Posted in Online Business Building, Virtual Partner, Women Entrepreneurs

The Joys and Pitfalls of Being an Over 50 Woman Entrepreneur


 

Being a life-long woman entrepreneur who is over 50 had me long to do business differently. I’ve always been a go-getter. I have always succeeded at what I did. (eventually)

Suddenly, my pace and way of doing things didn’t fit. I could no longer perform like a 20-year-old and I no longer wanted to. I had to come to terms with the fact that I was a different woman now. I am seasoned, passionate about my career and I am great at what I do. I am in a new class of individuals and while I should feel proud, I was feeling the discomfort of an internal shift. Things needed to change but I couldn’t put my finger on it.

As time passed I stepped back from my full throttle lifestyle and began to observe what was now REAL for me. Much of it came with resistance. Slowing down was really TOUGH for me. Changing my way of doing things was way out of my comfort zone. But eventually, I got a better hold on who I am as a 50 something woman. Each hurdle I ‘survived’ became a sign of relief … one where I look back and say ‘why the heck did I resist THAT?’

Just a few of the areas I was bumping up against were:

  • I was building my business while my friends were winding down – Some entrepreneurs HAVE to work and some are finally getting to do their LiFE’S work. Either way, you may feel a pull when your friends are getting ready to retire and you are still growing. I finally had to admit to myself that even if I had all the money I need to retire, I would still be working and creating. Maybe on a different level, but I do love my work. I recommend that if you feel anything like this that you find a way to feel proud of what you are doing and show it. Confidence is a beauty secret. Own your choice and fully embrace it.
  • I realized that I wanted to do age appropriate business – I was trained as a Salesperson in Real Estate. Before that, I was selling for my Auto Body Repair Shop. I was used to being more aggressive than I am now. It took a while to find my new groove in how I danced with my business. If you are finding that ‘thing’ you used to do but no longer want to do (or shouldn’t LOL) it’s normal. Take time to allow your past you to meet up with your present you and create the future you. I had a lot of great tools from my sales career. All I had to do was blend them with the current me and I was a new and improved person!
  • Connected NOT attached – I must admit, I am still a work in progress in this area. Being from a strong sales background and having a New York accent (no matter how much I try to hide it), it takes a lot for me not to sound like a boiler room salesperson. I could feel so warm and fuzzy on the inside but when my mouth opens I sound like a truck driver. Trying to get both sides of me to sound the same remains a goal for me.

Also, while building relationships first is crucial, the phrase has been so overused that it sounds like such a cliché to me and has lost its power. Do I want to be friends with EVERYONE I do business with? That’s scary. I love people, but I don’t have time to be in a relationship with them all. So, I am now finding my own way to connect authentically and choose well when it comes to who I want to do business with. I am also letting go of being attached to the outcome. It’s the tough part but I love the way it feels. Feeling attached to your outcome? Maybe it’s because you are competitive or just because you must pay bills.  It requires a lot of trust to let that go. Trust in your abilities, trust your worthiness, trust the timing and of course, trust your intention.

  • It’s OK to love and want money – I can’t tell you how many of my clients say ‘I don’t need a lot, I just want to be comfortable’ as if having money is a sin. I personally LOVE money. However, my perspective has changed. I no longer choose money first. I consider myself a Conscious Capitalist. One who doesn’t sell out on their values in order to make a buck. It’s important to find your OWN philosophy on money. There’s a wide range of people telling us how to feel about wealth. Take a look at your own foundational beliefs. Honor the ones that suit you.
  • Can I make it at this age? – My question is not necessarily whether I can MAKE it per se, but can accomplish everything I am passionate about in a reasonable amount of time? Many of my clients question whether they have what it takes to make it in business when they compete with younger competitors. Remember, there are MANY women entrepreneurs who began their successful careers after the age of 50. One of my favorites is Louise Hay. I have included a few great articles below that would support the over 50 Women Entrepreneur. Take a look.

After I began resolving what was holding me back, I began feeling more a part of a rapidly growing industry. Women entrepreneurs over 50 hold a great weight in our economy. We are a HUGE community. People are seeking us out. They respect us and want to do business with us. They TRUST us and the journey we’ve been on to get to where we are. What a wonderful place to be.

I didn’t have to work hard at becoming 50, but I did have to work hard at accepting my new me. I’ve never resisting aging. I love becoming wiser. What I resisted was the pull beyond my control to transform. With acceptance and now willingness to roll with it and enjoy the new ride, I am enjoying it so much more.

I’m writing this today because I can’t imagine that I am the only woman over 50 who feels this way. I have supported women entrepreneurs officially for 11 years. However, I have been coaching them personally for my entire adult life. Whether you are new to entrepreneurship or have been one for years, you have a community to tap into to get support. Joining Facebook pages for women over 50 and LinkedIn Groups are both wonderful way to connect and even network.

Want More?

If you would like to see more articles direct towards supporting Women Entrepreneurs over 50, please sign up to receive this blog and like this post to show your support. Thank you.

One More Thing:

 

 

 

Until next time,

Fran Asaro

Here are a couple of great articles that share about the power of the 50 and over Women Entrepreneur.

Forbes – Why Women entrepreneurs over 50 Hold the Aces

Huffington Post – Why Women Over 50 Make Better Entrepreneurs

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Posted in Business Building, motivation, Organization

The Single Biggest Reason Why Startups Succeed as told by Bill Gross


As a life-long entrepreneur and a Business Coach for Entrepreneurs, the question comes up often as to what makes your business a success or a failure? Is it start-up funding? Is it having the best business plan? You’d be surprised to find out that those two are not at the top of the list of success factors.

Here’s Bill Gross on Ted Talk discussing what the single biggest reason why startups succeed.  I was pleasantly surprised AND it will make a difference in my future endeavors.

Below, comment on what you think were your top reasons for success or failure in business.

Looking for leadership support in growing your Business? Watch this 1-minute video

Posted in Personal Posts from Fran, Random Posts, Thought Provoking

How to Deal with Mean and Negative Comments on Your Posts? (Trolls)


Have you ever had to deal with Trolls? Formally known as Flamers?

This is my story about becoming the victim of trolls, however, the solution is posted at the end.

Trolls or Flamers defined by Wikipedia: In Internet slang, a troll is a person who sows discord on the Internet by starting quarrels or upsetting people, by posting inflammatory,extraneous, or off-topic messages in an online community (such as a newsgroup, forum, chat room, or blog) with the intent of provoking readers into an emotional response or otherwise disrupting normal, on-topic discussion, often for the troll’s amusement.

It was a tough decision whether to write this article. I don’t like to perpetuate negativity. When I shared my experience of being bullied on a Social Media Platform yesterday with a friend, she said I should write this and it needs to be shared. I then figured I must not be alone and the thought of helping someone far outweighed the feeling that I was complaining.

So there I was, minding my own business and posting my usual posts when all of a sudden, a comment came in that tugged at my strings as being unpleasant but tolerable. I thought I would respond with something light and even with a little pun. This comment triggered yet another comment from another person and the feeding frenzy began.

I must have responded a handful of times. I did not defend my product (I am purposely keeping the Social Platform and content of the post anonymous to avoid negative comments on each – because NOW I’m sensitive and perhaps a bit delicate)

After a few rounds of trying to lighten things up and then explaining why I do what I do, I could see I was only adding fuel to the fire.

You must know, I am in no way a fighter. I avoid sharing any feelings on my own platforms that could be misconstrued as controversial. And I certainly wouldn’t think of invading someone else’s post to opinionate all over them.

But, apparently, I drew attention as the meek and mild type and they chose to capitalize on that. If I were more aggressive would it have amplified faster? I think so.

After about a half hour of feeling like I had just been torn to shreds in spite of my trying to be sympathetic to others’ feelings and ‘wisdom’. I decided to step back. I even posted that I was stepping back. But no one seemed to care.

I proceeded to become the observer and witness a virus in the making. I watched as people shared each other’s posts and new people jumped on who had so much to say. It got meaner and nastier as time went on. This was my very first time experiencing such a thing. Have you ever had this happen?

I considered this an experiment in human behavior. Here, I was, completely removed as the ‘problem’ but the venom kept on poisoning more and more people. They loved the opportunity to trash, bash and become the expert on the topic at hand. I was completely dumbfounded by the level of toxicity being thrown out for all the reap.

After a few hours of checking back periodically to read the new bashes and bullying, I decided to pull the plug. I wasn’t present for the moment by moment blurbs, yet my day was so affected by it. My work suffered. My peace of mind suffered. I thought to myself,  ‘why do I feel so badly? I know better. I know this happens.’ But when it’s your time, and you’re taken by surprise, I would think shock and the feeling of surrealism may be your first reactions as well.

I deleted the post. I blocked everyone involved – there were many. I haven’t heard a thing since. Yet, a day later, I still feel violated, in a way that has me checking for ‘meanies’ throughout my day. I know it will pass. I find that the negativity in this world is something I will have to learn to let roll off my back or it will own me. However, I keep thinking why? Why do people find pleasure in ganging up on people they’ve never met, just to stir the pot of anger and hatred? Please don’t answer that. I don’t want to create a hateful feed about hateful people.

The reason I shared all this is for cathartic reasons, and to help others who may need support. I found this article written about a former hater who provides ways to deal with Trolls. I thought it would help. That’s what I would want to hear about. Which of you have been helped or were able to turn this around because of this article or something similar. I also found an article about treating Trolls with their own tactics. I am not supporting that. I support cessation, not perpetuation.

I hope you never need this, but here is the article.

Thanks

Fran

This Brilliant Confession by a Former Troll is a Perfect Outline for How to Deal With Online Haters

In his words: ‘To defeat the troll we must understand the troll.’ Read article here

 

Posted in Online Business Building

Conscious Gaming – How a Woman Over 50 receives 9 Life-changing strengths by playing games


If you’re looking for life-changing inspiration in 2 paragraphs or less, this isn’t it, but you can scroll down to the 9 life-changing strengths below. 

I can sum up the ‘old’ me in just a few words. Passivist, Pollyanna, Gentle, VERY right brained. So, the thought of gaming was so far out of my reality that the moon seemed closer.

Xbox? What the hell am I going to do with an Xbox? I don’t even have kids, I’ll never use it. Let me just use yours. I can’t use yours? Why do I have to own my own? You want me to kill things? Me? The person who will isolate a bug for days until someone comes by to remove it alive? Shoot a gun? Well, ugh, let’s not even go there!

That was me about 2 years ago. Today I am learning to master Destiny2 after achieving my goals in Destiny1. How did this all happen and why would I want to share this with anyone? Well, because learning to game was a life-changing challenge that I took on because I was struggling and my mentor thought it would help me attain the goals that were kicking my butt to achieve.

Why did I want to change my life? – My goals were to have more balance – from the inside. When I was married, I was always in a male-dominated environment. Being single for a while, I could feel that the lack of male energy was taking a toll on me. I was losing some of the attributes I had always admired in myself. I used to be more daring, assertive and deliberate. Now that I was working with and associating with mostly women, and being very attentive to my spiritual development, I went completely female!  More peaceful and sheltering myself from anything negative and undesirable. Now to most, that seems like a good thing, but to someone like me who is committed to making a difference in the world as a leader with her eyes wide open, I needed to be more of a Yin/Yang personality.  My mentor told me that for what I wanted to accomplish, a Pollyanna would never survive. So, I decided to put her on the shelf (way in the back, in a box, covered with books and a plant) and take on the excruciating task of building my left brain.

A Side note – My mentor, by the way, shall remain nameless except that, depending on what stage I was in with gaming I vacillated from calling him the meanest person alive to the man who saved my life. If you saw the Karate Kid, then you know what I am talking about. I was being groomed when I thought I was being tortured. In retrospect, I could never have shifted without the tools I was given and continue to receive.

Back to the story – After months of resistance, I broke down to purchase my Xbox One and ONE game – Destiny. My first attempts to play this were similar to the visual of someone who is ice skating for the very first time. Only it was beyond flailing and awkwardness. I was in actual emotional pain trying to rationalize the tasks I was undertaking. I was learning to be aggressive and to win and to think more differently than I had ever thought before. There were many nights of tears and upset over my resistance to change. OVER A FREAKING GAME, FRAN?????  Yes, because I was gaming consciously. I had a purpose and it was to transform every fiber of my being. I wanted it so badly yet fought is so equally that I felt like a crazy woman.

Then one day, BAM. My reality changed. I could see the progress I was making both in the game itself as well as my real life. In the game I went from someone who used to run from an alien and hide behind a hill to avoid being ‘killed’ and who would squirm and close her eyes with every gunshot while fumbling over a ‘complicated’ controller to a more than adequate player achieving honorable milestones. In life, well, that’s listed below.  My list below is incomplete and still maturing. These are just a few of the mind-blowing benefits I received and continue to strengthen because of gaming.

  1. Coordination – It’s not that I was uncoordinated when I started gaming. But I also wasn’t taking on new challenges in that area so in that respect, I didn’t allow myself to be. When it came down to the simplest thing as learning to use my controller and all its features, something a seasoned gamer takes for granted, I had to learn how to synchronize all the features. I drew diagrams, took notes and finally GOT the darned thing to do what it was made to do. In and out of gaming, this paved a way for me to accept awkwardness as the precursor for mastery.
  2. Focus – Over 50 and learning to game? Well, my ability to focus and be attentive to my surroundings was definitely missing. If you don’t focus while gaming you will DIE! No longer could I be numb to my surroundings. I had to learn to shift into being attentive, coachable and committed. I’m a goof off as most of you know. I like to have fun. I had to learn that there was a time and place for that in gaming as well as in life. It has surely helped me get things accomplished. THEN, I goof around!
  3. Giving up resistance – How much resistance do you think you live with? I had NO IDEA how much I was resisting in my life until I started breaking down my resistance in gaming. If you are experiencing discomfort or not completely satisfied with life, chances are that you are resisting something big time. I went from resisting change to welcoming it. I went from resisting my current circumstances to embracing them. I will tell you this, there is an incredible amount of time wasted, money lost and pain endured all because of it. This is by far one of my greatest lessons learned and I continue to be a student in this area.
  4. Patience – Well, that didn’t come easily for sure. I’m someone who has had a reasonably successful life; one where I got by with little effort. Then one day when that seemed to change, I had to become more patient with my goals. Things didn’t happen as quickly as they used to. Gaming requires a LOT of patience. There’s a learning curve, the actual challenges the game presents to you and if you game with others, you will need patience playing with them.  Gaming, taught me to be patient with myself, outcomes and my pace of learning, But learning to be patient with others at a newer and deeper level? This was a true gift.
  5. Failure – Do you have any clue how much you fail when you game? You embark on missions that you can’t figure out. You work for hours, sometimes days or weeks until you overcome the obstacles before you. If you don’t give up fear of failure, you won’t make it. If you don’t see failure as the path to success, you won’t make it. If you beat yourself up every time you fail, you are sabotaging the result. Having a better attitude about failure has lightened me up tremendously. I realized that there are people out there who fail much more than I ever did, and they achieve great things. Scientists, Inventors, Visionaries and of course GAMERS! So, I fail a lot, so what. I am proud to be in the company of those who position themselves to do the same.
  6. Unstoppable – A second cousin to patience, I had to remember my training from Landmark Education on being unstoppable. A distinction that moves beyond failure and patience and demands that you find your muscle while staying perseverant and ultimately evolving into mastery. If you are a quitter, you will surely miss out on what the other side provides. Every time I stayed on a mission when I wanted to quit, I reaped great reward and satisfaction. I could actually feel myself changing deeply. I have been unstoppable in my life, but gaming has helped me accelerate that.
  7. Trust – I felt such a strong pull to change myself. When introduced to the idea of gaming, it felt like a way to go. Even though there was resistance I could tell there was something there for me but had no clue what it was. Consistently showing up for that which has no bankable outcome and feels uncomfortable, takes a lot. Including trust in yourself, your vision and the end result. Often, we have a goal or dream in mind that becomes the victim of slander. Sometimes from outsiders but most times from ourselves. Even though we feel drawn to what we want, we tend to negate it because of what it will take to achieve it. However, if you have been inspired by a thought, commitment or challenge, it behooves you to honor it and trust what is to follow. Even if it involves failure, there is a reason for it. Don’t stop the flow of your creativity by ignoring your inspirations. I’m grateful that I trusted the benefits I would get from gaming. It surely delivered.
  8. Courage – Some would say that I am courageous because I am an entrepreneur since I am 21. Taking chances, going on personal adventures and launching new passions. I would say that’s true. My courage was missing in many other areas. In my younger years, I had a lot of fears. Afraid of flying, thunderstorms and being home alone were just a few. Many of those fears are gone. However, I remember, pregaming, having mildly fearful thoughts of someone approaching me at or in my home. Here I was a pacifist whose only defense would probably be to try to talk someone out of hurting me. (stop laughing). Fast forward to several months into gaming and I find myself emptying garbage at 3am in the silence of the dark night. Something I would never have done before. My thoughts had evolved from fear of what I would do to ‘I will do whatever it takes to defend myself and they will be sorry they ever messed with me.’ This was a huge shift for me.

My courage graduated in gaming. I fell in love with using a sword when I game. From someone who hid behind that hill to having to be close enough to slice my alien, was beyond a miracle. Something changes in me when I have my sword. I feel like Michonne in the Walking Dead – Oh yes, since gaming, I have exchanged sitcoms for zombies. Go figure.

  1. Balance – Since this was my original goal, I want to make sure I showcased that balance is definitely showing up in my life. In the beginning, I was so afraid that I would lose the feminine qualities that I cherished and become too masculine as a gamer. That didn’t happen at all. I can actually feel an inner peace as I have better control of my emotions and can switch from male to female as I see fit or when the appropriate situation arises. I no longer need to go outside of myself to create this balance which is a very empowering and comforting gift to own.

Now, I know there is a lot controversy about children gaming. I’m not here to opinionate about that. My story is a metaphor for how one can change their life by stepping outside their comfort zone.  Whether you game or take a rumba class, this is about taking on something bigger than yourself. I always say that if you want to change your life, you have to CHANGE your life. Most people I say that to don’t seem to receive it as profoundly as I did. So, let’s say it this way. Big shifts take big Guts, so find a way, a mentor, a path that kicks your butt! I’m still a gentle person, only one who stands more securely in her own power. Find yours, own it ~ Chik Mystik

Chik Mystik, aka Fran Asaro is an online marketing and business coach. As a lifelong entrepreneur, she provides motivation, inspiration, and resources to help other entrepreneurs THRIVE in business. Learn more about Thrive Any Way and Fran’s Virtual Project Partner Program

Contact Fran fran@thriveanyway.com

 

Posted in empowerment, Inspiration

Avoiding the Social Soup


Returning to One-On-One Connections

avoiding the social soup

Are you tired of being invited to everyone’s soup? You know, the social soup, where everyone gets together as a group for everything and no one does a one on one anymore? [click to tweet] Maybe they do this in order to leverage time; thinking they will make more money covering more territory.  Is it true? Or is it at the expense of having a relationship with substance and purpose?

I remember way back when I was in Real Estate. We had a very tight community. We were ‘family’ and did a lot together. We had yearly customer appreciation dinners, we did Easter egg hunts, we went to dinner and the theater together as well as attending awards ceremonies, intensive training programs and even Anthony Robbins Weekends. We had fun, we created memories and I am grateful for it all.  But when is enough enough?

girls lunch

There came a time when I felt a lack of intimacy with my colleagues. We were always together as a group. I loved them, I wanted to be with them, but something was missing for me. One of the tipping points occurred when we would all go to lunch for each other’s birthdays. It’s a wonderful celebration and a fun time. However, I would leave these luncheons feeling empty. Did we share anything meaningful? Did the birthday person feel connected?

 

That’s when I decided to do something different. I decided to ask each person out for an intimate birthday lunch. Just the two of us. I was pleasantly surprised at how well received this idea was. They genuinely appreciated that someone would prefer to have a quiet and purposeful conversation with them opposed to a somewhat superficial yet fun group dynamic. Confidentially, they weren’t the only ones who appreciated that time. I felt more attentive to them and able to make the day just about them. We talked about what they wanted to talk about and looked each other in the eye instead of being distracted by everything around us. It was a great decision to honor this person and to create a new tradition and different kind of memory.

cup-2884058_1920

 

 

Don’t get me wrong, I still enjoy a group meal once in a while. But I do like to make sure those in my life get just me and I get just them. And if we can’t get together, we can do a video call.

Fast forward to current times. I work independently from home. For a long time, while becoming a coach, I constantly found myself in group dynamics, from networking to clubs and meet up groups to major events and parties. One day I realized that I wasn’t enjoying them as much as I ‘should’ have. I felt more obligated than interested. Yet, people get offended when you don’t attend their events or accept their invitations.

How does one handle this situation? Well, it starts out with a conversation with them as well as myself. I had to do some introspective work to make sure I was honoring the part of me that needed space. I became clear that I didn’t want that busy lifestyle anymore. Then as invitations came up, I had to share with them that it’s not them, it’s the new me. The me that would rather have an intimate conversation with them than attending a chaotic event with a lot of distraction from what I call meaningful.

It turns out, it’s becoming the new way to do business. The philosophy of building friendships is leaving the ‘numbers game’ in the dust. People love doing business with a friend they trust and no one wants to be sold anymore. So not only does it feel better for some of us, but it seems to be the way to building a more fruitful business.

It’s been a long road making this transition. Coming from a heavy ‘sales’ background as well as a very extroverted upbringing, I was the initiator of MANY get-togethers over the years. I had to really dig deep and stay true to what was right for me TODAY and not who I’ve always been or who people have known me to be. There is so much opposition when you break the norm – Do it anyway. There is resistance to change – Change anyway. There will be attempts to make you feel guilty – Stay strong and feel proud that you are breaking the mold, being true to yourself and being loving towards others in a way they don’t even know yet. You don’t have to be a part of their soup, just make them the main course and see how much better you both feel on many levels.

Fran Asaro is a Life and Business Coach, specializing in online business building. Her Virtual Project Partner Program provides individual online leadership support for entrepreneurs

Virtual Project Partner logo with image

Continue reading “Avoiding the Social Soup”

Posted in Business Building, Inspiration

OK, I Blog, Now what? How do you build a Blogging Community


How do you build your blogging community?

 

I’m going to make this short and sweet

This is not a blog about how to grow your blogging community, it’s actually a blog ASKING YOU to help me and others grow our blogging community. As a business and marketing coach, I strongly recommend that my clients start a blog. But I never took it to the level of creating community. If you have insight and wisdom in this area, PLEASE share in the comments below.

I really love to write my blogs and have been writing for about 10 years. I have several. I actually used to write a short one every day and people relied on them. Yes, I would get emails and texts when there wasn’t a blog in their inbox. Then things changed over the years and now to get better SEO, links need to be added and affiliate marketing and images inserted. I still love doing that, but since it takes time, I do it less frequently.

So, this is a request for help

Even though I have been blogging for years, I have not yet spent the time to build a blogging community.  What do you do to get your blogs circulated? How much time do you spend marketing your blog?

I am a firm believer that your blog is the foundation to ALL of your marketing. This is where you put all of your ‘stuff’; YouTube videos, programs, events and THEN you post your blog all over town! (the world actually) This part I know and do. And once you get that down pat, you will have a system that is ready to generate business. I post my blog on all my social media and send an email to my mailing list.

My audience is not growing 

If someone likes or reblogs my post, I am doing a happy dance. (FOR ONE REBLOG!). I know there are many of us missing out on the good stuff. The part where you have hundreds of views and people liking and commenting all day. What do YOU do to get that kind of traffic? How often do you promote the same blog? And for how long? Do you subscribe to blogging communities? Yes, I could pull up a video or a strangers blog to get this information, but hey, we want to build community, right?

We could sure use your insights so please comment below. Sorry, but due to a lot of spam, I will have to approve of the comments. If you know how to fix that, I would like to  know as well.

Thank you in advance for your support and happy blogging!

Fran

 

Fran Asaro is a Life and Business Coach and founder of Thrive Any Way. Helping people systematize and automate their business and create an online presence. Find out more about how she helps entrepreneurs with her Virtual Project Partner Program

Posted in Business Building, marketing, Online Business, Online Business Building, Organization

Pro Bono doesn’t have to be a NO-NO – 9 Ways to benefit when giving your services away


Give my services away for Free? Hell NO!

Whether you are new to being a business owner or a seasoned professional, you will undoubtedly bump up against those who need or request your services for Free. We all have our philosophy about how to manage Pro Bono clients but sometimes what we want to do and what we actually do are two different actions. Possibly because we are influenced by what others are doing, saying and judging on.

 

I’ve known and been very grateful for those who have contributed to me in my life when I couldn’t afford them. One of the main reasons I became a business coach was to help people who love what they do SO MUCH that they give their services away to anyone who needs it. That sounds so honorable and yet, many of them were living in lack because of it. How do you tell someone to stop giving stuff away when they love contributing to others? Better yet, how do you suggest to others that the should give their services away and reap personal and professional rewards?

This is why I am writing Pro Bono doesn’t have to be a NO-NO – 9 Ways to benefit when giving your services away.  There seems to be a stigma about giving away services. Coaches will often discourage their clients from doing so, possibly because they were doing incorrectly. Building a Pro Bono program into your business can benefit you in many ways. It could actually BUILD your business! Take a look at some of those ways below and choose what feels right for you; but do choose something to avoid the weight of a Pro Bono so that you can enjoy its benefits instead.

1. Set your limits in advance

Whether you feel as though you can give an hour a week or 10, this is up to you. Know your limits and stick to them. If one more request comes in beyond that, put them on a waiting list. This will save you the feeling of overwhelm. You can’t give away all of your business or you won’t make money. If you choose a certain amount of time per week or month, you will feel good about contributing and you will feel in control.

2. Consider it Volunteering

As a busy professional, some of us can’t give back to the community as much as we’d like to. I myself used to volunteer for a minimum of 4 hours every week for years. I don’t get to do that much anymore. However, I certainly feel as though I am giving back by being there for those in need inside my own trade.

3. Document your Pro Bono time 

Depending on your business, this could come in handy at tax time. If you put in 100 hours or a certain about of dollars towards free service, having it in writing will help your tax preparer get all the benefits you qualify for. My software program has an option to check that a session is pro bono, so I can just pull a report at the end of the year. It gives me pleasure to look at the year in review besides being a deduction.

4. Barter 

This is certainly not a new concept, but some don’t think to ask for a trade of service. If the person requesting your services for free can help you in some way, then by all means, ask them if they are willing. Bartering can cover a wide variety of areas in which to reciprocate. Where have you been looking for support? Do you need someone to help with your business needs, run errands, babysit, cook a meal, make phone calls, or create marketing material? Maybe this person can write a blog for you or post your social media. Take a look at areas where you can use some help. Make a list and keep it handy for when you speak with someone who you may want to trade with.  It’s very important to think ahead on how you will measure this trade. Will it be dollar for dollar of services rendered or hour for hour? For instance, if your hourly rate is $100 and the services you are requesting would cost you $20 hr., then you might agree to their 5 hours to your 1 hour of work. The choice is yours, but you will need to agree on it beforehand.

5. Tweak your terms

The terms you decide on will vary from person to person, also, you will become aware of what works for you and what doesn’t. These are your services you are giving away for FREE, make sure it serves you as well (in your heart or logistically). Review your Pro Bono terms occasionally and tweak them as you go.

6. Create a referral opportunity 

If you would like to offer a way for your Pro Bono client to pay you, you can ask them to refer you. This can be a generic request that they refer you as they see fit or you can offer them something more concrete such as one hour of your service for every referral. I, myself had one client who I worked with for years and never paid a dime. I am reaping thousands of dollars per year on her referrals alone.

7. Donate or Pay what you can 

If you have a PayPal business account you can create a donate button and place it on your website. Ask your Pro Bono Client to donate money when they have it or ask them to pay what they can when they can. Many people don’t want to ask for free service. They really need or want it but simply can’t afford it. This can help them feel better about the arrangement. I met a chiropractor in Fort Lauderdale who had an open-door policy. No insurance, no appointments. Just come in and get adjusted. There was a black box at the doorway for those who had money to pay what they can. There were many times I had to ignore the black box on my way out because I simply did not have the funds. Later, I would send him a check for a few hundred dollars when I did have it. I was so grateful for his services.

8. Marketing Blast 

This is where the gold lies in Pro Bono work. In exchange for your services, request that your client does one or more of the following.

Write a testimonial – There is nothing like a good testimonial from a satisfied client. Post them on your website and use them in marketing material. Make sure they permit you to share it.

Video Testimonial – Extra credit for this one. Have them record themselves giving a testimonial for you. You can then gather your video testimonials and use them to help prospect for other clients.

Social Media Blast – Ask your Pro Bono client to blast about you on social media. Make sure to help them with what to post. You may want to give them material or suggest what you prefer gets posted. If this is an official agreement, determine beforehand how many times and what social media platform they will be sharing on. Most will be happy to oblige.

Become a fan – Ask your client if they could become a fan of your online marketing. What this means is, have them ‘like’ and comment on your posts, ‘like’ your blog, subscribe to your blog, re-blog it and share it. If they are really eager to support you, they can write an article about you and send it to local or online news.

9. Make it official

Lastly, create a written agreement of what terms and conditions this arrangement will have. Outline each item. You will both feel better about the exchange especially when there are no mix-ups during your time together.

Most people are willing to contribute to you if you just ask. It will take something on your part to know when to ‘benefit’ from your Pro Bono work and when not to.  Remember this, there will be those situations where just giving and not looking for anything in return is rewarding enough. This list is not for those moments. Use the information above to help create balance when it’s not there. There is nothing wrong with an exchange of energy between two parties. Allow yourself to be contributed to as well.

Conversely, if you are someone looking for services that you simply cannot afford, consider taking the information above and find a way to present a request to your professional. One that creates a win/win situation. Allow them the right to say no for whatever reason and keep looking.

Did you enjoy this article? I would love to know your thoughts. Did it help you? Do you have other ideas that you’d like to share? Please comment below and share this with others. Let’s help one another and still benefit.


Fran Asaro is a Life and Business Coach and founder of Thrive Any Way. Helping people systematize and automate their business and create an online presence. Find out more about how she helps entrepreneurs as a Virtual Partner  For questions Contact Fran Asaro  or to schedule an appointment