Growing up broke gave me an appreciation for the things I have now.
I remember going to town with Mom to pick up government cheese and peanut butter. I remember wondering why I got marked down on a different list when we were in line for lunch at school. I remember seeing other farmers’ newer green tractors and wondering what it would be like to have a cab over my head.
When I got married, my Mom and Dad were starting to finally make ends meet and start buying better equipment for the farm and picking up an extra piece of land here and there. But my wife and I were back at square one. Broke. And I’m so glad we were broke together. We learned lessons together. We fought out of the “paycheck to paycheck” phase after about 5 years. That’s a nice feeling.
I feel that in order to be able to market really well to people, you need a broad perspective on PEOPLE. You need to know what it feels like to live paycheck to paycheck. You need to jump into a lot of different people’s shoes in order to be able to “speak” to people of all income levels.
If you’ve never experienced a certain level of financial stress, that’s great. I’m hoping my daughter doesn’t have to go through “the tough times”. But on the other hand… I want her to experience a slice of it. She’s only 5 right now, but my wife and I are working hard to NOT give her everything. We’re working hard at teaching her to be appreciative of everything she has. And that you can’t have anything you want. It’s not easy, but we want her to grow up to KNOW that there are people a lot worse off. There are people who live in cardboard boxes. There are children who don’t have Moms and Dads that have no home. They would cry for joy if they had a backyard with a swing set and food on the table every day.
Sometimes helping business owners grow their business with better marketing makes me feel like I should be doing MORE. It makes me feel like I should be giving back to the world and helping those less fortunate get on the right track. Am I helping the world by helping a business make more money? Maybe. Maybe that business is really generous and supports a local charity. Maybe that business owner is a volunteer. But what if that business owner is just greedy? What if they want more – just for the sake of having more?
I struggle with this. If my talents include helping a business “say it better” in their marketing materials and help them attract more new customers, maybe I should instead help good charities “say it better” in their marketing. For now, I’ll keep pondering and keep my radar up for “the answer”.
Or another option would be to start my own charity that truly helps people in their time of need and that helps them become happy and productive members of society. Then, I could use my marketing talents for what seems like a better cause. Then, I could SEE that I’m helping to alleviate some of the pain and suffering – and making a real difference.
Or maybe you can help me understand what I’m going through and help me make sense of it all.
If you’re successful or run your own business… do you ever have these same thoughts? Was it Abe Lincoln that said, “The best way to help the poor is to not be poor yourself.” ?? But then what? Isn’t there a certain level of money that is ENOUGH? Isn’t there a point where you’re able to start giving back and help others in need?
This blog post went from what was meant to be a marketing message into something completely different. Whoa! But maybe that’s a good thing.
Have a great day!
Non-Fat Advertising blog