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How do you balance between giving to causes you believe in and efficiently growing your business?

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How do you balance being able to give back to causes at the same time as running your business? 

What pitfalls would you look out for and how would you manage it best?

Question Featured On: Episode 4 - #AskRussellAnything

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Answer:

A lot of times people get into business and hear stories where someone gives a pair of shoes for everyone they make and they’re romantic about it, which is cool but on top of that, they think they’re going to do this thing and it’s going to be a marketing hook and get people to buy. I don’t know about you, but it feels dirty to me. They give money and that way it’ll go viral. That’s kind of dirty.

So a couple of things, first off, the most important way to serve through money is I believe in what we call a tithe. A tithe is 10%. So 10% of anything I make, not gross, I don’t even make 10% of the gross of the company. But at the end of the day I take home money and tie in the 10%. I don’t share that, it’s given to things and I’m a big believer in if you talk about a cause you’re giving to, that’s your reward. So 10% of what I make disappears and it goes to what I believe. I never talk about that, it’s just gone and that’s the big thing.

Number two is a tithe on your personal time. I try to put in a tenth of my time into personal projects. Not so much money, but my time into things where I’m helping serve causes that I believe in. Money is one thing, but time is different.

Number three if you do decide to use part of your company, for example we give to World Teacher Aide. At all the Funnel Hacking Live we raise money for World Teacher Aide. I’m going to go to Kenya for the 3rd time in October with 9 or 10 of our funnel hackers which is exciting. So we figured out a way to tie that into the business. Every time someone builds a funnel that goes live we give a dollar to world Teacher Aide and our events raise money. So I think we’ve raised a half a million dollars for World Teacher Aide and built a bunch of schools.

So I talk about that, but I also realize that because I talk about it, that’s my blessing. I don’t think the lord is going to give me any more blessings for that because I’m talking about it. That’s my personal beliefs on the topic.

But I’m also not against using it for a marketing angle, I don’t feel comfortable or clean using it as a marketing angle, but it’s something we do. But we talk about it because it’s a cool thing and it inspires people and gets others to want to give and serve. It’s an inspiration thing. So I think that’s why tying it into your business is good, because it helps your company, culture and people to go into something. But don’t do it at the risk of hurting your business.

On a Shark Tank episode last year, someone came and pitched this thing, a charity thing. Everyone was excited but one of the sharks basically came back and said in your business you need to be as greedy as humanly possible so you can get all the money out and then you can be as charitable as you want with the money you make. But if you’re tying it into the business, businesses go under because they’re taking money off the top to give to charity. Business is business. If the owner is not paid, the business doesn’t work and the whole thing can collapse.

So you have to be greedy, selfish capitalists in your business. Then when you get the money out, then you can be charitable on that side, and I believe in that.

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