Almost everyone understands that interest follows investment.

“It takes money to make money,” they say.

“One thing's sure and nothing's surer. The rich get richer and the poor get babies,” they say.

Either way the message is clear – nothing ventured, nothing gained. Interest follows investment.

Interest follows investmentAnyone who's socked away even a little cash for a rainy day knows that interest follows investment. No news there.

But there's another way to look at the title of this post and understand why interest follows investment.

That is, your attention and are piqued when you're involved. In other words, you focus more when you have skin in the game.

Hence, this timely screed against pro bono work.

A good buddy of mine is a wonderful dentist. He's also an accomplished musician who plays guitar, bass, and keyboards. And he's got a good heart.

So when a fellow musician had some significant dental issues he came to see my pal with his hat in his hand.

The guy with the bad teeth couldn't pay for all the dental work he needed but he was willing to trade a couple classic guitars for the procedures. My dentist pal agreed.

You can guess what happened:

The musician way overestimated the value of the guitars. And of course he undervalued the cost of the dental work. After all, he'd had these guitars for years and he only spent a few hours in the dentist's chair. Worse, as time went by, his imagined price on the guitars went up and the perceived value of the dental work went down.

Even worse, the musician valued the medical attention he received by the price he paid for it. And so he didn't follow any of the instructions for the surgical aftercare the dentist gave him and he never came in for his follow-up maintenance appointments. Which is why, barely two years later his mouth is in bad shape again.

But now he can't pay for follow-up care and he doesn't have any more instruments to trade. And he's angry that the big-hearted dentist isn't very enthusiastic about providing more low-cost care.

Sad to say, people do not value work based on what goes into it but by what they pay for it.

Interest follows investment.

How many times have you stopped a doctor friend at a party and asked them to “look at this little thing above my eye”? How many times have you asked an investment counselor friend or an insurance broker buddy – whom you do not do business with by the way – for “a little advice”? How many times have you asked a lawyer, an accountant or a architect you know just to “bang something out” for you?

I know I have.

As sensitive as I am to someone asking me to draw up a “quick logo,” or present just “a little speech – won't take you anytime at all,” I'm embarrassed to admit that I've been guilty of this same crime. I've devalued more than one person's knowledge, effort, and experience by asking for a quick solution to a problem that deserved all of the skills and attention a professional could rally.

But not surprisingly, when I have done this I'm never happy with the results. Not necessarily because my chosen professional didn't make the appropriate effort but because I callously undervalued their abilities and achievements. Put another way, regardless of the quality of the solution I got what I paid for.

Instead I find that when I'm fully invested in the work I'm doing – taking the time to explain my needs, valuing the input of my contributors, and paying my way – that I'm most pleased with the end product.


Because interest follows investment.

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