There are many ways to reach “Rich Social Worker” status:

  • Saving + Investing
  • Winning the lottery
  • Marrying into money
  • Creating a product or service that people want to buy

…for now let’s talk about the products and services rout (it gets juicy soon enough, I promise).

A Blog Post Revisited

If you haven’t yet read my post on how wealthy social workers make more money, you can do so here. In it I asked the question:

So why would a social worker go “off the grid” and create multiple products and services, and what does this mean for you?

I used the example of Brené Brown, a social worker and world-renowned speaker and author, who has created multiple products and services around her specific area of practice. In the event you’re not familiar with Ms. Brown let’s take a look at her products for a moment:

  • Books:
    • Rising Strong
    • The Gifts of Imperfection
    • Daring Greatly
    • I Thought It Was Just Me (But It Wasn’t)
    • Women and Shame
  • Audio Programs
    • Men, Women and Worthiness
    • The Power of Vulnerability
    • The Gifts of Imperfect Parenting
  • Classes
    • The Gifts of Imperfection 6 Week eCourse

Now for her services.

  • The Daring Way Consulting
  • Speaking
  • Event Appearances

Through these products and services Brené has become known for helping people live more meaningful and courageous lives through vulnerability and self acceptance. These are products and services that are benefiting millions of people even as we speak.

Thank you, Dr. Brown!

I also asked you to consider the answer to this question:

We Interrupt This Program . . .

So here is where I feel compelled to speak to the “I’m-not-worthy gremlin” that might be coming up for you right now. You know, that little voice in your head that says hogwash like, “Who am I to create a product for anyone? I don’t have anything special that someone would pay for. I’m not as good as XYZ person to package anything. Eva’s obviously not talking to me so let me skip to the end.” If any of that sounds like you then please know that you’re EXACTLY who I’m talking to.

If social work has taught us anything it’s that it’s our job to save the world help we interrupt this programas many people as we can and hopefully leave a lasting impression on the lives we touch. And for all intents and purposes creating products and services that help more people at a time is a great way to do just that.

Look, I’m not suggesting that you quit your day job – not just yet anyway – but when you take the time to actually contemplate that question for yourself you begin the process of literally altering the course of history for the people that will one day buy your product or service and life for yourself as you know it.

No pressure.

But I get it: sometimes coming up with an answer to a seemingly simple question isn’t as easy as it looks. Even though we know in social work that “it’s not about you, it’s about the client,” we also know that “it’s not about the client, it’s about you.” So in the off chance that you’ve got some hidden blocks preventing you from answering, I’ve got some ideas about what might actually happen if you did. Here goes . . .

How Your Life Might Change If You Created  a Product or Service Based On Your Passion Or Expertise

1. You would serve more people

So we’ve spoken broadly about this one already but it’s worth noting that when you package (v.) your expertise or skills into a sellable product or service you’re essentially making yourself more shareable. Think about it: there’s only one of you to serve a finite number of people at any given time. But if you take the time to put your knowledge, values and skills into a product or service, you multiply your impact and, in turn, the amount of people you’re able to serve.

2. You would have more time for yourself

While creating your product  or service takes time, once you’ve created it that product or service can then be used in your place so that you can go about doing other things you might like.

For example, if you have a unique curriculum to help teach self awareness, instead of teaching that skill to small groups in your hometown over and over again, you could record those lessons on video and provide accompanying workbooks to enhance the learning. This way when others purchase your product you can essentially “be” in many parts of the world teaching at the same time while the actual you is spending valuable time with family or on a beach in Waikiki! (hey, a girl can dream can’t she?)

3. You would reconnect with your inner creative

Assuming you think things like making playdough, finger painting, and playing pretend are exclusively for children, this benefit might be the most valuable one of all.

In the last several years there have been numerous studies (here’s one) showing the vast benefits of promoting creativity in adults for work, health, and improved relationships.

With so many benefits, don’t you just want to get your creativity on with some robust brainstorming? Yes? I’ve got a worksheet for you at the end of this post so keep reading.

4. You would grow more personally and professionally

Lest I’ve given you the impression that creating a product or service was a walk in the park, let me correct that notion now. The process I’m suggesting is not, I repeat, is not one to be taken lightly, often testing the grit of the creator and pushing you beyond your current comfort zones. However, on the other side of that creative process is a legend you have yet to meet, and the good news is that personal and professional growth is inevitable while going through it.  Having gone through the creation process your future self is tougher, smarter, and more kickass than you can now imagine. The only question is will you show up to meet them?

5. You would fulfill your potential

What’s with social workers believing in their clients to do amazing things with their lives but not accepting that same possibility for themselves?

Seriously, what gives?

I know social workers with potential to help millions of people, but who have somehow been pacified into a mediocre existence making a mediocre impact earning a mediocre salary.

Where are my dreamers and where are my bright stars? Know it’s never too late to do something great-er with your untapped potential!

6. You would make more money

money exchangeThis one is obvious as long as the costs associated with creating your product or service are less than the price you sell them for.

My first  attempt at creating saleable product came in the form of my book How NOT to Practice Social Work.  Because I self-published for free on Amazon.com (Amazon keeps a percentage of the earnings), my costs for publication were minimal. Not only that, each time someone purchases the book I receive a deposit in my account. So while I haven’t yet done the exact math, I can tell you that I’m a least a few thousand dollars richer from creating that one product alone.

Your Turn

Now that you’ve considered a few of the ways that creating a product or service might change your life and the lives of others, I’ve got some homework for you – and, yes, there will be a test.

If you’ve made it this far in the post then you and I both know you’re meant to do more with the potential you have. Brainstorm and write down ideas for at least 25 things you could share with the world and the corresponding ways in which your product or service would help others. If you need some structure I’ve created a handy worksheet that you can download here to help you out.

You’re welcome.

And let me know in the comments what thoughts come up for you from this post. I look forward to reading them!

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