About six months ago, a reader of mine got in touch with me about a website. She had aspirations of becoming a professional speaker and needed a brand to support that. After chatting for about a half hour, the casually mentions that she was a participant in an internship program with Seth Godin and that he was going to be unveiling the product of their work together in three days.
And she had no website.
So, to recap… the one and only Seth Godin was about to put a gazillion eyes on her in three days and she had no website. Not even a crappy one.
She also had almost no budget.
So I did what any good Godin Worshiper would do:
I dropped everything and pulled together a website for her in 24 hours for almost no money.
Because when an opportunity like that knocks… even if it’s for someone else, you fucking answer it.
Because SETH GODIN.
And because she didn’t ask me to.
She wasn’t desperate. Or scrambling. Or begging for rescue. She had already decided that this one would just pass her by. And she was unbelievably gracious about the whole thing.
She had almost zero input on the design. But she trusted me. And it came out great.
She paid me what she could afford at that moment, with the promise that when she was on more solid ground, we would create a bigger, splashier, snazzier version for ‘real’ money.
I didn’t do it because of the promise of more down the road. As a policy, this is just not what I do. I don’t work for the promise of promotion either. Feels too much like giving someone an IOU in lieu of a birthday gift.
I did it because she needed it. And I trusted her. And I was impressed by her. And I wanted to be in HER orbit.
Fast forward to a couple of months ago.
She sends me an email letting me know that she had gotten a really amazing job offer that she couldn’t refuse, and would no longer need to create her own empire, but…
Wait for it…
She wanted to honor her promise.
So she asked of there was a way she could pay it forward somehow. Like, if there was a project she could invest in somehow to keep her original agreement with me.
I was floored. I told her I would keep my eyes open and let her know if something came up.
Then, last week, I get a new client inquiry for a website. It was a referral from my generous friend.
New client needed a site, but had a significant budget shortfall.
So I asked Generous Friend. I told her that I wasn’t sure how much New Client would need exactly, but that $2k seemed like about right. And if there was surplus, I would use it for other clients who had needs that their pocket books couldn’t reach.
She asked where she should send the check.
Just like that.
And I think we both did a happy dance.
She was over-the-moon that I found a way for her to close the loop on a commitment she made.
And I was over-the-moon because, HOLY WOW, right?!?
I have always wanted my business to be a catalyst for people to help each other. And the nature of my client base [mostly those who are just getting off the ground or who are reaching for something new] means that cool projects often have a tough time beginning due to lack of funds.
So this is a starting point.
As of now, Generous Client’s funds will be seed money for an ongoing Pay It Forward fund. Visitors to my site will have the option to contribute however much they like to it. Funds will go into a separate account and will be used to help cool people do cool things.
This is not a marketing tool.
I will not be publicizing those who receive benefits unless they request that their story be told. The point is not to tell the world about this. The point is to help others do good work.
With that in mind, I will match every dollar that’s contributed. You give $10, I give $10 worth of my [and my team’s] time on whatever project benefits – essentially doubling the value of each contribution.
What do contributors get?
You get to support an emerging community of entrepreneurs who believe in helping each other. Nothing more, nothing less.
And one more thing…
I love you guys.