I’m an idealist. There’s not a soul out there that makes me lose faith in humanity (well, more or less… don’t get me started on the Westboro Baptist “Church”). I do believe we are all fragile, frail, and failing in general. But I also know that we all want the same things: happiness, peace, and prosperity. When we all want that, then we know instinctively that we should want that for everyone, because it’s just not possible for anyone to have each of those things in isolation from others.
So when I read an article like the one above, I get really introspective. I want to be a generous business owner. I LOVE the idea of working with clients who I believe in and who believe in me. I have a client now who is an excellent person and he pays generously, which makes me eager to help him as often as I can, to the best of my abilities. That’s a win-win situation.
But somehow, deep inside me, I don’t believe I can do that with everyone. Somehow, my past experiences of being a bread-winner for my family, and getting burned on an invoice have hampered my optimism. I read an article like the one above and I think: “That’s great for them, but I could never do that.” Really?! When did I become the cynic?
I want to be generous in life, and that has to include my business. So here’s a few things I’ve been working on to be more generous in my work.
Using My Business to Support a Cause
I pulled this cue from Adam McLane. He regularly contributes to Kiva through his business. With that in mind, I throw my support behind Harbor Orphan Care. I like the idea that my business is helping local San Diego families to adopt or foster children.
Hosting and Creating Websites for Local Non-profits
I’m really happy to be surrounded by great people who do serious work for positive change in our communities. I’m really proud to have gotten free WPE hosting for SDRefugeeTutoring.com and to have built (and re-built!) their site. That I host (through Siteground) and built CityHeights Runners. And that I got free WPE hosting for and built Harbor Orphan Care’s website.
This is a new intiative that I just started this week, and it may or may not happen, so I’ll be a bit vague. There’s a great organization that I’m connected with that helps teens and young adults who had a rough upbringing to place them in internships and eventually work environments. I’m talking with a few folks about taking an intern on. I’m excited about it because it combines my business with my passion for teaching. Trust me, if this comes through, you’ll hear about it plenty here.
What it Means to Give My Work Away
I’m proud of these things, but it’s honestly the LEAST I can do. Does all of this mean I am going to “double my blog income” like the article purports? No way. I don’t do these things in order to beef up my business. I do these things because I am privileged to have a business at all. It’s so easy being a business owner to constantly look at my expenses and think of all those folks who have “made it” and think I am meager and needy. First world problems, folks! I have the privilege of sitting at my computer (which cost a pretty penny itself) and typing stuff, emailing stuff, and people pay me for it.
I really like the article I linked to, and I really encourage you to read it and take it to heart. But I also want to add the caveat that if you are in this business: be thankful. And let that thankfulness show in how you do business.