True Business Success: Giving More Than Just Thanks

This week, many of our US-based readers celebrated Thanksgiving with their family and friends. Thanksgiving is a time to appreciate and be thankful for what we have, and of course to indulge in the obligatory turkey and stuffing dinner. As web professionals, we certainly have much to be thankful about these days. The roller coaster of the dotcom-boom is far behind us, our industry continues to experience steady growth throughout the world, and the technologies and standards that define our business continue to advance at a rapid pace. Many web developers find themselves in a position to work from home, set their own hours, and make more money then they imagined possible. Things are never easy, but life is good!

As for me, the thing I am most thankful for is that my company was able to make substantial monthly donations to charity throughout 2006. To earn a healthy income is certainly something to be thankful for, but to earn enough to donate money (and services) to those in need is even better! The donations aren’t huge, but something is better than nothing and I intend to increase the amounts as the company grows.

Here on SitePoint, we spend lots of time talking about how to generate sales, revenue and profits. We all want our businesses to grow and succeed, and earning lots of money is part of that goal. However, it’s important not to forget the real objectives as they pertain to our lives, and not just our wallets. Like all of you, I’ve worked hard to establish my career and I’m proud of that. But money alone doesn’t equate to success – there are plenty of rich people who are unfulfilled and miserable as money alone isn’t guaranteed to bring us true success.

I hope that each of you will take time to consider what you really, ultimately want from your businesses besides money. Things like increased time with your family, the ability to be creative in your work, a chance to provide jobs or training for others, to travel, to advance the industry standards, and of course to donate some of your profits to others. Our successful businesses can help our kids, parents, and community. We can help fuel our local economies, and pariticpate in the global economy in a positive way.

The potential to donate is greatly increased when you’re operating as a business. Businesses are generally the largest sponsors of charities like CARE International and the Red Cross. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is distributing 10’s of billions of dollars worth of services around the world. American Airlines donated 60 million dollars to UNICEF this year alone.

Can you imagine being so successful in business that you could comfortably write a check for $50,000 to a charity? What a feeling that must be! As small businesses and professionals, we can make an incredible difference in the world. So, I hope that we can all take a break from our every day money-making efforts and consider what we would really do when we succeed.

In an upcoming post I’ll be providing some thoughts about the various ways we can donate money, time, or services to charity while maintaining healthy growth and profits. In the meantime, I’d love to hear about some of the things you are all thankful for and some of the good things you’d like to do with your riches if when you make it big!

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  • WeBBoy

    I really agree that so many people are chasing money, instead of thinking about what they would do if they had the money. For me, I am devoted to my design work because it’s going to keep my family safe and happy and that is the most important thing.

  • Deepak

    mostly I am happy that my business is making money at all

  • Kailash Badu

    True. We are so caught up with the daily life and money making that we end up making ourselves less of a human. In these times, being able to do something for others is a truly liberating feeling.
    So far I have made tiny contributions to open source projects and Wikipedia. Philanthropy is certainly in my scheme of things, once I make enough money to do that.

  • chakpak

    I think the point about being successfull (business) to be filthy rich and then give it all. Bill Gates is a picture perfect successfull businessman

  • http://www.revmedia.com dhecker

    Kailash – Contributing to Wikipedia and open source projects is really an excellent example of a non-monetary way to give back to the community. Congratulations!

  • http://www.sitepoint.com/ Matthew Magain

    I don’t run my own business (I’m employed full time at SitePoint) but your post still rung true Dave. We don’t have thanksgiving in Australia, but it’s usually around Xmas time that people make donations to charity (always has been in my family, anyway).

    I’m also very proud of the amount that SitePoint donates to charity. We might cop some flak now and then as a result of things like marketplace fees, but one thing that is not advertised much is the fact that SitePoint–and in particular Mark (co-founder)–regularly donates thousands of dollars (usually when he’s had a few drinks, in exchange for an employee shaving his or her head!) to charities like the Starlight Foundation.

    I think the point about being successfull (business) to be filthy rich and then give it all. Bill Gates is a picture perfect successfull businessman

    You don’t have to be filthy rich to make a difference. Initiatives like One Percent for the Planet are prime examples.

  • lukemeister

    Ya know, I’m just thankful that I can actually run my own business. Whenever I think about being employed, and then conversely running my own show, I can’t help but feel like a lucky sob.

    “Hey boss, can I leave early on Thursday?

    or

    “Hey, I can just take off early on Thursday if I want, jeez I didn’t realize I was that far ahead”.

    At the same time, when I actually make what I feel I’m worth and have some extra, I want to give money back to the people that helped me out along the way, I’ll have some thinking to do between that point and this point I’m currently at. I’ll probably donate money to education or getting people educated more than anything else.

  • http://www.revmedia.com dhecker

    lukemeister – Great comment. I’m always happy to hear from someone who is feeling satisfied with their situation, but is also ambitious and looking to the future! Keep it up!

  • http://www.eric-shmookler.com Eric Shmookler

    I like it. As a friend of mine once said, ‘The best thing you can do with money is give it away.’

    Eric Shmookler