Why do I feel guilty for making money?
Guilty for making money?
As my passive income stream have started to grow I have also developed a strange feeling. I have started feeling a little bit guilty for making money.
Take the money and run
I have been tutoring on the side for quite a while. Initially, I felt like I wasn't worthy of my £35 hourly rate. It felt like I was taking the parents money and not giving enough back in terms of quality tutoring to the students. At the end of each session with the student I'd sheepishly request the money, averting my gaze until the money was out of sight. Why was I feeling so guilty for giving up my time and energy to my clients?
I eventually got over my guilt. The answer was simple. I got my students the results that they wanted. I had one student who was predicted a D and then achieved two marks off an A. This year the student is predicted an A. I'm still coaching this student, but I no longer feel the guilt when I accept the parents cash. I earned that money. I helped the student achieve what he otherwise may not have achieved. The parents got something for their money. I added value.
Guilty if you're taking something for nothing
If you are taking something for nothing then I think it's justified that you feel guilty but more often than not you are providing something for the cash, a service or product. As long as you are giving something in return, there is no slight of hand involved, and you aren't trying to screw your customers then you should be relieved of your guilt.
Being a middleman and feeling guilty
Off the back of some successful results with my students I have been innundated with tutoring requests. I cannot service all of these students to a sufficient standard. I've started to sub-contract some of these additional students out to other tutors. The student still pays £35 per hour but I keep £5 and pay the tutor £30. Should I feel guilty for taking the £5 when I have done no work for that student?
I must admit that at first I did feel guilt. How could I reasonably take some of the fee when I have done no tutoring?
I relationalised away some of that guilt:
The parents were quite free to go elsewhere. I was clear and upfront with the tutors and the parents that I was taking a commission for the referral. My role was to coordinate the parents and the tutors, take payment, negotiate bonuses for the tutors based on results, and coach the tutor on how best to teach the course and exam technique. There are plenty of other tutors out there. The parents were quite free to use someone else and the tutor was quite free to find their own students. I have directly facilitated the transaction between students and tutors and taken a small cut in compensation for that effort.
I may be a middleman but there is no reason why that's a bad thing. I am essentially a wholesaler for tutors. Nobody criticised Tescos for being a middleman. Tescos buys a lot of its products from a wholesaler and then sells these onto customers adding their own profit on top. Why? Because they are facilitating the meeting between customers and wholesalers by providing a central meeting point for customers to buy wholesaler products. That's where they add value and that's why they can add a profit.
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