I walked off stage having finished my final speech to a crowd of over 8,000 attending the Youth Ablaze conference in Uganda. As the security detail led me through the crowd, something remarkable happened. Just before the exit, a woman stepped out of the crowd to shake my hand. After shaking my hand, she quickly disappeared back into the crowd. When I looked at my hand, I saw she had given me a 2,000 Uganda shilling note.
Receiving a Difficult Gift
When we reached the pastor’s office, I told the security man what had just happened. He said, “Give me the note, and I will return it to her.”
I thought about it and said, “No.” She wanted me to have it.
I asked who the woman is. The security man told me she is a member of the church Kampala International Christian Center. She is one of the poor the church serves.
Receiving this money was both encouraging and difficult at the same time. It encouraged me because she appreciated me. The words I shared with the audience that night touched her life and encouraged her.
It was difficult because I was accepting money from a poor person. She was giving out of poverty while I was living in abundance. Accepting her gift was difficult, and it still bothers me as I look at the bank note now, even as I write this.
Money Votes Are Real
That was my first professional speaking fee. Because of this lady, I knew I delivered a message which helped her. She wanted to not only tell me she liked the message but show me. She paid.
People vote with their money. If they want what you offer, they will pay for it. If you actually satisfy an important enough need, they will pay for it. In fact, they will pay for it even out of their poverty if they have to. They will find the money.
If they are not willing to pay for what you offer but keep talking to you, then they are interested. They are curious about your solution. It tickles a need but doesn’t solve it. Getting paid proves you found a need and are on your way to building a sustainable business.
Anything short of payment is just interesting.
Also published on Medium.