Take your time before answering. This is a trick question. Why does it have to be one or the other? The fact is, people are driven by both. The majority of the world’s population works for a living and profit or (net) income is necessary to meet our financial obligations. As we evolve into more socially-responsible individuals, we also have altruistic needs. These longings may be as basic as supporting our families, a loved one or as simple as caring for a pet, a plant, or anything that requires our attention. The reality is that we’re driven by profit and the desire to help.

The desire to help is trickling into the workplace

A lot of people don’t see themselves as humanitarians or as selflessly inclined. If you’re responsible for the care of anyone or anything other than yourself, you are.

In fact, the need or desire to feel useful or make an impact on others is a growing trend today.

More than ever people want to feel like they’re making a difference. This has given rise to a number of non-traditional businesses that combine altruism with revenue in the profit and the not-for-profit sectors that address social issues while addressing financial growth. A good example of this is Enterprise’s car share company out of Chicago.

Many companies today provide volunteering opportunities for their employees understanding that people want balance in their lives.

One way to combine work with volunteerism, if your company doesn’t offer any opportunities, is to find a local non-profit that addresses your interests and can offer availabilities with your time constraints. When I first started my search for volunteering opportunities, I was surprised to learn that there are countless agencies always looking for volunteers. The choices for service are endless. They range from working with homeless individuals to tutoring, gardening, conservation and so much more.

The “altruistic professional” can have income and serve at the same time

Luckily today we have many ways of combining our desire to make a difference with having revenue. This has given rise to the working vacation, an opportunity for the “altruistic professional” to volunteer during his or her vacation time without compromising income.

Another way people are addressing desire to help with profit is through online businesses. Now that connectivity is readily available in most places around the world, people can operate successful mobile businesses. This explains the rapid growth in digital businesses.

Online marketing is especially alluring because it’s a model that, if created properly, works 24/7/365 so you don’t have to.

As a digital entrepreneur, I can market the book I wrote in 2014, Agapanthus Rising, anywhere in the world. It’s a book about self-realization and it provides readers with tools to learn how to live with passion, peace and purpose.

I’ve always loved helping people find ways to lead better lives but my struggle had always been in meeting my financial commitments. I thought that I had to give one up for the other. For this reason I fell in love with the digital marketing business model. I can have income and meet my desire to help.

Being a person of service doesn’t mean you have to be poor

My upbringing (erroneously) taught me that altruistic people had to be poor. I’d like to meet the individual who came up with that idea so I can set him or her straight. That may have been the way of life centuries ago but that’s a dated concept.

Nothing says you can’t have a financially successful business and do outreach work. Whether volunteering within your workplace or with an outside agency, serving during your vacation or starting a business that gives you income, the time freedom to be in service to others, today there are endless opportunities to have both.

There’s great fulfillment in being financially successful to be able to help others. Millions around the world benefit from the generosity of philanthropists like Bill and Melinda Gates, Warren Buffet, George Soros and others.

Though not everyone can give on such large scales, even the smallest of our contributions, so long as they come from the heart, make us feel like billionaires. Moreover, what I’ve learned from volunteering around the world is what feels like something very small to me, may make a world of difference to someone else.

What do you want out of life?

Which brings me to you. What do you want out of life? What drives you? Are you feeling under-employed, unfulfilled in life or unchallenged? This may be an indication that you’re out of balance. I would encourage you to find ways to combine earning a living with spending more time serving family or strangers.

Let me ask you, do you think that you were placed on this earth merely to make a good return on your investment? I think not. For the sake of your happiness try to find a way to combine altruism and profit.

The happiest people I know are doing just that.

If you’d like to learn more about starting a business that provides income and meets a desire to help others, take a look here.

ROXANA BOWGEN, Digital Marketing Consultant

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