How to Give Half of Your Work Away For Free

A book project by Matthew Manos that aims to "open source" verynice's pioneering 50% pro-bono business model.

In partnership with

"How to Give Half of Your Work Away for Free" is a new book written by Matthew Manos. In 2008, at the age of 19, Matthew launched verynice, a global design and innovation consultancy that gives over half of its work away for free to non-profit organizations. Over the course of 5 years, verynice has been able to save non-profit organizations just a few bucks short of one million dollars. While this is impressive, it actually only makes up for a fraction of what non-profits are spending each year. As a result, verynice can't do this alone anymore, and we need to focus our energy toward inspiring other freelancers, small businesses, and entrepreneurs to give half of their work away for free in order to allow organizations to create more impact.

This book (~150 pages) is the most personal documentation of how verynice, and its unique business model, came to be sharing all of the trials and tribulations as well as the real conceptual significance of its existence.

The book opens with a series of essays about what it means to give over half of your work away, how verynice got started, and the role of "free stuff" in society today. The book then transitions into a comprehensive "open source" business plan that reveals all of the subtleties of the verynice model using beautiful infographics and illustrations to describe how it all works. As part of that section, there is also a comprehensive FAQ of over 100 question and answers that come directly from other entrepreneurs that are currently leveraging, or in the midst of launching, the verynice model within their business. 

Every year, in the United States alone, non-profit organizations will allocate close to 8 billion dollars toward marketing and design expenditures. It is at the core of our mission at verynice to allow organizations to re-invest those resources back into their cause in order to allow them to generate more impact. Can you imagine what could be done with a spare 8 billion dollars, per year? The possibilities are endless. verynice’s solution to this pressing issue in the social sector is something we refer to as the “double half” methodology (though it is most commonly referred to simply as “the verynice model”), a business model that calls for a dedication of over 50% of the studio’s work away for free. Through much iteration over the course of 5 years, the model has been perfected, and it is now ready to be shared in its entirety. Logistically, this model is made possible through our ability to maintain a high capacity for work while simultaneously keeping expenses low.

In order to keep our capacity high, while still maintaining a high standard of quality, our model leverages volunteerism as one of the key components to meet our 50% pro-bono commitment. Therefore, mobilizing volunteers plays a robust role in the scaling of our impact while still maintaining a profitable business. Unlike other intermediary placement agencies that provide one-to-one volunteer resources, verynice operates uniquely as an independent design studio by systematizing our global network of volunteers and contractors as our own team, creating a holistic environment that is comprised of both skilled and amateur professionals. 

Since its inception, the verynice model has inspired thousands of designers, and has gathered quite a lot of attention from the media. As a result, each and every week we are on the phone for hours at a time mentoring other entrepreneurs that are in the process of launching a business with a 50% pro-bono model, inspired by verynice. These people span 4 continents, but they all share the same issues, and they all ask the same questions. The book leverages our experience mentoring these entrepreneurs by creating a one-stop-shop for any and all information about the business model. The goal of this book is not to just tell the story of verynice, but also to literally open-source our business model in order to help feed a growing movement.

Our goal is to get this book into the hands of every single consultant / small service-oriented business in the world. However, because we are realists, our initial *minimum* goal will be to get this into the hands of 1000 consultants around the world. To do that, we need at least $5,000.00

***UPDATE!!*** We have already met our goal! Thanks to all of our supporters. Please continue to give by pre-ordering the book today.

The text for the book is roughly 75% complete, and the design phase is underway, but we need your help to properly distribute this resource. Please consider contributing to our campaign, even for just $5 - be an integral part of growing this movement, and helping our dream become a reality! If you are unable to give financially, please consider sharing this with your friends and family. Every little bit helps! Thank you very much for your time, we hope you have a verynice day :)

"We are all given a short time, and I think the biggest mistake a lot of entrepreneurs make is that they design and optimize their vision to provide the largest financial return possible. Now, making money is not a bad thing, but what should be known and understood, is that in the end, our salaries, the cars we drive, the square footage of our homes… none of that matters. What matters is the legacy that our business and our vision can leave behind – a legacy that has the ability to shape, disrupt, or destroy, a familiar system. When you disrupt a familiar system, you change perspective – you change the way a community can define themselves to inspire future innovation. Just because things are the way they are does not mean they should remain that way. I want to invite you all to leave your mark on something, and don’t be afraid of ignoring what you are brought up thinking is natural." - Matthew Manos @ TEDx, 2012

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