Updated: Feb 16
In January 2020, I was talking with two friends who are fellow small business owners. We were discussing online payment platforms (riveting stuff, I know), and venting about giant banks and corporations taking a cut out of our humble invoices. One friend said he only accepts payments via ACH bank transfer or direct deposit. "No fees. Ever," he said.
My exact thoughts when I heard this: Oh damn.
In order to make payments as easy as possible for my clients, I send invoices via QuickBooks and offered clients the option to pay with credit cards. The downside: QuickBooks takes 3% of each invoice paid with a credit card. It may not sound like a lot, but that adds up! If I get paid $30,000 through credit cards, that's $900 that just disappears from my business. Or more accurately, that's $900 that goes into the pocket of Intuit, the company that has lobbied to prevent the IRS from creating a free, easy to use online tax filing system, therefore ensuring that people continue to purchase their software. (Here's the infuriating article.)
My exact thoughts when I had this realization: F*ck that.
Intuit is a multi-billion dollar company that doesn't care about the average middle-class American trying to figure out the confusing nature of taxes. On the other hand, I'm a single entrepreneur with a modest team of fellow contractors, trying to help other impact-driven business owners succeed. They don't need my 3%.
As these thoughts were churning through my mind, I remembered my resolution to join 1% for the Planet in the year 2020. Suddenly I saw the clear solution: I'd stop accepting credit card payments, thereby funneling the 3% back into my impact-driven business, and give 1% of that to environmental nonprofits working for causes I believe in.
I immediately emailed my contact at 1% and became a member. My next step was to email all my clients letting them know why I'd no longer be accepting payment via credit card in 6 weeks' time. To make up for the leeway credit cards buy us, I've extended invoice due dates to at least 3 weeks, giving clients time to move money around as necessary. I also asked my clients to reach out if this was a huge inconvenience so we could talk and find a solution that works for everyone.
Since I sent that email, I've gotten absolutely zero push back. Both my existing clients and new ones understand my values and are generally thrilled that they can help me contribute to deserving causes. This goes back to the theme of my February 20th workshop: speaking your mind can create exponential growth for your business.
Since I joined, I've been talking with my 1% for the Planet representative about the kinds of nonprofits I'd like to support. It's a tough decision because there are SO MANY organizations doing absolutely invaluable work! But I think I've narrowed it down to nonprofits working on ocean cleanup, protecting our precious bees, increasing urban gardening, and maintaining our public lands. ("Narrowed it down" might be a misleading phrase....) In addition to monetary donations, I can contribute pro bono services to nonprofits as a portion of my annual donation. With all that in mind, my 1% representative is helping to pair me with organizations who could most benefit from some free copywriting and consulting services.
So I need your help: who do I choose?! Do you have any nonprofits you love that are doing incredible environmental work? Are you connected with an org that needs copywriting, communications, or marketing help?
In the spirit of community and collaboration, I'd love to hear from you. Until next time, be well.