Being in business is one of the most thrilling, self-actualizing, independance-building rides you’ll ever experience. Being a business owner can also be one of the most stressful “jobs” you can have when success or failure is completely on your own shoulders.
Women, I think, have it especially tough. Being the natural-born givers and nurturers that they are, they will often bargain with their value in business—giving freebies, giving discounts… giving, giving, doing and doing until they have nothing left for themselves.
Healthy giving starts with taking care of ourselves first in business. It’s especially smart to never bargain with our value by giving away the very products and services that are the lifeblood of our business existence. So what can those who have the giving gene do that won’t be detrimental to their business health? Lots!
1. Keep your business out of it. Let’s face it, giving and doing for others just feels great! But that doesn’t mean your giving needs to be in the context of business. Respect the value of your products and services. Save your giving for non-business activities and ways that don’t have you working for free and bargaining away the value of your products and services. As Suze Orman says, “YOU are not on sale!”
2. Success affords you more to give. Remember, the more successful your business, the more you will be able to give via those other avenues without devaluing or sacrificing the things that earn your living.
3. Give a gift. Send someone an online gift certificate. Have a coffee or flowers delivered. For no special reason other than to make someone’s day and let them know that someone (you!) is thinking of them and appreciates them.
4. Do a favor. Know someone who is more harried than usual? If time is something you have to give, offer to run some errands for them. Or maybe you’re a closet chef. Why not send over a home-cooked meal for their family one night?
5. Say something nice to someone. Acknowledge a trait, talent or effort you appreciate about someone. Tell those who have helped you how much their knowledge and support mean to you. Who knows, they might just really need to hear it that day. Better yet, say it publicly if at all possible so more people can chime in. We can all use those atta-boys and atta-girls whenever and wherever we can get them!
6. Volunteer at a charitable organization or community service agency. Many run on a shoestring and will appreciate any effort you can give.
7. Give year-round. Don’t wait until the holidays to help those less fortunate. Your local agencies and churches will be full of good ideas for ways you can give or be involved in making a real, meaningful difference in someone’s life.
RESOURCE: Want to raise money for a certain cause? ChipIn.com is a no-cost service that let’s you create a custom online widget that shows the financial goal, amount raised so far, and more information about the cause. Donations are handled automatically via PayPal so it couldn’t be easier and simpler!