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Why Work for Free

We learned a lot about laws as we grew up

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In science class we learned about Newton’s Law of Gravity. Later, we learn about the laws of government in social studies. And when we were earning our driver’s license, we even laws of the road.

But one law many of us never learned was the law of reciprocity which states, what you give out to the world will come back to you.

When Lisa and I began our treatment and healing centers, we built our entire mission around that philosophy. And even though we fully believed we were building something special that could help people, we still struggled to get clients into our clinic. It was testing our very souls.

That’s when we remembered one of Robert’s principles we learned from CASHFLOW Quadrant, work for free.

Work to learn, then to earn

We were all about healing with dignity and respect. If we truly believed in that reason as our “why,” then shouldn’t that be the first commitment in building our clientele?

We started a free 24-hour helpline for anyone requesting information about drugs, alcohol, and addiction. It was incredibly satisfying to share what we knew and help others. We quickly realized that the more we gave, the more the universe would provide.

Lisa and I split the workload between us each taking 12-hour shifts. After a few months, the calls started to come in more frequently. So much so, in fact, that we found ourselves awakened from sound sleep to help someone in crisis. Though it was difficult to hear the pain in their voices, it was reassuring to us that we were doing the right thing.

What doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger

Each story from parents, spouses, and dear friends, retelling the misery of losing their loved ones to addiction, was all the incentive we needed to keep moving forward. All of them shared how comforting it was connecting with their stories, sharing insights, and revealing how we grew through the experiencing.

Though we were experiencing a rough patch building our first healing center, it was because of those stories that we knew there was a high demand for what we were offering.

Eventually, the helpline took so much time that we were forced to hire people just to answer the growing number of calls requesting marketing material our marketing department was producing for us. What began as a way to help others took on a life of its own. It took a little time, but we began to grow our clientele and with it saw our cash flow start to reverse.

After nine months, we finally had enough positive cash flow that we were able to pay Arvis back with income from our business. By the end of our first full year, were profitable. Lisa was finally able to quit the police department and focus full time on the business.

Knowing our “why” was the key. By living the law of reciprocity through giving without any intention of receiving, we were able to help more people than we ever imagined.

Think about your current situation. What business or social organization are you trying to build? What opportunities exist for you to gain knowledge of your industry while you also allowing you to help others?


If you want to read more about our story, grab a copy of our book The Social Capitalist.

Original publish date: July 23, 2019

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