To get ahead in life, you must land an incredible job that rakes in the cash, right? Wrong! As exampled by Philadelphia website designer, Adrian Hoppel, working in exchange for another’s perceived rate of value can be even more rewarding than expected.
A few years ago, Mr. Hoppel came to the conclusion that working a traditional job was “toxic”, and that he wanted to make a change in this area of his life. While this was an inconvenient realization for his family, Adrian felt optimistic about his deeply thought out plan.
The specific change he chose to adopt was to stop charging money for his work, and instead begin to operate within the “gift economy”.
Many societies and groups already thrive in a “gifting economy”, like the yearly Burning Man Festival, but this was an unfamiliar step for the East coast resident. As explained on his blog, however, the exchange makes sense to him: “If we decided to work together, that I would build you a website as a gift, and after I was done, I would give it to you. Then you would consider what the finished product was worth to you and choose something fair to gift me. There would be no contracts, no negotiating, and no pressure.”
Many might shake their heads and scowl at such an idea, but Hoppel acted on what he believes to be a new form of ‘business’, by allowing client to gauge the rate of exchange. He wrote in his blog:
“Most clients gifted me with payment, and the payment is more than I ever received in the traditional model, which was based upon negotiation and the lowest bid wins, instead of the Gift model which is based upon mutual respect and fairness.
Working in the gift does not mean that I work for free, or that I give my work away without care. It means that people trust me to build them a website, and I trust them to support my work as they believe fair.
Trust became the medium of exchange, not HTML, not money. Helping each other became the purpose, not profits or returns on investments. Establishing a community who believed in me and what I was doing became the goal, without worry over profit margins, because eventually I received the most important gift of all: a true faith in people to be honest, fair, generous, and supportive.”