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Being careful about working in the gift

While most of the people I’ve talked to about how I’m now working in the gift have been very supportive and excited about it, there have been some who have cautioned me about working with the gift economy. They’ve felt that because there may be some out there who would selfishly take advantage of my gifts, that it’s better to just ask for money instead.

I know they mean well, and they care about me, but to me, that’s like saying, “Some of the people in your life might not appreciate the gifts you give them, so it’s better to never give them gifts at all. Ask them for the money!”

Which reminds me of Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire, yelling “SHOW ME THE MONEY!”

Working in the gift is not a place to go if you’re fearful of not having enough money in your life.

It’s obviously not for everyone, because a lot of people need that comfort zone of knowing how much money they’re likely to get in exchange for their products or service. It gives them comfort that they know what to expect.

But I don’t care about that. I don’t mind putting my faith in the universe to deliver to me what I need, as and when I might need it. It’s a rough ride, but I have faith in where it’s taking me.

It’s a new way of thinking – certainly for me, but also for all those who want to participate in the gift economy. Not just to have faith in the universe to deliver, but to have faith in other people.

I like forcing myself to have faith in other people, and I LOVE putting that out there in the universe.

But I’m mindful of the cautions that I’m receiving from those who care about me. I know that there will be those that want to take advantage of the gifts other people give them, and give nothing in return.

Working in the gift does not mean that I work for free, or that I give my work away without care. It means that people trust me to build them a website, and I trust them to support my work as they believe fair – Adrian Hoppel, This guy stopped charging clients and he has zero regrets

It’s in my interests to make sure I work only with those I feel I can trust. It’s through communicating with them and interacting with them that I can feel that they are trustworthy – or that they’re not.

How can you tell if someone might want to take advantage of you? By listening to them. If they ask questions that suggest they’re looking for ways to exercise selfishness instead of gratitude, then you don’t have to work with them.

Potential client: “So you’ll give your work to me as a gift? So I don’t need to pay anything?”

Me: “It would be appreciated that you provide a gift in return, as a gesture of your gratitude for the work that I do for you.”

Potential client: “Yeah, but it’s a gift, so I don’t really have to pay you anything, right? And you’d still do the work for me?”

Me: “I don’t think we’ll be a good match for working together. All the best finding someone else. Bye.”

You’ll probably be interested in working with the gift economy if the concept is something that aligns with your own values. If you like the idea of moving away from the traditional model that focuses on exchanging money for services or products and moving towards a new model that focuses on building relationships, then this is something that will greatly appeal to you.

And in the same light, you’ll want to work with clients that value developing relationships rather than just focusing on money.

Any potential client that tries to insist on you giving them a fixed price instead of working with gifts will be a client you won’t want to work with. If they can’t handle the idea of receiving and giving gifts because they don’t trust you or they don’t value what you could do for them, then you won’t be able to handle working with them. Your experiences with them will be negative.

Understanding your values in this manner is important when you’re presenting yourself to people who may or may not be potential clients. Instead of presenting ‘the cheapest price’, you need to present your values and the quality they can expect from you.

Make sure you listen closely to your potential clients and avoid those that will try to take advantage of you.

You will get clients that align with your values, and you’ll develop rewarding and fulfilling business relationships with them. It might take some effort though, but don’t be afraid to work hard at developing a life and a lifestyle that aligns with your deepest values.

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