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Dear Felicia,

How can I have a successful non-profit?  I want to love my career but make money doing it as well. There seems to be no money in social work alone.

Lauren G.

via Facebook


Dear Lauren,

You didn’t describe your idea of success or indicate how much money you want to make so I’m not sure what your goals are; but, I’ll base my answer on the general population.  The amount of income needed for financial comfort is different for everyone, but researchers have found that $75,000 per year is the “happy salary” for most people. So, let’s use that as a standard.

You are right. Typically, social work is not a high-paying career choice where you can make $75,000 or a six-figure income.  But I have good news for you.  In business you can get creative and find a way to make your circumstances work for you!  Look for trends, which are a key to wealth.

For example, if you want to stick with social work, look for trends in social issues.  What issues are impacting people who have the means to pay you for help if you figure out a way to eliminate their issue or reduce the impact? Let’s take autism — a developmental disorder that is being diagnosed in a lot more children.

Parents of autistic children have more to do to care for their children, and if you listen to their stories, sometimes they are exhausted and have nowhere to turn.  They also don’t seem to have a central source of credible information for how to help their children as they grow older.

With your education and background, you are probably sensitive to the needs of others who are in fragile situations. Could you create a national network of support groups for parents of autistic children and charge an affordable monthly membership fee?  You could provide parents the latest medical and lifestyle information to make life easier for their family and create monthly support group meetings where they can connect with others locally who are facing the same challenges.  Or, you could market your service to pediatricians who specialize in autism and show them how they can offer it as a valuable service to the parents of their patients, which will grow their practices.

At $8,500 per month you would earn more than $100,000 in revenue per year, and you would only need 340 members nationwide paying $25 per month to earn that amount of money.  This is just one example of how you can use trends and entrepreneurship to do work you love without having to sacrifice your lifestyle in the long run.  Don’t get me wrong; you will have to sacrifice in the beginning because it takes time to learn how to grow and manage a business, but if you are willing to put in work on the front end, you could build something lasting and fulfilling long term.

Grace & Peace,

Felicia Joy

Felicia Joy is a nationally recognized entrepreneur who created $50 million in value for the various organizations and companies she served in corporate America before launching her business enterprise.  She is often called on to discuss the ins and outs of entrepreneurial success and has appeared on CNN, FOX and in other national press.  Felicia operates Ms. CEO Inc., a company that helps women entrepreneurs achieve more success, faster — as well as Joy Group International,LLC, a business development and consulting firm. Send her your questions at or at

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