There are many gracious, altruistic people in the world. I try to be one of these people as often as I can. By even in doing so, I try to make it benefit me as much as possible. For instance, if I give to charity, I usually don’t give someone a wad of bills and walk away. I at least try to get a receipt so I can put it toward my taxes. That is called Stewardship. It is using your money for maximum effectiveness. And some of you would say, oh that’s just for personal gain. But no, it means I can multiply the money that I do give and give more in the future.
People see rich people as these greedy, self-serving people. Maybe they are. But many are just really good at making money. I recently saw an article about what 8 billionaire’s drove for their personal cars. I mean, they were downright dull. They weren’t Ferrari’s and Mercedes; they were Honda’s and Toyota’s. In fact, if you look at eccentric rich people like Howard Hughes, they were frugal spend thrifts. They refused to spend money on themselves. There are actually some like that.
But I’ll have to admit that it is fun to spend on ourselves sometimes, especially when it means we are bettering our lives in the process. That’s how I felt about yoga. In some ways, I felt a bit coerced by teachers to do it in the first place. I didn’t have any aspirations of being a yoga teacher. I didn’t think I fit the mold (and I still don’t). When I dropped a few thousand dollars on teacher training, I never expected to ever make that money back. I was doing it for myself. I would have never imagined how much it would shape my life. And because of what happened to me, I feel that I’ve heaped a lot of my personal gain on others. I feel like I’m doing a very great service to the community. And if I get paid to do that, even better. Its not a job for me, its a total blessing.
The interesting thing about it all is that, in addition to my regular job, my hobby job is now making me some money. My ROI, Return On Investment, is high. And it is something I really enjoy. I cannot say that all of my ventures have been money making propositions. One that comes to mind is what I’m facing right now. I finished a year of Thai Yoga Massage training just over a year ago. So I had one full year of practicing that art to recoup the training dollars. I’ve am so fascinated by the practice and enjoy helping people heal. In the State of Illinois, we have been able to practice under an Asian Bodywork exemption. However, due to human sex trafficking problems, State legislators put in a bill to do away with the exemption. We have worked hard to try to get a reprieve or find some mechanism of licensing. Unfortunately, that all fell apart. As of Jan 1, 2020, we will no long be able to legally practice in Illinois. So we rebrand and modify or completely stop practicing. Its such a shame. So the money I put into the program may never be recovered. I probably came close in a year of practice, but I don’t think by much. For this training, my ROI is not very good.
We don’t always do things for money, like I’ve said. Sometimes a positive ROI is not what we need. Sometimes its the experience, the people, the location, that matters more. Working with a celebrity teacher, traveling to an exotic location, or experiencing something magical is what its all about. Mind you, these "extras" can be costly and defeats reaching an ROI. Its like going to an Ivy League college when the local community college could give you equal or even better education. People go for the experience and the notoriety of going to a big school. That’s OK if you can use that for your gain. But if it doesn’t help you, then why do it? I see lots of people who have no money or go into tremendous debt to do exotic things, when something local would suffice. Sometimes its not association with celebrity, it is ego. They want the street cred to put on their resume. Sometimes it may be selfishness. But its never up to me to judge a person’s decisions. Its up to a person in their own heart to decide why they do what they do.
You have to decide why you do things. Are you just doing it for yourself? Or, is this an entrepreneurial venture where the bottom line does matter. Do you really need the art deco location downtown, or will a nice location in the suburbs work just as well? Do you need to go into $50K debt for studio interior design or will some paint and nice lighting work just as well? It all comes down to ROI. Its why a budget works so well in our personal lives. A business can’t get away without doing that. If you don’t balance the books and create profit that benefits your family and helps grow a business, then why do it? That’s for you to decide. If you don’t know, then ask for help. If you don’t mind dollars flying out the window, then by all means, do that. Otherwise, you have to be smart about business. What you do is a business. Treat it like one.