Many of my clients feel unhappy in their corporate jobs because they want to be of service in the world. They want to do good. But, is it a good idea to focus on charity immediately after leaving your job?

So today we are talking about how to do good in the world and feel like you are making it a better place.

 

What’s the best way to go about this?

First up, I totally understand the desire to jump from one end of the spectrum to the other. When I left banking, one of the first roads I pursued was in the charity sector. I interned at an international women’s rights charity for free, and I applied for various International Development Masters programmes. I was sick of wasting my time helping hedge funds save 1% on their fees or restructure their legal entities - I wanted to be a force for good in the world.

Now, there is nothing wrong with working for an NGO. Grassroots work in the field is absolutely key to being a force for change. Many people, my friends included, put their lives on the line in war torn and poverty stricken areas to try to alleviate suffering.

But if you are really serious about effecting change in the world, is this the right path for you to take?

 

1. Understand your value system

Number one, understand what is really important to you. For me, my priority is always going to be my (future) family. I have always known that I want to get married and live together and have kids and be a ‘normal’ family. That gets harder to do when you are posted to Mali or Afghanistan. Number two to me is also financial stability, for myself and for my parents and future children. I want to be able to offer them what they need.

Be really honest with yourself here. Realistically speaking, would you be happy long term living without a certain level of financial affluence? Would you sacrifice other personal commitments or goals? There is zero honour in being a martyr.

 

2. Find your passion or or purpose and run with it

While it was not always evident to me, women’s equality and freedom has always been very important to me. That’s the avenue I chose to direct my charitable work to; I always ended up mentoring women at work; I always got annoyed with double standards and ‘glass ceiling’ effect of large alpha male corporations.

But once I understood that passion, running with it created the most optimal outcome for me. I created a business and a movement which puts women’s freedom at the fore front.

 

3. See the bigger picture

Where can you effect more change, by working in a bureaucratic charity, or by creating wealth that you can direct to whatever cause you desire? I’ve experienced charities, and they are exceptionally bureaucratic and slow. If you’re coming from a corporation, expect to feel hindered in any action taking you wish to do.

Secondly, these organisations take a lot of money to run. Even with the tiny salaries they pay, sometimes as much as 40% of donations go just to admin. It didn’t sit right to me to be paid for charity work - I’d rather earn money elsewhere and donate money more directly.

 

4. Discover the Win-Win

I run a for-profit business, but that doesn’t mean I can’t be of service in the world. My premium prices allow me to take on less clients, which allows me time to generate significant amounts of free content to be used by women whether they have the ability to pay or not. 

Because my business income comes in chunks, it’s a more organised way to run a business. It frees up my energy to be more dedicated to my clients; be more inspired to write new content; have time to learn and improve my own skills, which I can then pass on to clients - and I get to live how I want. It’s a win-win all round.

 

5. Leverage your impact

By running a leveraged business, you can remove the need to work ‘dollars for hours’. With group programmes it’s almost the same amount of work to enrol 2 people as to enrol 200. But obviously, when 200 sign up there is more income. 

This means two things for charity: #1, You have more time and energy to dedicate to not-for-profit activities. #2: You are earning way more money than you would be if you worked in the charity sector. That way, youcan donate more resources because of your for-profit business.

I’m actually taking this even further by looking at how I could even start a non-profit of my own down the line. Because I have a for-profit business, it gives me so much more flexibility in being able to effect real change in the world as I’m not struggling for money or time.

 

YOUR NEXT STEP

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