I have a faraway friend who has a neurological condition, call it “Condition XYZ”, who is also an entrepreneur. My friend is super talented, but struggles to earn a decent living, just like many of us creative entrepreneurs.
One day, a support group for “Condition XYZ” required valuable time and advice from my friend, and never offered any kind of financial compensation for my friend’s efforts. Worse, they made my friend feel guilty for even asking for ANY amount of money.
As a public speaker and self-published author, I’ve also experience this. People who expect free hard copies of my books in order to review them, refusing a free digital format. People who expect me to show up and play music for free at various expos, not even offering transportation there and back.
Really? It’s like that is it?
If Disabled Entrepreneurs can’t even get a little bit of money from groups who are paid to be supporting US, we’re in deep trouble. Instead of going on and on about unfair all of this is, here’s list of suggestions.
To Non-Profit Groups:
- Understand that we Disabled Entrepreneurs DESERVE to get paid for our expertise and advice. You come to us asking for our advice, so don’t make us feel guilty for being professional. Our time is our money, just like yours.
- Get creative if you really can’t pay us. Help us advertise our business on your website or in social media.
- Trade services with us. (Bartering is great!)
- Write a check to us for the hours we worked, and we will sign it over to your non-profit as a donation. We get to claim a tax credit, and the non-profit gets their money back: Win-win!
Now on to a tiny bit of advice you can send to ORGANIZERS of events for Disabled Entrepreneurs: Ask them to waive the cost of a “vendor table” for Disabled Entrepreneurs. We often don’t make that much money, and, the for-profit companies we compete with have a very unfair advantage, in many ways.
To help pay for event expenses, ask organizers instead to charge an entry fee that becomes partially redeemable at the event to purchase from Disabled Entrepreneurs. Say for example, a ticket would cost $10: $2 goes to the event, and each ticket would be worth $8 towards any purchase from a Disabled Entrepreneur.
While meeting people is always nice, making money is also excellent. Charging a redeemable entry fee would reduce time-wasting non-buyers, and make it easier for us to spend more quality time with actual paying customers.
Of course, this idea could be tweaked, but I think it can be a win-win.