Is it possible to make money AND do good?
Over the last month I met a number of women entrepreneurs, social entrepreneurs and philanthropists, all of whom were building careers, businesses and projects centered around helping other people and making a difference in their lives.
Yet, I noticed something fascinating. It seemed that the more a woman wanted to contribute to the world, the more she seemed to be struggling financially.
Its a problem we see the world over. People ‘doing good’ who earn less. When I left my investment banking job and moved into the world of ethical finance – to an investment fund looking to make both social and financial returns – I was met with the same incredulous response time and time again – ‘Is it really possible to make money and do good in the world?’
Making Money and Doing Good
Apart from the obvious paradox this question implies (if we’re not making money from ‘doing good’, then what are we making money from – doing ‘bad’?), I want to show you how much in today’s economy, this belief has become an outdated one. The truth is that, whilst for much of the twentieth century, knowledge (and power) was concentrated in the hands of the few, the reality of today’s socio-economic system is different. People from all walks of life are waking up to the desire to not only improve the quality of their own lives, but also the knowledge of how to seek out the information and expertise that will allow them to do so. Simultaneously, there has been an explosion of new systems and structures – from the internet and social media, through to information and service-based businesses – which allows for the packaging and selling of valuable information and its distribution all over the world. It is a true ‘new’ economy, of the likes we have never seen before. If you have a specific need or problem, the chances are that someone, somewhere in the world has figured out an answer, and that there is a way for you to access it. Its an exciting time.
The Money ‘Hex’
In working with this budding breed of ‘new paradigm’ entrepreneurs – supporting them to package and sell the information and services they have accumulated over the course of their lives and careers, and then build business models to effectively communicate that across the global marketplace – there is one problem that I see time and time again. It is a threshold across which every successful new paradigm entrepreneur must cross, and it relates to their own relationship with money.
It is estimated that the field of information and service-based businesses, is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. From six-figure lifestyle businesses, to Inc 500|5000 companies, there are plenty of entrepreneurs shattering the myth that making money isn’t compatible with doing good. Yet many of us still carry a wound inside of ourselves that relates to the question of making money. Its origins are varied and complex, but in short, we too often confuse how we feel about ourselves (am I good enough? do I deserve?) with an understanding of what it means to offer something of value to another, and receive something in return.
The basis of an economic transaction is a good (and is that not what we call them – goods and services?) We offer a service, or something of value to someone, and we receive renumeration in return. In any relationship there must be a balance or flow, otherwise the relationship breaks down. So too in a transaction – if it is not balanced and even, then before long it will break down. If you want to be of service in the world and offer what you do, you must be appropriately renumerated for it – otherwise you won’t be able to do it for very long.
Is this you…?
If you are a women entrepreneur that is struggling financially, I would urge you to look closely at Tolstoy’s quote, and examine at what level – in order for you to really and truly impact the community that you desire to serve – you must first and foremost heal your own relationship with money. If you are giving something of value, then proper flow can only be established when something is given back in return. Any other approach does not lead to a full and thriving career helping others – it leads to rapid depletion, and worse than that - it hinders the flow of information exchange on the global marketplace. Without mastering this issue, people in need will not have access to what they need and want. No relationship can survive on an unequal footing – and nowhere more so than a transaction-based one where the value of the exchange is plain for all to see.
If this is you, and you would like to learn about how you can join the ranks of new paradigm entrepreneurs successfully making a living positively impacting the world, then please email Charlotte at email@example.com to find out more.
Until next time!