I want to co-create a world in which everybody has the essentials: nutrient-rich food and water, education and art, (actual) healthcare, and spiritual support.
This requires a Loving-kindness Revolution. And it’s underway. But we best step it up.
I’m in the wisdom broadcasting business. (Relative term.) After I package my devotion into a downloadable product, I’ve got an opportunity to nudge the revolution—with my pricing policy.
As an entrepreneur who’s in love with this planet, I want my pricing to be an act of stewardship—and feminism. Joyfully personal and political. I’m only a micro speck in the macro of economics, but I’m here to make it count.
. . .
A SOCIAL EXPERIMENT IN GENEROUS, TRUSTING HUMANS
(It works both ways)
I was signing books after an event and a woman stepped up and handed me a $100 bill. “I promised I’d pay you back. A few years ago.” I looked perplexed. “You ran a ‘pay what you can’ event. I paid $50 for your $150 business course, and I told you that when I had my business running, I’d pay you what it was really worth.” We both burst into tears. (I donated the $100 to V-Day.)
About ten years ago I ran my first “Pay What You Can” Day for my birthday and it turned into a beautiful social experiment. At that time, I was handling almost everything on my own. Blog posting, design, transferring money to and from Paypal when I needed to pay rent. That morning, feeling all Happy-Birthday-Girl, I sent the “pay what you can” message to my subscribers and headed into a spa appointment. When I surfaced, my phone was melting with messages and deposits. I sat in my old beater of a car and cried.
I learned a lot about people that day. And it wasn’t a novel fluke. I’ve seen the same expressions year after year:
People are wildly expressive with their gratitude when they’re in need. People gave me a peek into their lives with their thank you messages… Swimming in student debt/hospital bills, just left an abusive relationship, single mom on a tight budget, just… struggling. Thank you for including me. Being on the receiving end of that appreciation changes how you look at commerce, “customers,” and community.
Note: Gratitude is an elevated state of consciousness.
Generosity is a natural behaviour. When people are healthy and have enough of what they need—which is everyone’s birthright—they naturally want to give of what they have. With every pay what you wish event that I’ve had, a “pay it forward” phenomenon happens. Women pay double the retail value and ask us to give the product to another person who needs it. One year, a generous buyer specifically requested that we give our ebooks to women in prison. Recipients have asked to be connected to the givers to say thank you. It’s empowering in all directions.
Giving inspires more giving. A lawyer told me she was “inspired to take on more pro bono work.” Dozens of online ‘preneurs told us they’d be doing pay what you wish programs. And I guarantee you, when you witness the results of your generosity, you won’t think, “Alright, how can I give less now?” You’ll be wanting to give even more.
On the whole, people are honest. I received mailed cheques and dollar bills months after the fact. One woman sent me a cheque over a year later with an apology note for not paying more online. (I recycled the check, no apology necessary.) “When I get my first coaching client I’ll pay you more,” many people promised. And they did.
And yes, the odd turkey paid $1 for a $100 value. Hey, maybe that’s all they had on their credit card. Whatever. I’d say there’s only one unscrupulous low baller per fifty virtuous people.
Note on the net: I didn’t lose money. I didn’t hit the jackpot. I made a reasonable amount for the value and work my team and I put in.
. . .
Next week, it’s my birthday. (Ink it: May 25.) I’m rolling out Pay What You Wish for all of my digital situations: meditation kits, ebooks, audios. (I can’t do this for printed books because of the cost of goods and shipping.)
If it’s viable—meaning, we keep making payroll and our charity promises—then we will keep doing business this way… a continuous Pay What You Wish model. This is an experiment that my whole team hopes will last.
I’m not doing this because I’m rollin’ in surplus cash. This proposition makes my palms sweat a bit. My company is not a charity and we don’t always turn a profit. I need a steady income for myself and our team of seventeen people—which has a mix of kids, pets, ageing parents and community that we care for. But love and risk bring out the best in me, so… let’s roll.
We want to live in a world where Love guides commerce. We hope you’ll step up to the revolution with us. How can you give of what you have? Micro to the macro?
I’ll be writing more soon about Heart Centered business, and more Divinely Feminine approaches. Please stay around.
May 25. See you here.
I’m not sure where this will go, but I know it’s the way forward.