“Make lots of money, give it away.”
This has been my guiding principle for the last three years.
Some people serve by donating their time. For example, they mentor youth or they serve soup to hungry people every day.
But some people can serve better by making money and sharing it with those who don’t know how to generate income.
As an entrepreneur, you’ve taken a huge step toward creating real and lasting impact in your community.
- You create jobs.
- You create wealth.
- You create tax revenue.
- You build our economy.
- And, of course, you create health!
Let’s take a moment to reflect on that:
- Colleges don’t create jobs.
- Banks don’t create wealth.
- Governments don’t create taxes.
- The federal reserve doesn’t build the economy.
- Doctors don’t create health.
Nobody does all four—except you.
That is impact!
You Deserve Success
The real reason I want to make gym owners successful is that success doesn’t stop with them.
No gym owner is hoarding their money in Swiss bank accounts or buying private islands to live out their days in seclusion. They’re dedicated to service—and they’ll serve others with or without money.
It’s much better to do it with money. Here’s why:
1. If you’ve made it to this point, you’re good at making money. Very few people are. The best way you can help others is to keep making money and giving it to the people who don’t know how to do it.
2. Most people won’t be entrepreneurs. Most people will not trade potential upside for their current comfort level. They want jobs, not ownership. The way we make more jobs is to open more businesses.
3. Our free-market system makes democracy possible. Capitalism is the foundation—not the fruit—of democratic processes. Success in business elevates our democracy by paying for social benefits like health care and infrastructure. Success in business elevates our culture by creating surplus time and money for things like art. And success in business elevates our species by funding science and exploration.
4. You are an inspiration for the next generation. Our parents spent their careers in one company. Our kids will largely have to build their own careers. Their teachers and schools don’t know how to do that. You and I must be the examples of entrepreneurship for future entrepreneurs–but also for future gig workers, independent contractors and everyone who is trying to forge their own path.
Here’s the cherry on top:
If you make lots of money, you can give it away whenever—and however—you want.
Paying Your Dues—and Skipping Bureaucracy
Making lots of revenue and paying lots of taxes supports the social systems and infrastructure that I mentioned earlier. And that’s good—you really are paying for the police and the hospitals and the highways. That’s a win for everyone. Thank you for doing that.
But if you make even more money, then you don’t have to filter your impact through the bureaucracy. You can find places where money will have an immediate and profound impact. Then just give … the … money.
For example, I pay over $500,000 per year in taxes from one company alone. That’s not including my real-estate taxes, income taxes or sales taxes. That money supports our system of government, our health care, our education, our roads and more. I’m proud to make such a large contribution. Even when I’m frustrated by the process, I’m proud of the outcome.
But sometimes, a kid just needs a bike. And they can’t wait for a subcommittee on Youth Fitness in Northern Communities to decide to fund a single bicycle for a community with 2,000 kids.
So I just buy the bike.
We’ve been donating 50 bikes every year to local kids in foster care.
Last week, Big Brothers/Big Sisters asked for help finding eight bikes for teens who needed a bit of freedom in their lives. So we just bought them.
Other people volunteer as Big Brothers and Big Sisters to these kids. Still others work for the company and apply for government grants. I’m not great at either of those things, but I am good at making money. So I give money—that’s how I have an impact.
I share this stuff to inspire you: It’s OK to make lots of money. It’s OK to pay lots of taxes. It’s OK to invest money, build wealth or give cash away.
But you have to make money first.
- Start with income: Feed the golden goose.
- Then make investments: Expand your flock.
- Then think about impact: where you leave the golden eggs.
I’m lucky, but I’m not special. You can do it, too.