For the past two years I’ve been working outside of the motorcycle industry. It’s been fun but I’m very happy to say that I’m back in the biz! However, this career change resulted in going over budget on Christmas gifts this year – but I won’t say “Oops!” This year was all about giving back.
Before leaving my former job I made “Holiday Survival Kits” (bags full of bottles of alcohol) for every member of my team and took advantage of my discount to outfit my mother with new kitchen accessories. I can’t mention returning to the motorcycle industry without giving a biker wave to the family which gave me my start: Years ago while finishing my commerce degree I was hired by a family-owned motorcycle business. They believed in me, invested in me, and made me better.
I felt terrible for leaving my current team behind, and grateful to my first employers for all of the faith and support they continue to have in me… but buying gifts for so many former colleagues and bosses added up quickly. In addition, I picked up gifts for my ex-girlfriend, room mate, and grandmother. Before I knew it I was up by a dozen gifts over last year and my credit card was maxed…
But I had one more thing to do.
I previously wrote about Kiva, a web site for lending money to entrepreneurs in third world countries. These entrepreneurs need help to boost their business. The loan amounts are small (starting at $25) and are typically repaid in 12 months.
You can find thousands of different businesses to help support. You can find something that strikes close to home. I chose to support a young man from the Philippines in need of motorcycle parts to continue running his business and commuting to and from work.
Alexander has owned and operated a transportation service for over ten years to earn a living. He had supported the family’s daily needs with this income aside from farming. While he waits for the cropping and harvesting season, he does transportation services to earn. His previous loan used for buying spare parts and accessories has been repaid successfully.
Recently, he took a new loan to buy tires and repair his motorcycle for transportation services. He also used his motorcycle to commute between his farm and another village in town. He plans to buy a sidecar for his motorcycle to expand his business in the near future.
You can also make loans on behalf of, or dedicated to, someone else.
Maybe you have someone on your list who has everything but is passionate about fishing. Why not fund a third-world fishing business with a loan on behalf of that person that can help pay for new fishing equipment?
Likewise, if you have a loved one who has passed away and was passionate about children, you could make a loan towards building a daycare for children in a developing country.
If after you’ve done all of your gift buying you can scrounge up $25 (look under the couch cushions), please consider visiting Kiva and finding an entrepreneurial venture that you’d love to help support. Think about it. You’re helping someone (maybe even a fellow rider), and it’s completely free. Trust me, it feels great. Have a look here.