Today I googled “radical” and the first hit I got after wikipedia and few online dictionaries was the car manufacturer “Radical Sportscars” .. With “revolution” I got “Revolution” the anti-flea product for the pets I don’t have. Because I can’t afford to have a pet. Nor can I afford a sportscar… although I’m sure both are awesome.
You see I’m experiencing financial hardship and living way under the poverty line. I’m unemployed, looking for work and living off welfare. The only speed limit I’ve been exceeding is the amphetamine-like chemicals my brain’s been speeding on from stress and cheap coffee.
So as you can imagine, the above quote speaks to me right now.
In my quest to find true holistic health and move beyond my financial rut I’ve been searching for help that’s accessible to me: free stuff given in the spirit of generosity and people or companies willing to explore barter style arrangements.
I’ve been incredibly grateful to find those willing to help me out. In the last few months I’ve experienced generosity which has blown me away and renewed my faith in mankind. I will pay it forward at my earliest opportunity.
But I’ve also become acutely aware of what’s not accessible to me and much of the time I’ve just had to go without. For example, some friends of mine recently did a personal development workshop about, ironically “manifesting money,” and encouraged me to enroll. I contacted the company and offered my time as a volunteer in exchange for participation in the event. Their reply was something along the lines of
“Sorry, we don’t do that but check out the e-book The Money Revolution it’s only $<insert way too much money>.” Ha! Notice the irony??!!
Fair enough though, they’re a business and want to make some decent coin..and not everyone wants to take a risk on a volunteer.. I get it. But as I’ve been doing it tough and busting some seriously badass frugal maneuvers I’ve been wondering
is there a better way of doing business that grants RICH and POOR people access? Could volunteers be a valuable resource beyond the realms of charitable organisations?
One of my favourite Melbourne restaurants Lentil as Anything comes to mind as inspiration. They operate on a “pay as your feel” basis where customers can make a donation, large or small, depending on what they can afford. The idea is that more generous donors will compensate for those who are not in a position to give as freely. They also rely heavily on volunteers.
Their mission is to provide a wholesome and nutritious meal where money is not a concern and they believe that everyone deserves a seat at their table. Officially they’re a not-for-profit but they obviously have to make enough money to keep the operation thriving and so far, after 17 years.. they’re still going strong. In fact many additional Lentil as Anything restaurants have opened around Melbourne and Sydney in recently years so my bet is that they’ve nailed it.
Another example of pay as you feel pricing that comes to mind is the release of Radiohead’s 7th album“In Rainbows”. The album was made available for download for whatever fans wanted to pay for it. Although many people who downloaded the album did it for free, it was reported that the digital revenues from this single album were worth more than the digital sales of all of their six previous albums combined. They really blitzed it and opened the doors of possibly for many of us to follow.
I wonder if these sort of models represent the future of business? I know that if I ran a successful business I would be overjoyed to be able to offer my services to those doing it tough as part of the mix. I think this might even be more exciting than receiving cash.
Do you know of any other businesses that grant access to the poor? What other business models or arrangements could work to embrace rich and poor alike? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments.
P.S. Love the idea of Lentil as Anything and it’s inclusive philosophy? You can make a donation here