Being Compensated For Your Passion Work

George Kao
5 min readNov 1, 2017

A lot of you who are reading this, are heart-based, compassionate people. And occasionally (or often?) we may feel badly about charging other people for our services, because we simply love to serve others with our work, and we wish money wouldn’t get in the way.

We love doing the work so much that, if we could, we would gladly do the work for free.

So how do we think more wisely about being compensated for doing the work we love?

Some perspectives for you:

1. Do you have to charge for this at all?

One option is that you don’t have to charge for doing the work you love. You can just do it for others who are willing to receive it. They are giving you the gift of being willing to receive your gift.

Sometimes, it may be such sacred work for you that you don’t want any money involved.

Never forget that you can make a livelihood doing lots of things! You can, if you wished, simply do your passion-work as a hobby. Ironically it may even make you more effective, since you’ll be liberated to do the work without having to worry about the business side.

And with lots of practice, you may get so effective that there arises such demand for your service that it then becomes necessary for you to quit your day job and charge for your service in order to have a livelihood, because there’s so much demand that you otherwise wouldn’t have time to fill.

“But I couldn’t be happy or fulfilled in a day job,” you say.

Tht is a separate issue and practice: joyful productivity. Your joy doesn’t have to be dependent on what job you take. It’s a matter of internal practice.

There’s a lot of brainwashing in the public about how you “must” make a living doing the work you love, and that you wouldn’t be happy any other way. That’s true only if we neglect our spiritual practice, and make our happiness dependent on external conditions.

Keep an open mind. Life will always support you, if you are willing to be open-minded to the doors Life is opening for supporting you.

2. Money is a social convention of reciprocity.

If you already see some demand for your services, and are making money, but you sometimes feel bad about it, then this section is for you:

Money is a way we are interdependent on each other.

When you charge money for your service, you are depending on the goodwill of your client to support you, to believe in your service.

If there’s enough energy for something, there will be money.

If your marketing is good, you will have created enough energy and trust from your clients to want to reciprocate with their money, in exchange for your service.

Because of their belief in you / your service, they are now interdependent with you — they want your service, and you are depending on their money (not any one client, hopefully, but your clientele as a whole).

Therefore, when you charge money for your service, you are activating the principle of interdependence. It’s a healthy thing in an ecosystem, and necessary for an economy to function.

3. Give so meaningfully that money arises as a natural reciprocity.

Where it gets unhealthy, is anytime you try to force that “interdependence”.

Do not force money, by persuading others to part with theirs.

This forcefulness is what doesn’t feel good to you.

It’s like someone who wants you to do lot more for them, than they’re willing to do for you.

Instead, give so meaningfully that money arises as a natural reciprocity.

(Of course, also make known, regularly yet gently, what your monetized offerings are.)

Remember that your income comes from other people, with high intelligence and souls. We are not pushing lemmings through a funnel.

When we feel desperate and go into salesy mode, we forget that we are talking with intelligent human beings who *want* to believe in us, but we haven’t built enough trust, or, the offer isn’t right for them (it may be for someone else.)

If you were applying for a job, and you show up knowing very little about the company, not knowing what they want, and their approximate budget, what will happen? They will ignore your job application, even if they seem really polite. You may be baffled.

Similarly, if you are baffled why more people aren’t buying your service, you are in that same place: you’re just offering what you want, without really understanding your audience, what they want, and what their budget is for this kind of thing that you offer.

It’s about understanding your audience, not just relying on your own enthusiasm.

4. Promises, Confidence, and what rate you charge

Your confidence, however, does matter in how you feel about being compensated for your work. It also matters to how others perceive your service and whether it’s worth paying for.

The less confident you are, in the promises your service makes, the less rate you’ll need to charge to have people say Yes. You’ll be able to charge more if you promise more value, but your confidence or lack thereof will show.

(There are also the semi-psyhopathic or blind marketers who promise clients the moon, and charge an arm and a leg, but aren’t able to deliver the value they promised… but that’s not you.)

Make realistic promises, then build up your skills so that you are very confident in delivering those promises. The more grounded confidence you have, the better you’ll feel about charging (more) for your services.

A great way to build up your skills and confidence is by continually creating content. It makes you smarter, faster, in your area of expertise. “If you want to learn something, teach it.” It also has the wonderful benefit of building up your reputation and attracting your ideal clients.

You must also, of course, do the actual work, to build up your confidence.

When you don’t have enough clients yet, you may need to charge less to get more clients. There really is a correlation in your market: the less you charge — of course, still at a respectable rate, but lower than established peers — the more easily people will say Yes to your services.

Do more of the work, create more content, and you will naturally build your skills, confidence, and reputation, and feel increasingly better, over time, about being compensated for doing what you love.



George Kao

Authentic Business Coach & Author of 4 Books including "Authentic Content Marketing" and "Joyful Productivity"