Everybody doesn’t get the term “sweat equity”

Some may have never heard of it. I came across it several years ago when negotiating with an inventor who needed a web presence and branding created around his invention. I’m pretty good with turns of phrase, so even though I hadn’t come across this one before, the context of the conversation gave away it’s meaning immediately.

“Sweat equity” is a fancy way of saying “work for free”

At first thought, the idea is laughable – give away my time, knowledge and skills for nothing in return. But the term doesn’t simply mean just working for free – it promises equity, which potentially should be valuable. The idea is that your time, knowledge and skills will build something of tangible value eventually. The biggest thing to weigh in a “sweat equity” scenario is: “do you believe the thing you’re building will yield a return on investment?”

Currently, I’m building a company called Churchy Life, and there’s so much to do, it’s dizzying. The first offering from Churchy Life will be a Christian dating site called Churchy Date (in beta), and it’s coming along great. Slowly – but great. I find myself getting overwhelmed sometimes with all that I have to do, and wishing there were a team of people behind me. Advertising of the site will be happening soon, and any extra money will be going towards that. So what can I offer potential team members? The promise of building something great that will eventually yield a return on investment.

I’ve got a few awesome people on board so far!

Finding more people who believe in “working for free” seems like a pretty big challenge – though, admittedly, I haven’t tried too hard yet. Hopefully, as we continue to build, the sweat equity I and others are pouring into the company will produce a strong case for others to want to join in and help.

Or maybe I’ll just stop being scared of rejection, and ask people anyway. Yeah… let’s try that 🙂



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