Professionals in service-based businesses or vision-driven nonprofits can get really squishy about money. It can feel uncomfortable or out of alignment with your purpose or your organization’s mission to be profit motivated or focused on making money.
However, if your business doesn’t make a profit, you probably won’t have a business for long, which means you won’t be doing your good work in the world.
Or, you’ll stay in business and not pay yourself, which will make you cranky and unproductive.
Your thoughts about money are formed in your early years and usually from your family of origin. There can be some really wonky ideas floating around in your head from childhood like “Money is the root of all evil.”
This belief isn’t motivating at all. In fact, this belief could cause you to tank your business.
Ditto for thinking all rich people are self-involved jerks. Why would you strive to be one if you believed that?
You also can bump into low self-esteem issues around not feeling like what you’re doing is special or unusual, and therefore not asking for (or not accepting) appropriate payment for your good work. (Think VALUE vs. hours or cost to create.)
In short, if you don’t feel valuable in the world (i.e., have low self-esteem), you will not value your products or services appropriately.
Michael Port once said your pricing should be just high enough that you feel a little uncomfortable saying it. (I could swear he said it should make you throw up in your mouth a little.)
I think this is right – especially for women – who tend to undervalue themselves even more than men do.
Here’s Carol Roth’s take on it from a vintage blog post.
Even if “the Benjamins” aren’t your main motivator, they can help you achieve whatever is…
One of the trends that continues to pop up in my discussions with entrepreneurs is that they are motivated by something other than profits. The good news is that you can still be motivated by meaning or purpose and think big.
I spoke with an entrepreneur recently who had a very valuable service offering to help people save time. Quite a purpose, as most of us could use a lot more of that! She wasn’t motivated by profits, she just wanted to help people and earn a living. “Good,” I told her, “by growing your company and training others to deliver your service, you can help an exponentially larger number of people. And if you don’t care about the extra money coming in from that, you can bonus your staff, give it to charity or burn it.”
If you are really motivated by a higher purpose, then generating increased profits can help you achieve that goal. You don’t personally have to keep all of the profits (unless you have equity investors that say you do); you can choose to do whatever you want with the profits at the end of the day, but stay focused on having a cash-generating business model to supercharge your purpose.