Update: I have now been introduced to the world of Patreon which is basically everything I wrote below except perfect for creative minds. How cool is it when things like this are discovered?
Become a Patron!
In my empowerment coaching, I’ve crossed over into a new area that initially makes people very uncomfortable. It’s taking what is widely-known as a sensitive topic and shifting our mindset from “need” to “encouragement” within its realm:
I’m advocating for every single person in this world to have a donation button or platform, for no other reason than to let people freely support them.
Not because of a need, not to raise money for a particular cause, but simply to let people financially give to them as an encouragement to keep doing what they’re doing.
How much does your mind immediately want to throw shade at that?
Let me go back to how this first started.
A few years ago, a co-worker told me about a meeting she had with a young girl in the missions field. The girl had explained the work she was doing and asked if my coworker would commit to financially supporting her efforts. In exchange, the girl would keep my coworker and all her other supporters updated on her continued work in the field. In short, she was asking others to pay her salary for doing what she felt called to do. My coworker believed in the impact this girl was making, so signed up to donate a certain amount a month.
My first thought was: WOW. How amazing is that? This girl gets to do what she loves since other people support her. Wow.
Because this is the thing…
Would we all do more of what we were passionate about if we were bold enough to openly seek the financial support needed to bring it to fruition?
Money is a sensitive topic for many people. We aren’t supposed to know other people’s salaries (even though we’re curious). Asking what someone makes is rude. Talking about how much money we have is tacky. Tension, competition, and heavy emotions are the gas dousing any conversation about money, and the people involved are lit matches in a game of chicken to see who will be the first to burn too closely and cause the explosion.
On my Instagram page, I once had a post that listed that the average author only makes seventy-five cents to two dollars per book sold. It’s the reality of my dream job: it doesn’t pay much, but it fulfills my soul to do it. Within an hour, seven people stopped following me. I’ve never had that happen so quickly before. People really hate talking about money. (Unless it’s about them making more.)
Did you know Harper Lee’s friends gave her a year’s worth of salary to encourage her to quit her job and write her book? They wanted her to have time to do what she was put into this world to do: write. We may not have had To Kill a Mockingbird without that generous gift. This isn’t a brand new concept. Gifts, tips, donations — whatever you want to call it. It’s people supporting other people.
I enjoy giving to charities, but I love even more giving to specific people who I want to support. There’s something about that personal connection, about believing in what they’re doing so much that I want to be a part of it, I want them to keep going, I want to give them the financial freedom to keep at it and not let money be yet another thing that holds them back from making the impact they were called to make.
YouTube has it figured out already with their donation option for its various channels. If you really love what someone is doing on their YouTube channel, you can sign up to donate to them.
How cool is that?
It doesn’t matter if they’re a professional, an amateur, or are just playing around on YouTube, if you love what they’re doing, you can financially support them and tell them, “I believe in you. Keep it up.”
When my former coworker told me about the missions girl in the story above, it made my heart ache for a world that operated in such a way; a world that really believes in supporting the people who go after their dreams. Because collecting the strength to buck the expected life route to chase what initially feels like an elusive dream is scary and risky — but also liberating and a high unlike anything else once attained.
When it finally clicked in my mind that people supporting me is okay, my entire perspective on donations changed. Instead of viewing money as scary and acting as though I don’t want it (when we all do), I learned to see the transfer of money from one person to another in a donation, tip, or gift format as an amazing and intimate exchange. Something to celebrate and rejoice in, not hide from.
So I finally did something I had once only thought about as a joke: I added a donation button on my website. People can now donate money to me.
At first, I was amazed that such a tiny little button and action could cause me to have a darn-near panic attack. I’m an introvert through and through (and although an author, I’m definitely not Harper Lee) so exposing myself in such a vulnerable way by sticking out my hand for passing donations is terrifying. I’m the type who will give my stuff away for free before I ask for money, regardless of its value.
But I want to be able to freely create/chase my life mission with financial freedom. Isn’t that the dream?
I had to get over my pride, get over my fears about money, and stop seeing it in the way it gets painted — like an evil desire in this world instead of the truth: beautiful, necessary, and beneficial.
I won’t lie. I’ve had a few weak moments where I’ve wavered and was tempted to take the donation button off. It’s wholly uncomfortable, this idea of essentially asking for money to do my dream job with financial support from others. The doubts kick in. I don’t want someone to feel obligated to donate to me. I don’t want to look like I’m begging. Does it make me less professional? Will people mock it? (And a voice in the back of my mind still screams at me, “This is tacky,” before I have to point out that it has the wrong worldview, not me.)
But then I ask myself, would I want to be able to support other people in such a way?
When I know people are authentically passionate about what they’re doing, I would love to financially support them because it brings me a little more into their world, a contribution to encourage them to keep doing whatever it is that has blessed my life in some way, whether that’s a direct impact of what they’ve chosen to do or just simply knowing that they found their calling. I love it when you can tip indie musicians or artists or a service provider or anyone at all doing exactly what they are meant to do. Those are usually somewhat expected. But what about the rest of the world who are also on the right track?
Knowing what you’re passionate about is such a big, big thing. I can’t tell you the number of people I talk to who don’t know that part of themselves and wish that they did. Then you have another group who knows what they’re passionate about and want to pursue, but they don’t want to take the risks associated, which in many ways is even more heartbreaking than not knowing what the dream is at all.
Would more people take the risk and pursue their dreams if they knew the possibility of true financial support existed? That perhaps they would indeed be okay by going after exactly what they want to do in this life?
I would love for EVERY SINGLE PERSON in this world to have a donation button. I want to be able to give someone money anytime I feel inclined and not have it be an awkward encounter. To not let them have a chance to push it away or to say I don’t need to do that.
YES I DO.
Because I believe in you, I believe in what you’re doing. I want to support you and help you with what you need to keep going and to never ever give up.
When you shift your mindset to view financial donations/tips/gifts no longer as charity toward you, but instead as a method to build a tribe of wonderful people who desire to help and support you with what you’re doing in this life, a rise of empowerment happens within. Your value, self-worth, and dreams become more concrete, real, and tangible once other people are able to contribute to the collective energy that breathes life into a dream. This is why I encourage everyone I work with to have a donation button or platform that others can freely access without any associated shame or hesitation.
Please have a donation button. Somewhere. Because you never know who may want to encourage you to keep doing exactly what you’re doing.