Getting Started

How a beggar becomes an entrepreneur in 10 minutes

A few months ago we set out to create Start Packs—portable starter kits that would allow anyone anywhere to begin earning income by selling magazine and all-access digital subscriptions.

Instead of requiring folks to make their way to the Speak Up office (especially difficult during the pandemic), we would bring the opportunity to them.

I’m happy to report that it works.

Here’s what it looked like for a young couple that I came across last weekend.

I met them in front of a big box retailer in my medium-sized city. They were slumped on the grassy median surrounded by huge duffles of personal items, boxes of food, an enormous dog, and a deep-set look of exhaustion. It was obvious they’d been facing homelessness for a long time.

We chatted for a few minutes. I found out that they had been traveling around a lot, coming most recently from California. Their only plan was simply to survive until the latest round of Covid money. “We are just waiting for the $1,400 stimulus, hoping to get off the streets for a few months,” he said.

I told them about Speak Up and offered them a Start Pack—so they could immediately start earning money. If they were willing to work at it.

They jumped at the chance.

“We know how to sell stuff,” she said slyly. “We’ve sold all kinds of stuff!”

“This is something you’ll feel good about,” I told them. It gives a voice to the voiceless and I guarantee you’ll make enough to get off the streets tonight.”

Which they did.

She reached out later that day—they already had enough for a motel room and needed more magazines. They had been able to sell most of the magazines, but they were really excited about the subscription cards, and the promise of recurring income.

They shared that they’d already told another needy person about Speak Up. In less than a day they’d already become Speak Up promoters.

These moments are the best. When a struggling person realizes that they can begin to change their own situation, and they can do it today, and it doesn’t have to depend on the latest stimulus or some lucky break.

“I’m never giving up,” she said.

So the Start Packs work! If you’d like to bring one to someone in your area, please send us an email. It isn’t hard, and the reward is great.


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Speak Up is funded by your tax-deductible donations. Your gift gives opportunity to beggars. It gives a voice to those without. It replaces complacency with purpose and disappointment with dignity.

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