How Generous Can You Be And Still Make A Living?

Since co-hosting the ever-generous Jill Konrath on The Business Of Authority podcast, this question has been rattling around in my brain:

How generous can you be and still make a living?

Jill’s approach is fully baked, field-tested by a master and most definitely worth a complete listen here.

As I soaked on our episode, I realized that this question—asked in many different forms—comes up in almost every client engagement.

Can I afford to pull away a bit from delivering client work/running the business to building for the future?

If I spend (fill-in-the-blank) hours developing content to give away, will I still have enough time to do paid client work?

How do I balance my need for paid work now with developing my future audience?

How do I decide what to give away—and to whom?

The good news: if you’re clear on your message and your sweet-spot audience PLUS how your services and products fill their needs, you’ve got this.

Take “Chris”, the CEO of a search business. He is the epitome of busy, running a team of in-house recruiters and managing a very healthy six-figure bottom line.

And yet, he’s unfailingly generous with his time and insights to those just getting started in his niche. He’ll make introductions, and sometimes take on some career coaching for the especially bright and curious types he resonates with.

He’s the same way with candidates who don’t make the cut in a search. Just because it didn’t work with this client, doesn’t mean the relationship should end. He has a “sticky” system for keeping in touch that produces not a database, but a pool of talented pros that will take his call.

Chris can do this without feeling guilty about his time investment in part because he’s crystal-clear on his target clients and the go get ‘em types he places in high level jobs.

But it’s more than that.

He’s genuinely interested in people and so his generosity leans to helping one-to-one (I’m pretty sure that if his business disappeared tomorrow, he’d still be offering his help to those who cross his path).

But your interests may lie elsewhere.

What do you care deeply about?

Who do you find intriguing enough to want to help?

Those will be your first clues to where you can be authentically, pleasurably generous.

Because make no mistake—being generous feels really good.

Jill Konrath talks about salespeople in a way that makes you believe she would walk on hot coals to help them.

She’s authentically generous to her audience. So is Chris. And I’m willing to bet you are too.

But if you’re struggling to find the right balance between commerce and generosity, do give this episode a listen, (especially at minute 22 for an idea that you might not have considered).

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