Making money is the differentiator between a hobby business and a professional business. When I started my business, I had lousy money mindset and just kept thinking that I wanted to help people (forget making money, that is not as important). I had many money hang ups and didn’t want to be thought of (and think of myself as) being money hungry. Yikes.
I realize now, that making money means that I can allow my business to provide for my family, invest in others’ businesses as they join my team, and allows my business to give back to the world. To me, that feels like success. I’ve weaved giving back and intentional investments into the Reina + Co business.
Even if you’re making little money in your business, you can start to think of what is important to you and set forth to make an impact. Once you decide and make a plan, it’s easier to move forward.
The 5 Year Story of the Reina + Co Pencils of Promise School
Building a school in Guatemala was on my bucket list shortly after I started Reina + Co. But I wasn’t making a lot of money at the beginning so I parked that $35,000 idea as a “revisit in 5 year goal. A year after I started my business, I was challenged to think about what would happen if I started to contribute 5 percent of the money we earned toward a fund that we put toward the $35k needed. Whether it was $10 or $5000, 5% was just that. We started in earnest to build our school within the 5 year time span that I had arbitrarily set for myself. We decided to contribute 10% and have been setting aside the money. We’re hoping to get there before 2 years!
How Can I Start to Contribute to a Cause?
1. Decide on a cause that’s important to you
For us, our Pencils of Promise school was a priority, but you probably have a cause you’re passionate about. Whether it’s the environment, refugee crisis relief, military, animal rescue, educating girls in STEM, whatever is close to your heart, lean into that. Decide on one or two organizations you want to help support.
2. Decide how much money (or what percentage you can contribute)
I like to have a specific figure I wanted to hit. A scary goal of $35,000 felt big and audacious and something to work toward. For you, it might be donating your product to a local shelter. It might be creating a sponsorship or a scholarship for a cause you’re passionate about. It can also be an annual goal of a certain amount that you’d like to donate. Nothing is too little, give what you can from what you have.
3. Look for “fringe money”
To whatever extent this is relevant to you, consider contributing these funds toward your cause of choice. Speaking fees, royalties and affiliate income, and other things that you haven’t built into your Financial Projections, you might choose to allocate toward your giving fund. Obviously, this example doesn’t make sense for somebody whose main sources of income is speaking, book or product royalties, or affiliate commissions, but if that isn’t a core part of your business model, you can use this fringe money as a way to contribute more.
We put all of our favorite resources on our website. Some of them are affiliate links (which means we get a small commission for introducing somebody to a product we love!) and will be compensated.
4. Let others support you
Have a birthday coming up? Let your friends, family, and other community members support you by contributing to the giving fund! Any other creative way you can encourage others to give toward your goal, you’ll allow them to feel part of a bigger cause and that their money is making a difference!
5. Donate Your Time
One way that I give back is that I do pro bono coaching for Military Spouses. It’s a cause that is near and dear to my heart and rather than doing non-skilled volunteering, I choose to be in service of spouses who endure the constant strain of supporting a service member. I also do non-skilled volunteering during Memorial Day weekend with a non-profit called Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors to support the family members of our fallen service members.
You can pick a cause that feels in line with your values and choose to do skilled work (like donating your graphic design talents) or non-skilled work (like serving at the soup kitchen).
6. Donate Your Platform
If you have a platform and an audience, you can use it to spread good. Encourage your community to give back, to contribute to a cause, or to volunteer. We all have something to give and the ripple effect is huge if every leader who has an audience chooses to engage her following to do good in the world.
Shop for a Cause with our Pencils of Promise Shop: