The Problem With Money and Helping People
helping others money self-worth
The problem with charging people for a service is that it limits who is worthy of being helped.
I've been in the position of being someone who is really passionate about learning a skill, and would make the perfect student, but who cannot afford something. It never felt fair because it suggests that only rich people can be skilled or learned or whatever.
If I believe that people will benefit from learning how to be more in-tune with their bodies, to move with power and grace, then presumably this applies to all people. However, if I charge a lot of money for it, then I'm saying that only people with plenty of disposable income are worth being helped, and I simply don't believe that.
If I don't charge a lot of money for it, then I'm devaluing myself and the importance of what I do.
I know I need to make a living in order to be able to survive so that I can continue to help people, but I can't make that reality fit with my sense that I'm excluding a large number of people who couldn't afford what I'd like to charge (or what I feel I deserve).
How do people reconcile these two issues? Any advice or input would be really helpful right now.
A friend suggested that I not diminish the value of what I offer, but instead find creative ways to help others meet that value. So, if someone doesn't have the money, ask if they have some other way that can fill the difference.
Possible ideas include:
- Referrals: Instead of paying full price, they make up the difference with referrals. If they don't bring in enough referrals, they can't continue training.
- Other services: Everyone's got some kind of expertise. Maybe they can offer something I need in exchange for training.
- Access to networks: The opportunity to present my ideas in front of larger audiences is certainly a valuable exchange.
I guess it relates to having a sense of self-worth, which is ultimately the most important thing you can offer a community. Without it, you end up being consumed and sucked dry, left with nothing to offer. With it, you hold on to enough energy to continue giving.
Photo Credit: stevendepolo on Flickr