3 Ways To Incentivize People Without Money

When it comes to working with people, don’t be cheap, be creative…

You can pay anyone without money, if you serve their core human desires.


The Punch List:

  • Leveraging people is key to high levels of success.

  • Restrictions on hiring people because of finances limits your potential.

  • Learning to pay people in non-financial ways expands your potential.

  • The 3 most effective non-financial payments address core human desires.

The 3 Human Desires:

  1. Humans are selfish so people desire attention.

  2. Humans are spiritual so people desire meaning.

  3. Humans are curious so people desire adventure.

3 Non-financial Ways To Pay

Pay people with recognition

This works because socially speaking there are few better feelings than being recognized. When we were kids we fought (sometimes literally) for any kind of attention. As we’ve matured from children to adults, we prefer positive recognition over all other kinds of attention.

In the real world you can pay people with recognition by simply including their name in the credits. You can choose to temporarily recognize someone with a social shoutout. Or permanently recognize them by naming a whole project around them.

Examples of recognition as payment include a producer’s name on a song title, an honorary degree, “keys to your city”, or a simple retweet.

Pay people with purpose

This works because as humans we all come into this world lost. And living without meaning is the most unsettling feeling for people. That’s why we will entertain anything that gives our life meaning.

In the real world you can pay people with purpose by explaining the big picture of their work. You can create a roadmap, vision board, or mission statement. And showing many others have committed to the vision can reinforce the work’s purpose.

Examples of purpose as payment include reduce, reuse, recycle programs, protesting for political change, or donating your handmade masks in a pandemic.

Pay people with experience

This works because exploring new things is what keeps life interesting for people. Our natural curiosity motivates us to embark on many new adventures. The rarer the adventure the more desire we have to experience it.

In the real world you can pay people with experience by making the work novel. You can give people access to new locations, exclusive people, or exciting projects. Always highlight how desirable and memorable a work experience is compared to others.

Examples of experience as payment include being a tour guide, acting in a movie, working on a cruise ship, or being a sky-diving instructor.

Overall there are many ways to incentivize people without using money. As WIPs, we may have small budgets for our projects. But with these methods we can get more work done, bring attention to our projects, and build small teams without spending a dime.

When it comes to working with people, don’t be cheap, be creative…

In progress,


P.S.- This post will change your life 😉…

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