connotation, how we think about it or the energy even that we give a word. For example, the word discipline. Discipline to me, I enjoy being regimented and disciplined, it works for me. It’s important to me in my practices and how I manage things like my ADHD, but for other people, that feels really harmful and hard. I think that goes back to nuance.
Jacquette Timmons: It sure does.
Tara Newman: You said something very interesting to me and you said because you’re a black woman, you have to live in nuance or something like that. Is that what you said?
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah.
Tara Newman: Can you elaborate on that?
Jacquette Timmons: Oh, my goodness. How do I elaborate on that? I think that as a black woman, we just do not have the luxury of not taking into consideration other ways of thinking, other experiences that other people might be able to. We don’t walk into a room and think a couple of things; that what we have to say is going to be 100% accepted, I think other people do walk into a room and there’s no question around whether something that they say or do will be accepted or perceived as good.
I’m struggling because I appreciate the question because I know what it feels like but I haven’t really had to articulate it, so hopefully I’m being as clear as possible here. But I think it’s just the fact that when we walk into the room, our differences are visible and just by extension of our differences being visible, we have to take into consideration that sometimes, those differences are not welcomed, that adds to a nuance; sometimes even if they are welcomed, there’s a spectrum of that so there’s degrees to that.
We don’t always know fully, until we’re in that space, how safe is this space, I think that’s an aspect of nuance. I just think every part of our existence, when we are interacting with people outside of our home, there’s a nuance to that.
Tara Newman: What I’m hearing you say, and please correct me if I’m wrong, let’s just give an example because you’re a speaker or you’re giving a presentation. A white woman goes in and gives a presentation, it is less likely for her to be questioned or have to have all the details, facts, figures, thought through every possible question that she could be asked, whereas you as a black woman are going to go into this and you’re going to be more prepared, have researched more, thought through more because you’re trying to preempt and prepare for the lack of grace you are likely to get.
Jacquette Timmons: Absolutely. Thank you for that mirroring and the articulation of that because yes, that is precisely it.
Tara Newman: Yeah. Thank you for for sharing that because that was a moment for me where I was like, “Oh, yeah, another layer of privilege here that you might not have thought about.” Let’s talk about, we got a couple minutes, and I know this is not going to take a couple minutes, but capitalism. You and I have talked about capitalism. You are pro-capitalism, correct?
Jacquette Timmons: I am. I am pro-capitalism.
Tara Newman: We’re seeing a very, in my opinion, anti-capitalism sentiment and I don’t even know anymore if we’re really seeing this or if this is actually happening, that’s how twisted around I am with news reports.
Jacquette is in New York, I’m in New York, we’re in different parts of New York, and I’m always messaging Jacquette and I’m like, “Are you okay? Do you feel safe?” Because I’m seeing news reports and I’m not even sure what’s true or not true anymore and if I’m just being an overreactive suburban white woman, let me know, but I also just want to make sure you’re okay.
Jacquette Timmons: No. I really appreciate it. I said that one time when you checked in, I was like, “No, I feel safe but I have changed my behavior. I don’t go down on the platform until the train’s coming in.” But I appreciate it.
Tara Newman: Yeah, because I don’t even know what to take. I’m trying not to take some of the news at face value anymore. Both sides have their extremes and they’re very noisy and so I don’t even know what’s true sometimes or not true. But that doesn’t matter. What’s true for me is that I am pro-capitalism, you are pro-capitalism, and I want to know why you think capitalism is a good thing.
First, there is an article in Teen Vogue what capitalism is and how it affects people. It was written in August of 2020 and it says in this article, “Capitalism is defined as an economic system in which a country’s trade, industry, and profits are controlled by private companies, instead of by the people whose time and labor powers those companies. The United States and many other nations around the world are capitalist countries, but capitalism is not the only economic system available.” That is how they defined capitalism in the opening article.
Jacquette Timmons: Huh. Interesting. I am a little bit more simplistic in my definition. I get that they’re bringing into it the economic part of it in terms of, at least the way I heard it, the government’s interaction and all of that. For me, it is you created something, you’ve got something to sell and someone else wants to buy it. That’s capitalism to me.
There are large businesses and entities that are involved in that exchange, there are small businesses and entities doing so, and then everything in between. My challenge with the way capitalism is right now, I actually have a few challenges, one is that when you think about the gap that used to exist between the lowest-paid worker at a company and the CEO of a company, that gap wasn’t as large as it is right now. Maybe it was $100,000, $200,000, maybe $300,000, $400,000. Now it is millions.
Just like in the example or the video that you shared with me as we were chatting before we hit record, the comment that Scott Galloway shared in terms of how much the CEOs of airlines are getting paid and how much of that is cash versus stock options, and the things that are done to increase the value of the stock so that they can get paid more, those kinds of things didn’t exist to the extent that they do now in the 80s.
My problem is that so much of our policies around, for example, health care, for example, 401(k)s or retirement plans, they’re made in the consideration of these larger corporations but they make up a smaller percentage in terms of numbers than do small businesses. Small businesses make up I think like $31.7 million small businesses I think is the number, we don’t have $31.7 million large companies, they’re not on the Stock Exchange, whether it’s the Dow, the Nasdaq.
Part of my challenge with a lot of this anti-capitalism conversation is they’re saying that capitalism is bad and they are applying it—back again to your word about nuance—they are applying it across the board as if those same sentiments that are being thrown at larger corporations, whose practices perhaps can be in question, are the same as those for small businesses that are having a tremendous impact on their local communities.
That’s my problem. My problem is that there’s this singular reaction to business when it’s not a singular way of acting across, so that’s one, I’m sorry that was the long answer to just one part, my second part is this, and I know people are going to probably get tired of me saying this but I’m going to bring it back to this; one of the things that you can do in terms of building wealth, maintaining that wealth, and passing it on is owning a business; owning a business, investing in the stock market, and having income-producing real estate are really your three-key pathways for building wealth.
Tara Newman: I’m giving Jacquette the snaps right now because she is absolutely correct. What I’m hearing you say, and maybe I’m going to add some color to the conversation, I think that people are confused and they don’t understand the difference between what capitalism is, they’re only seeing the distortion of capitalism which is crony capitalism, which is cronyism. There is a lot of that. Let’s be honest, there is a lot of crony capitalism. There’s a lot of really shitty things that big companies and the banks do.
I was reading an article, so angry, about what we could be doing to preserve our cash during this high-inflationary period because there is a value at the moment to having cash on hand. But the problem is that any cash we have on hand is losing money on the daily to inflation. I was reading this article on these high-yield savings accounts or CDs. The takeaway that I had, my very intelligent takeaway was fuck these motherfucking guys.
Because here’s what they’re doing, and Jacquette’s not as hyperbolic as me so she’s going to come in here and temper me I’m sure, but we’re raising interest rates and the banks are going to be raising your interest rates on your credit cards and on your mortgages, and making borrowing money more expensive, but you know what they’re not raising their interest rates on, Jacquette?
Jacquette Timmons: Your savings account, your money-market account, your CDs.
Tara Newman: Fuck these fucking guys. I was so hot and angry after I read this article. This is the part of capitalism that you’re objecting to, this greedy cronyism. However, to Jacquette’s point, there is a whole bunch of people that benefit from, and what Jacquette was talking about was the free market, opportunity, the opportunity that free market provides us when we can be human beings and operate in that environment in healthy ways.
When we go into a recession, it’s not the big businesses that people look to bailout a recession, it’s small businesses, it’s service-based businesses that they look to. But yet at the same time, we are never considered in policy, in the larger landscape of these discussions.
I’m reading this article in Teen Vogue and I really laughed. What does it mean to be a capitalist is the question, and here’s the answer: “Individual capitalists are typically wealthy people who have a large amount of capital (money or other financial assets) invested in business, and who benefit from the system of capitalism by making increased profits and thereby adding to their wealth.”
Jacquette Timmons: If you could only see my face right about now. I just wanted to rewind for a second because did you say that the bailouts are happening to the larger companies? Because I would say when we have a recession, it’s always the bigger companies that get bailed out. Look at all the banks that got a lifeline.
Tara Newman: Yes. They get the bailout but everybody looks to the small-business owners to turn the economy around, but we don’t get a bailout.
Jacquette Timmons: Exactly. Oh, by the way, Tara, let’s not forget, think about the last 20 years, let’s forget the number of businesses that have been started by women, also I’m paying attention to the stats around the number of businesses that have been started by black women, and then I say, “Well, isn’t this interesting? All of this now anti-capitalism conversation when we are now starting businesses at a rate that is greater than at any other point in time in our history, isn’t that something that’s interesting?”
Tara Newman: Oh, Jacquette.
Jacquette Timmons: Think about the fact that now more women are going to college and graduating from college than men, more women are advancing if they are choosing to work on a corporate track, more women are advancing—there are very few women CEOs of Fortune 100 to 500 companies, granted, but they are advancing, so you’ve got that, then you’ve got women in general starting businesses and then again black women starting businesses. Now, all of a sudden, we need to start talking about being anti-capitalist.
Tara Newman: But you know what? I never hear the anti-capitalist argument coming from men.
Jacquette Timmons: Yes. That’s very true. I don’t either.
Tara Newman: I hear it coming from women.
Jacquette Timmons: What does that say?
Tara Newman: You don’t want to get me started on what that says. I have a very unpopular opinion and I’ll be canceled.
Jacquette Timmons: We’ll do that one offline then because we don’t want you to be canceled.
Tara Newman: Listen, I think we have people who are confused and who don’t understand how these things work, and don’t have the nuance or the time, the energy, whatever the capacity to sit down and have more nuanced conversations about some of these things. I understand when women look at the world and they see crony capitalism among largely men or the patriarchs—the patriarchy is genderless—and they say capitalism is bad, let’s overturn the system because they think that they’re fighting the patriarchy, but what they’re missing out is how capitalism can be used for good, for economic growth, for the redistribution of wealth, and for a positive-sum game and not purely for extraction.
Maybe there is some secret cabal behind the scenes that is particularly fanning that flame of anti-capitalism for some reason, we never know. Listen, always ask yourself who benefits from this perspective? Who benefits from this belief? How might I not be seeing the full picture here? What else do I need to consider?
I think having some thoughts around that would be really good. If you are profitable, because that’s the other thing, people over profit, I am focused on profit because that’s how I can do the best by people. Just because some companies choose to use their profits poorly, but honestly those are the companies that pretty much aren’t profitable in my opinion, they might not be as profitable as you think.
But I think that when you are focused on profitability, that means you are keeping more of your money, and I’m here to put, and I know your Jacquette is too, to put more money in the hands of more people who are going to do good with their money. For me, I specifically speak to women. There are men who do good with their money too, that’s not what I’m saying, but I do know that I would like to see more money in the hands of more women and I want to see you keeping more of your money and so that is profit, so that you can take that profit, first, put your oxygen mask on, make sure you’re whole and taken care of, and then consider how you use the money you will spend.
I think that’s where we could have a greater impact through capitalism and why capitalism is actually a good thing. I think companies that truly have a healthy bottomline, truly have healthy profit, could make a huge difference in the world and to really redefine what capitalism could be.
Jacquette Timmons: Yes. I wish the few companies that are doing that were not privy to it, but I would love to know if they’re having conversations with other CEOs and they’re like, “Man, get it together,” I would love to be a fly on the wall to know if that’s actually happening. Because I would hate to think that the companies that are doing it, in my opinion, the right way are not in some way trying to influence those that are not.
Tara Newman: My sphere is obviously quite small compared to like a Jeff Bezos, but those are the conversations that I am having. I am pointing out practices that I think are cronyistic, that are systemically harmful, that are just the way business owners have been conditioned to think or see their business and they don’t even realize what they’re doing is not okay. That has to do for me a lot in the area that I consult on which is people and culture.
I am having those conversations. Have you considered this? Have you thought about it this way? What if we looked at it through this perspective, does that change how you would go about this policy practice employee situation? That’s all that I can do, Jacquette, that’s all that each of us can do.
Jacquette Timmons: Yeah. But I’m grateful that they have you to do that. Because sometimes all you need is for someone to ask you the question.
Tara Newman: Yeah. I’ll give you the examples around the conversations that we’re having; things like not having a clearly-defined company culture and values, not having a clear and transparent performance system where a manager will come to me and they’ll be like, “This employee stinks. I don’t understand why they’re asking for a raise.” Tell me more about that situation. When was the last time you had a conversation with them about that? Oh, you haven’t. So what you’re telling me is it’s not the employee that stinks, it’s you that stinks.
Jacquette Timmons: Right. Do you ever listen to Sarah Noll Wilson? She hosts a podcast called Conversations on Conversations.
Tara Newman: No.
Jacquette Timmons: Oh,my goodness. I think you would love her and the conversations that she has. But there was a recent one that she was talking to a gentleman and it was all about, I have to finish it, I haven’t finished it yet, but what I’ve heard so far was all about feedback and the extent to which people want it, how it’s delivered, all of this. It just reminded me of not even just when I was in my corporate-America days but even now, like do you really want that feedback or do you just want to say that you want the feedback? Because if you really want it, you have to be open to what the person says and perhaps be willing to make some changes.
But to me it reminds me of what you’re sharing here in terms of the person saying, “Well, why do they want this raise?” Then, through your questioning, realizing that there’s a legitimate reason why that person wants that raise because you haven’t put something on the table for them in quite some time. To me, that’s feedback.
Tara Newman: Yeah. This is maybe a topic for another day, but what I also take into account is the manager isn’t always right. How do we have more permission-based conversations around the outcomes that we want to see for a role and understand the whole situation, what is actually happening in this situation that is causing X?
Let’s not focus on the person, let’s focus on the situation, let’s zoom out because there’s a great likelihood that it hasn’t been communicated that this person needs to do something. It wasn’t clear, it wasn’t repeated, they haven’t been trained. There’s so much that goes into that conversation that’s not being addressed.
This is so layered because it’s like, “Oh, well, now they want a raise,” and then I’m like, “I’m afraid to ask.” “I think the amount of money that they’re making is enough,” and I’m like, “Well, how long have they been working for you? I’m afraid to ask when was the last time you gave them a raise.” “It’s been a long time.”
This isn’t coming from as toxic of a place as it seems, but if these small businesses have grown rapidly, they often don’t have a lot of policy and procedure behind it because they don’t know that they should. Anything under 100 employees is a really tough business to run because you can’t afford to have HR at the level that you have it, but can we consider that if you haven’t given a person a raise in the last five years, that they are no longer making that great salary that you think they’re making because inflation has eaten away at it?
Can we at least have some kind of policy or practice where we are giving out some kind of COLA (cost of living adjustment) on a regular basis, and that’s communicated with your employees, and that would be separate from some kind of increase that might be merit-based? When I say those, these are the conversations that I’m having. I hope that they’re making a difference in worker wages and engagement, and employee workforces and overall job satisfaction that employees have.
Jacquette Timmons: Then oh, by the way, I know the word productivity gets a bad wrap these days in some circles, but it’s going to improve their productivity, it’s going to improve their engagement, and it’s also going to improve their retention which ends up being better for the firm because if the person hasn’t gotten a raise in five years and inflation has been eating up at whatever it is that they are earning, they may very well be stressed, if they’re stressed about finances, guess what, they are distracted at work.
Tara Newman: Yep, 100% agree on all of those things. You and I know that we could be going on for three more hours, so let’s roll us out of here. What do you want people to take away from the conversation around ethical business practices, ethical marketing, whatever you want to call it, and capitalism? What are some of the takeaways that you would like them to focus on?
Jacquette Timmons: I think on the ethical side, I would say when you hear people talking about it, really listen with an ear of “That is one perspective, it’s not a prescription and it’s not a prescription that I have to take as prescribed.” Not necessarily with a grain of salt but take it as more information to add to your toolkit and you get to determine how much of whatever is said in the new ethical business and marketing landscape, how much of that you want to intentionally integrate into your body of work. That’s what I would say on the ethical piece.
In terms of the capitalism piece, and I guess it’s connected to the ethical, is do good. I know that’s not proper English but just do right by people, do right by the people that you serve, do right by the people that you hire or the people that even hire you. Just remember that when it comes to capitalism, it is an ecosystem and everybody is selling their wares—and I don’t mean to diminish anything—but everybody is selling their wares, just do it in good consciousness. That’s where I think the connection to the ethical piece comes in. If we do that, then we help to make a contribution, however small, to changing the narrative around capitalism being “bad”. It can be good and we can be examples of how it can be good.
Tara Newman: Excellent.
Jacquette Timmons: What would you say?
Tara Newman: Okay. I would say on the ethical business piece, are you an ethical person? Do you believe you are an ethical person? How do you define ethical? How do you want to be an ethical person in the world? Because I think that I can look at most policies and practices and show you them used for good and the same policy and practice used for not good.
I truly believe it’s the energy from which you’re coming from and the intention in which you have. Now sometimes, we have good intentions and we have a crappy impact. Are you the person who is going to repair a negative impact that you’ve had unintentionally? That to me is ethical. I really want to put everybody’s focus really back on themselves, trusting themselves, and knowing themselves, and to question things.
If you have questions about that, to Jacquette’s point, seek diverse guidance. As far as capitalism is concerned, and I love what Jacquette says, do right. Be conscious, do right in the world, do good in the world. For women, I want to say, but first do right by you. First do good with your money by you.
Because when you put your oxygen mask on first, when you understand what your enough is, when you understand what you want to do with more than enough, this consciousness, this intentionality, this discernment, that is then what you can take out into the rest of the world.
Because what I see some women doing is feeling the need to go and make an impact first on others and they’re spraying their money everywhere because they don’t understand how money works, how to manage it, how to set themselves up for success so that then everything else and everyone else they touch will be successful in the same light that they have achieved that success.
I do want to say do right by you so you can do right by others. All right, Jacquette, thank you for coming. Because I know people are going to be like, “We love that woman, Jacquette,” because I love you, where can they find you?
Jacquette Timmons: Oh, my goodness. Thank you. I love you too. They can find me if they want to follow me on social, on Instagram. I love me some Instagram so you can search for me there. Then if you want to check out my website, you can check out jacquettetimmons.com.
Tara Newman: Thank you so much for coming on, friend.
Jacquette Timmons: Oh, my goodness, my dear, thank you. I really, really, really appreciate our time together.