The model of Paying it Forward in business can be done, read about it here. The challenge is balancing the spirit and action of paying it forward while satisfying your personal needs and/or requirements.
How viable is Paying it Forward in your Business Model?
If you are working in an organization that pays you an ongoing salary, it is easier to pay it forward. Lending your support or expertise does not dilute your earning power. Conversely, for the business owner or consultant, paying it forward requires more consideration.
The viability of how often you can pay it forward will depend on how much band width you have to help others vs. your need to generate cash flow – especially you offer assistance is in your area of expertise. There are alternatives.
Pay it Forward without Hurting Yourself
An easier way to pay it forward is to do offer help in areas that are not part of your core business model. For example, my core services include executive career coaching and team development. I am also known as a techie girl.
Sometimes, I get requests for help on WordPress or Social Media and offer my expertise without charging a fee. I have been told I could create a viable business, but I have not (as of yet) marketed myself in that space. This is my way to pay it forward without impacting my business model. Think about the other talents you have that may be beneficial to others.
You may think – is it acceptable for me to every offer my core services? Yes, offer your services for special situations – whether it is a cause you feel personally connected to or someone who you want to lend assistance. Remember though to honor your personal commitment to avoid letting it affect your business.
Paying it Forward: How Often?
When and how often you should pay it forward will depend on the amount of time you have available and how important it is to you. Don’t let timing become a show-stopper, sometimes the little things you do can translate into something significant for someone else.
Is there a time not to Pay it Forward?
If you find yourself being asked for favors all the time by the same person, you do have to ask yourself if someone is being a taker in the relationship. Most takers do not practice the pay if forward model. Personally, this is one situation I would avoid.
The second situation is to evaluate how it affects your ability to make a living. One of the most difficult things for a business owner or consultant to do is to set a price for their services and to ask for clients to pay it. If you give your services away for free all the time, no one will recognize your expertise in the marketplace. When you take care of yourself, it becomes easier to help others.