if money is power, who are you recharging? reflections from Blogher 2011

Money is power.

It’s not just cliche. There’s truth. Gut churning, denial busting, world rocking truth. You know it: with money, comes power.

You also know that this seems to be most often exploited: get money, exploit power selfishly.

But there’s the flip side: get money, use power for good.

Last week, I returned home from Blogher with much the same reaction as I had last year. It’s not my scene but I dig the camaraderie, the exultation of women of all ilks, and – maybe just a little – the shock & awe of the experience.

Tara Mohr, Megan Auman, and I came armed to present a different way to generate income from the immense work people put into their blogs. Our panel was well-received and I know we got quite a few people thinking. But I couldn’t help but be overwhelmed by the spectacle of swooning put on by blogger & corporation alike.

BlogHer is sponsored by BIG corporations: McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Proctor & Gamble, and Ford to name a few. There is a lot of money being waved, sparkled, and confetti-ed about. And while I understand the role that big corporations play in our economy (and government, healthcare system, technological evolution, etc…), I couldn’t help but think about the New Economic model I’m helping to build.

Money is power. Potentially, your power.

If the power just flows back & forth between individual and major corporation, we end up forfeiting choice. Corporations can choose to honor our will or not. We don’t have much say. If we claim the power – cash – for our own, we have infinite choice in the good it can do.

Starting a business, sustaining one, growing one isn’t just about earning a living – it’s about claiming power.

You – just like the on-fire women I met at BlogHer – have a vision for this world.
Maybe you want to leave it a better, more heart-driven place for your children. Maybe you want to eliminate poverty. Maybe you want to see college students make better decisions. Maybe you want to get healthy food on more tables, end bullying in school, or help girls learn to express themselves through writing.

I like you. I’m down with your goal.

Sisters, brothers, you’re going to need money to get there. Courting corporations, investors, or your Grandma Jean is probably not going to get you there. They each have their part to play – I’m looking at you, Grandma Jean (just kidding… I don’t have a Grandma Jean!) – but it’s your ability to earn your money and earn your power that’s going to give you the charge you need to create real world change.

A few don’ts:

  • Don’t compromise on your vision because it looks to big. Find ways to generate the resources to pick apart the puzzle one piece at a time.
  • Don’t be intimidated by those who seem to have it more together than you. Trust me, they used to be right where you are.
  • Don’t underestimate the power of starting small. We all start somewhere. Starting at the top is no better than starting at the bottom.

Do allow money to motivate you. Recharge yourself.

Not in the more, more, more-is always-better way but in the earn-more-to-do-more way. Feel confident about making the offer, charging what you’re worth, and developing new products by equating those things with furthering your mission.

Putting your mission out into the world – whether through blogging, designing, making, writing, engineering, develping… – is a drain on your batteries. Make sure the effort that you’re putting out is allowing power to flow back in – not just allocating it to outside holdings.


Want another account of BlogHer? Take a look at this article by Tara Mohr on Huffington Post: Why Blogher Got Me Angry.