Always Pay it Forward

In entrepreneurship and life there’s a concept I’m a big fan of: pay it forward. The idea of pay it forward is that you help other people without expecting anything in return. Sometimes the help is returned 100x over and most of the time nothing is returned. Regardless, paying it forward is the right thing to do. Now, I can’t respond to every inquiry for help, especially requests for an hour of my time in person, but I do shoot to spend at least a few hours per week helping others.

Here are several ways to pay it forward:

  • When your product or service doesn’t meet the needs of a prospect, you go out of your way to find someone that can help
  • When an acquaintance forwards a resume over, you pass it on to someone that might be interested in it
  • When an entrepreneur asks for help, you spend 15 minutes listening and giving feedback (it’s amazing how effective 15 minutes can be when you remove the layers and get right to the important stuff)
  • When you identify two people that should meet, OK the intro, and connect them such that they meet and get value

Entrepreneurs should always pay it forward.

What else? What are your thoughts on paying it forward and what are some other examples?

9 thoughts on “Always Pay it Forward

  1. David,

    Completely agree.

    A few other ways to pay it forward include:
    1) Offering your product/service in the social sector. Many startups have products and services that are applicable in the social sector. Offering a discount to meet budget constraints is a great way to help them drive impact.
    2) Board level support. Entrepreneurs by natural are problem solvers. Serving on an active Board can be rewarding and a great way to help nonprofits get to the next level.
    3) Volunteer expertise. Developers are in high demand. Many high schools and nonprofits are rolling out programs to train young students in development, desktop support, etc. Volunteer for an hour a week to serve as a mentor.

    Thanks for the post.
    Alok

  2. Forward and back –
    Exactly right, David. Thank you. Let me point out another aspect, which your piece shows you do: Pay it back too. Meaning, you give a hand up to the person coming up behind you. That could be feedback, funding, mentoring, whatever. Keep the cycle vibrant for everyone – wherever you are.

  3. Great stuff. There is actually an organization dedicated to just this mindset right here in Atlanta, Netweaving International, http://netweaving.com/. Bob Littell heads this up, he is an amazing connector of people.

    The Netweaving Ambassadors Certificate Program is a great experience. In the program he provides the practical tips for being hyper effective at paying it forward. Plus the cohort of people and discussion amongst them is nothing short of amazing.

    Highly recommended.

    ~eric

  4. Supporting local user groups is another way to pay it forward and foster a more vibrant local developer community. I speak from experience as one of the organizers of the Atlanta PHP User Group which has been the beneficiary of Pardot’s sponsorship.

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