Well, that's not entirely true. I do work for free, on certain occasions.
I did it when we started Unacast of course, and I do it (happily) from time to time when spending time with other entrepreneurs that are looking for insights or to participate in seminars where there is a strategic value that outweighs my invested time.
I have however stopped appearing for free where commercial entities invite me to speak. Not because I don't find it interesting or valuable, but because commercial entities should support the eco-system they are increasingly dependent on and that they use to front their own products.
And here's the important part. I don't want those payments for myself or Unacast, but to support valuable initiatives in the Norwegian eco-system.
Case in point.
I am speaking this fall at BI Norwegian Business School at a new program called "BBA Talks" on Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and the Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) association agreed to pay a fee of 5000 NOK to Shifter, in addition to BI evaluating how they can shift (pun intended) some of their advertising budget to Shifter.
Shifter is a recently started online publication that focuses on the thriving startup scene in Norway, and the first one to do it with credibility, professionalism, and heart! In short, we all need and want them to succeed and to continue to grow.
Lise Arnesen from BBA comments:
"The BBA Association encourages growth among the BBA students by hosting many events throughout the year that focuses on the important aspects within the business industry. By having professional speakers at our events often leads to high payment fees, however, Kjartan Slette from Unacast uses these payments as nominations towards furthering innovation within Norway. Being able to contribute to advancement in the business industry is such a rewarding opportunity; especially when many of these startup companies are on the brink of being highly successful such as Shifter."
Dear fellow entrepreneurs, perhaps you could evaluate doing the same? And dear "users of entrepreneurs", please evaluate doing the same as BBA and BI. I can guarantee you an amazing ROI.
If anyone else wants to support Shifter, you can do so here.
Btw, this post seems to fall in line with a theme in my recent writing, where I focus on the growing confidence, growing sense of urgency and the growing pay it forward culture in the Norwegian eco-system - like in this text about monkeys and funding.