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Maggie Rants [and Raves]

Return on Investment

by Maggie Franklin | April 17, 2015

A few days ago, I got into a conversation with another tech about a nail tech who is running a crowdfunding campaign to attend and compete at a major trade show.

I’ll skip the details of the conversation since they’re not at at all relevant to today’s blog post — but it got me to thinking.

When crowdfunding first came to my attention, it was used to raise money for projects such as the research and development of potentially useful things. Like, “Hey everybody! I have an idea for a cybernetic dog that would be able to drive old people to their doctors’ appointments, but I can’t raise the capital to create the prototype!”

Those projects are still out there, of course, but a lot of the campaigns that get attention are the ones where some girl decides she wants to ride her Vespa to Sedona and so she creates an Indiegogo account so strangers can pay for it.

The girl with the Vespa came to mind when discussing the tech who wants to compete. My personal dividing factor in deciding whether I support someone’s plea for money comes down to the potential for return on my investment.

I didn’t send money to the girl with the Vespa — even though I supported her trip — because it boiled down to one question: What’s in it for me? Sending a stranger money toward her dream vacation just because I want her to be able to go didn’t make sense. Even though I’ve been known to throw a few bucks into the PayPal accounts of other vagabonds based on the fact that I have already enjoyed the stories they have told, I feel like I’ve already taken something from their travels and their efforts to share them. I can chip in for another gallon of gas to help ensure there will be another blog post for me to read.

I don’t see much difference between starting a gofundme account for a trade show trip and putting a jar marked “Send your nail lady to Orlando” on your desk.

Except it makes sense to ask your clients for a little extra support to send you to an educational event. Your clients will (theoretically) directly benefit from what you learn from that experience.

If you ask for money from strangers, what will you be giving back?

Then again, adding another professional to our fold who actually gets more education and becomes a better tech who might then go on to pay that knowledge and experience forward to future nail techs seems like a win/win/win for our entire industry.

So figure it however you see it. After balancing both sides for over 24 hours, I think I’ll see if I can find this tech (I don’t actually know her) and her crowdfunding campaign. The $5 I was going to spend on Starbucks today would most likely be better invested by helping her get to a trade show. Whether I ever benefit from it or not.

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