Do you work for meaning or money?

Mar 17, 2024 | Insights

Even successful freelancers sometimes wish their businesses provided them with as much meaning in their lives as money.
Claire runs a very successful kitchen design and installation service and a home furnishings boutique. However, she sometimes gets frustrated at the seemingly never-ending focus on money, paying the bills, paying staff, keeping a positive cash flow, and bringing in sales.

Her close friend, who runs an interior design service, experiences similar feelings and frustrations, as Claire discovered when they chatted over a coffee the other day.

As Claire saw it, the issue was that whilst they were both successful freelancers, the emphasis on the bottom line left them devoid of meaning and purpose in their lives. They felt that the focus of their working lives had become solely about making money, smothering their desire to make a difference in the world and live with meaning and purpose.

A vehicle for change

A portfolio of freelance businesses provides a perfect vehicle for implementing ideas, creating change and making a meaningful difference. However, I don’t think Claire and her friend are the only business owners with these feelings of disquiet and a growing sense of unease at the back of their minds. So, how do freelancers design their businesses to deliver meaning as well as money?

Claire and I discussed this the other day and concluded that the fault – if it can be called that – stems from losing sight of the reason for starting the business in the first place.

The power of a meaningful vision

Claire feels the kitchen (which must have room for a table to sit around) is the soul of the house and established her business to create kitchens with space, colour, utility, sanctuary and comfort. She is passionate about providing her clients with a welcoming and friendly kitchen. Her business is a vehicle for making a real difference to her clients. So why is that sense of purpose and meaning not as powerful as it was?

As Claire admitted, she possibly lost sight of her original vision and purpose. However, following our conversation, she decided to revisit and refocus on serving her clients by giving them a kitchen that is the soul of the house rather than focussing on the number of kitchens she sells. Whilst this metric will remain important, Claire already thinks that a more client-centred approach might increase sales anyway

Photo attribution


Photo by Kelsey Chance on Unsplash


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Money is a financial side-effect of impact.
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