15 of the Best Podcasts for Entrepreneurs in 2021: Looking Ahead!

Being an entrepreneur is a tough, lonely life at times. We’re the ones who trade nights out with friends or Netflix binge-watching sessions for strategy meetings and business growth development. We often spend a lot of time on the road, and in our travels, so podcasts can be a great way to learn some new business strategies, get inspired, or hear the best hard-fought success stories out there. That’s why I hand-picked 15 of my best podcasts for entrepreneurs for 2018 here.

I love listening to podcasts. Often when I’m knee-deep in editing and formatting, I put on a podcast or two to inspire me while I catch all those typos and missing hyperlinks. It can be a great way to spend a few hours on the road too. You can often catch me listening to a few of my favorite podcasts on a long flight to a conference. The best podcasts make the time go by so much faster, right?

What makes a great podcast for business leaders?

A great podcast for entrepreneurs is defined by a simple principle — are you going to learn something meaningful that you can implement into your life and business strategy? Great podcasts not only entertain, they inform. They provide insights you can’t get anywhere else. When I become addicted to a podcast, it’s usually because the interviews are fresh. And, when the interviewers are curious, I know I’m going to learn something.

I’ve chosen these top podcasts for entrepreneurs with you all in mind. Not only do business owners need motivational and inspirational, we need strategies that we can actually use.

The Best Podcasts Let You In

The greatest podcasts — full stop — are the ones that aren’t afraid to go there. By ‘there’, I mean to let us into the struggles, the failures, the times in the entrepreneurial journey that aren’t so great. I’ve listened to hundreds of podcasts in my own personal journey as an entrepreneur. These are the best business podcasts that I personally bookmark, go back to, and listen again, and again. Some are geared towards the small business owner, some help you with your inner game, some share practical insights and strategies.

Making this list I was reminded of how vital it is to listen to other’s stories of failure and success. We all can’t get to meet the influencers and leaders of our day in real life, so podcasts are a great way to ‘sit at the table’ with these leaders. I love when I learn a new tidbit, strategy or insight from someone that I thought I knew. Podcasts can do all of that. I encourage all of you to take some time this week and just listen. Hey, you just might learn something!

Without any further ado, here are the best podcasts for entrepreneurs in 2018!

1.The Gary Vee Audio Experience

There is no holding back when it comes to the real deal advice, candor, and discussions you get with Gary Vaynerchuk. We’ve been a fan for many years, watching as he continues to grow his media empire.

This podcast is filled with informative strategies and advice from the master of ‘tell it like it is’ entrepreneurial advice. The future is audio, claims Gary Vee and you can tell he puts a lot of time and effort to bring business leaders the information and strategies that we need. You’ll get a mix of relaxed, informative talks as well as the feature where you can ask Gary anything in #AskGaryVee show episodes.

2. The Joe Rogan Experience

Whether you are already a fan of Joe Rogan or not, this is a great podcast. While some might not consider this a typical entrepreneurial podcast, I say this is one of the best around. With topics such that tackle the future of work and life as we know it, Joe Rogan doesn’t shy away from the controversial topics as well.

He also covers topics such as health, fitness, and is a big supporter of the cannabis movement. While this podcast does feature heavy hitters and celebrities, the discussions are frank, honest, and always entertaining.

Watch Joe Rogan interview author, director, and anthropologist Sebastian Junger. They discuss modern society, namely the cutoff existence we all find ourselves in, which can be lead to nation-wide depression. As the future of work changes, these kinds of discussions are so important:

[vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=40&v=W4KiOECVGLg”]


3. The Tim Ferris Show

With over 300 million downloads, best of iTunes accolades, the Tim Ferris Show isn’t going anywhere any time soon. Tim has interviewed thousands of business leaders as well as celebrities in his own style, full of gritty strategies and business truths.

Covering everything from Blockchain, to the inner game of the entrepreneur, Tim keeps the content fresh, inviting and definitely entertaining. If you are looking to up your business goals, this is a great place to visit and have a listen.

4. The Motivational Millennial Podcast

With a focus on the inner game of the entrepreneur, hosts Ivy LaClair and Blake Brandes speak with a myriad of leaders, from musicians to business leaders all with the goal to discussing our purpose on this planet.

If you need some insights on how to get your mindset geared towards success, this is a great podcast to spend some time with.

5. The Growth Now Movement

If you want to manifest greatness in your life and in your business, the Growth Now Movement podcast is definitely worth your time. With interviews from Fitness Gurus, business leaders, stand-up comedians, this edgy podcast delivers the hustle and strategies social impact leaders like you need to grow your business. Entertaining and educational, this is a podcast you won’t want to miss.

Check out this interview with stand-up comedian, actor, reality tv host, Bert Kreischer on storytelling (and how not to lose your virginity). Did I say this was entertaining?

6. Entrepreneurs on Fire with John Lee Dumas

Seven days a week, host John Lee Dumas releases another entrepreneurial gem, interviewing celebrities, business leaders in this interview-style podcast that has certainly caught fire over the past few years. Interviews with leaders such as Seth Godin, Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Barbara Corcoran and more share their strategies for growth, insights into their successes and failures and so much more.

Check out our very own CEO and Founder of Change Creator, Adam Force imparting some truth bombs on the Entrepreneurs on Fire.

7. Leadership and Loyalty with Dov Baron

Dov Baron is a master leader and inspirational speaker. We also featured Dov on our Best Leadership Podcast super list!

Dov is a one-of-a-kind motivational speaker that tells us, not what we want to hear, but what we need to. His frank candor and energy is refreshing and cuts through the noise online. Let’s face it, being a business leader is a tough life and Dov makes nothing sound easy, but what he does do is offer valuable business insights, tough-talking points we need to hear, and motivation in the form of practical tips we all need to implement.

8. Addicted to Success with Joel Brown

Joel Brown is a superhero in the Change Creator world. Not only is he our Issue #3 cover story, we consider him a dear friend and inspiration around here. With the Addicted to Success podcast, you can feel his immense energy, his natural curiosity, and interest in his subjects at every turn.

Joel interviews startup founders, business leaders, small business leaders, founders, motivational speakers, celebrities and more on his podcast. Joel’s interviews continue to be a leading source of motivation and real actionable business strategies along our own entrepreneurial journies here at Change Creator.

One of the insights he shared with us in our exclusive interview with Change Creator, way back when in Issue #3 was the principle of Time vs Energy. We’re all given the same amount of time in each day, it’s how we spend our energy that really matters and one listen to the Addicted to Success podcast shows how much energy and passion Joel puts into his podcasts.

Two of our favorite Addicted to Success podcasts from 2018:

Garrain Jones is a transformational leader and public speaker who is all about breaking through barriers. Here Joel and Garrain talk about living a courageous life, full of passion discussing the power of telling a great story, how that can expand your network and net worth.

Getting your impact story out there is vital if you want to succeed as a purpose-driven entrepreneur and in today’s world, there’s no better way than to actually get on a podcast! If you want to break through the digital noise and not only secure a spot on the top podcasts, but have a podcast that will truly inspire and breakthrough, then listen to this interview which clearly outlines the simple, effective steps you can take to get interviews.

9. Tony Loyd — Social Entrepreneur

The passion for social impact shines through in Tony Loyd’s podcast as he interviews some of the world’s greatest social entrepreneurs with wit, humor, and genuine interest. Listen to some of the most provocative, soul-changing business stories from the front lines of social impact in this podcast that is a definite must-have on our best entrepreneurial podcasts for 2018 list!

Tony Loyd also interviewed our fearless leader, Adam Force as well. Listen to his interview as the two fellow, mission-driven entrepreneurs and podcasters swap stories. How do you make a living doing something meaningful? They discuss Adam’s personal story and early businesses before Change Creator and the transformational journey that Adam had leading up to Change Creator. This interview was done just before Issue #4 and is packed with early insights on what motivated Adam to start and grow Change Creator from the beginning.

10. Perpetual Traffic Podcast

Here’s where we get to the nitty-gritty of marketing and building your business online. Learn tips from the pros on how to lower your ROI costs, delve successfully into the world of Facebook marketing, get more relevant traffic and more. A must for any business leader that wants to grow their online presence and make more money.

The weekly podcast is produced by Digital Marketer and hosted by Keith Krance, Ralph Burns (Dominate Web Media) and Molly Pittman (Digital Marketer). Not only do they share their personal growth hacking insights, they often interview real business owners and discuss the struggles, challenges, and nightmare scenarios they overcame in the world of digital marketing. Learn the secrets of how to create passive income, gain more followers, get more conversions, and organic traffic from real deal experts and business owners.

11. Your Kick-Ass Life Podcast with Andrea Owen

You are going to need to have a kick-ass life if you want to be a kick-ass entrepreneur. Andrea Owen isn’t afraid to dig deep into life, her own experiences, and story to share insights on how to live a kick-ass life. Geared toward the busy, hustler generation, Andrea’s thoughts on everything from the mental game, goal setting to technology are fresh and fun. Tips on things such as social blocking and productivity are helpful, I’ve learned a lot about time management and goal setting on this quirky podcast.

12. The School of Greatness Podcast with Lewis Howes

“You can ride a wave or you can start a wave.”

Former professional football player Lewis Howes is next on my list with The School of Greatness podcast. Not only does he seem to pull out great stories from all of his guests, this podcast is full of actionable advice that we all need to hear.

A great question-asker, Lewis seems to pull the best stories, insights and truth from his guests and it’s a pleasure to listen too. With interviews from professional athletes, the best business minds in the country, influencers and celebrities, there is something for every business owner, no matter how far or how long you’ve been on this journey.

Humble the Poet — A Lewis Howes Exclusive

Lewis Howes interview with spoken word poet, Humble the Poet is a great example of why I love this podcast so much. With sharp candor and fresh insights, Humble the Poet shares how we control our destiny — it is up to all of us to start our own wave and keep going. That’s what I love about this episode, watch here:

[vc_video link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=dv5OBNIg-rk”]


13. The Smart Passive Income Podcast with Pat Flynn

Passive income is a dream. If you can make money in your sleep, you have a business, if not, you’re still just trading time for money. In this podcast, Pat Flynn breaks down the challenges of earning passive income while providing some proven strategies to earn money online. Here you’ll get into the more tactical information too, like how to write sales copy that works, how to earn more media exposure, and how to run a contest to build your email list. If you want to grow your online business, I strongly encourage you to bookmark this podcast and come back often.

14. Unemployable with Brian Clark

Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger and 7 other companies hosts this podcast where he interviews business leaders and influencers to talk about the challenges and pitfalls of entrepreneurial life. With topics that cover the fundamentals, such as entrepreneurial habits, to insightful interviews from all parts of the business journey, Unemployable is a go-to podcast for any serious business owner. Listen to one of my favorites, about a partnership gone wrong, that worked out so good: Picking Up the Pieces when a Partnership Implodes, with Jordan Harbinger.

15. Change Creator Podcast with Adam Force

This list would not be complete without a shoutout to our very own leader of the Change Creator crew, Adam Force. The Change Creator podcast features the world’s most successful business leaders, marketing and branding professionals, celebrities, and influencers. It’s a great mix of practical insights and storytelling from the front lines.

With interviews and frank discussions from world leaders such as Nobel peace prize winner Muhammad Yunus, marketing guru, Seth Godin, motivational superstar, Jay Shetty, just to name a few, the Change Creator podcast is a fresh take on modern business, with a social impact twist.

In the Change Creator podcast, we get to see the intensely curious Adam Force delve deeper into the lives, challenges, and strategies from the most successful leaders on our planet all with the goal of helping others grow their business and their impact.

I have personally listened to most of these interviews, but I do have some favorites, of course. One of my personal favorites is when Adam interviewed social activist, Sonya Renee Taylor to discuss how she grew her business, The Body Is Not An Apology form a poem to a worldwide phenomenon. I also was deeply moved by his exclusive interview with Dr. Muhammad Yunus — Solving Big Social Problems with Small Steps which showcases a personal and professional high for sure.

Some of the other Change Creator podcasts that make it to my top ten list are:

Kelly Campbell

Kelly Campbell: How She Sold Her Second Company and Created a New Meaningful Business She Loves — Adam and Kelly share an honest, lively discussion on how she went from an agency owner to helping agency owners grow their businesses.

Jake Orak Follow-Up

Jake Orak: How do you lean into your social mission to differentiate your business? Here our first cover story, Jake Orak breaks down the real struggles and challenges he went through growing Ethnotek bags. It is a refreshing look into what can really happen when you are on the ground running a social impact business.

Jay Shetty

Jay Shetty: What is Storytelling and What Makes a Good Story? This podcast features the captivating and well-spoken Jay Shetty, an online phenomenon. Here he breaks down the strategies behind his viral videos and what’s led him to this massive success he’s found online.

Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki: Pulling Back the Curtain on Startup Success – Listeners get to sit at the table with one of the most successful entrepreneurs on the planet as Adam and Guy dig deep into what it really takes to grow a startup.

Mallika Dutt

How to Use Pop Culture to Tackle Human Rights with Mallika Dutt — This was one of the earlier podcasts but it still holds a special place in my heart as I was introduced to one of the fiercest rabble-rousers out there, Mallika Dutt. As a woman entrepreneur and leader, she shares her strategical approach to rapid growth and starting a movement that saved women’s lives with Breakthrough.

Seth Godin

Seth Godin: What it Takes to be a Great Leader That Impacts the World — You would never know that Adam had mere minutes to prepare for this interview with Seth Godin as their candor and discussion is hyper-focused and right on point. We’re still talking about the insights in this podcast around these parts, as Seth breaks down the role of leadership in these changing, exciting times.

Dov Baron

Dov Baron: How Do You Find Purpose and Build Your Personal Brand — Sometimes a podcast can come into your life and just knock your socks off! That’s what happened to me when I first listened to this exclusive Dov Baron interview full of passion and kick-me-in-the-face truths all entrepreneurs need to hear (even if we don’t want to).


And finally to round off my top ten:

Interview with Bryan Goldberg and Kate Ward from Bustle: This is always going to be known as the interview that made me want to join Adam as a partner here at Change Creator. For several months, Adam and I talked and strategized about scaling this media company, but I was super hesitant to jump in and really take it on. Then, he shared this interview. The rest, as they say, is history. Bryan and Kate showed me the possibilities in growing a media company and from that moment on, it’s all I’ve wanted to do with my life. That’s the power of a great interview. Thanks guys!


FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

What podcasts do successful people listen to?

Successful people surround themselves with inspirational people. They love to listen to podcasts for leaders, such as the Dov Baron podcast, or they like to listen to the popular ones such as The Tim Ferris Show, Masters of Scale, but we would also recommend the Rise Project.

What podcasts do CEOS listen to?

If you want to be the CEO of your company, you need to listen to the podcasts that leaders do. We recommend the Leadership and Loyalty Podcast with Dov Baron, Coaching for Leaders with Dave Stachowiak and Dose of Leadership with Richard Rierson.

How do I start a podcast for my business?

Before you start a podcast, think about what your audience is most interested in and go as niche as possible with your topic. Find smart, niche-related people to talk to and map out your first 10 podcast interviews. Invest in a decent microphone and editor. You can get up and running fairly quickly if you have a plan.

My Final Thoughts

And there you have it — 15 killer entrepreneurial podcasts you have to listen to this year and beyond. Listening to podcasts can have a huge effect on your life and on your business. I implore you to take some time and have a listen.

Do you have any awesome entrepreneurial podcasts I haven’t included? Comment below with your top picks and I just might add them to my list.

You might also enjoy:

23 of the Best Leadership Podcasts You’ll Love [New 2019 Picks!!]

26 and One-Half Ways to Become a Conscious Entrepreneur

Since 2015, I’ve devoted my life and career to helping a new kind of business flourish – that of the conscious entrepreneur. Conscious entrepreneurs are people who devote themselves to growing a business where social impact and profitability run in tandem.

And we are winning. From major names like Toms Shoes to Warby Parker, social impact companies are crushing the outdated belief that business must be about profit above all else. Instead, we believe in making a dollar AND a difference.

Conscious entrepreneurship also makes good business sense. Millennials overwhelmingly prefer to do business with conscious entrepreneurs, pay more for sustainable products, and show mad loyalty to social impact businesses.

My passion for social entrepreneurship blossomed during my five years at the helm of Social Change Nation. During that time, I hosted the Dollar and Difference Show where I interviewed a new conscious entrepreneur every week. Through these interviews, I developed a blueprint of the methods that help regular entrepreneurs transform themselves into conscious ones.

For the first time ever, I’m going to share that blueprint with you here. I’ll pack it with stories, quotes, and real-life examples of founders who took the leap into social impact business. Along the way, I’m confident you’ll find that this process is infinitely worth it for you and your business.

Without further ado – here are 26 and one-half ways to become a conscious entrepreneur: 

1. Discover your “A-Ha! Moment”

Your “A-Ha! Moment” is that point in your life where you discover beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are destined to create social change. Sometimes your “A-Ha! Moment” will be obvious – as was the case for Kyle, founder of Indosole. Kyle jumped on my podcast and shared the following:

“I was just another Cali surfer who had signed up for the trip of a lifetime – a month-long surfing excursion in Bali, Indonesia. When I first arrived, I did what you might expect…hung out on the beach, surfed all day, and chilled at night.

But then, as I was walking along the beach one day, I saw a sight that’ll stick with me for the rest of my life: a mountain of junk tires with people crawling all over it in search of “valuable” trash. That sight shook me to my core. Here I was just bumming around while these folks were literally scraping along for life on a junk tire mountain. I knew I had to do something about this.

I founded Indosole with the dual mission of repurposing those junk tires into beautiful sandals AND creating employment opportunities for the people I saw.”

Years later, Indosole is going strong and Kyle’s “A-Ha! Moment” is still the centerpiece of their brand story.

Sometimes, your “A-Ha! Moment” won’t be as obvious. Rather than coming in one experience, as it did for Kyle, it may instead be a series of experiences that evolve into your A-Ha! For example, Scott Harrison, founder of Charity: Water, was a financially successful but unhappy NYC club promoter. After a series of unfulfilling life moments, he started seeking ways to leverage his formidable promotional skills for good. Bit by bit, Scott traded building nightclubs for building water wells. To date, Scott and Charity: Water has funded 44,007 water projects for 10 million people around the world.  Who would’ve thought club promoters make amazing social impact warriors?

No matter how it comes, your “Ah-Ha! Moment” is a vital seed that you’ll need to grow a social impact business. Be sure to water it and give it plenty of light.

2. Use your “A-Ha! Moment” to craft a genuine and heartfelt WHY

Modern consumers have terrific BS detectors. If you pursue conscious entrepreneurship solely for marketing gain, you’ll get called out hard and fast. Your WHY (aka – your reason for pursuing social good) must be based on a social cause you genuinely believe in and can authentically express.

For example, LSTN Sound Co. was created because its founders loved great music and believed that no one should be without it. LSTN’s co-founder, Bridget Hilton, joined me on my podcast and shared this:

“Music is my life. I was living my dream as a band member, promoter, and full-on roadie when one random moment on YouTube changed me forever…

It was this viral video of a 40-year-old woman who had been deaf her whole life. New technology had made it possible for her to hear for the first time ever. The doctors filmed the first moments of her life where she heard sounds.

Upon hearing music for the first time, this formerly deaf woman literally began sobbing tears of joy – the experience was that moving for her.

I’m watching this video the whole time thinking – ‘wow, I couldn’t breathe without music and I can never imagine a life without it, yet silence is all this woman has ever known…’ I knew then that I was destined to help people like her for the rest of my life.”

And that’s exactly what Bridget did. Millions of people around the world are deaf simply because they don’t have access to technologies like hearing aids and hearing exams. LSTN Sound Co. partners with the Starkey Hearing Foundation so that each headphone they sell also gives someone the gift of hearing.

3. Tell your WHY story every chance you get

Bridget and LSTN Sound Co. are not bashful about their social mission. They tell the story everywhere they can, from their packaging to interviews with media to meetings with investors.

They even show their impact front and center on their main sales page and on their packaging. LSTN’s customers, therefore, are happy to purchase products with world-renowned acoustics that also provide hearing aids to someone in need.

4. Bake your WHY into every touchpoint with your brand

From your packaging to your mission statement to your interactions with customers, your WHY should drip from everything you do.

For example, Warby Parker tells its social good story inside the package of nearly everything they sell, they break down that story on their website, and their founders talk about it in nearly every media interaction.

Here at Change Creator, we put together a step-by-step guide that’ll show you exactly how to bake your WHY into your brand, a must-do for any aspiring conscious entrepreneur.

5. Transparently measure your impact

Indosole tracks the number of tires it transforms into sandals and shows it on their website. The founders of LSTN Sound Co. travel every few months to help with hearing exams and share those stories with their customers. Warby Parker actively follows the progress of the micro-entrepreneurs it gets into business.

This Change Creator Podcast episode unpacks the Impact Mapper Software which can help you easily measure and share impact.

No matter how you decide to do it, being a conscious entrepreneur means transparently sharing your impact and doing it often.

6. Make your business and social missions run in tandem

Too many well-meaning leaders pursue conscious entrepreneurship with a social mission that is wildly different from their business mission. Don’t do this. You got into business to solve a problem you care deeply about. Why then would you fracture your focus with a social mission that’s unrelated to that problem? Instead, follow the lead of companies like Cotopaxi. Cotopaxi weaves its social and business missions together by employing the communities it serves to create a wonderful line of outdoor gear.

Cotopaxi’s Del Día Collection ties its social and business missions together by employing craftsmen and craftswomen in the Philippines. Rather than simply dictating what should be created, Cotopaxi gives each Philipino employee total control over the color scheme of a particular item. This strategy results in uniquely incredible backpacks that sell well AND provide fair wages for a community that Cotopaxi has a heart to serve.

7. Build organizational structures that prevent “mission creep”

As your social impact business grows, you’ll expand your business by adding team members who, while talented in certain areas, may not naturally be conscious entrepreneurs.

Because of this, you’ll want to put systems in place that position social impact as a non-negotiable for your business.

Ramsey Solutions is a company that helps people find financial peace in often desperate financial situations. They have a multi-stage interview process where they seek out candidates who are both supremely talented and massively big-hearted. No one gets a job offer unless they can show their dedication to the Ramsey mission of:

“…providing biblically based, common-sense education and empowerment that give HOPE to everyone in every walk of life.”

If you don’t build structures early and often to prevent “mission creep” you may find yourself drifting toward less conscious business practices.

8. Follow the impact model that fits YOUR business

Conscious entrepreneurs too often see the 1:1 model of companies like Tom’s Shoes as the only way for social impact business. There are many models of impact business and you need to pick the one that fits you best. Some examples include:

Yellow Leaf Hammocks employing formerly downtrodden indigenous tribes in Thailand to make beautiful, hand-crafted hammocks sold around the world. By weaving the stories of these wonderful people into every hammock they sell, Yellow Leaf creates impact AND profit in a seamless way.

Homeboy Industries was founded by a Jesuit Priest with the mission of creating micro-enterprises for former gang members. Homeboy now runs successful baking and catering businesses that positively impact thousands of former gang members every year.

Grameen Bank exists exclusively to create entrepreneurial opportunities by issuing micro-loans to people living in extreme poverty. Thus, their business success is defined by the social impact they make. You can check out Change Creator’s interview with Grameen’s founder right here.

The key is to find the model that best fits you and your business, rather than the one that is currently popular.

9. Don’t be afraid to make small adjustments to your impact model

Sometimes, you’ll find that your impact model is unsustainable from a business standpoint. Difficult as this realization may be, it will be even more difficult if you press on with an unsustainable model. Trying to be all things to all people will bleed your business dry and then you won’t be able to make an impact on anything.

Thx Co. learned this lesson the hard way. They pursued an impact model that allowed their customers to donate any amount to any non-profit with each purchase. Their mission wound up being so broad that it was difficult for people to connect with. As a result, they’ve had to take several steps back to figure out how to readjust.

We conscious entrepreneurs are big-hearted people, but be sure your big heart doesn’t stand in the way of hard-nosed business decisions you need to make.

10. Hire consciously

Seek candidates who truly believe in your business’s social mission. Millennials are known to value meaning more than money in their work. By showing them how your mission fits with theirs and then paying them well to be a part of it, you’ll attract team members who will help you accelerate your profit AND your purpose.

11. Implement socially conscious hiring practices

Samasource treats hiring as its impact model by employing bright individuals from countries that most businesses overlook. Samasource then contracts with Fortune 500 companies like Microsoft, Google, and General Motors to complete skilled tasks that can be done remotely. Through this process, they help alleviate poverty around the world by creating new employment opportunities in struggling communities.

You don’t necessarily need to go as far as Samasource, but conscious entrepreneurs should always view the hiring process as an avenue for social good.

12. Put all business decisions to the triple bottom line test

To become a conscious entrepreneur, you should always be asking how your business’s behavior impacts people, the planet, and profit.

I once interviewed Tim Scott, founder of Mitscoots Outfitters. Mitscoots makes high-quality socks from sustainable materials while also employing formerly homeless individuals. Here’s how Tim explained their triple bottom line philosophy:

“We believe in the Get + Give + Employ model. Our customers get great products, which is good for profitability. We give an equal product away for each purchase, which is great for the people we serve. We employ transitioning homeless individuals as a way of making our planet a better place.”

By using the triple bottom line test for all business decisions, you’ll solidify your path to impactful entrepreneurship.

13. Remember that money is amoral

Many of the conscious entrepreneurs I talk to have some level of background in the non-profit space. While that sector has many admirable traits, one trait that drives me up a wall is the pervasive belief that having money is inherently evil.

While evil behavior can certainly happen when companies engage in unethical practices, social impact entrepreneurs understand that money is simply a tool that can create good or ill depending on who wields it.

Much as a brick can be used to build a beautiful building or to smash a window, money can be used to create great opportunities or tremendous injustice. The only difference is who is holding it.

Personally, I’d rather see as much money as possible make it to the hands of conscious entrepreneurs because we create opportunities, foster justice, and drive sustainability in the world.

Being a conscious entrepreneur means you’re constantly reminding yourself of this fact.

14. Ditch the scarcity mindset

Conscious entrepreneurs are prone to struggle with the (false) belief that the pursuit of success automatically comes at the expense of others. This is a broken and flawed mindset that we must eradicate. To truly become a conscious entrepreneur, you need to soak into your heart that your success will also create an abundance of opportunities for others.

15. Become (and stay) wildly profitable

Where there is no margin, no mission. No profit, no purpose. No dollar, no difference. Conscious entrepreneurs must run a financially successful business to fuel social impact. Anything less than this is a disservice to those you seek to serve.

During my podcast interview with Tyler Merrick of Project 7, he shared how a lack of profitability almost starved their social mission:

“At first, we led all of our sales+partnership pitches with our social mission of giving back to 7 causes of great need. We thought that our social mission would be enough to get us in the door with retailers who we needed to sell our gums and mints. After a year of this and little to no sales, we realized we had to shift our pitch. It was then we decided to treat our product as the star of the show and our social impact as the supporting actor.

Since we made that shift, we’ve built and sustained a very profitable business.”

16. Keep your financial house in order

Whether your business makes a few hundred dollars or a few hundred thousand, you need to be ever-vigilant about your accounting.

It may feel unsexy, which is probably why so few entrepreneurs are good at this, but it is vital for the health of your business and those that you serve to keep your books in good order.

Adam Force wrote a terrific Change Creator article on this very topic.

17. Spark a revolution

In Adam’s podcast interview with Blake Myskoki of Tom’s Shoes, they discuss how Blake’s revolutionary business philosophy inspired thousands of other impact businesses.

Conscious entrepreneurs are constantly looking for ways to inspire others to grow a revolution. Whether your revolution is sustainable fashion, poverty alleviation, or something else, it is vital that you find fellow rebels to help the cause.

18. Keep being a revolutionary

Conscious entrepreneurs are changemakers at heart. Changemakers disrupt things, inspire people, and call out bad behavior when necessary. No matter your industry, keep finding ways to create revolutions that make business better.

Check out this Change Creator podcast interview with Joel Solomon – Joel talks about leading a “clean money revolution” and it’ll give you insight on how you can do it in your industry.

19. Bake impact into the structure of your business

It’s not enough for you to say you’re a conscious entrepreneur, rather, you need to build it into the bylaws and weave it into the fabric of your company. In many states, you can even create a legal structure for your business that will maintain your social mission even if you sell your company.

I ran a podcast interview with Sydney Smith of B-Corp where she unpacked their method for helping companies weave social impact into the bylaws of their business. 

20. Find stakeholders who share your passion

As your business grows, you may seek outside investors and advisors to help fuel your mission. When you do this, be sure that these stakeholders share your passion for conscious entrepreneurship.

I once spoke with Juho, the founder of Sharetribe, as he shared his story of seeking funders who would not dilute Sharetribe’s mission of expanding the sharing economy:

“It wasn’t easy finding the right investors for Sharetribe, but we were helped by the fact that we were not in a “have to position”. Investment capital would help us to grow, but we were not going to take it at the expense of our social mission.

So, we got serious about changing our company structure so stakeholders had it in writing that their investment and advice would be held to our standard of conscious entrepreneurship.

As a result, we attracted investors that shared our mission and repelled those that didn’t.”

21. Go to where the problem is

To make an impact with your business, you need to get intimately acquainted with the social problem you hope to solve. Only by understanding the many dimensions of a social ill can you hope to change it.

The social entrepreneur who does this best is Paul Polack, author of the book Out of Poverty. Paul is credited with lifting tens of millions of people out of poverty by following a simple model: he goes to where the problem is and spends a lot of time with the people impacted by it. He asks them what they feel are the causes, which “solutions” have failed, and what they think would help them out of their current situation.

As a result, Paul is famous for creating massive social impact with simple solutions that distant “leaders” have failed to even consider.

22. Keep your connection with your community of service

From LSTN Headphones to Toms Shoes to Warby Parker, all successful impact entrepreneurs regularly go to the communities they serve.

No matter how much you grow, you should always find ways to get back to your roots of serving the people that drove you into business in the first place.

23. Make your customers part of your impact story

People yearn to become part of something bigger than themselves. Show your customers how doing business with you makes them part of your WHY.

Kiva is one of my favorite examples of this. Kiva relies on a community of sponsors to fund micro-loans for people living in extreme poverty. Oftentimes, these loans can mean the difference between economic despair and economic opportunity for families.

Kiva brings its sponsors into the impact by sharing in-depth stories of the individual families helped by a sponsor’s funds. These stories regularly show up in the sponsor’s inbox so they always know what they are part of.

24. Create magical impact moments for your customers

Much as companies offer “loyalty programs” to great customers, you can offer your best customers the opportunity to join you on giving trips or receive special gifts from the communities your business impacts.

My wife and I used to run an impact-driven hostel in Kansas City. One of the things we loved most was when we brought one of our team members on an all-expenses-paid trip to the interior of Jamaica to help us build a home for a needy family.

Creating opportunity for impoverished Jamaican families is our passion and it was wonderful to share it with our team members. By finding similar ways to give back to your community of customers, you’ll solidify your conscious credibility with them.

25.Become a storyteller

Stories drive people to action. By getting very good at telling the story of how and why you became a conscious entrepreneur, you’ll be well on your way to impactful business. Change Creator’s Captivate Program is one of the best offerings on the market that is laser-focused on helping you to get your story right.

26. Deepen your spirituality

Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, the Dalai Lama, Mother Theresa, and many other social impact leaders all share a vital trait: their works are guided by a deep spiritual philosophy.

That’s because our spirituality is what gives us a higher sense for WHY we do the work we do and how our impact fits into the bigger picture.

For example, my wife and I recently went on a Jesuit retreat to explore questions of social justice and how the teachings of Christ should influence our business efforts.

No matter which spiritual background you adhere to, you should find ways to deepen it to become a fully conscious entrepreneur.

…and, last but not least, to become a conscious entrepreneur you should aim to cut your business’s carbon footprint by one-half. While this may sound daunting, there are many ways to quickly and easily make this happen. From carbon offsets for flights to carbon offsets for cars to using sustainable packaging, there are myriad ways for you to pursue sustainability in your business.

Becoming a conscious entrepreneur is a journey that takes time, but if your heart is in the right place and you pursue the path laid out above, you’ll be well on your way to a business that makes a dollar AND a difference.

You might also enjoy:

The Change Creator guide to Starting a Social Impact Business walks you through everything you need to consider when just starting out. Also, be sure to check out the Starting a Social Enterprise (And Getting Funding) interview with Justin Goodhew (Pitch Deck Included) if you are at that stage. And for some more inspiration, we have compiled a list of Over 90 Actionable Pieces of Advice from Change Creator Magazine that will give you something you can sink your teeth into and start working on today!

Why Youth are Building the Most Innovative Social Purpose Companies

Why we need to start paying attention to youth and helping them build the future they want to see.

Youth are stereotyped as lazy, entitled, selfie-obsessed, attached to their phones, and constantly distracted. Painted as the lost generation married to their devices and caring about not much else but themselves, yet their actions indicate a completely different picture than most want to believe. 

Youth are curious, driven and more purpose-driven than they have ever been in generations past. Add to that the amplification of information through our devices, especially focused on global challenges such as climate change, racial violence, and political unrest. This has had a significant impact on what they believe their role in this world really is – to create a better world. 

Our youth generations – Millenials and Generation Z – make up approximately 63% of the world population – that is a population tsunami if we ever saw one, with generation z coming up to be the most diverse population on the plant. 

We are seeing youth stepping up to the plate and raising their voices for the injustices they see around them. Take for instance the High School mass shooting survivors who organized the March for our Lives protest to combat gun violence in the United States, or Greta Thunberg who single-handedly mobilized a global movement for our planet. And incredible voices like Greta champion and represent the youth generation but they are not anomalies like many adults or leaders want to believe. They are actually the norm.

Driven by Purpose

Youth are not only driving change through raising their voices and activism but also starting startups at an increasing rate with a mission to create those startups as their main vehicles of social change. We are seeing increasing rates of youth building out ‘side hustles’ as early as high school from tutoring, to e-commerce stores, to youtube channels, they are getting entrepreneurial on their own terms. In fact, more than 62% claim they want to pursue entrepreneurial paths, and most care deeply about making a difference in the world. Many focus on the purpose of a company, and if they don’t find one they move on or build their own.

Although we know that the average age of a successful entrepreneur is 45 according to Harvard Business Review that youth still play a significant role in starting some of the highest growth startups as well. Look at Yvonne Chouinard of Patagonia who had his entrepreneurial beginnings when he was just 19 and the Craig Kielburger who started on his impact mission at 12 years old to what would later become WE.

Take the sister duo of Bunny and Taran Ghatrora for instance, they are taking on the female wellness industry with their company Blume which they started in their early twenties when they were still students. Blume provides young girls and women clean and non-toxic period and wellness products but also demystifying the period and sex education so young women can have all the information they need to make better decisions, feel empowered, and positive about their bodies.

“The goal of Blume is to serve as a go-to brand that validates the entire experience of puberty and beyond while serving as a community for women as they grow,” says Bunny Ghatrora.  Blumes’ impact mission is big but what is incredible about it is that it is built by young women for young women, perhaps making the products and company that much more relevant for the youth customers that they have.

Born Out of An Era of Uncertainty and Immediacy

Young people no longer want to create for the sake of creating economic value following traditional capitalist formulas. Their passion for impact and purpose transcends across the brands they are loyal to, to the conversations they are having online, and even the projects they engage in. If we look back at why purpose and impact are so important they have been shaped by the times they have lived and emerged out of.

Their birth into a post 9/11 world filled with technological advances, connected through a multitude of devices, surrounded by noise, boundless access to information and immediacy of an uncertain future has created a generation that is highly in tune with the search for truth and purpose. It will cause a population tsunami that will impact every aspect of our lives from economics, politics, health care, consumer products, technology, our urban environments.

They have so much potential but are stifled by the systems that we impose on them and were created for generations that came well before them.  We are seeing a massive amount of youth breaking away from traditional career and education paths and breaking out on their own in record numbers. 

From technology startups to impact funds to period product companies, youth are not only capable of creating unique, innovative, and yes successful ventures that not only create economic gains but real social impact. Take Ryan Kelly, for instance, a young entrepreneur in Ontario, Canada who after discovering that more than 98% of websites on the internet are not accessible to the majority of people with disabilities and after plenty of research found that there was no solution on the horizon, decided to build it himself. He developed Ascend Applications an online plugin to ensure that all websites on the internet are accessible to individuals with a variety of disabilities.

They Are Wired For Innovation

Research is pointing to the fact that youth between the ages of 15-25 are in an interesting time in their lives – not just hormonally but neurologically. Neuroscientists and social-behavioral researchers have found that youths brain is at heightened neuroplasticity during this period of life. In fact, neuroplasticity reaches its peak in our mid-twenties and then takes a spiral downhill. But what does this mean? Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to change through experience- deeply learn from experiences, use that learning for complex problem solving, creativity, and experimentation.  They are actually ‘wired for innovation’. 

If we take this new research into consideration than if we think about it, youth are perfectly positioned to tackle complex problems, to create new startups, projects, movements, and to navigate difficult changes. So it shouldn’t be shocking or surprising that they are rising up and building purposeful ventures to combat the challenges that they feel are important in their lives, that of their communities and the world. 

A team of bioengineering students did just that when they built Arbutus Medical. After a trip to Mulago hospital in Uganda through their program, they saw major disparities in the surgical rooms and in particular the surgical tools that were (or were not) being used to treat patients with injuries and broken bones. 

The major problem being that the hospital could not afford the hefty price tags of North American style surgical drills, and resorted to using regular hand drills. After the visit, the team decided they had to do something about this. ‘The team’s goal was to develop a radically affordable surgical drill that would ensure that orthopedic surgeons at Mulago always have access to safe power tools’.  They leveraged the concept of ‘frugal innovation’ to develop the DrillCover to provide surgical tools at 30x less the cost of regular products on the market.  Since their first visit, they have been able to affect the lives of over 45,000 human patients, 28,000 animal patients across 32 countries.  If we give youth the opportunity to innovate, to solve big problems, and to lead – they may just surprise us.

Our youth generations are our future, and they believe they have a right to build a future they are proud of and is a sustainable and equitable future for everyone. There are plenty of youth innovators and social entrepreneurs building incredible impact, we just have to start paying attention and believing in them, and supporting them. 

You might also enjoy:

Starting a Social Enterprise and Landing Funding with Justin Goodhew (Pitch Deck Inside)

Interview with the founder of Trellis, Justin Goodhew

Subscribe to this show on Spotify  |  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

When Justin reached out to us we were enticed by the work he was doing and the steps his startup has taken so far to grow.

In this interview, we talk about starting a social enterprise and raising funding. You’ll hear why he was fired from his volunteer job (didn’t know that was possible!) and some of the key steps he took to get started. Have you heard of Startup Weekend? Well, if not, you will now because Goodhew not only found inspiration there but he highly recommends it for any aspiring or active entrepreneur.

You know you’re doing something right when you’re able to get someone to invest serious money into your startup. He put together a pitch deck, very diligently, and started shopping it around with his strategy. In just a few months, which is usually not the case, he found someone willing to put money down.

While he was looking for a few hundred thousand to get rolling, he landed $600k (an update since this interview took place).

About Justin

Justin is a technology entrepreneur and an aspiring social entrepreneur. He is the founder at Trellis.org; a social enterprise connecting passionate people to charities.

Justin started in technology by co-founding his own application development company called Biznas Innovations Inc. Biznas built large internal business apps for Fortune 100 companies and smaller B2C apps for startups in Kelowna and Silicon Valley.

Are you curious what his pitch deck looked like?

Well, he was kind enough to share it so you can learn from what worked for him. Now he can’t do the pitch for you but this is a good framework to get you started.

Review the Pitch Deck Here

Learn more about Trellis @ https://trellis.org/

You might also enjoy:

Should I Become a Cannabis Entrepreneur? (Advice From 5 Experts)

We reached out to leading cannabis mission-driven entrepreneurs and asked one question: Should you jump into the cannabis industry?

Here are their answers:

1. Yes! It’s a welcoming community of entrepreneurs.

“What I would tell any aspiring pot-preneurs is that the cannabis community is welcoming and encouraging, so dive right in. Get involved locally and stay updated on current laws and issues by joining your local NORML chapter and/or other cannabis-related organizations.

Go to events, meet people and network. Find ways to make a difference in your community and don’t be shy.”

(Antonio DeRose, Co-Founder & COO, Marijuana Fitness Nutrition)

2. Yes! There’s still room for new companies.

“The sky is the limit. There is so much room for new businesses and there is a good amount of competition as well. This fact is a leading point to how professional they need to be in this industry. Cannabis is a consumable product and supporters/fans need to continually purchase.”

(Johnny Welsh, Author of Weedgalized in Colorado: True Tales From The High Country)

3. Yes, take the risk, but it’s a lot of work.

“I would pass on a few pieces of advice: follow your heart and take the risk. You will never know the outcome of your efforts unless you actually follow through and do it.

If you have made it to the point in your life where you are aspiring to be an entrepreneur in the cannabis industry you must have a vision and the desire to create it, keep your vision clear at all times. Being a successful pot-preneur takes a lot of work, vision, and perseverance.”

(Garyn Angel, CEO of MagicalButter)

Related: How Vangst Built the Number One Cannabis Recruiting Platform From Scratch

4. Yes, legal cannabis is the place to be.

“I’d say we are fortunate to be in an industry with tremendous growth and opportunities for wealth creation and social/environmental impact. For those interested in social enterprise, legal cannabis is the place to be.

The field is still pretty wide open but it is no longer a secret subculture. The primary verticals of growing and processing are becoming more saturated but there are loads of opportunities for new innovation and ancillary verticals to make things better.

The pot industry has welcomed some great social enterprises that either struggled or just couldn’t gain traction in other more traditional industries. That is, folks that had a process, service, or technology that has dual or multi-industry application, apply it to the pot industry and use it as sort of an incubator to get funded and grow into a viable business, and maybe one day they could return to their ‘home’ industry and affect change the way they originally intended. Give it a try.”

(Steven Looi, White Sheep Corp. Director of Strategy and Origination)

5. Yes, but with caution.

“Cannabis businesses need to get past the initial euphoria of the “Green Rush” and settle in for the long haul. Recognizing that medical cannabis will be the long play with the highest ROI is still difficult for most business owners.

Consider that 20-30M Americans are stoners and studies have shown potential 1-2% growth. This is untapped, but capped, market. Soon it will be saturated and a major shakeout is coming.”

(Jordan Tishler, MD is a Harvard Physician, President/CEO of the Association of Cannabis Specialists)

9 Proven Signs That You’re Ready to Start Your Own Business

I was a mad scientist, head down in the lab building the brand Change Creator, my second business. But this time around, there was something different.

My first business was a record label—AlterImage Recordings—and I had a co-founder. This time, I was flying solo.

During the first year, I didn’t come out of the “lab” too much using cool tools like Facebook Live. At some point during year two, I created an awkward monologue video that did a quick review of the first year.

A key takeaway I shared was that you have to be a little crazy to pursue a business on your own. But it’s the good kind of crazy. Meaning, you must be obsessed with what you’re doing because it’s meaningful to you. This will keep your motivation up and help you persist through the ups and downs.

There is no sense in going on doing something you hate, just so you can go on doing something you hate.

If I knew what I would have to do in the first year, I would have said, “You’re nuts.”

Now, we have released 26 editions of Change Creator Magazine and have interviewed people like Richard Branson, Seth Godin, Arianna Huffington, Jay Shetty and so many more.  Why? Because I was obsessed and a little crazy.

Think you can take an idea and manifest into something real that actually is meaningful and impacts lives around the world?

Can you disrupt the norm and change the status-quo?

We all have the entrepreneurial fire in our belly, but is your fire lit?

Starting your own business is a very big undertaking, but at the same time, if you’re doing something meaningful, it’s exciting and fulfilling on many levels. You can earn good money, change people’s lives, create something from nothing, be your own boss and find true freedom.

Nine Indicators: How many define you?


You have to be willing to put yourself out there in the world and have people look at you like your nuts. When you have a big idea or vision but little to show for it because you’re just starting, many people will think your ideas are a bit out there. Especially if they have never started a company themselves.

But, it’s absolutely essential today to be willing to tell your story if you want to build a sustainable advantage with your impact business.


Being hungry for freedom—the power to do what you want when you want— is a great motivator. Nobody wants to wake up each day doing something they don’t like just to pay the bills. If you’re comfortable doing work as an employee from 9-5pm everyday, five days a week, then that’s okay, but starting a business is not for you.


Do you crave more purpose in your life? Have you ever sat with your thoughts and asked yourself, “What will I be doing in 10 years, and is my current path making me the person I want to be?” What will be your legacy?

Those thoughts are what lit my fire. There was no way I was satisfied working for someone else doing something that gave me no sense of fulfillment until I was 65 years old. I wanted to build a lifestyle where I woke up each day pursuing a mission, not a job. Do you relate to this?

Today, my work is a reflection of who I am because I took a serious self-inventory to start from the inside out. There’s nothing better than waking up each day doing something that aligns with who you are.

Deep Frustration

When you open up Facebook 10 times a day—you know you do—and cruise the newsfeed, do you ever see news from around the world that frustrated the hell out of you?

For example, I cannot stand the incredible amount of plastic pollution or deforestation taking place in the world. Maybe you have a soft spot for animals and believe in stopping factory farm abuse. Or the fact that over two billion people around the world don’t even have access to a toilet. You get the idea.

That frustration is a huge driving force that empowers entrepreneurs who innovate solutions to problems. When you start to bring a solution to life that helps address a major challenge like those, it’s darn fulfilling.

Comfortable with Risk

This has to be called out even though you’re aware of it already. You might not have a lot of money. You might have major school debt from buying a diploma. No matter what your situation is, you must plan for risk and be comfortable with taking risk. You cannot grow yourself or a business without it. One day, you’ll need to pop your cherry by taking a calculated risk that just completely fails. You will then find out that the sun will still rise the next day, and you will move forward on your mission wiser than before.

For example, Milton Hershey went bankrupt several times trying to make Hershey chocolate work. After the first or even second time, most people would have been shattered and given up. But not Milton. Nobody, banks or family, would give him money again. He didn’t care, he created a new plan, and you all know his chocolate very well today.

During the first year of Change Creator, I made many mistakes and took big risks that cost me thousands of dollars. For example, hiring a public relations team too early and hiring the wrong marketing support. Or doing heavy paid marketing without truly having product market fit yet. Live. Learn. Move on. If your risk is calculated, you won’t lose your shirt.

Willing to Work Very Hard

Don’t fool yourself. It’s a sh@! load of work, especially if you are a solo founder. Speaking from experience on both ends—co-founder and solo founder—I can tell you there is a major difference in the workload.

Being a bootstrapper, I learned graphic design, web development, video development and all the necessary skills to speed up my process—and to avoid hiring as much as possible, at first. If you’re willing to learn new skills, wake up at 4am to work before your day job and spend at least half the weekend working, you might be ready to make the push.

Personally, when my startup was a side-hustle, I would wake up at 4am in the morning to give myself a few hours before I had to catch a train from Philadelphia to New York at 7:24am. I did that for at least five years. Now, with Change Creator as my sole work, I wake up everyday at 5:30am and work until about 3-4pm. On weekends I worked from 7am until about 12pm or 1pm. I still do today. But I spend the second half of those days with family, working out, or hiking. Living the other part of my life.

Remember, the number of hours doing work is not what matters, the type of work and quality of it does.

An important lesson and tip is to schedule your success. Being successful is more than just work. I talk about that in more depth on Influencive right here.

Financially Organized

Let’s keep this simple, you don’t have to be rich, but you need to know how to manage your money if you want to survive entrepreneurship. This means being organized and doing regular audits of your spending. Know where your money is going and what you can afford to spend. There is nothing more stressful and destructive than lack of financial management.

Around the first of each month, I review all my finances using a side-by-side view of the previous month and current month to see which revenue streams are growing and which are not. This includes an assessment of all established recurring expenses. You can ask me my total net-worth any time and I know the answer, you should too.


Aside from developing yourself into an authority in your field, you must remember that you are not an employee playing a single role when you start a business. You are playing every role. Passion is important, but having the appropriate skills to manage all the various aspects is important as well.

They can be learned or delegated. When you just start out, you probably don’t want to delegate too much because it costs money. Be realistic about your strengths and weaknesses. You likely have some learning to do.

I’ve had over 18 years of professional experience doing marketing, account management, or managing teams. But I had to take on learning new skills like graphic design, basic web development, and video development. There’s nothing to be afraid of, and Youtube has a video for everything.

If you want to know some of the key tools I recommend for bootstrapping, I share them here.

Unreasonable Leadership

Do you understand leadership? What makes a good leader and what is required? As CEO, you must have a vision and be capable of strategizing solutions for fulfilling the vision. Why unreasonable leadership? Because if you have a vision that is big, people will tell you you’re crazy. This is what people said about flying to the moon or creating automated chefs and cars. But the leaders were unreasonable and that is why progress happens.

George Brendard Shaw, known for radical rationalism, wrote novels and plays in the late 1800s and was known to use them as an outlet for attacking social hypocrisy. A famous quote by Shaw said,

“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world: the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man.”

At some point, you will hire contractors and then full-time employees. They follow your lead, and you need to be ready to be at the helm and intelligently lead the charge. Tactics and strategy will change and pivot, but you must stick to your vision no matter how unreasonable it may seem to others.


Starting a new business could be the most exciting and rewarding experience of your life if your fire is lit and you’re ready to make the leap. There are many fears and factors that hold people back from even starting—said to be the toughest part of all. You just need to be in the right mindset to overcome the fears and be persistent.

In my humble opinion, we can all do it, and if you reviewed the 9 signs I shared above and feel that most or even all describe you, your fire is lit and you’re ready to go.

How Kind Karma Launched Their Ethical Fashion Social Business (interview)

Interview with the founder of Kind Karma, Laurinda Lee

Subscribe to this show on  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

In this interview we talk with the founder of Kind Karma, Laurinda Lee, about how she launched Kind Karma, lessons learned, and processes that helped her grow her social business.

The first few years running your own business are no easy task.

Laurinda started crafting jewellery when she herself was a youth but it wasn’t until last year that she decided to implement those skills towards building a business.

Surrounded by entrepreneurs, starting a business had always been a lifelong goal but for her, giving back and ensuring positive community impact were the ultimate motivating factors and so, she adopted the social enterprise model to craft her own form of change.

Today, Kind Karma Company partners with local organizations with similar goals to employ local at-risk and transitioning homeless youth to handcraft quality jewellery.

Proceeds from all sales are returned to employees to support their individual goals and aspirations with the hope that as these youth transform into successful adults, they too, will have the ability and motivation to continue to pay kindness forward.


How Zoetica is Helping the World Go Waste-Free

Interview with Zoetica Founders, Karen Hoskin and Elizabeth Smith.

Subscribe to this show on  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

In this interview with Zoetica founders, Karen and Elizabeth, we discuss their mission to free society from convenience trash and plastic. Learn how they came up with their innovative solution and run operations from the ground up. In this discussion, you’ll hear helpful insights about starting a social good business and how to manage e-commerce, especially during the early years.

Karen and Elizabeth know that once you begin observing, you notice the crisis of convenience trash everywhere around you. Stand outside any office buildings in downtown San Francisco, LA and New York and observe first hand how many disposable coffee cups, to-go containers, plastic forks, straws, and plastic bags are used and tossed every day, all day. We had to ask ourselves the hard question: who is going to fix this?

They decided they couldn’t sit around waiting for some politician to pass an ordinance. No, they took action to solve the problem themselves in their own way. In comes Zoetica! Lifestyle change has never been easier.

About Karen

“I began traveling for work in 1991. Every day for years, I was heaped upon with throw away trash: plastic shopping bags, coffee cups, cutlery wrapped in plastic, to go containers, straws, plastic water bottles. I began to feel like the Native American in that old 1970’s commercial with the tear streaming down his face. The trash cans filled with single use waste hurt me. The litter left around the airport lounges and hotel lobbies hurt me. I needed to make a change. Today, I refuse an average of 19 to 20 pieces of single use trash each day on the road and 5-6 when I am home. All it took was making a pledge, reorganizing my life with systems and sticking to the Zoetica zero waste lifestyle – no matter what.

I have been an entrepreneur for almost 20 years. I am currently the owner and founder of a craft distillery called Montanya Distillers. Zoetica is my first social entrepreneurship project and my first time partnering with another female business owner. It is an incredible blast and so empowering. I believe one day Zoetica will come to represent a lifestyle that we all live to keep our planet habitable for our children.”

About Elizabeth

“I am fortunate to have spent time in many beautiful places on this planet. I enjoy exploring wilderness areas and diverse cultures in this world. Travelling has awakened me to so many issues affecting our planet. Watching the destruction of our planet is heartbreaking for me. I am often left with a feeling of helplessness in not being able to change what we are doing to our only life-support system.

In those moments, I remind myself to examine my own life and the choices I make on a daily basis. It all begins with being the change you want to see. Convenience trash such as plastic water bottles, utensils, coffee cups, and straws are literally choking our planet. Every piece of plastic we have used is still here. Plastic just gets broken into smaller and smaller pieces, eventually penetrating our oceans, our soil, our food chain, and our drinking water. The production and disposal of these products are affecting our planetary health worldwide. This convenience trash is not going “away”. There is no “away”, and no one is going to clean it up for us. It is up to each of us to create solutions and find new ways to make a change. Convenience trash is not the only issue facing us but it is one problem I can take on as an individual.”

Start going waste-free and check out Zoetica here.


How Sarah Kauss Grew S’well into a $100M Company Combating Plastic (interview)

SWELL change creator

Humanity has failed its planet remorselessly.

Freshwater resources have diminished by 25%, oceanic dead zones have ballooned, and we’ve produced 6 billion tonnes of plastic waste since 2015. We buy a million plastic bottles every minute. The resulting fragments of waste have become suspended just beneath the ocean’s surface, where they’re consumed by marine creatures and, ultimately, people. So goes the lifecycle of toxic waste.

Humanity is perched somewhere between enlightenment and extinction, and we need thousands of eco-heroes to tilt us towards a more hope-filled future. Sarah Kauss is one such warrior, and her efforts to hack away at plastic usage has grown into a $100 million dollar business named S’well. You could call it a bottle production company, but if that were true, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes would be speaking about more interesting things. The truth? S’well is a movement, and the dying world is paying attention to it.

If you think a single trendy product can’t carry a revolution, you haven’t met Sarah Kauss. Her reusable bottle, which keeps drinks cold all day, has become an icon of social advocacy. She’s built her brand on the back of enough ecological causes to make UNICEF blanch. Its revenue brings clean water to the most vulnerable children in the world. It fights alongside cancer research groups, plants thousands of trees each year, and is leading humanity towards an AIDS-free day.

S’well is as famous for its causes as it is for refusing to seek out angel investors when it was still a sparkle in Sarah Kauss’ eye. She pumped $30,000 of her own money into the startup instead, then patiently nudged it towards success.

Her far-sightedness has become an inextricable a part of her brand, which is why S’well products aren’t bottles. They’re hydration accessories. S’well is not a business. It’s a picture of the future. Kauss is not a social entrepreneur. She’s a dreamer, and her goal is to displace 100 million bottles by 2020.

Overcoming Hopelessness

She’s no stranger to hopelessness, and that’s precisely the reason she’s managed to bring hope to a situation that seemed doomed from the start. Humanity’s race towards its own extinction has gathered enough inertia to carry it towards its own horrific end, so it needs leaders who’ve learned how to find light in dark places. “No matter how insurmountable the situation may seem,” says Kauss, “I’ve been there before and always come out okay.” She keeps a five-year diary to remind herself of what she’s managed to accomplish in the past. This leaks into her approach to social entrepreneurship, which must push against humankind’s distress until something breaks through.

The term “social entrepreneurship” was coined in the Eighties. It’s a new approach to societal distress, so every leader must invent their own business model. That many of the world’s most successful social entrepreneurs are potent branders is no coincidence—they must invent needs in a compelling way while simultaneously invigorating causes that have traditionally attracted indifference.

Sarah Kauss is no different.

As a Harvard Business School graduate, she’s refused to squeeze herself into old fashioned business models. “It might be good to say that I had a complex business plan with detailed financial goals, but I didn’t. I had a basic business plan with this amazing ambition to enhance the drinking experience in the hopes of ridding the world of plastic bottles.”

Sounds simple, but you can’t build an empire out of dreams.

The road towards a plastic-free future is a challenging one requiring slow, steady growth.

“I wanted to position S’well as a premium brand and not just a reusable water bottle. I set out to learn everything I could about retail and manufacturing to bring this idea for a new kind of reusable bottle to life. Then I hit the pavement hard, going to 17 trade shows my first year. But I didn’t say yes to every opportunity that came my way and took growth slowly. This was pivotal to creating and maintaining our brand positioning.”

The trendy S’well bottle is a miracle of industrial design, but it’s also every bit as elegant as the brand itself. You want to drink out of this bottle, but maybe its contents are infused with a little hope and a generous sprinkling of spirit.

If you had the entire world’s ear right now, what would you say about our plastic pollution problem?

“Action is our friend and together we can do more by doing less. Here’s what I mean: the problem of plastic can be overwhelming. We’re bombarded with stats and stories that can create paralysis because you just don’t know where to begin or believe that your individual actions can make a difference. But they can. If we can find ways to simplify the challenge and offer easy solutions to act on, we’ll be able to get more people on board. That’s what we’re doing with the Million Bottle Project. We’re trying to educate people on the impact of single-use plastic bottles and the simple steps we all can take to reduce consumption.”

When you started S’well, how did you overcome the fear of losing it all?

“I so believed in the business I was creating and the good that S’well could do that it helped push any fear aside. I [also] had an amazing network of people who were willing to help me learn from their experience. This goodwill only made me that much more determined to be successful.”

What have been your biggest challenges growing S’well?

We had to on-board new people and new systems while trying to maintain quality and deliver an enormous amount of product around the world. We made it through the crises of unexpected growth and took a hard look at the business. We made some tough decisions about certain partnerships, created a few new relationships, further built our infrastructure, and basically recalibrated.”

You never raised funding. Why did you take that approach and how did you make it work?

“Using $30, 000 of my own funds was about being in control—growing the business the way I felt made the most sense for the brand. I wanted to keep the consumer at the forefront and not have to settle in an effort to grow the business quickly. Through patience, I was able to make it work. From the start, I wanted to position S’well as a premium brand and not just a reusable water bottle. It was—and is—a hydration accessory. This new concept took time to take off.”

What can we expect from S’well over the next year?

“We’ll be launching new accessories and some exciting new products, plus a range of fresh designs and collaborations. We’ll also be working with our partners, like UNICEF USA, RED, and Breast Cancer Research Foundation.”

Based on your experience and success as a true change creator, what key lessons would you share with a mentee?

“We all dream of growth, but if you don’t have the right people in place when it comes, it can be daunting. Having the right talent from the start will not only help you grow faster, but give you more agility when you’re punching above your weight.”

Speaking to Sarah Kauss is like getting a fresh injection of entrepreneurial spirituality.

She’s replacing industry analyses with determination, strategic triangles with optimism, and basic logic models with hope. That’s not to say she’s abandoned theoretical frameworks, only that she’s throwing all the optimism she has at them. And it’s working.

Stanford Business Review once called social entrepreneurship “a wave of creative destruction that remakes society.” When you’re dealing in drastic goals like AIDS and cancer, all the branding talent in the world can’t save you from compassion fatigue. Sarah Kauss seemed to understand that right from the start, so her secrets to success include patience and autonomy—and why shouldn’t they?

Entrepreneurship is about far more than just strategy. It is, at heart, a grand attempt at personal greatness, and Sarah Kauss is now one of America’s top female achievers. That means she has, indeed, achieved greatness. That greatness just happens to have pumped many of its profits back into the earth.

S’well’s core beliefs are “Sip well. Serve well. Sleep well.” That’s enough philosophy to turn a droll day into something brighter, and those tiny echoes of change are the figurative butterfly wings that cause hurricanes on the other side of the world.

The wind is already turning into a gale. Kauss’ 1 Million Bottle Project recently took the brand to the Sundance Film Festival, where 6,000 people took a pledge to abandon plastic bottles for a year. The product waltzed onto the pages of O Magazine, through Fashion Week, and into TED gift baskets.

It all began in 2001 when an unknown accountant named Sarah Kauss left for business school. That’s when the first plane hit the Twin Towers and the world became covered in thick, sticky dread.

The next year, Kauss opened her five-year journal and realized how far the world had come since September 11.

She had watched the world dig an impossible hope out of the ashes, which is why she can see beyond today’s smoggy horizon. And if Sarah can see the sun, maybe, just maybe, it’s because it is, indeed, rising.

Check out one of our favorite bottles!

Key Takeaways

  • Rapid-fire start-up growth isn’t the only way to broach social entrepreneurship. Sometimes, slow and steady builds the strongest brand.
  • Build a network of supporters who will fuel your determination during the first years of your business plan.
  • Simple business plans can build empires if you develop a powerful brand identity.
  • Sometimes preserving your vision is more important than preserving your bank account.
  • Premium brands take time to take off.
  • Prepare for growth by hiring people who can manage your mature business from the start.
    Social causes require work, not complexity. People need small, achievable actions if they’re to be motivated to create change.

If you found this article helpful you might also like one of these…

Turning Your Inner-Activist Into a Business for Good

The greatest social movements in this world not only bring us together, they focus on what we can do as individuals to change something intrinsically wrong with the world. In short, they give us the power and authority — as individuals — to make our world a better place.

When a radical movement can harness each of us to dig deep into our power, it becomes a compelling, sustainable force of good in this world. The activist spirit must go beyond ourselves if we want to make any sort of an impact in this world.

That is why it is so vital to celebrate “The Body Is Not an Apology” — a thriving, global multimedia platform bringing millions of people together, changing the global narrative on body activism, all spearheaded by the incomparable Sonya Renee Taylor.

Investing in Every Body

Last October, the Change Creator team went to the world’s largest social impact funding conference, known as SOCAP conference, in San Francisco, California. As you can imagine, it was an eclectic mix of people from around the world, all there so we could discuss impact + money.

Many themes emerged from that conference — much more than a pure definition of what social impact investing is, what it could be, or how we measure impact. Themes of diversity in investment — or rather, the lack of diversity in investment — was a theme that kept popping up its head throughout the week.

At one of the mini-sessions that I attended, named Money Divas, the panel discussed the lack of support and funding for women-led companies. When the panel opened up questions to the audience, I got to meet the remarkable Sonya, whose commentary on the lack of female funding was:

“If we can accomplish so much with so little, imagine what we could do if someone truly invested in us and our ideas.”

At that moment, I knew I had to get to know this force of nature. At that time, I had yet to get the full backstory but I knew I wanted to invest in that kind of presence, that kind of commitment. The simple idea that we should amplify each other’s success really struck a chord with me.

I have thought about that idea of what impact investing really means. It’s not just enough to say we’re funding ideas that change the world if we are not funding all kinds of people changing the world — women, minorities, indigenous, disabled, trans. All people deserve investment.

(Sonya’s speech at SOCAP.)

A Formula Towards Radical Leadership

I think Sonya would be the first person to tell you that everything that has led her to where she is now is by accident. The formula for her immense success — there is none. Every choice she made, every new endeavor came to her because she was examining what it meant to be human because she was intensely curious, but also because she was also intensely outspoken.

Sonya’s journey to become the radical leader she is today started with a conversation. On tour, with her poetry troupe doing the National Poetry Slam Championship in Tennessee, Sonya first uttered the words that would change the trajectory of her life. She describes this intimate conversation in her book, “The Body Is Not An Apology”:

“We were complicated and honest with each other, and this is how I wound up in a conversation with my teammate Natasha, an early-thirtysomething living with cerebral palsy and fearful she might be pregnant. Natasha told me how her potential pregnancy was most assuredly by a guy who was just an occasional fling. All of life was up in the air for Natasha, but she was abundantly clear that she had no desire to have a baby and not by this person.”

As Sonya will tell you, her nosiness and openness made it easy for her to probe into the details of how her friend got pregnant in the first place.

“Instinctually, I asked Natasha why she had chosen not to use a condom with this casual sexual partner with whom she had no interest in procreating. Neither Natasha nor I knew that my honest question and her honest answer would be the catalyst for a movement. Natasha told me her truth: “My disability makes sex hard already, with positioning and stuff. I just didn’t feel like it was okay to make a big deal about using condoms.”

That is when Sonya, in a way to comfort her distraught friend uttered these words: “Natasha, your body is not an apology. It is not something you give to someone to say, ‘Sorry for my disability.’” Sometimes all you need to do to start something is to speak it into existence. When Sonya heard herself utter those words, something quite special stuck.

“Language has the power to create. As we speak a thing, we are literally allowing it to exist in this world.”

The truth that Sonya comforted her friend with would soon become the mantra by which she lived her life. Those words would stick with Sonya for quite some time. They would not only become a poem, but a Facebook page, then a thriving movement, then a company.

In the early days, Sonya might not have imagined where those words would lead her life, but she could sense she was on to something much larger than herself, which she alludes to in this early performance of the poem as she tells the audience of the Facebook Group they must like and support. “This is the poem that spawned the Facebook page that will spawn the movement. I’m claiming it.”

And, claim it she did.

Watch Sonya perform the poem that started it all in an early performance.

Radical Self Love as the Ultimate Activism

Let’s face it. From the moment we wake up, we are inundated with messages that tell us our bodies are not good enough. These messages are hard to quiet, even if you are Sonya, on the road, touring, performing “The Body Is Not An Apology” to a new audience every night.

Yes, she knew that she had to live in her own truth of radical body love, but that outside voice telling her that she was not good enough was still there. One day, Sonya came across some an Instagram account of a plus-sized model who had just booked a substantial lingerie client. Here was this beautiful woman, unabashedly flaunting her “juicy thighs” for all to see and admire. Plus, as Sonya recalls, “someone was paying her a lot of money, too.”

That one act of defying the system led Sonya to post her own picture on Facebook, as she encouraged others to share photos where they felt beautiful, too (no matter what the outside world says).

This one act of radical self-love would lead others to do the same. The next morning, Sonya woke up to 30 other brave souls sharing their photos, as the movement was quickly picking up steam. That’s the thing about radical self-love — it can be just as contagious as self-hate. It’s up to us to choose what lane we want to live in.

What does radical self-love have to do with social change, anyway?

So many messages in our world tell us that our bodies are not good enough. That we need constant improvement, that we should be more healthy, more thin, more white — the barrage of negative talk is fast and furious, and consistent. Persistently telling us that we are not the norm so we, therefore, are not worthy.

We live in a system of body-shame indoctrination. Every act of body terrorism has been designed to support the agenda and systems of greed and power in our world. Once you realize that all those messages of not good enough are actually supporting the social constructs of society that keep us pushed down and less than, you start to get a little pissed off (at least you should).

One of the first steps in any successful activist movement is to realize when you are being conditioned, how you are being conditioned, and to get pissed off about the damaging social constructs you have been sold all your life.

If you want to dismantle the systems of the world, you have to understand how they were first constructed. That’s what activism is. This kind of thinking is what should drive your social good business first. It’s not about profit, the right business model, or even finding that unique sales proposition that will make your company unlike any other. It’s about deconstructing the systems in this world of greed and power. That starts with you.

You. Taking back the messages that we are being sold every day and replacing these outside voices with our own inner voice that radically loves us is the first step in transforming the world.

We, as activists, as Change Creators must ask ourselves: Whose agenda is your self-hate? That criticism that you have of yourself — who is benefitting from it? It is not in our best interest to support those agendas.

“Radical self-love is contagious; just as body shame is contagious. We get to decide what it is that we want to spread. If we can radically love ourselves, we can radically love the world.”

Activism by Dismantling the Social Constructs

Sonya wants us to imagine the social constructs we can eliminate if only we radically loved our bodies. Take, for example, the history of racism, as Sonya explains:

“Race as a construct was created as a way to validate the exchange of human bodies as slaves. First, the system wanted to exploit people and get cheap labor. So, the system created a structure that said we could rationalize cheap labor, thus they needed to say that these people were sub-human, which rationalized this horrific structure.”

How quickly the construct of racism is dismantled when we don’t allow others to see any human being as less than. As Sonya’s Facebook group grew, she quickly realized how powerful this idea was. She started a national conversation, not about self-acceptance, or loving your size 16 self, or celebrating your red hair — no, it was always a much larger, much broader conversation. It had to be. As she explains:

“We have internalized those messages of hate, all those messages we’ve received about what bodies are bad and this conversation about radical self-love has to be more than just about accepting our bodies, it has to be a conversation about race. It has to be a conversation about disabilities. It has to be a conversation about fatness. It has to be a conversation about queerness. It has to be a conversation about transnesss. And all of the other ways our bodies exist on this planet.”

As the conversation grew larger, so did the role of TBINAA in the world. Change is a thinking, doing, being process. We have to be in touch with our thoughts intentionally as we create that shift in consciousness. Activism has to start from within.

“We can’t create outside in the world what we have not figured out how to access inside of us first.”

5 Steps to Building a Mission-Driven Company

The steps Sonya took to grow her company were just like the rest of her journey. Yes, she quickly saw that this thing she was doing had merit, had some legs, and could grow, but in a way she could never have imagined it would become what it is today.

Here are the steps that Sonya took to build her business:

Step 1: Build an Authentic Community

If you want to build a lasting movement, you quickly have to realize that you are going to have to get people on board. In the early days of TBINAA, Sonya just shared ideas on the Facebook group. She would curate content every single day that supported that radical self-love that she was out there preaching.

After so many months of connecting with others online and on tour, Sonya had to take another look at her own actions, her own insecurities and fears and do something radical herself.

Yes, sometimes building that authentic community starts with you.

Creating the 30-Day RUHCUS Project

Sometimes, building a movement means doing something completely terrifying and uncomfortable. Eventually, we all have to face what’s really holding us back from living our authentic truth. As leaders of a movement, you have to be willing to be vulnerable at times and to always access yourself — are you out there living what you are encouraging others to do?

When Sonya realized that she still hung onto some body shame about her hair, she decided to take her own radical step. Developing traction alopecia early in life, Sonya had relied on her wigs for over a decade. The scariest thing she thought she could do was be bald in this world because she had been conditioned to believe that she would no longer be beautiful without hair.

In typical Sonya fashion, she didn’t take this step alone. No, she created the first major project of TBINAA — called it a RUHCUS (Radically Unapologetic Healing Challenge for Us). Before she was done her own 30 days, she realized how many people had taken her up and started their own RUHCUS projects.

Sonya lived her work.

She kept touring the country, building her community and soon realized that she would need to find the right people to help keep this thing growing.

Step 2: Find the Right People

When the TBINAA Facebook group reached over 20,000 people, Sonya realized she’d have to start building a team of people to keep it going. She quickly got an intern on board to manage the daily posts, curate the content, and push the vision further. She also found early adapters and volunteers who wanted to help, brought ideas to the table, and could get on board building this out alongside her.

They would ask, “I really love these ideas, can I write something? I want to support this idea; can I start a support group?” For that, Sonya would answer with a resounding “yes.” The business was building itself with the support of its members. She gave people not only the “yes” they needed to get on board and help, but the permission to bring ideas to the table and follow through with them.

As she grew the company, she knew she’d only hire the people that stood alongside her. As she’ll tell you, “It’s easier to teach skills than it is to teach values.”

Step 3: Formalize the Structure and Protect Your Brand Equity

It became apparently clear early on that Sonya would have to formalize the movement to protect the integrity of TBINAA. She did not want to see other brands exploiting this idea of body activism and radical love to sell diet aids or t-shirts. Could you imagine?

Not only did she have to get the right team of writers, supporters, and business developers on board early, she needed money to invest and formalize this growing movement. Yet, as we already touched on early in this article, finding investment as a black woman wasn’t going to be as easy as a trip to Silicon Valley.

Step 4: Monetize the Movement Early

Knowing that she had already built a solid, authentic audience, she thought it would be a radically good idea to get funding through a crowdfunding campaign. Today, looking back, she might do things differently.

The amount of work to raise that first bit of capital — a little over $40,000 — was outrageously difficult, but that was the seed fund she needed to start www.thebodyisnotanapology.com.

That was the first step to monetizing her business and making this movement an established, structured thing.

She had to take ownership of this thing early on. If you don’t own it, somebody else will. It became clear that she needed to create some concrete organizational structure around this movement if she wanted to hold on to it and watch it grow.

Step 5: Grow the Vision of the Company (and Keep Making Money)

After trademarking her company and establishing her ownership of the company, it was time to create some deliberate growth and that takes vision.

At this point, TBINAA had a team, some initial startup funds, and a trademarked idea. Figuring out that monetization model would not be easy. It would take some tweaking to find that sweet spot and to explore ways to support the organic growth that was happening.

Today, their model is a subscription-supported model that provides their supporters (on all levels) to monetarily back the vision and growth of the company. Building out webinars, workshops and products is also an integral part of the business plan as value increases. They also have millions of visitors to their website each year and continue to grow as they continue to build out authentic, relevant content that people cling to.

Building a strong monetization model is so vital when growing your movement if you want to build long-lasting social change. Don’t be afraid to make money early. Money can continue to be the fuel that spreads your message and grows your community — it’s not only okay, but it’s vital to monetize as soon as you can!

How You Can Find Your Inner Activist

As we have seen from Sonya’s success, all great activism starts with the inner journey. All social change begins with radical self-love. Loving ourselves, not just accepting ourselves, can deconstruct the social systems that build oppression.

It sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?

If you want to change the world, start with yourself. But, as we have seen, that journey from the social constructs we’ve grown up with to that fiercely powerful, radical self-love is not linear. There will be times when we doubt our greatness, when we transfer that doubt to others, and when we fall flat on our faces.

Recognize that radical self-love is the first step. Do the hard work of looking at your own social constructs. What do you believe? What are your core values? Do the inner work first, before you begin to change the world.

Remember, you can begin today to speak into existence that which you hope to change.

Key Takeaways

Be your own Sonya. Live in your truth. Align your business to your values from the get-go; it’s the only way to build lasting results.

Get early supporters on board to help build your vision. Give them the authority to make decisions, bring ideas to the table, and make it their mission, too.

Monetize your movement if you want to build a sustainable solution. Figure out the business stuff, too; don’t wait to start making money.

Listen to our exclusive interview with Sonya Renee Taylor


We think you’ll also like to check out one of these…

How Vangst Built the Number One Cannabis Recruiting Platform From Scratch

This article was originally published in Change Creator Magazine issue 19.

For a great entrepreneurial idea to grow into a successful and thriving business, there is often a window of opportunity that is momentarily open. Successful business people know how to take advantage of that window of opportunity even when traditional business wisdom advises the opposite.

Vangst Staffing is today the number one recruiting resource for the rapidly growing cannabis industry across the United States and Canada. Since originally launching in 2015, they have connected around 5,500 candidates with professional employment opportunities in the rapidly emerging cannabis industry, and will most likely participate in helping to staff a large part of the quarter million jobs that are expected to materialize in this industry within the coming years.

The resounding success of Vangst, however, didn’t happen overnight. Rather, it was the brainchild of a young entrepreneur who believed in her business proposal even when the emerging industry still was in its infant stages.

The growth of Vangst from a one-person startup with zero clients to the number one recruiting agency in one of the fastest growing industries on the continent offers several helpful business insights, strategies, and ideas that other entrepreneurs would do well to replicate.

Identifying Unmet Business Opportunities

In 2015, the cannabis industry was still stigmatized and branded as a fringe industry dominated by a select group of people on the margins of society. Karson Humiston, the founder and CEO of Vangst mentions that when the company first started, almost no professional from the pharmaceutical industry would have considered a career within the world of cannabis. Three years later, however, Vangst is successfully connecting professional pharmacists and other professionals with high paying jobs in this industry.

What changed?

As state legislatures across the country began to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis, Karson was able to foresee the growth opportunities in this market. While others scorned the emerging cannabis industry as nothing more than a few marihuana farms and dispensary shops, she was able to anticipate the market.

As cannabis slowly became legalized across large portions of the continent, acceptance would grow and people would discover the benefits associated with this previously stigmatized plant. Karson understood that past prejudice would make it hard for professionals across the industry to discover and take advantage of this emerging job market. Similarly, companies that operated within the cannabis market would also find it difficult to find quality employees for their growing businesses.

Thus, Karson´s idea of creating a staffing agency and recruiting resource specific to the cannabis industry filled a need in an emerging market that most people continued to avoid because of inaccurate perceptions about the industry. Today, lots of qualified individuals from a wide range of professions are looking at the cannabis industry as a potential career option. There are jobs available for botanists, executive assistants, chemical engineers, and dispensary store managers, to name just a few of the potential job openings. Vangst was able to get a head start on the industry and firmly establish a quality business service for both employers and potential employees in this industry.

Persistence and Tenacity

Identifying emergent markets is one part of the Vangst´s success story. However, it took a healthy dose of persistence and tenacity to see the business idea through to success. After going to an industry tradeshow and identifying the possibility for a cannabis industry staffing agency, Karson spent well over a year waiting for her first client. “I remember thinking that every day I would wake up and think that today is the day I´m going to get my first client,” Karson mentions.

She followed up with companies that she met at the tradeshow, relentlessly called the contacts on her list, organized meetings with these companies, and was mostly rejected. Finally, one cannabis company offered her an opportunity, mostly because they were impressed that she had continued to ask for a meeting after several prior rejections. Karson mentions that “somehow I was able to find them their accountant…and they referred me to some additional cannabis companies.

When you can get that word of mouth referral from a big brand…that is really what it took to go from zero clients to several clients.” Karson believes that entrepreneurship is about believing in a business idea and sticking with the plan.

“You have to believe in what you´re doing…and I was not willing to give up until I got a client. Setting goals and going after them…is the big differentiator between companies that can get off the ground and companies that inevitably fail,” she offers. “It comes down to giving up.”

Direct Outreach

While Vangst did build a small website that explained the services they offered, they didn’t simply sit back and wait for the phone to start ringing. Rather, Karson and the first members of her team would incessantly make phone calls to leading companies in the cannabis industry. They believed in their business proposal and wanted to contact directly people who mattered within the industry.

Amanda Guerrero, business development manager at Vangst, was one of the first employees that Karson hired. Amanda wanted to explore the Los Angeles cannabis market and was given free reign by Karson to try and create a new market on the west coast.

She would spend lots of time at networking events and developing strong relationships with people in the industry. Amanda shares that getting out there and spending lots of time in front of people who matter in the industry was essential for business growth.

“Being able to stick your hand out…takes a lot of confidence and grit, and it´s not a very comfortable position to be in…if your personality doesn’t lend itself to being outgoing.”

Instead of just sitting behind the phone, the hustle involved in going to conferences, setting up meetings, and introducing yourself to complete strangers was fundamental for strong business development. “The more that you introduce yourself to strangers the fewer strangers you’re going to have when you go back to visit,” Amanda adds.

As Vangst looks to expand into the Canadian market, Amanda has spent much time going to Toronto and other Canadian cities in search of companies and allies that will be willing to work with Vangst.

A Focus on Relationships

Vangst believes that relationship building has been the key to their success. Early on, the purpose of spending long hours at networking events wasn’t to find short-term success, but rather to build long-term business relationships.

Amanda´s time spent trying to expand Vangst´s influence in Los Angeles did not yield any immediate fruits. The market wasn’t ready and legal barriers still existed. However, the time and energy Amanda spent developing relationships with key players in the local cannabis industries planted seeds that later blossomed into long-term business relationships once the market did emerge.

When the company was just beginning, Karson mentions that Vangst was essentially offering a free service to their clients just to get their foot in the door. The extremely low entry offer was a business strategy aimed at building trust and letting their clients discover the quality of the service that they provided.

As Vangst has grown from a one-person startup to a company with over 50 employees working in markets across the continent, Karson wanted to make sure that all employees shared the main value of focusing on relationships with clients and maintaining the individualized component of the business service they offered. Making sure that employees´ goals are aligned with the long-term vision of the company is a fundamental strategy to help the company maintain one of the original elements that helped it succeed.

Business Insights and Strategies to Learn From Vangst Vangst

Vangst has almost singlehandedly built a community of entrepreneurial people that want to get involved in the emerging cannabis industry. Over 160,000 people are currently employed full time in the cannabis industry and that number is expected to triple by 2020. Their sound business strategy and philosophy has made Vangst poised to continue to be a major player as the cannabis industry continues to grow. Other entrepreneurs would do well to learn from Vangst´s experience, namely:

  1. Identifying unmet business opportunities in an emerging (though overlooked) market
  2. Persistence and tenacity even when the market appears to be non-responsive
  3. Direct outreach towards major players in the industry
  4. A focus on building relationships with clients

Turning a Passion for Minimalism into an Impact Business (interview)

Interview with Samantha Kristoferson and Emilio Jose Gracia

Samantha and Emilio are full of energy and have a certain zest for life that is contagious.

After their interview, I got a copy of their new book, A Recipe For an Extraordinary Life.” It’s an easy read that offers a lot of great insights and inspiration.  They don’t just help you declutter your space but also your mind.

In this interview we talk about how they turned that passion into a business.

They are the Co-Founders of KW Professional Organizers, providing speaking, 1-on-1 help, and online courses for individuals who are ready for a change.

Decluttering is their genius. Physically, mentally, and emotionally. They want to help you remove the things you don’t need to be doing and focus on what really matters to you.

They have been fortunate to be the catalyst for positive change in hundreds of individual’s lives and influenced thousands through their blog, videos, books, courses, media appearances and speaking.

>> You can grab a copy of their book here.<<

How Vangst Broke into The Emerging Cannabis Market and Skyrocketed Growth (Interview)

Interview with Karson Humiston and Amanda Guerrero of Vangst.

Subscribe to this show on iTunes | Stitcher | Soundcloud

As the old stigmas melt away there is what some people call a green rush in the new emerging market of Cannabis. But is it really a green rush? In issue 19 of Change Creator Magazine talk to the experts in the space and uncover the social impact of this new market.

Vangst is one team doing it right as the number 1 recruiter staffing the cannabis industry.

In this interview, we speak with two incredible people, the founder of Vangst, Karson Humiston and their Business Development lead, Amanda Guerrero.

Karson started the company in 2015, after attending a cannabis trade show where she recognized the huge need marijuana companies had for employees in every position: chemical engineers, botanists, marketing managers, outside sales representatives, accountants, retail store managers, and so on.

Since that trade show, Vangst has seen great success but only due to a lot of hustle. According to an article in Forbes they grew 567% between 2016 and 2017 and has continued to climb ever since.

We uncover how they got started, what it took to get traction and how they see this new market.

Some questions and topics covered in this interview…

  • How Karson learned about this new need in the market and why she took action?
  • What led Amanda to join Vangst as the business development lead?
  • What were the early steps to start getting this company off the ground?
  • What are the biggest differentiators of companies that fail and those that get off the ground?
  • How Amanda planned her business development strategy to penetrate the market.
  • How important is it to be outside the building connecting with people in person during early stages?
  • What has been the biggest challenge so far?
  • How did they approach their fundraising round and what made it work?
  • How do they think the cannabis movement is impacting people?
  • What are some pain points or opportunities they see in this space?

Visit Vangst for more information.

I Want to Start My Own Business But Don’t Know What to Do

I want to start a busines

When I decided to take my life in a completely new direction that’s all I knew. The missing part was what direction I wanted to go. If you are thinking, “I want to start my own business but don’t know what to do” then this article is for you. This is my real deal life experience here, so keep reading.

I wanted to be my own boss. I wanted the work I spent my valuable time each day doing to actually matter. Not just to me but to the planet. I didn’t want my earnings capped by a salary anymore.

I wanted to start my own business but didn’t know what to do!

Now what?

At the time I was a heavy reader of magazines and books but also listened to podcasts. Always looking for inspiration and trends.

When I learned about the idea of social entrepreneurship I was all about it because it aligned with my values. Using business to tackle social problems. The activist in me said, yes please, that’s what I want to do!

Of course, at that time, there was very little information about pursuing that form of entrepreneurship. Not even one magazine. There was no Change Creator Magazine.

But I did find a book called Making Good by Billy Parishwhich became a bible for me. Parish’s story was inspiring. He hiked the Himalayan mountains and witnessed a melting glacier first hand. After that personal experience, he was so inspired that he dropped out of Yale and began his journey as a social entrepreneur and was very successful. He shared his ideas and perspectives which to me were of great value.


I learned that there are tons of ideas out there. Broken systems that need fixing. Social problems that need to be solved. Local or global, it was endless. They are all business opportunities!

Did this help make it easier for me now? No, actually it was tougher because I had so many ways I could go but I couldn’t decide what was best for me to pursue.

After a while, I realized my hunt to pin down the right idea led me to become paralyzed. I had no progress. No new developments. Nothing.

Starting Without a Real Plan

It got to the point where I decided to just start something.

The first thing I pursued was plastic pollution. Plastic water bottles drive me freaking nuts! My thought was to create something that could replace the plastic bottle and that was a hemp water bottle. I found that other containers were made from hemp because it’s so versatile.

I spoke to hemp experts and found that while a bottle can be made the challenge is water absorption over time. I found a solution to that problem from an FDA approved food product designed by some folks at MIT that could coat the inside of the bottle. It would then prevent the water absorption like a repellent. But it wasn’t on market and had some years to go before it could ever be used in scale. Plus, nobody at MIT would return my emails.

In addition to that, I found out that manufacturing would be a huge cost. If you wanted a water bottle company to take on the task of using hemp, it would require a ton of different equipment for processing. This means big cash.

I decided this path wasn’t for me and crossed it off the list.

Because I cared about so many different topics I created a blog called The Blue Dot Post. I started waking up each day at 4 am and wrote articles, hundreds of articles! I got some other great people to work with me and contribute and after a year I didn’t really know what this thing was yet or how to monetize it.

I took audience development classes, writing classes, and learned a ton.

I knew I had to get more niche and decided to focus on deforestation. This led me to guest posting which was a great experience that taught me a lot as well.

During this time I also did volunteer work that gave me exposure to new things and helped me develop a lot of skills I use today as an entrepreneur.

But I never really created a business, just a hobby.

Finding Clarity

A combination of things led me to clarity.

  • Working for other people first for experience
  • Doing volunteer work
  • Just starting and trying things so I can cross them off the list if they didn’t
  • Ongoing education (reading, research, podcasts)
  • Self-inventory exercises

After two years of writing, reading, and learning I picked up a book called 6 Months to 6 Figures by Peter Voogd. I needed to figure out how to make money with my ideas but this actually gave me solutions to finding the right idea.

Peter does a great job of providing exercises I now call, self-inventory, to help you narrow down what is not only important to you but what would make the most sense for you to pursue. There’s a difference.

If something is important to you that does not mean you have the experience or skills in that space. You can pursue it and succeed but it might take much longer. If you have skills doing something specific that doesn’t mean you love doing it.

After going through the exercises I gained clarity on what was important to me and how to think about using the skills and experience I already have.

For example:

  • Your values
  • Past experiences
  • Skills
  • Gifts
  • Frustrations
  • Reasons for starting the business

This process is something we do in our mentorship program now because we found it to be so valuable.

Digging deep into your self-inventory is helpful in shaping your narrative. This means the business you create will have a story behind it which makes it an authentic reflection of you. That story is so important to the business and can be really tough for people to pin down. This process helps a lot.

I worked at WebMD for over 10 years which is a publishing and digital media monster. As Director of Strategic Marketing, I not only knew the media space but I was savvy in creating smart content marketing strategies.

If you can think of Venn-Diagram that highlights key information about yourself then you can imagine there is a point of connection for them in the middle.

Instead of becoming a social entrepreneur who makes a hemp water bottle or saves the rainforest I created a media company for purpose-driven entrepreneurs that would offer generation to generation learning and peer to peer learning. The best way to learn how to change the world is from those that already are!

That is when Change Creator was born. How I came up with the name is another story.

This media company, of course, included Change Creator Magazine, the first magazine app for purpose-driven entrepreneurs on iTunes and Google Play, because it’s something I always wish I had to when I was figuring things out.

Today, I have interviewed people like Tony Robbins, Nobel Peace Prize winner Muhammad Yunus, Arianna Huffington, Guy Kawasaki and many award-winning social entrepreneurs such as Taddy Blecher. They all provide strategic insights into building meaning businesses that matter to you and the world.

How to Manage the Risk (The Balancing Act)

Nobody wants to dump a ton of time or money into something and lose it all. Not when we have a boatload of student loan debt and other expenses.

The reality is that you probably will have to straddle two jobs for a while. The one that pays bills and gives you experience and the other that is your journey to be your own boss.

It’s really scary to start spending your money on software, conferences, and even classes. Thousands of dollars can go quickly. But here’s the thing. You have to be willing to invest in yourself to grow and change.

Here are a few things that really helped me cope with the fear and risk of taking a leap:

  • Get a financial advisor
  • Get an accountant
  • Learn how to organize, track and manage your money (I do this monthly and recommend reading Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Ecker)
  • Always have an active source of income
  • Have a plan
  • Find a mentor
  • Take risks but take calculated risks (if you don’t put money in the machine nothing will come out)

I recommend you read the article about getting unstuck as it offers some good input related to this. It’s called If You’re Feeling Stuck in Life Than This Will Help You.

Once you have a business concept that is a fit for you and there is a plan in place. I highly recommend you find a co-founder! This will greatly increase your chances of success but you must find the right person.

Here’s an example of the document I use to track my money. (These are not real numbers)

There is no Time Like Now

According to the 2017 GEM report, in the US, 27 million working-age Americans are starting or running new businesses. A 16-year record high!

There has never been a better time to take bold self-directed steps in creating your own impact lifestyle.

The activist spirit is infused in the new entrepreneur.

People today believe businesses have a moral obligation to prioritize social profit alongside of financial profit. This is a huge transition taking place right now.

There are new models for business and life taking shape while technology is creating opportunities that never existed before.

More people are saying, “I can help change the world too!” But they don’t know how to navigate these new uncharted opportunities.

It takes effort and discipline to create a new life.

The true purpose of life is whatever you make it!

I hope sharing my experiences has helped you in some way. If you know someone that could benefit from this info please pay it forward.

Related: How Can I Matter?

East and Market Founder Renee Jones: How to Create a Side Sustainable Clothing Gig

A bright green polyester jacket dropped as I watched a garbage truck stop at each house across the street from the train platform. The workers picked it up and threw it in the back of the truck. I must have sighed or winced because I found myself explaining to my fellow commuters,

“Fashion is the second most polluting industry in the world, second to oil.”

How does fashion pollute?

Pesticides used in growing crops can poison farmers and harvesters and can seep into water supplies. Transporting raw materials long distances to factories by planes, automobiles, and boats can create environmental hazards. Further emissions and waste come from processing raw material into textiles. Petroleum is required to make the synthetic fibers nylon and polyester. Waste from fabric dyes and chemicals for tanning leather can become pollutants in water systems. Unless patterns are precisely designed not to, the cutting floor leaves tons of remnant fabric. Once a garment or accessory is made, transit from factory to distribution center to store adds to the environmental cost. If an item does not sell, is not durable, or goes out of style, it is often trashed like the jacket I saw from the train platform.

(More details on fashion industry-wide sustainability and social responsibility challenges are available in the 2015 White Paper from Fashion Revolution)

What can a consumer do?

While some large and small companies are reckoning with environmental responsibility at every stage of sourcing and production, what can a consumer do to avoid throwing away clothing? Charity thrift stores can be a beneficial option, but excess donations sent overseas can disrupt local markets in already strained economies. Some consumers have the skills to refashion their unusable apparel, but there is also a niche of entrepreneurs who will do this for them. Renee Jones, the founder of East and Market, is making a living through upcycled textiles and the added value created by customers’ memories of the materials they send — visit them at their website.

Launched in April 2016, East and Market sells one-of-a-kind accessories and home decor made from recycled materials. Custom orders are welcome and have included materials ranging from a leather camel saddle to cotton baby clothes. I sent her two suede skirts I hadn’t worn in three years and a couple of unneeded t-shirts: she turned them into zipper pouches I gave to my family at Christmas. I recently interviewed Renee to find out more about her business.

What were you doing before you started East and Market?

I received my BFA from University of the Arts in Philadelphia with a concentration in metalsmithing in 2005. After college, I worked for a jeweler, and after some time feeling unfulfilled and overworked, I decided to go back to school to get my masters in occupational therapy. Since graduating, I’ve worked as a pediatric occupational therapist full-time. I continue to work full-time in home health with children with disabilities in Colorado.

I was drawn to occupational therapy because of the fine motor aspects of it. I was intrigued when I found out that the origins of occupational therapy began with therapists teaching crafts to soldiers as a therapeutic and healing intervention. I know that for myself, the craft has allowed me to express myself and heal, so I didn’t question the power it has for most people. It brought my art degree, my need for making, and my yearning to help people full circle.

Since high school, I have always made things, from jewelry to painting to weaving to knitting to gardening to cooking… I love it all!

Why did you start your business?

I started East and Market as a way to express myself and remain grounded in my making while working a full-time at a job that sometimes (but not always) includes a creative element. And since starting, I have made so many changes to my mission and making!

At first, East and Market was going to be a fashion truck which provided clothing that I was sourcing from wholesalers. It only took me a few months to realize how wasteful this process was. I also found that some of the clothing that I was sourcing was poorly made and I couldn’t even sell it. This was when I began using those clothes as liners in some of my bags.

At the same time, I was listening to an amazing podcast called The Spirit of 608 by Lorraine Sanders. She interviews and speaks about women who are forging the way in sustainable fashion and technology. Through listening to her, I took a hard look at my business and the waste I was producing. It was a shock! After about 2-3 months in business, I made some huge shifts and continue to learn and change to become as sustainable as possible. One such way was using second-hand materials to create handbags, which then led to me inviting people to send me their sentimental materials to have made into something special.

What are your top design principles?

As a business owner, I am very interested in using my brand in a thoughtful way to reduce my carbon footprint on the environment. East and Market specialize in creating beautiful handmade accessories and home decor. It is my mission to create handcrafted items using sustainable methods.

I promote sustainability by sewing with minimal to zero waste, reusing materials when possible, upcycling with second-hand materials and using remnant fabrics or cut-offs.

I enjoy creating handmade items from sentimental fabrics (pillows, bags, blankets, shirts….you name it!). I encourage customers to send me materials they have in their homes so I can incorporate it into their custom orders. I see this as a way to carry your fondest memories everywhere you go. It is a way to restore materials that are otherwise unused! It reminds us to treasure what we have and forces us to be mindful of our impact on the environment.

How do you balance the responsibilities of making your product and managing your business?

I find that making the product feels like a break from all of the other business responsibilities! Being a one-woman show means I am sourcing materials, making the product, testing products, managing social media, answering emails, doing some accounting work (yuck), networking, and being a photographer. It can feel overwhelming at times, but I have learned to slow down and only do what I can handle.

Where do you hope your business will be in 5 years? In 10 years?

In five years I hope to have hired a professional photographer! That would be a huge milestone! I also hope that my business will grow in the next 5 to 10 years so I can work the business primarily and occupational therapy part-time.

How do you define success?

My definition of success has definitely changed since starting East and Market. In the beginning, I thought that success meant sales, being busy, and getting a lot of social media followers. What I have realized is that success for me is being able to maintain my business to the best of my ability and increasing my skills to create products that people want and enjoy. It also means that I can have a great work-life balance. Success to me at this time in my life is happiness. Happiness in myself, my family and my work.

What would you say to a company that does not track the environmental cost of its production?

I guess what I would say would depend on their feelings and considerations about incorporating sustainable processes into their business.

If it was a business that was interested in sustainability I would say start with achievable goals. Small changes that can be maintained over time will go a long way. It may also help to list out daily/weekly/monthly/yearly waste. Make a sustainability plan, just like you would a business plan.

If a business voiced minimal or no interest in changes I may just suggest that they consider giving certain types of reusable wastes to companies or students that could reuse the material. A lot of people are willing to pick up materials.

What would you say to a person considering starting their own social enterprise?

The first thing I would say is: Just go for it!!! Start as soon as possible because if you wait until you’re “ready” you will never be ready. I have made so many mistakes and have learned immensely from all of those mistakes. They haven’t broken me, they have made me more knowledgeable, more socially conscious, and ultimately happier with my business and my designs.

I would also say you need to go into it being flexible and open-minded. Embrace the positivity given to you but be especially open to the criticism. Embrace the criticism and find out everything you can about it; it will make you stronger as a business person and designer.

That Green Jacket in the Trash

I also asked Renee what she would do with the green jacket I saw in the trash. She answered with enthusiasm:

“Sounds like it would make a great tote because the material is durable and bright! I may also be interested in pairing it with some leather to see how the difference in color and texture would mix to make a cool clutch! I love creating new textiles!”

Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/eastandmarket/

4 Ways to Turn Passion Into Profit: You Can Start Today!

Working is a necessity of life, but studies show few Americans actually enjoy what they do. Among the 100 million full-time employees in the U.S., 51 percent admit to being disengaged—in other words, not feeling connected to their job. An additional 16 percent fall into the actively disengaged category, meaning they absolutely detest their jobs and tend to bring down office morale.

Turning Your Passion Project into a Business Venture: The Basics

While some people find solace with a hobby, others turn their personal pursuits into a business venture. Embracing an entrepreneurial spirit is not for everyone, but for the right individual, it can offer freedom to do what you love, a flexible schedule (not less work, however), excitement, and a sense of accomplishment and pride.

For the same reasons, being your own boss can prove to be an effective tactic for recovery survivors, too. This is especially true if the business idea stems from something that helped them come to peace with their addiction, like art therapy, for example. More than just brushstrokes on a canvas (though there’s that, too), this alternative treatment method encompasses jewelry making, cooking, singing, dancing, sewing, woodworking, and creative writing—all of which can be translated into a business idea.

No matter where you’re at in your life, it’s never too late to consider pursuing your own endeavor. Just make sure you know what you’re into getting first.

Are You Really Ready?

Doing a hobby for the sake of pleasure is completely different than monetizing it. Before getting in too deep, ask yourself a few key questions:

  • Will I enjoy my hobby the same when I’m under pressure to complete it—quite possibly in large amounts?
  • Will I be able to handle the financial pressure to produce a profit?
  • Will I be ruining my outlet for relaxation?
  • Will I be able to deal with the good, bad, and ugly that comes from business ownership?
  • Will I be willing to wear more than one hat?


Getting Started: 4 Ways to Turn Passion Into Profit


1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Doing something as a hobby is one thing, but is your product or service polished enough to sell to consumers? If no, then figure out a way to perfect it, or choose another outlet altogether. Alternatively, maybe you’re great at whatever you’re selling, but bad with other aspects of business like bookkeeping. Make sure you get assistance in any areas of uncertainty.


2. Find a Niche

While it’s not always possible to reinvent the wheel, having a niche for your business will make it stand apart from the competition. Even something subtle like packaging or an inspirational story can help, so assess every aspect of your product or service to determine its unique potential.


3. Create a Business Plan

 While it’s a time-consuming process, a solid business plan can unlock the doors to investment opportunities that can help you do everything from getting the business off the ground to expanding in the future. A professional plan should include: an executive summary, company description, market analysis (very important and requires thorough research), organization and management, description of service or product, a marketing and sales plan, a funding request spanning the next 3-5 years, financial projections (of great interest to investors), and an optional appendix.


4. Source Funding

 You’ve got your plan, and now you need the funds to start. There are several outlets to try, so it would behoove you to approach more than one source so you have funding options to compare. But forget the bank. You’re more apt to receive funding from the SBA, peer-to-peer lenders, your personal credit and savings, and crowdfunding.

Related: This Is How to Raise Seed Funding: Advice from Investors at SOCAP

You Can Do It!

Approximately 69 percent of U.S. entrepreneurs start their businesses from home, so there’s no reason why you can’t jump on that bandwagon, too. But if you want to avoid a less desirable statistic—being among the 50 percent of businesses that fail within the first four years—don’t rely on excitement alone. Ample research and a concrete plan will give you the self-confidence you need to push ahead.



How This Teacher Started a Social Change Business on The Side

This article is brought to you by +Acumen

Not all Change Creators are social entrepreneurs right away.

There are many ways you can get involved and create sustainable change in this world.

Here is the story of Marc Mailhot, a teacher at Montgomery Village Public School in Ontario, Canada, who wanted to create positive social change in his community. And he did it all in his free time after school!

You see, you don’t need to quit your day job to create lasting changes in a community. With some hard work, some good ideas, and a lot of dedication, you can build a successful social good business on the side, too. Actually, this is how many people start so that they can self-fund their work.

Bridging Two Generations

About 10 years ago, Mailhot and a fellow teacher, Lynda Brown, realized that despite advances in technology that were seemingly making communication easier, many students in their class had never talked to the senior citizens who lived next door.

“The age of the front porch, neighborhood barbecue, or block party were becoming relics of the past. We thought that was sad” says Mailhot.

So, he did something about it and created what would become GrandPals — a community initiative that connects generations of students, teachers, seniors, and community members.

That first year, the idea started with a simple action — bring students to the nearby seniors’ center to play games and keep them company. It didn’t take long for Mailhot and his fellow teachers to realize that they could make this activity a part of the student curriculum.

Now, this initiative has become a self-sustaining social enterprise that could possibly scale across Canada and into other countries as well.

“When we think about intergenerational programming, most people think about taking a group of kids to a nursing home and having them play cards and feel good,” Mailhot says. “Or maybe, they’ll meet regularly to bake cookies. GrandPals is at a different level— we’re academically rigorous.”

Storytelling and Community Building Benefits Us All

GrandPals isn’t just social, it’s about changing the community narrative and connecting generations together to learn new things and share ideas. The students go through a project-based curriculum where they can learn about their community, media literacy, technology, and social studies through the work they do with seniors.

The initiative culminates in an intensive research project in which students chronicle the life stories of the seniors they work with and end up with published books that are housed at the local museum.

“It’s so life-changing. It’s an amazing opportunity for everyone.” Alyssa Curry – Student

Most recently, he’s had many family members of older adults contacting him to ask how they can involve their parents or grandparents in the program. They know that social isolation can literally be deadly for senior citizens and they see GrandPals as a great way to keep their relatives engaged in something meaningful.

To help meet these demands, Marc has successfully attracted funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education, Ontario Ministry of Senior Affairs, Rotary Clubs, and The Clorox Company, and will soon be receiving a national education award.

It’s amazing what one teacher can do! He would love to scale this initiative and introduce this into every community in Canada, but his lack of resources has held him back. Applying for all the grants he needed to fund this initiative by himself was exhausting to the point of burnout. He needed to find a real solution if he was going to scale this at all.

Why Building a Revenue Stream Just Made Sense

One of the many benefits of having a for-profit social enterprise is the continuation of the revenue stream. This makes the business self-sustaining and scalable, both of which Mailhot hoped would happen with GrandPals.

One of the resources Mailhot found so helpful was the +Acumen Business Models for Social Enterprise course.

There, he learned how to take earned revenue streams so he could hire a program manager and become self-sustaining. +Acumen is social enterprise platform that helps others through educational initiatives, one of which is their superb online courses.

“Learning about the different business models a social enterprise could have helped me think of new and creative ways to run my business without having to continually ask for money or fill out government grant forms,” Mailhot says.

Looking at his business model in a new light, he soon came to the realization that seniors also want to be customers. He soon developed a new plan to take his curriculum and turn it into a series of eLearning resources that could not only be sold to other schools, but also to seniors who were looking for education on how to use new technologies.

“We want to encourage lifelong learning. Seniors were asking us to teach them skills like how to use Google Docs; it was a meaningful opportunity to create a solution that could fund the programing,” Mailhot says.

Mailhot continues to further his education, taking advantage of programs from +Acumen and others so he can continue to scale his business.

He still has a great deal of market testing to do, but he’s secured a government grant that will help him with some of the pilot testing for an eLearning course, so he’s optimistic about that solution.

“This program stands as a bridge between social workers and educators. We have good data that shows it improves socio-emotional learning for all involved. Empathy levels go up. Students’ and seniors’ perceptions of their ability to make positive change goes up. Now, we just need to find a way to scale it and make it sustainable. The +Acumen course helped point us in the direction of business models that could work.”

Want to get some more business model ideas? Check out these 4 awesome impact models in 4 Impact Business Models You Wish You Thought Of

How to Start Your Business After a Career Setback: You Can Do It!

If you’ve recently experienced a career setback, such as a job loss or missing out on a promotion, you might be agonizing over what to do next. One option you might consider is starting your own business. It can be the best thing you’ll ever do to have a meaningful life. Here is how to start your business after a career setback!

If you’ve never pictured yourself as a successful entrepreneur, imagine what your life might be like if you were running your own business. Although it is a lot of work to start a new business, it can be deeply fulfilling work that gives you the freedom to live your dreams, spend more time with your family, and even travel the world.

Whatever you envision for your life, becoming an entrepreneur might end up being the best decision you could ever make. Before getting started, however, you’ll want to do some soul-searching to determine what type of business you’d like to start.

Related article: How to choose a social enterprise idea that will fire up your life

Some possible business ventures to consider:

Real estate.

Becoming a real estate agent is a valuable option for anyone looking to start a new business venture. Real estate is a personal practice which, according to Forbes, is a good choice for starting your own business. Personal practices tend to have a better chance at entrepreneurial success “because their growth can be managed.” This has certainly proven true for the real estate industry, which Sageworks reports to be one of the top three most profitable types of small businesses in America.

Computer services.

From computer repair to graphic and web design, this industry is booming. If you are tech savvy (or at least willing to learn), you can make good money in the computer services industry. In addition to not having a shortage of clients and customers, some fields – such as web development – allow you the freedom to potentially work remotely from home. This may be ideal if you like to travel the world or if you dream of spending more time with your family.


Accountants take the top spot on the list of most profitable industries for American business owners. It’s a secure, stable industry with money-making potential. If you’re good at crunching numbers and are familiar with tax laws, accounting might be a good choice.

How to get started.

Whether you want to be a life coach or a web designer, a real estate agent or a professional dog walker, here are some tips on how to get started:

Have a clear plan.

Create your own business plan and get crystal clear on your vision. Write down your business goals for the upcoming year. Determine a strategy for getting there. You might consider meeting with a business advisor, mentor, or coach for assistance. In many areas, the government provides free assistance and advice to new business owners. Visit www.sba.gov to see if you might be eligible.

Get funding early.

Overhead costs, or the amount of money it costs you to run your own business, will vary depending upon several factors, including your location and the type of work you do. For instance, a home-based web design business will have less overhead cost than a professional landscaping business.

If you’ll have to purchase special vehicles, equipment, or deal with other high overhead costs, you might want to secure funding for your business. Sources for funding might include pitching your idea to investors, using a crowdfunding website, or applying for grants from the government.

Get out of your own way.

Author, Mel Robbins says it only takes 5 seconds to change your life. Robbins says we already know deep within ourselves what we need to do to live our dreams. Stop coming up with excuses to stay in a situation that isn’t working. Instead, start taking real action towards your goal of running your own business.

Starting your own business might be just the change you need to get your career back on track. With some hard work, intention-setting, and action-taking, you can achieve business success and live the life you truly want.

If you need some help figuring out what you want to do, or how to get there, check out the Change Creator mentorship program!

3 Social Enterprise Startup Examples to Get You Inspired for Change

While the traditional model used by non-profit organizations for providing aid and donating items to populations in need helps alleviate short-term social issues caused by poverty, it often fails to address the root cause of the problems.

Since there’s no economic incentive baked into the process, aid and donations don’t provide the opportunity for communities to generate income, reinvest back into the local economy, and create a virtuous cycle of self-sustainability.

A new generation of social entrepreneurs is innovating how we empower underserved populations. Their for-profit social enterprises deliver a “multiple bottom line” solution that creates both profit and progress for everyone involved.

These social businesses were often started when the founders lived among a local community in a developing country and discovered the work of craftsmen and artisans.

Their winning formula integrates the unique craftsmanship with high-quality and well-designed products that appeal to consumers in the developed world while sharing their brand stories to generate awareness and sales.

The craftsmen and artisans are paid a fair wage. Profits from the businesses are reinvested into the local communities, which benefit from the economic activities.

The success of these social enterprise startups is a great example of how we can create social progress and have a thriving business at the same time:

Ethnotek: Inspired in Vietnam, A Whole New Way to Sustainable Fashion

After being inspired by his travels in Vietnam, Jake Orak founded Ethnotek.

The company designs and produces high-quality laptop and travel bags that feature handmade textiles ethically sourced from craftsmen living in Ghana, Guatemala, India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

The social venture promotes the art of hand printing, weaving, and embroidery while celebrating the local cultures and communities.

The products are designed with the modern travelers’ high-tech lifestyle in mind, marrying ethnology with technology.

The brand’s website has a section that introduces the traditional craftsmanship of each region it supports. By connecting consumers with the origin of the products, Ethnotek helps broaden our perspective and raise awareness about cultural preservation.

The commercial success of this social enterprise allows artisans to continue their traditional crafts – protecting jobs, handcraft practices, and local cultures in villages that are most in need.

Combat Flip Flop: Two Shark Tank Guys do Good

Donald Lee and Matthew Griff, two former Army Rangers who served in Afghanistan, founded Combat Flip Flop after seeing a country filled with hard-working people who wanted jobs, not handouts.

The company is now selling way more than flip-flops. All their products are sourced from communities in developing countries – creating employment opportunities and sustainable economic development along the way.

For example, their flip-flops are made in Bogota, their sarongs are handmade in Afghanistan by local women, and their bangles are sent straight from artisans in Laos (made from landmines dropped during the Vietnam war.)

Besides employing artisans and underserved populations in need, the company achieves a “double bottom line:”

  • For every product sold, it donates funds to put an Afghan girl into secondary school for a day.
  • For each bangle or coin wrap sold, 3 square meters of Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) is cleared – saving lives and providing an economic opportunity at the same time.

Tonlé: Addressing Textile Waste from the Get-Go

When Rachel Fuller was studying textiles and fiber arts, she noticed the enormous mass of textile waste that occurred each year from large brand factories, end of season stock purging, and consumer-discarded clothing.

Even though she loves fashion, she was bothered by the many wasteful habits in the mass consumptive fashion industry.

When she was conducting research under a Fulbright Grant in Cambodia, she got to know the local artisans and conceived a fair trade movement related to fashion production.

In addition, she noticed that even though there were non-profit organizations helping local communities produce and sell textile products, there was an underlying issue that prevented their success.

The non-profit business model focuses on getting funding or donation instead of creating products that appeal to a global market. As a result, many of these projects struggle to stay afloat because they can’t generate enough sales.

Rachel eventually founded Tonlé, a fashion brand that uses scrap waste sourced from mass clothing manufacturers to create handmade clothing and accessories signed by their Cambodian makers.

Their zero-waste production process creates ethically made, comfortable, affordable, and practical clothing designed to appeal to an international market.

For-Profit Social Enterprises Achieving “Multiple Bottom Lines”

Today’s social entrepreneurs empower the communities they work with through profitable business models that not only allow the populations to earn a fair wage but also reinvest in the local economies for sustainable growth.

In addition to making their products in an environmentally conscious way, they often use part of the proceeds from their sales to promote other worthy causes by partnering with non-profit organizations.

The three examples we looked at are just the tip of the iceberg – social entrepreneurship offers a wealth of opportunities for us to make a living in a meaningful and impactful manner in this connected world.

Inspired? What’s your big idea?

How to Get Your Impact Startup Off The Ground: Lessons From Combat Flip Flops

change creator combat flip flops

They faced the sharks on the famous show Shark Tank and demonstrated how they could change the world one pair of flip-flops at a time!

Change Creator’s interview with the two founders, Lee and Griff, revealed strategies and insights we can all learn from. Find the full interview is at the end of this article.

Donald Lee and Matthew Griff, founders of Combat Flip Flops, not only built a successful retail business but also help underserved communities all over the world by empowering them economically with employment opportunities.

As social entrepreneurs, Lee and Griff created a business model that drives “multiple bottom lines” – profits, social change, and sustainable economic growth.

How did the company come about, what unique challenges did they face, and what’s their secret to success?

The Multi-Million-Dollar Business Idea

Similar to many social enterprises that help communities in developing countries, the initial concept for Combat Flip Flops was born out of the founders’ personal experiences when they were living among the people they serve.

Lee and Griff were two Army Rangers stationed in Afghanistan where they experienced first-hand the people and culture of the war-torn country.

However, what they saw were not people waiting for a handout. Instead, they saw a community that embodied the virtues of persistence, creativity, and respect.

They saw hardworking people making combat boots and other army supplies to support their families and communities.

Then they realized that these workers would need a job after the war ends. They saw an opportunity to “manufacture peace through trade” and a business idea was born:

Combat Flip Flops would send veterans to countries affected by war, identify facilities that were established to manufacture tools for war and transform them to make commercial products that support peace.

They’d ship the products all over the world and create employment opportunities along the way.

Today, the company has factories in a few developing countries – creating employment opportunities and economic advancements in many underserved communities:

  • Their flip-flops are made in Columbia, where all the materials are sourced locally.
  • They use metal from landmines dropped in Laos during the Vietnam War to create jewelry. The revenue further funds landmine clearance to keep more people safe.
  • Their women-operated factories in Afghanistan make all the sarongs and scarfs sold on the website. Each piece puts an Afghan girl in school – an effort to battle the 15% illiterate rate among Afghan women.
  • They’re funding veteran missions overseas as well as clinical aid work – giving 2% of their bottom line to causes they support.

Unlike giving out aids and donations, Combat Flip Flops’ factories are creating long-term economic changes in the local communities. The business model gets to the root cause of poverty and creates a virtuous cycle of empowerment.

Related: How This Fashion Company Helps People Get Clean Water and Jobs

Learning Curve And Growing Pains

Taking an impact-driven startup off the ground is rarely a walk in the park. There are many moving parts and it can be quite challenging when all you have is a few thousand bucks and a simple website.

However, that didn’t hold Lee and Griff back.

Getting On the Radar With a Compelling Brand Story

Lee and Griff made their first sales at a trade show. They only had a night to prepare – barely enough time to get a website, a merchant account, and a bank account set up.

The event became the turning point for the company.

Making the most of what they’ve got, Lee and Griff attended the trade show and shared their compelling brand story with some bloggers who took photos of the products and posted them online.

They highlighted the story of how simply buying a pair of flip-flops can help people in underserved communities by creating jobs and putting them through school.

The business model was easy to explain and people’s immediate reaction was, “we wanna support that!”

From there, they sold thousands of pairs of flip-flops to consumers all over the world.

Make Products That Sell

As a for-profit social business, you need to generate a profit. Otherwise, you’ll be out of business before long and unable to make the social impact you set out to achieve.

That means you need to sell something that people want. Whether it’s a product or a service, you have to identify a market and create something your customers want to buy.

For Combat Flip Flops, their customers want high-quality and well-designed fashion items that also have a great story to tell. They want to feel good about their purchases by knowing that they’re helping communities in need.

Scaling the Company – the Power of Publicity and Team Work

A compelling brand story won’t generate sales if the world doesn’t know about it.

Lee and Griff designed a brand management campaign and had a clear target on which publications to pitch and how to direct their advertising budget.

They worked with a PR professional to help them promote their brand story and landed an interview with Gizmodo. The interview gave them the stage to share their story and a platform to introduce their products to the market.

A producer from Shark Tank saw the article and offered them a spot to pitch on the show.

The duo prepared well for the show and took that advantage to tell the company’s story.

They succeeded in building brand awareness and driving traffic to the website. However, they also learned the hard way that with a boost in publicity, they also had to make sure they have the infrastructure in place to support the increase in interest and the spike in traffic.

Nonetheless, the “Shark Tank effect” was real and they enjoyed a steady flow of traffic for months afterward.

In addition to the publicity, Combat Flip Flops grew from one distributor to a million-dollar company, thanks to its great team composed of dedicated individuals who know each member’s strengths.

Each member contributes his expertise to the company, such as networking, operations, business plan development, and design.

Lee and Griff roll up their sleeves and get into the trenches. All the partners are knee-deep in the business because everything is interconnected – from product design to logistics and marketing – one thing can affect many others and ultimately, sales.

Finding the Sweet Spot

As a startup, pricing your products and services can be quite a challenge – and Combat Flip Flops wasn’t spared such growing pain.

Having a social cause doesn’t make them immune to market forces. If anything, they need to be more diligent with their demand forecast because of the business’s mission to support the wide net of local communities.

Lee and Griff did the research, analyze market trends, and made adjustments based on their website metrics so everything fell in line with the industry standards.

The advantage of being a small company is their ability to pivot and turn on a dime to respond nimbly to the market.

They were able to optimize conversion rates, maximize revenues, and fine-tune ad spending to increase their ROI.

Combat Flip Flops experienced a 450% increase in their annual revenue recently. But they also invested substantially in inventory and infrastructure to get there so they just broke even.

To make the business profitable, Lee and Griff had to find out which products were making money using existing data and creating forecasts. They cut out products that were losing money and brought in more winners so they can come out ahead.

Now they can accurately forecast their demand and make sure their supply chain is set up to meet the needs of the market while supporting the communities involved in the manufacturing process.

Combat Flip Flops is a great example of how a social venture can generate a profit and deliver profound social impact at the same time.

It follows the “multiple bottom line” concept that works well for many social enterprises.

Lessons For Startup Change Creators On Creating Profit and Progress

Here are a few lessons you can glean from the company’s success and apply it to your own social business startup:

combat flip flips change creator


Travel to learn about the world and your market.

Traveling gives you the opportunity to learn about the world. You can get inspired by your travel experience and turn it into a business idea that can help a community.

Spend time in the communities you want to serve.

Spending time in the community you want to serve allows you to understand their culture, environment, resources, and economic reality – information that will help you structure a sustainable venture that benefits those who are most in need.

Share your mission with everyone.

Share your mission with the world. Tell a compelling brand story that takes your product beyond “commodity” and turns customers into evangelists to further your cause.

Don’t hold back until you are ‘ready’. Move forward now.

Take every opportunity you can and make the most out of it. Don’t hold yourself back just because you don’t have all the bells and whistles in place.

Generate the right kind of publicity for your products.

Generate the right kind of publicity for your products. Keep putting yourself out there and you never know who may see your article or interview!

Be prepared. When an opportunity comes, you’ll want to be ready!

Be prepared. When you come to the opportunity to promote your brand, make sure your infrastructure – such as website and shopping cart – are set up to handle the increased traffic.

Build a strong team.

Build a team of dedicated individuals who share your vision and understand each other’s strengths. If you are looking to fund your idea, investors will look at your team and ask: Can I see this team executing this vision? If not, what areas of your team do you need? Can you hire someone else? Get advisors?

Know the metrics that matter.

Analyze your website metrics to find the sweet spot in pricing, ad spend, and other marketing activities. Don’t waste time tracking metrics that do not matter to your brand, or company right now. Get to know how to read the reports, and how to make smart marketing choices.

Stay on top of market trends.

Stay on top of market trends and forecast demand so you can effectively manage your supply chain, sell products your customers want, and implement the right promotion strategies.

Get involved in the operations of the business so you know how your business works.

Get involved in the operations of the business and understand how all the moving parts affect each other and ultimately, sales. Keep an eye on the revenue as well as the profit – you’ll have to invest in inventory and infrastructure to grow but you also need to make sure they’re paying off.

What’s your million-dollar idea for an impact-driven business? How will you turn it into reality?

If you like this article you might want to check out our full interview with the Combat Flip Flops foundersListen to the Full Interview Here

How To Choose a Social Enterprise Idea That Will Fire Up Your Life

If starting a for-profit social venture seems quite daunting, you’re not alone. That’s why it is our mission to keep giving you inspiration. How to choose a social enterprise idea that will fire up your life? Read here to figure this out and get solving the world’s problems through business!

There are many aspects to consider. Not only your business idea needs to be commercially viable but it also has to deliver a meaningful social impact that’s sustainable.

Most successful social ventures are grounded in the founders’ visions, have a memorable brand story built on their missions, and are structured to deliver impactful social changes in the communities they serve.

Choose a Social Enterprise Idea that Works for You

There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to what constitutes a “good” social enterprise idea. It all depends on you and those you want to serve.

Here are some criteria to help vet your ideas and find the winning formula:

Your Passion, Talents, Strengths, And Experiences

When you’re in the startup mode, you’d likely be rolling up your sleeves, putting in the hours, and wearing many hats.

If you’re not passionate about your mission and the community you serve, the business could easily turn into a grind and you’d no longer be motivated to stick with it.

When a business idea taps into your (and your team members’) talents, strengths and experiences, you’d have a better chance and an easier time to take it off the ground.

Consider your natural skills and abilities, as well as your formal training and education, to see how they fit into the big picture.

Your social enterprise business idea should be motivated by your vision and passion while being powered by your talents, strengths, and experiences.

Related: What Are The Unique Challenges of Starting a Social Enterprise?

Your Assets, Network, and Environment

It takes a lot to start a business and you should leverage as much help as you can get. What do you have at your disposal that can make things go smoother?

What resources do you have access to? Who do you know that can put you in touch with the right people?

These connections may not be immediately obvious so it pays to build relationships with a wide variety of people. Don’t be shy about sharing your vision!

In addition, your business idea should allow you to create a work environment that matches your personality type.

According to Holland’s Theory, you’ll have greater success and derive more satisfaction out of your career in a work environment that supports your personality type.

The Market

Unlike non-profit organizations, a for-profit social enterprise needs to generate revenue and make a profit to stay in business.

In short, you need to define who will be paying for your products or services and how to position your offering so it’s appealing to them.

Just like any marketing activity, you need to define the problem or challenge you’re solving and understand what’ll motivate your customers to purchase from you.

In addition, what distinguishes your product or service from others in the market and why would your customer want to buy from you?

Many social entrepreneurs incorporate the social impact of the businesses into their brand stories to set themselves apart while building brand loyalty.

Does your business idea tell an intriguing story that appeals to your ideal customers?

The Cause

Obviously, as a social entrepreneur, you have a cause you want to support.

If you’re starting out with a broad-stroke approach to a cause, you may need to refine it and give it a specific focus – e.g., by giving it a spin so it’s relevant to your market or tailoring it to the community you serve.

You should feel strongly about the cause behind your business. This personal drive will help you stay grounded when you’re pulled in a hundred different directions and keep motivated when things get tough.

Examine your business ideas and identify the one(s) that are most in alignment with your cause.

The Project’s Viability

Great ideas are just ideas until they’re put into action.

When you evaluate business ideas, consider the ease of implementation and the potential profit it can generate.

To build a sustainable for-profit social venture, it’s important to evaluate its potential to turn around a profit – not simply revenue.

What’s the cost of bringing the product to market (e.g., R&D, manufacturing, logistics)? How much do you need to invest in promoting the business? How long will it take for revenue to surpass these expenses – and do you have enough funding to reach that point?

How much is the initial investment and what are your options to secure the funding?

Shortlist a few business ideas and write up a business plan for each. The process will help you get a bird’s eye view of all aspects of the business, including competitive analysis, risk assessment, operations, and financials.

Sustainable Social Impact

Last, but definitely not least, your business idea needs to be relevant to the community you serve.

Successful social enterprises create sustainable impacts. They solve immediate problems for underserved communities while empowering them to thrive so they can become economically independent.

Unlike many non-profit or charitable organizations, which tend to focus on aids and donations, for-profit social ventures emphasize on generating economic activities that not only provide employment but also allow revenues to be reinvested into the local communities and create a virtuous cycle.

Does your business idea solve a pressing problem faced by the community you want to serve? Does it encourage employment and skill training at the local level? Does your business model allow for revenue to be reinvested into the local economy?

Finding the Sweet Spot For Your Impact-Driven Business

Your social business represents a convergence of your values, beliefs, convictions, talents, skills, experiences, your market, and the community you want to serve.

The sweet spot for your social enterprise is where all these factors overlap.

Nailing the winning business idea may take some time and effort but it’ll be worth it when you find the sweet spot that allows you to create a profitable and impactful social venture.

What business ideas get you excited?

To learn more about starting a social business we recommend you check out – The Beginners Guide to Starting a Social Business.

Guy Kawasaki: Secrets to Startup Success

guy kawasaki change creator interview

Exclusive interview with the Guy Kawasaki.

Subscribe to this show on  iTunes  |  Stitcher  |  Soundcloud

Guy Kawasaki is a Silicon Valley name that needs no introduction.

Kawasaki is the chief evangelist of Canva, an online graphic design tool. He is a brand ambassador for Mercedes-Benz  and an executive fellow of the Haas School of Business (UC Berkeley). He was the chief evangelist of Apple and a trustee of the Wikimedia Foundation. He is also the author of The Art of the Start 2.0, The Art of Social MediaEnchantment, and nine other books. Kawasaki has a BA from Stanford University and an MBA from UCLA as well as an honorary doctorate from Babson College.

He’s been a leading voice in entrepreneurship and evangelism for years, beginning at Apple in 1983. Kawasaki has cultivated a unique perspective on what it takes to start a company. He’s particularly adept at helping startups and early-stage companies get off the ground—and guiding them towards becoming well-known, successful businesses.

In this interview we discuss what it takes to succeed as a startup.

Some of the topics covered include…

  • How to start identifying your key strengths
  • How Atlas is funding causes with their running app
  • How to approach your startup and test markets
  • Why timing matters in product development
  • A hot program tip for hacking your startup growth
  • Uncover if your startup is ready to scale impact

Plus much more!

Given the impressive list of companies for which Kawasaki has worked over the years, you might think there’s some complex formula or secret behind his success and influence. But in his mind, it’s much simpler than that.

There’s a section on Kawasaki’s website that lists the various companies for which he’s worked called “Guy’s Golden Touch.” Yet Kawasaki noted that “‘Guy’s Golden Touch is not ‘whatever Guy touches turns to gold.’ It’s ‘whatever is gold, Guy touches.'” This distinction is core to being a successful evangelist because, as he says, “it’s easy to evangelize something great and it’s very hard to evangelize crap.”

guy kawasaki change creator

Stop Struggling to Find Your Social Business Idea and Read This!

change creator social business ideas

In a previous article I went over ways for aspiring entrepreneurs to come up with social business ideas. Find your social business idea here!

That article focused on ideation, or creating new ideas from scratch, or else finding opportunity to reapply and reinvent old ideas. If you haven’t read that article, I encourage you to do so, as this one is a sort of continuation.

Social Entrepreneurship Ideas

I’m going to jump into more specific examples of where and how you can come up with social business ideas.

Don’t feel bound to this list! If you find your interests, passions, and ideas drifting in different directions, you owe it to yourself to explore your own ambitions. Many times the path to a great idea is winding and indirect.

Sometimes, you’ll have to “strike gold” to find a good idea. A bit of random luck can go a long way but won’t happen if you’re not at least looking.

That being said, there are steps you can take, including ideation, to increase your chances of success. I don’t want to spend too much time rehashing ideation for social business. However, there is one point that every social entrepreneur should uphold: know and respect the communities you are working in and the causes you are working on.

Where do social business ideas come from?

To be blunt, there are a lot of would-be Change Creators and do-gooders out there who have their heart in the right place but don’t understand their community and causes. As a result, resources are squandered and sometimes communities are harmed. As they say, the road to hell is paved with good intentions.

Another factor to consider is yourself.

What are your passions? Where do your talents lie? Can you align your talents and passions to improve a community or further a cause?

Is there an opportunity to bring market forces into play to support your efforts? If so, you may have a great social entrepreneurship opportunity at hand.

Look For Cross-Compensation Opportunities

With Cross-Compensation initiatives one group pays for a product or service. The profits of these products or services are then directed back to an underserved community. This way, those who can afford to pay end up paying. Meanwhile, resources are directed back to an underserved community.

Inequality has increased dramatically over the same several years. As Bill Kramer notes in his Change Creator article “The Regenerative Economy”, eight men now hold as much wealth as the world’s bottom 50 percent, and the top one percent own more than everyone else.

Fighting income inequality is a fantastic cause, and cross-compensation be an excellent tool because those who can afford to pay, will pay. Those who can’t can still get access to resources.

Often, those who pay won’t view the reallocation of their spending as a detriment. Just the opposite, they could be spurred to make a purchase precisely because they know their hard-earned money will be put to good use. As such, cross-compensation can become a part of your marketing and brand.

What does a cross-compensation social enterprise look like?

What would a cross-compensation social entrepreneurship business look like? Consider a restaurant. You start a restaurant and then donate 15% of your revenues to support soup kitchens and food banks. Customers who can afford to pay are treated to a great meal. Meanwhile, struggling families and individuals will enjoy greater access to resources.

Or perhaps you can build an educational app. Customers in Europe and the United States can pay for the app. Instead of pocketing the profits, however, you can fund technology and education projects in developing countries. There are many possibilities. As your business takes root, you can use your donations as a way to distinguish yourself in often crowded markets.

Find Ways to Connect Markets

If you’ve had the opportunity to travel to exotic and far-flung regions of the world, you may have come across some truly amazing local products, services, and other things. Is there a way to connect those resources with other markets? For example, let’s assume that a country is building up its eco-tourism market. You stayed at some truly awesome eco-lodges, participated in awesome local community-building projects, and various other activities.

Is there an opportunity for you to connect markets? Even simply spreading awareness of the eco-tourism opportunities you enjoyed could be making a difference. Even a simple post on social media would help.

Never underestimate the impact of social media.

Never underestimate the impact of social media. Michael Berean explores social media’s impact, from real-time emergency response to digitizing donations, his article “The Power of Social Media Tech During Times of Need”. You can read about it in the Change Creator Magazine, issue #12

Have Some Business Acumen Behind You

How about building an actual business?

Can you create an app that helps backpackers and other travelers find great ecologically friendly places to stay? By doing so, you may be able to greatly help the local community or organizations, generating revenue growth and perhaps kickstarting the local eco-economy.

Of course, connecting markets can mean a lot of different things. Perhaps while hiking through central America you stumble across an amazing coffee farming co-op. Can you plug that co-op in with bean roasters back home?

Speaking of apps, how about Atlas, they developed a running app that supports important causes and were able to raise funding for their program. You can read about them in issue #11 of Change Creator Magazine.

Turn Existing Businesses Into Social Enterprises

Starting a social enterprise doesn’t necessarily mean reinventing the wheel. Of course, if you do find an opportunity to do something all-new and never done before, go ahead and pursue it. However, another route is to look at already established business models to see if there is a way to establish a social enterprise based on the same (or similar) models.

Consider grocery stores. They have been around for years and years. In the United States alone there are roughly 40,000 grocery stores. How about building a sustainable grocery store that sells all-natural foods, is powered by solar panels, and focuses on selling local produce and other goods? There’s nothing particularly groundbreaking about this concept, but the sum impact could be substantial.

The same is true with many different business models. Perhaps you’re a business skill coach, helping everyone from junior employees to CEOs with a variety of personal and leadership skills. Fantastic. Now how about setting up workshops for disadvantaged communities, such as refugees, to teach them basic business skills? Better yet, maybe you can find corporate sponsors. Perhaps a department store chain will help pay for the events, and in exchange, you could refer potential employees?

There are so many ways to turn existing businesses into social enterprises that this list could go on near infinitely. Think about your own consumer habits. What do you like to do? What do you like to buy? Now, can you add social aspects in unique ways to create value for communities and causes?

Another option is to get existing, non-social enterprises to donate goods and services. Many companies would be willing to donate resources, such as software and computers, but they need a social entrepreneur to help out. Consider “TechSoup”, which works with software companies to donate software and hardware to nonprofits and other organizations. TechSoup also provides other forms of technical assistance, such as training. You can learn more about TechSoup in “Powering Up Social Impact” in issue 7 of Change Creator Magazine.

Don’t Forget Digital Opportunities

A lot of social entrepreneurs love getting their hands dirty. Get out in the community, live there, get to know the challenges first hand. This is fantastic, and to the greatest extent possible, social entrepreneurs should get hands-on experience. However, this “on-the-ground” approach often results in a perhaps too intensive approach to creating physical products and solutions.

The Internet, smartphones, and other tech devices have emerged as very powerful tools in recent years. Just ten years ago, if you needed a ride somewhere and didn’t own a car, you’d have to hail a taxi. Now, you can dial up Lyft or another rideshare right on your phone and get a relatively cheap ride.

A lot of people looking to help a community will focus on physical solutions. Let’s say you want to provide employment skills to a disadvantaged community, such as single mothers. Holding classes at the local neighborhood center is great, but what if mom can’t come because of her work and family schedule? For single moms, time is often in short supply. How about developing some Youtube videos that mom can watch on her phone or computer? Even if she has to go to the library to access a computer, she will have more flexibility than if you just held physical classes.

This is a really simple idea and one that you can implement even if you’re not all that technologically savvy. If you happen to have more well-developed tech skills, you should consider developing an app. What about creating a carpooling rideshare program where people can provide free rides to disadvantaged people on their way to work?

So you want to change the world? Congrats on your ambitions. Market-driven social enterprises are proving to be a powerful force for change. Each and every day, social entrepreneurs are working to make the world a better place. With the right idea and a healthy dose of commitment, you can join their ranks. But first, you need to come up with that “right” idea. So, here we go Here is how to find ideas for your social enterprise that you’ll want to pursue!

Discovering Your Passion is Not Enough

Passion and a desire to help is great. However, by itself, these factors are not enough. If your social enterprise is going to succeed, it has to be grounded in the real world, and specifically the markets and local communities you want to work with.

Passion is an important part of the equation but to succeed in scaling an idea and creating a good lifestyle, you also have to know your competency and market.

There’s no sure-fire process to generate a great idea. However, there are some steps you can take to make your brainstorming sessions more productive. There are also some tried and true methods you can use to test your idea to see if they are viable. Before we get into that, let’s talk about how to approach an idea in the first place.

My approach with this article: Develop the methods to create new ideas first!

I’m going to approach this article from an “ideation” standpoint. In other words, I’m going to help you try to develop methods to create new ideas and solutions. However, this glances over another way to find ideas: borrowing. You should never steal someone’s intellectual property, but you can take tried-and-true methods and products and then apply them in a new community or in a new way.

How about setting up a local farmer’s market? Or a zero or low-waste grocery store or restaurant? Maybe your restaurant could donate some or all of its profits and unused food to soup kitchens? These ideas aren’t 100% new, but they could make a big impact in a community.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Social Business

Start By Considering The Community

So how should you start with coming up with an idea? First, don’t start with your own wants or needs. Sure, you can and will have your own areas of expertise and interest. Yes, you should leverage these assets. However, if you want to help a community, that community has to take precedence. How can you use your skills to help the community?

The best social entrepreneurs know the communities they are trying to help. If your social enterprise is people focused, meaning you want to directly help people, it’s important to understand the local community. Many charitable efforts, international development projects, and social enterprises have failed, or worse, cause harm, because the people in charge didn’t understand the community.

On the flip side, those leaders who understood the community they were working with have been able to maximize the impact. They understood the community, its needs, its wants, and local conditions. By understanding these factors, social entrepreneurs can craft solutions that will both address local needs and will be adopted by the local community.

Related: Uncovering 5 Marketing Lessons from Lucky Iron Fish

If You Don’t Know Your Community You’ll Struggle to Create Change

One of the Change Creators featured in our magazine, Makana Eyre, was working on a project in Cairo. The idea was promising: through Ashoka: Innovators for the Public his team would provide local women with entrepreneurship skills training. As the old saying goes: Give a woman a fish, and you feed her for a day. Teach a woman to fish, and you feed her for a lifetime.

So they set up an entrepreneurship training class, reached out to the community, and invited participants to come to a scheduled training class. No one showed up. Why? Turns out that her team never bothered to ask the local women what times would work best for them. The time they had picked for the training session conflicted with bus schedules, local norms, and other factors.

Fortunately, the solution for this problem was pretty straightforward: communicate with the community and find out what times work best. Gather a bit of data, then act on it. However, keep in mind that the consequences can be direr than simply rescheduling a training workshop. Organizations that don’t understand the local community and conditions can waste vast amounts of resources.

Consider the 2004 Asian tsunami, which claimed a quarter million lives and destroyed ocean-side communities across South East Asia and Africa. The devastation sparked one of the largest humanitarian relief efforts in history. Unfortunately, much of the money, resources, and effort was wasted.

For example, companies and organizations sent countless boats to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and elsewhere, intended to replace destroyed fishing fleets. Many of the boats simply rotted away on beaches because they were not fit for the South Indian Ocean and other Asian waters. They were too small for fishing and for the local water conditions.

The list of other failures is too long to recount, but the primary source of failure isn’t hard to pick out: many of the organizations trying to help did not understand the local conditions.

Related: 5 Things That Will Kill Your Social Enterprise Startup

Travel to That Community and Submerse Yourself to Get Ideas

So how can you actually get to know a community? Or don’t know which community you want to help? Consider traveling to one. Of course, not everyone has the money or ability to simply pick up and move to a foreign locale. However, communities don’t have to be far away and exotic. There are almost certainly nearby communities that need your help.

Are their local refugee communities? How about soup kitchens, or homeless shelters? The world is full of need. You can find a community to help right in your backyard. Often, it will be a bit easier for you to help these communities because on some level you’re likely familiar with them.

Even if you don’t have an idea right now, as you get to know your community the gears will start turning. You may stumble across ideas on your own, or you might find an organization to team up with. Often, members of the community can share their needs, and even offer solutions to fix them. They might lack resources and skills, but perhaps you can help them find the needed inputs.

Identify Needs and Potential Solutions

By now, you know that the community is important. Consider different communities. Often, it’s best to start with communities that you already know very well. If you’re based in New York City, perhaps it’s best to first focus on the local community rather than a far-flung one that you don’t know or understand.

When it comes to selling in markets, your good or service will need to solve a need or address a want. Many social entrepreneurs focus on “needs” rather than wants. Usually, needs are simply more pressing than wants.

A need can be thought of as a challenge or problem that must be addressed. If left unaddressed, conditions will worsen. So consider the problem you want to address. You can start at the highest level. For example, “I want to help poor communities in New York City.” The challenge is poverty.

Now, ask yourself why? Why are people poor? Why is that a problem? Generally, people are poor because they lack access to a good income.

Maybe they lack the education needed to secure a high-paying job. Maybe they are elderly or handicapped and cannot work? On and on the list goes. How can you address such problems? Community training programs? Educational apps? Assistance for those in need? Where can you get that assistance? Perhaps by taking food that’d be thrown away and delivering it to the doors of the elderly?

After you understand a community, you can identify needs, and then you can come up with solutions. Make sure you talk with community members. They might know of solutions. And they might know of challenges that you haven’t seen yet.

Keep The Market In Mind

The market has proven to be one of the most powerful forces for good in history. Simple economics dictates that good ideas will succeed and bad ideas will fail. Charities sometimes run into trouble because they do not necessarily respond to market forces. Donors can and will fund bad ideas.

Social entrepreneurs, however, can and must embrace the market. If your goods or services are failing to drum up interest, you need to revisit them and make sure they are addressing the local community. Something isn’t working. It might be that your marketing campaign simply isn’t effective. Why? Are you misunderstanding the community? For example, you might be trying to reach out to a Latino community, but your adverts are in English.

On the other hand, the product or service you are selling might simply not be addressing the pains and meeting the wants and needs of the local community. You’ll be able to know by measuring market adoption rates. Are people buying your product or service?

Related: The Most Sacred Gift You Can Give According to Tony Robbins

Look At Existing Products and Identify Social Aspects

The modern market economy has generated a tremendous amount of technologies and solutions. Most of these were driven by a pursuit of profit. As a result, many technologies and solutions lack a true social aspect. Can you take an existing business solution and add a social element? If so, you may be able to launch a social enterprise without needing to reinvent any wheels, and without having to open up new markets.

Further, you might even be able to find businesses will to invest in your social endeavors. Not only that, but you may even be able to draw in some talented private market talent that can provide a lot of skills. Consider microlending programs, including those run by the Grameen Foundation, that provide cash-poor people with access to funds. These funds can help them break the cycle of poverty by allowing them to invest.

The people who started these funds, such as Grameen founder Muhammad Yunus, didn’t do anything overly revolutionary. The idea of lending to people has been around since the earliest days of money, and even before. Yet Yunus and others realized that cash-poor people often lack access to traditional lending institutions.

By offering a new model they were able to extend lending to these communities. In turn, this allowed the communities targeted to invest in and uplift themselves.

Another great example is Yvon Chouinard, the founder of Patagonia. Chouinard realized that his steel pitons were damaging rock-climbing surfaces. So Chouinard decided to create sustainable climbing gear, and thus Patagonia was born. You can learn more about Chouinard on the Patagonia website.

Addressing “Small” Problems Can Make a Big Difference

The challenges you take on don’t have to be grand. Environmentally friendly climbing gear is the type of idea you’re likely only to discover if you’re part of the mountain climbing community. The average person might not even be aware of the challenges posed by gear that isn’t environmentally friendly.

Just the same, you might find solutions to seemingly small or niche problems. That’s a fantastic place to start. By taking on smaller problems, you might tackle issues that people aren’t even aware of, or don’t think is worth their time to address. However, if you’re solving a challenge and making the world a better place, it’s worth the effort.

Next Steps: Getting Your Ideas Off The Ground

Rather than concluding with the usual summary, let’s consider how you can bring your ideas to life. Makana Eyre outlined “Five Things That Could Kill Your Startup Social Enterprise”. Along the way, he also outlined some great tips for getting your social enterprise rolling.

First, get your idea down on paper.

If you followed the above steps, you have hopefully identified needs and potential solutions. Now it’s time to start refining your ideas, considering concrete solutions, challenges, and other factors.

Next, start building a team.

As Makana notes, it needs to be balanced. You need both visionaries and business experts and people with technical skills. From there, you have to check your assumptions. I can’t do Makana’s work justice in a few sentences, so make sure you check out his article. Point is, coming up with an idea is great, but once you have an idea you have to get it rolling, or it’ll just waste away.

Listen to examples of others you can learn from.

There’s nothing quite like the learning that comes from others who are on the ground, doing what you want to do. If you are just starting your journey, you need to learn all that you can from others who have been there, done that. That’s why we created the Change Creator Podcast series. Adam Force goes deep into how these amazing Change Creators started their companies, where they discovered their ideas and many, many lessons on how they grew their companies as well. I strongly encourage you to get listening! Podcasts are great on long drives, or Sunday afternoons, just fyi!

Read more in-depth examples of social impact leaders in Change Creator Magazine!

Conclusion: So Many Ideas and So Many Places and Ways to Find Them

This list is far from exhaustive. Wherever markets are at play, there is likely a social business or angle opportunity. Rather than worrying about specific ideas, take some time to step back and look at both yourself and the market. Figure out where your passions lie. Figure out what your skills truly are. Then, examine the market for opportunities to use those skills and passions to create change and to produce profits.

Remember, the market is the social entrepreneur’s friend. Markets determine which ideas and opportunities are viable and profitable.

Profits, meanwhile, can be used to generate positive change.

However, make sure you don’t sell out your causes and communities in the name of profits.

Your causes and communities should always take precedent.

Our list of social business ideas to further inspire you! Let the ideas flow!

Meet Aloha for People: Fashion. Clean Water. Better Jobs.

change creator

This article was originally posted by Grant Trahant on Caustartist

Meet Aloha for People. The mission of the brand is to provide clean water and jobs to people in need around the world and in the brands home state of California. With every product sold, Aloha for People provides a person in need with access to clean water for 2 years minimum.

Aloha for People was founded during the summer of 2016 when the company founders, Brian and Emily, were inspired after learning about the lack of clean water and jobs available in Guatemala. The brand prides itself on creating jobs in both Guatemala, Nepal, and in the United States. All of the shirts are made in Los Angeles, California.

Brian and Emily have partnered with the organizations Ecofiltro and Wine To Water to help people in Guatemala and Nepal receive clean water. Ecofiltro makes water filtration systems that are used to provide water to children in schools as well as educate the children and their families on the importance of clean water. Every Aloha for People shirt that is purchased provides a child access to these water filtration systems for 2 years. Wine To Water focuses primarily on permanent water solutions and infrastructure in rural villages of Nepal.

Below is an interview with Brian Poage, co-founder of Aloha for People.

change creator

What inspired the idea of Aloha for People? Tell us your social entrepreneurial story!

During the spring of 2016 Emily and I were searching for deeper meaning in our careers. She was working in the apparel industry and I was working in construction management. Both of us felt unfulfilled and wanted to have a more positive impact on both the environment and for people who were in need. We were inspired after reading Blake Mycoskie’s book Start Something that Matters and began to seriously brainstorm how we could create a company that we would love and that could help improve the world around us. I have always loved aloha shirts. Their ability to tell stories, be conversation pieces, and represent a culture of people has always fascinated and inspired me and I have a closet full of aloha shirts with vibrant colors and unique images.

Emily and I thought that we could create a similar type of shirt that represented the culture of a group of people who could also use our help. We both had some friends from Guatemala and knew they are famous for having vibrant and unique textiles. After also learned that they had a terrible water crisis, we discovered our business model. Aloha for People was born to create new ways to provide clean water and jobs to people in need by making aloha shirts in downtown Los Angeles from fabric hand-woven in Guatemala. By using fabric from Guatemala we provide employment for sewers and textile workers in the country.

Related: What are the unique challenges of starting a social enterprise

We make all of our shirts in downtown Los Angeles which provides jobs here in the United States.

One of our main focuses was to help bring manufacturing jobs back to the United States and specifically California. We are proud that all of our products are made here in our home state and that all of our manufacturing partners are paid fair wages.

How did you get in contact with your current textile suppliers?

The amount of technology we have today is absolutely incredible. We can communicate with people all over the world without leaving our homes and that is exactly how we were able to create our network of suppliers and manufacturers for Aloha for People. Emily and I began our search on Google trying to find reliable fabric suppliers from Guatemala at a competitive price. We reached out to probably a dozen wholesale suppliers to discuss pricing, availability of patterns, quality of fabric, and to understand their business model and standards for their workers. We finally found an incredible supplier out of Florida through David Green. He has been an invaluable partner and has continued to provide us quality Guatemalan fabric at competitive prices. The textiles are incredibly well-made and he has a fantastic relationship with the sewers in Guatemala.

Tell us a little about the water issues people in Guatemala are facing.

Guatemala is truly facing a water crisis. Currently, 95% of the water sources in the country are unsuitable for human consumption and their leading cause of death for children is water borne illnesses.

In their cities, water infrastructure is far inferior compared to our systems in the United States and there is a high water tax for anyone who wants fresh water. This means that only wealthier families are able to have continuous access to clean water while most families cannot afford it.

Outside the cities, there is very little infrastructure and almost zero access to clean water. Many of the villages and communities use the same water sources for drinking, cleaning, and as bathrooms. This water is then filled with bacteria and the majority of people are not educated on the importance of clean water and hygiene. This is one of the reasons we are so proud to partner with Ecofiltro. The company was founded by Philip Wilson and focuses on providing water filtration systems in schools and homes in mostly rural areas of the country.

They make all of their filters in Guatemala out of materials native to Guatemala and they focus on not only providing clean water, but on educating the children and their families on the importance of clean water and hygiene to stay healthy. To date, Ecofiltro has provided over 400,000 children in Guatemala with clean water and their goal is to reach 1,000,000 by 2020. Aloha for People is here to help Ecofiltro reach this incredible goal.

Why do you think it’s important to provide clean water specifically to children?

Children are the future of any civilization or community. One of our most important duties in life is to educate children and prepare them to live a fulfilling and productive life. By providing children clean water, it keeps them healthy and allows them to attend school and have a chance to improve their lives. In countries like Guatemala, children are the key to pulling communities out of poverty and improving the overall conditions of the country. Clean water is necessary for life and Aloha for People’s mission is to help ensure that all children are able to have clean water access so they have the chance to grow up and improve the world around them.

Tell us about your team in Los Angeles assembling your Aloha for People shirts.

We are a tight-knit team here at Aloha for People. After founding the company in 2016, Emily and I brought on our friend and roommate Jeff Michaels. We each have our own roles and play off each other’s strengths and weaknesses to help build the brand. Jeff is our Chief Branding Officer. He created our logo, leads all design efforts, and helps guide the overall feel and direction of the brand.

Emily Sansom is the Chief Design Officer. She leads the design and fit of our products and has leveraged her relationships within the apparel community to help Aloha for People get into retail stores and build a reputation among the other brands here in the Los Angeles area. Brian Poage is the Chief Aloha Officer. He helps to establish our sourcing channels, manufacturing partnerships, and seeks out water partners while also focusing on the future goals of Aloha for People.

Beyond the three employees, we have developed an incredible group of Aloha Ambassadors. These individuals truly embody the Aloha for People mission and represent the brand in a radical way. They help to promote the brand and spread the aloha everywhere they go. We would not be where we are today without their incredible support!

You might also like to read 8 Famous Social Entrepreneurs Doing Good and Making Money

6 Startup Apps To Help New Entrepreneurs Get Results

change creator startup apps

At some point you might have gotten the itch to become your own boss. I mean, why not right?

I had a surreal experience and spoke to Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus. He made a comment that stuck in my head:

“you can be a job seeker or a job creator.”

There’s nothing wrong with being a job seeker. But the level of change you can create as a job creator if far greater (I did not make the rhyme on purpose). Many people start as job seekers and later decide they want to break free and do something on their own.

Here’s the thing though. How the hell do you become a job creator?

We’ve accomplished a lot a Change Creator but like any entrepreneurial journey, it never ends. You’re always figuring out the next steps and learning how to do it right by failing 20 times first. It’s hard work but the process is what’s great. It is the destination.

Our team has used a lot of different startup apps that serve different purposes and I want to share some of the startup apps that were found most useful in our ongoing thirst to learn and manage our process effectively.

6 Startup Apps – education & Authority and productivity

To be clear, when I say “startup app” I’m referring to any app that we found important to a new founder or team in the startup phase.

Education & Authority

Not only do you need to constantly learn everyday but you need to build your authority if you want to be taken seriously. These can help.

Feedly – FREE
When you’re new to the entrepreneur world or journey you have work to do. That means you need to build your authority which requires ongoing education, especially in your area of interest. Feedly is a great tool because you can follow thought leaders in your space to see what topics are trending and hot. This will not only keep you informed but it will help you create relevant content because you need to be doing that regularly if you want to build your authority.

Reddit – FREE
This is a great platform for a few reasons if you’re audience is here, which it probably is. Similar to feedly you get a great pulse of what’s hot, what people are saying and thinking, but also you contribute. Every time you answer a question for someone in your area of expertise you build up your authority if you do it well. Over time this is can be extremely valuable, especially when you want to promote something you’re doing.

Change Creator Magazine (4 weeks free)
Not to be biased but Change Creator Magazine is a must for new entrepreneurs that want to use business as a tool for income and impact. It’s a one of kind magazine. Generation to generation learning. Peer to Peer learning. There is no better way to expedite your success than to learn from the amazing brave souls who are already blazing a trail. We specifically connect you with the best entrepreneurs on the planet using business to solve social and environmental problems.  They are your mentors! If you have expertise or experiences to share as part of the global impact entrepreneur conversation then you can apply to be a Change Creator Contributor to build your authority.


Wunderlist – FREE
This is a great app with a ton of function. Plus, it’s free! Create all kinds of lists that can be shared with the team so you know what’s getting done when. From creating collaborative work lists to personal vacation list or project planning, Wunderlist helps you easily create and share lists by syncing with your phone, tablet and computer and allows you to access them from anywhere.Now you can sync your work and life lists through the cloud-based task management app.

Trello – FREE
We have used Trello as a content management tool for the Change Creator blog. It’s a great project management tool that allows you to track workflows and provides excellent visibility into every project point. Users can create boards, add and assign tasks to share workloads, add editable checklists, upload photos and videos, customize workflows, keep tabs on projects and even invite co-workers to interact with and edit documents. The app offers a tons of integrations too.

Sure, you probably know Slack already. But a lot of people question why they might use it over other applications. What’s great about slack, aside from creating specific topic based channels for communication with a team or community, you can share documents, videos, and it’s all searchable, unlike a Facebook Group. We use this on the regular!

Final Words on Startup Apps

Knowing about these apps is great. But actually using them and making them part of your daily process is what matters.

Great things take time, so be consistent, stay organized and focused on what matters, and always soak up information from others with experience.

Related: If you’re a busy person than this one skill will change your life

Why Great Businesses Start with Niche Market Ideas

change creator niche market

I love an inspiring grand vision.

As the applications roll in for Fledge (accelerator), quite a few are big, audacious, grand plans.

The problem is that startups don’t have the resources to make those visions a reality, at least not within a year or two or three.

The bigger problem is that most first-time entrepreneurs don’t know this. They are too often deluded, thinking that everyone on earth will see their grand vision as they do and jump aboard as a customer, vendor, employee, etc. to make it happen.

Meanwhile, the seasoned investors know the truth.

Investors expect the entrepreneurs to have a roadmap that realizes the vision in year-by-year steps.

The trick to that, which trips up most grand visions, is the first step. This is the “minimum viable product” of the Lean Startup philosophy.

An initial product that has enough value to customers that they’ll pay something for it, and at the same time, a product that after many more iterations implements the grand vision.

Dropping out of the hypothetical, let’s look at one common plan I’ve been pitched a dozen times: a website where entrepreneurs post their ideas, where the community joins in to provide feedback, where teams are formed, where customers find new products, filled with reviews, recommendations, and so on. Or in short form: “Amazon for startup ideas”.

Related: How to know which type of investment to seek

Imagine that website with 10,000 ideas and 10 million daily visitors, and it sounds great. Imagine it with three ideas and one daily visitor and it’s pretty much useless. I’ve seen sites like this with a dozen ideas and that’s not enough. Nor a hundred. Sites like this need a “critical mass” of ideas and visitors, and few find a viable path to get to that scale.

One strategy for getting there is to beachhead niche. That is, to focus the initial set of customers to a small niche where the features of your service are highly valued, yet a big enough niche that there is enough money to be made to prove the usefulness of the service. Focus on grabbing a big percentage of that marketplace, then repeat with another niche. Keep repeating until you’ve reached critical mass.

This is how Facebook got so big. They started with Harvard and Yale, then the other Ivy League universities, then all universities, then finally everyone.

This is also how Google Maps came to be. Google was far from a startup at the time, but the same principal works for grand intrapreneurship ideas. The product was originally Google Local, a replacement for Yellow Pages with the results drawn on a map. Then it added directions. Then satellite view. Then traffic. Now it’s an indispensible tool for getting from here to there.

Big audacious ideas are great. We need more of them. But we need big ideas that succeed, and for that we need more entrepreneurs to understand how to get from idea to success. Hopefully this tidbit of advice can help.

Social Responsibility Advice For A Good Life: An Open Letter

In this open letter to small & mid-sized companies, Fatima Homor, MBA, shares advice about social responsibility in all areas of life include business. Let her words inspire you to action and keep smiling!

For existing businesses:

Dear Social Entrepreneur,

Let me start at the end: I wish you profitable growth and also thank you for being a socially conscious businessperson.

Is it easy? Is it hard? Are you profitable?

Being a social enterprise from one perspective is easier, from the other is harder than it is for a rather unconscious business (UB).


First. A UB does not take a lot of crucial details into consideration, from paying the colleagues correctly and legally, to investing in renewable energy or sustainable NGO support.

Second. The UB focus is first and second on growing margin, it is a rather ego based attitude. Meaning, it won’t lead so easily to the give-up stage.

People committing to be social entrepreneurs chose a lifestyle, are more emotionally committed and therefore might feel overwhelmed more often.

Both the success and the failure of a social entrepreneur lies on their long-term belief they will be successful!

3 Reminders:

  1. Do not quit
  2. Talk about it to everyone
  3. Constantly read, research, and educate yourself

Related: 13 Traits That All Effective Social Entrepreneurs (And Conscious People) Share

I have some good advice and practices to share with you in order to offer you some support..

Need funding?

Start finding locally available Angel Investors.

Many of them told me in 2017: I am tired of the same pitches all the time, start-ups willing to earn money by creating an App etc. I want to invest into value-creation, where the entrepreneurs are 101% committed, and they also possess great knowledge in their topic of sustainability!

You have to commit to sustainability at all levels. CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) implemented into the core of the business starts with you personally.

Related: The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Social Business

For example, do you smoke? Do you drink too much alcohol? Do you use makeup products tested on animals? Do you take plastic bags from the supermarkets? Do you overuse electricity? Do you eat too much meat? (One of the biggest contributors to global warming…) Do you have 10 minutes long showers? Do you pay for processed food? Don’t you recycle your own trash? Do you drink your coffee or water from a plastic bottle?

Don’t you talk to your friends…?

Why the heck have I raised the last question?

Because the philanthropic way of living is the first and foremost aspect of real and successful CSR operations. You need to be consistent on that in all areas of your life.

Related: The Most Sacred Gift You Can Give According to Tony Robbins

How does it apply to you?

There are similarities and differences when we take into consideration the actual to do’s, but being human at all times is a key perspective. To learn about this more, hire and get into contact with smiley people, women, and youth.

As an important practice, you must internalize your external costs. E.g. if your business acknowledges the facts of its food-waste cost impact and internalize these expenses, you will see how much more both you and your evaluators will reflect on your real sustainability goals. The Business Commission on Sustainability has measured the impact of this practice: 99%.

Another impactful task is to raise the wages of your employees and yourself from the minimum wage to the living wage level.

If you are unable to do so due to funding constraints, build these aspects into your business plan and offer it with an explanation to the Angel Investors.

Further, a key perspective is the education of yourself, your colleagues and partners. According to recent measures connected to the SDGs (United Nations 2030 Sustainability Development Goals), one dollar invested into education brings back 10 dollars at least.

How can you educate yourself?

There are tons of articles, books, Online-studying opportunities, where you can further and further educate yourself on your subject. You need to be an expert in your topic and turn your expertise into convincing sales.

Here comes a challenging question: do you have to be a good salesperson? Yes, you do. Should you be willing to earn a lot of money? Yes, you should.

One of the largest stop signs of social entrepreneurs is that they are afraid of talking about money, asking for payment of their goods, services. Social enterprises are NOT non-profits. And they shouldn’t be. Money in good hands is the best tool ever!

Do not get confused with being social and earning good money! These shall be on the same page. Have you read the Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki? Or the quote from Sharon Lechter:

“Your money. Your business. Your life.”

Social enterprises should earn more money so they are able to invest back more into themselves and their socially committed businesses.

Yes, we must support each other. Yes, we, socially committed business owners and CEOs should leave our doors open and provide real value when we open our hands. Though our businesses will thrive only when we become conscious about our real value creation.

What about existing businesses?

You shall use CSR as the main basis for your incomparable advantage to gain your loyal customers and coworkers on the long run. You should lead by example as a business owner both in your business and in your private life, and communicate it at every event, forum, and conference. Share the word of the doing good while doing well phenomenon is happening. Be proud of it! It is really chic!

change creator socially responsible team

50 years ago or so it was a chic to be the godfather-type-of businessman. Today we open our mouth and many of us say, our religion is: we believe in doing good. This brings us inclusion.

The SDGs aim to affect all aspects of our life. We are the doers! The more we are committed, the more success we earn. The more success we earn, the happier we are as we feel our life is meaningful.

I am Fatima Homor, MBA researcher at the University of Liverpool, owner of the Angeling Profit, CSR Kickstarter Online social enterprise. Thank you for your care and listening.

Greetings from Hungary now!

Ps.: A smile is not unprofessional, a smile is self-confidence.

Related: 13 Traits That All Effective Social Entrepreneurs (And Conscious People) Share

Why Social Enterprise Matters: An Examination Into the Role of Social Enterprise to Solve Social Problems

Unlike solely for-profit businesses, social enterprises are in the unique position to solve real social problems in this world and make money doing it. Unlike charities that have to continue to raise funds to give back, social business can create lasting and sustainable solutions for social and societal change. In today’s changing landscape, we examine why social enterprise matters — why do we need it? What can we do to support it?

The rise of entrepreneurship has had its fair share of benefits. However, businesses have also brought about some difficult challenges that are affecting us now and can get even worse in future if not controlled.

Due to this, some people started thinking about more than just profits. To them, there’s no need for people to try providing solutions with their businesses, only to end up creating other problems elsewhere. There were just too many social, cultural and environmental issues that needed to be sorted out.

Think about it. Have you heard about factories that mistreat their workers? Don’t you just cringe at the thought of blood diamonds? Or at the fact that some companies have been constantly messing up the environment? You’re not alone, many have been asking themselves the above questions and more.

So, what’s the solution to all this?

Simple. Social entrepreneurship.

This is where for profit social enterprise companies create solutions to the above issues. They mix up profitable and non-profit ventures to ensure they generate a positive return to the society, especially where social, cultural and environmental issues are concerned. Their focus is more on the social impact than their financial gains.

Why exactly does social entrepreneurship matter?

It’s a smart way to solve social problems. It is the only way to solve sustainable, long-lasting social problems.

Let’s face it. The society faces so many problems.

In an interview with Change Creator, Sasha Fisher, the co-founder and executive director of Spark MicroGrants, stated that she grew up wondering why the world she lived in was unequal. There are people and societies that have way more than enough to survive. On the other hand, some local communities can barely afford a decent meal.

Social enterprises smartly solve social problems. Let’s look at Spark MicroGrants, for example.

Smart example #1: Spark MicroGrants

Spark does not focus on giving aid to communities or lording over them with what they’re supposed to do. They actually give communities control over their future.

When Sasha went to Rwanda, she was keen on ensuring that whatever happens was owned by the local communities. They used this as a way to create long-term change. Spark works in conjunction with the Rwandan government to strengthen leadership in the village.

Their business model is simple: The community selects their own projects that have an income component. Spark then focuses on bringing those projects to life. Through this collaboration, they have been able to help communities build businesses where they mill cereals for other villagers and also sell surplus crops from farming.

The village is now more hopeful. They have better family lives. They are not only able to earn an income from this, but they also have immense control of their future.

If you’re thinking of starting an impactful social enterprise like Spark, here are some key things you can learn from Spark MicroGrants:

  • Empower communities to have control over their own future
  • Work on positive and sustainable change, where a community doesn’t depend on you but are able to depend on them
  • Focus on social impact than financial impact – such communities usually need more than just finances
  • Help people improve their conflict-resolution mechanisms

Spark has done a tremendous job and changed so many lives. It’s now offering solutions to 5 countries – Rwanda, Uganda, Burundi, DRC, and Ghana.

Another group of people that need more help across the board is persons with disabilities. And that’s where Accessibility Partners comes in.

Smart example #2: Accessibility Partners

This is a socially aware business that helps in accessibility issues – testing and reviewing products to make sure IT (information technology) is accessible to persons with a number of disabilities.

What makes the Accessibility Partners team unique is that more than 70 percent of its employees are actually individuals with disabilities. This ends up being a smart way to empower this specific important group of individuals – using a team that faces similar challenges. It’s a powerful business model aimed to help those inside and outside of the company.

Founded in 2003, it has now become a strong force to reckon with. It works with private and public information technology companies, organizations of different sizes and federal agencies. This socially aware organization comprises of technologists, subject matter experts, and senior consultants.

Some of the key takeaways that can be derived from this social enterprise business model include:

  • Social entrepreneurship is also excelling in the tech industry
  • Persons who are considered disadvantaged can actually become extremely productive when given a chance.
  • Success kills stigma

When a stigmatized group of people is successful, the world gets to see that they don’t need to stigmatize them. That they’re also human beings who have immense strengths that are useful and important for the society.

The above organizations show us clearly that socially aware businesses smartly solve social issues. Some of these issues are usually left in the hands of governments and non-profits. However, this is all changing because such companies are making the implementation of such projects quicker.

Social entrepreneurship hastens implementation of key projects.

Governments are responsible for taking care of their citizens – at least that’s what people have been thinking for ages.

However, governments can sometimes be spread too thin. They run too many projects at the same time. This means that they prioritize certain projects over others, thus some important projects may take too long to be enacted.

In comes social entrepreneurs. These are keen to meet their set agendas without relying on government processes. The community, therefore, reaps the benefits faster without having to wait for the government to prioritize their issues.

Additionally, and sadly, the governments of some growing countries have not yet gotten to the point where they put the ordinary person first. Others are still oppressive to their citizens. It takes independent social initiatives to bring positive change to the society in these countries that are fast losing hope.

Related: Want to Change The World? You Need To Read This First

Social aware businesses don’t just hasten projects that would have been done by government. They also do the same for non-profits.

Housing is one of the areas that many people need help on. There are so many homeless people in the world. The numbers are appalling.

When a global survey was done on the homeless back in 2005 by the United Nations, it was found that there were 100 million homeless people. Worse yet, 1.6 billion did not have adequate housing. Lots of people are dying out there due to poorly built houses. Natural disasters like earthquakes even multiply such fatalities to unimaginable levels.

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler, featured on the cover of issue 10 of Change Creator Magazine, is working hard to change this. She actually won the prestigious 2017 Skoll Award. She’s changing lives, one brick at a time.

Here’s how:

How Build Change is literally building change.

Dr. Elizabeth Hausler is the founder the award-winning organization called Build Change.

“It’s not the earthquake that kills people; it’s the collapse of a poorly built building.” – Hausler

According to her, safe housing is a basic human right.

So, what’s Build Change all about?

It’s a social enterprise that saves lives through working with communities in emerging countries to build houses and schools. They do this in a way that these structures don’t collapse when there are occurrences of earthquakes and typhoons.

Their mission is to reduce injuries, deaths and economic losses brought about by these natural disasters.

They first work with governments to develop building standards. This fills a gap in these countries, where the government does not have the capacity, personnel, resources, vehicles, inspection capabilities or even budget required to enforce effective building codes.

Build Change streamlines all this, making it simpler and even using latest information technology tools and apps to make sure things work smoothly. It also provides access to financing; knowing very well that businessmen will need a grant or a loan to build back their businesses after a disaster.

Through such initiatives, Build Change has enhanced the safety of the structures of 230,000 people. It has won numerous awards for its excellent work.

This all started when Hausler decided to leave her comfort zone and fly to India after the 2001 earthquake that killed between 13,000 and 20,000 people. She couldn’t just keep quiet and keep seeing disasters like the one on the figure above. Not if she could do something about it. And now 230,000 people are living in safer conditions.

Some of the key takeaways from this include:

  • To make a change, many times you need to leave your comfort zone and go help people in another state, country or region
  • Use technology to streamline your processes
  • Governments and NGOs do not always have the capacity to solve some problems. Help them when you can.

Social aware enterprises solve business problems, but here’s more.

They offer solutions that cater for people in both social and economic networks. They matter because go above just business. They take it up a notch by making sure that whatever solutions they give do not end up messing up social, cultural and environmental ecosystems – they make it their mission to safeguard these important sectors.

Their functions are nourished by the emotional and informational support. Here entrepreneurs holistically take care of those in need.

As an agent of change that contributes significantly to the global economy, it brings change in ways that governments, businesses, and non-profits don’t. They offer alternative solutions when the administration is not effectively working on the needs of the day.

If you’re such an entrepreneur, you get joys and satisfaction that are way beyond money. Most businesses are out for a profit. But your social enterprises will balance economic and social issues. This is a higher calling which brings lasting change, making the world a better place for now and the future.

The Gallup study, How Millenials Want to Work and Live brought out very important findings. These include:

  • Millennials don’t just want to focus on a paycheck, they want to serve a purpose
  • They’re shifting focus from their satisfaction to their development
  • Instead of working for bosses, millennials are looking for coaches
  • Their lives are not about annual reviews, but rather ongoing conversations
  • They don’t focus only on their weaknesses, they put emphasis on their strengths
  • To millennials, it’s not just a job – it’s their lives

This study shows that millennials don’t just want to do business, they want to leave a social impact. This clearly shows that social entrepreneurship now matters more than ever.

According to Nielsen, global consumers are more willing to reward companies that give back to communities. The giving aspect makes them want to pay more for the products.

For social purpose businesses, this is a huge plus. It will not only increase their bottom line but also give them more resources that they can use to make an even bigger impact on the society.

Let’s look at one entrepreneur who took business as more than just an avenue to make money.

The Dr. Alasdair Harris (Al) example.

Dr. Harris is referred to as simply “Al” in his site, Blue Ventures.

Al founded Blue Ventures, an award-winning social enterprise, in 2003. This was to show that proper marine conservation requires entrepreneurial, pragmatic and locally-led approaches.

Al’s organization has made a huge difference in marine ecosystems and also created a stream of revenues for locals in emerging countries. One of its biggest achievements is that it created the biggest marine-protected, locally-managed areas in the Indian Ocean They also established sustainable ecotourism businesses and aquaculture.

This solves both a business and a social problem.

Successful social entrepreneurs set an example.

Above we talked about Sasha Fisher’s worry when she was growing up. She simply struggled with the fact that there is so much inequality in the world, and that led to her founding Spark MicroGrants a while later.

Sadly, there are many live lives oblivious of the challenges that other people are facing in the world. In their minds, they say, “Those are other people’s problems. Let their governments and non-profits fix them.”

When people actually go out of their way and start changing people’s lives, the whole story changes.

As a social entrepreneur, you inspire others to work on social businesses. You set an example to those who once looked at social, cultural and environmental challenges as “other people’s problems”. Through your initiative, they start believing that they, too, can make a difference.

Since this is a sector that brings in a lot of positive change, the world needs lots of inspirational stories, just like yours. It’s inspiring to see someone considered privileged and comfortable going out of their way to create solutions for those who really need a helping hand.

The world matters and social entrepreneurs bring global solutions to business.

There are so many things happening all over the world. Lots of global changes that need our attention.

Social aware businesses bring in an angle that solves pertinent issues such as health, education, and employment among others. They strengthen economies and deliver efficient public services.

Many social entrepreneurs think globally. Think about the following before starting your social enterprise.

  • Is your business solving humanity problems?
  • Are you infringing on any fundamental human rights?
  • Are the items you use for your business products of factories that mistreat and underpay their workers?
  • Are you solving any cultural, environmental or social issues?

Nielsen’s sustainability imperative came up with some interesting findings in 2015. These included the following:

  • Sales of consumer goods from brands that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability grew by over 4% in 2015. Those without grew by less than 1%.
  • 60% of consumers were willing to pay more money for sustainable brands in 2015. This was a remarkable improvement from the previous years – 50% in 2013 and 55% in 2014.

(Source: Nielsen)

This shows that it’s not only brands that are becoming socially aware, consumers are, too. As much as social entrepreneurs focus on social impact, the above study proves that increase in social awareness is also changing how global business is done.

Key takeaways here include:

  • Your business should not only fix local solutions. Think globally.
  • Customers are happy if your products are socially aware. There’s a whole market out there for such initiatives.
  • Focus on social impact, no matter how small it is. When more people implement such projects, the effect will be noticed globally.

They fix problems brought about by business.

Business is not wrong in totality. They need to make a profit, and we need to buy their goods and services. We need their products to solve some of our basic and luxurious needs. Some businesses, even without precisely being social enterprises, still make the world a better place.

However, there are a number of businesses that have brought about some of our biggest global challenges. Social enterprise changes this by marrying for profit and non-profit aspects. This takes care of some of the global challenges that we’re currently facing.

The shocking Rana Plaza tragedy — how tragedy can create change.

The Rana Plaza tragedy made people change their thoughts on who exactly makes their clothes.

This single tragedy led to the deaths of more than 1,100 people and is the worst industrial accident in the world. What now remains is the debris of what was once a factory that made cheap clothing for the west.

On the 23rd April 2013, a television feature showed cracks in the Rana Plaza building. However, Sohel Rana stated in the media that it was safe for workers to return to the building. He reported that it was still safe.

However, on 24th April, at around 8:57 am, the building collapsed with over 3,122 workers still inside. 1100 did not make it out alive.

Sohel was simply trying to make as much profit as possible from his business. However, he didn’t consider the safety and livelihood of his workers, leading to this astronomical tragedy that could have been avoided.

This led to a rise in socially aware businesses that actually make sure that all their processes are done in a way that does not endanger human beings or the environment. Therefore, they’re fixing a huge problem that other businesses have been creating for ages.

Scarcity has brought about marvelous innovations, but false scarcity creates problems.

There are definitely more problems than people who can solve them. Thus social entrepreneurs have used this scarcity of resources to come up with some of the biggest innovations of our times. These are huge innovations since they solve issues such as poverty, poor quality of life and environmental issues among others.

This mixes up a mission and cutting-edge technology.

Solutions brought about by social entrepreneurship.

There are many awesome companies that have been started by social entrepreneurs. Here are a few:

  1. Kiva: Provides loans that change lives
  2. Grameen Bank: Gives banking solutions to the poor in Bangladesh
  3. Teach for America: Learning solutions for Americans
  4. Accessibility Partners: Makes it easy for persons with disabilities to access information technology
  5. Everlane: A socially aware clothing company

Cost-effectiveness in social entrepreneurship.

Social entrepreneurs think about the long-term impact of their initiatives. In their eyes, there’s no need for creating a huge business today that will bring end up causing a disaster in future.

Think about some of these workplaces that give their workers poor working and living conditions, exposing them to numerous expensive health challenges, such as the Rana Plaza tragedy mentioned above.

Social aware entrepreneurs think differently. Their goal is to heighten innovation and impact, not income.

Here profits are not as valuable as social results. No matter how much income is made, a social awareness project fails if it does not have a meaningful social impact. In fact, any social entrepreneur who generates colossal profits and does not convert that into a cost-effective, meaningful social impact has wasted useful resources.

Some of the social impacts they can push for include:

  • A cleaner environment
  • Easier access to health care
  • Improved education
  • Housing for the homeless
  • Reduced poverty
  • Protection of abused children
  • Improved working conditions

These are done in a cost-effective way. They end up bettering the lives of the disadvantaged. In the long-term, they’re good for the well-being of other human beings and eventually the overall worldwide economy.

Here, cost-effectiveness will not only affect the core services being offered by a company, it also applies in their employee uptake.

The 2016 Cone Communications Employee Engagement Study came up with interesting findings to back up this claim. Their studies showed that:

  • More than 75% of millennials would accept a pay cut if hired in a responsible company
  • 88% find jobs more fulfilling when provided with opportunities to make a positive impact on environmental and social issues (US average is 74%)
  • When deciding where to work, 76% consider the social and environmental commitments of a company
  • 64% would decline job offers from companies without strong CSR practices

The key takeaway here is the fact that social entrepreneurs find it easier to hire millennials, thus reducing the costs and time taken to hire experts.

Millenials will soon form more than 50% of the workforce, therefore having practices that appeal to them will greatly increase their chances to work for you. A brilliant, socially conscious, young workforce will be able to help greatly push the agenda of a business, while still ensuring there’s reasonable social impact.

So, does social entrepreneurship matter?

Yes it does.

It solves social problems, hastens implementation of key projects, solves business problems, fixes issues brought about by businesses and is cost-effective in the long run. It changes lives. It makes the world a better place. More people need to follow this model and start creating lasting, effective, sustainable social impact. The world needs it!

5 Expert Tips on How to Turn Your Side Hustle Into a Good Business

Side hustles are great supplemental income opportunities that allow us to pursue our passions and talents outside of our everyday job. However, what happens when your side hustle proves itself to be profitable and becomes a potential full-time job? It can be a daunting task to turn your side hustle into your main job but it is possible. Many business owners that we know today have done exactly that. While we are not telling you to quit your day job just yet, if you truly believe in what you are doing, read this article!

If you believe that you want to turn your side hustle into a business, use the 5 expert tips below.

  1. Begin Treating Your Side Hustle as a Business

Before you begin researching business plans and crafting your own, you will first have to determine whether or not you truly want to turn your hobby job into a full-time job or business. In order to do this, simply start treating your side hustle as if it already was a business.

Begin working longer hours, taking on more clients, and launching new projects. If you are unable to handle the increase in work for your side hustle or if you begin to lose the passion that you currently had for it, you will most likely not be able to handle it as a business. It’s better to leave it as it was than to pursue something that will end up failing down the road.

If you are able to handle the increase in work and you are thriving, however, then your side hustle may be a viable business. You will also have a better idea of what you will be doing when you turn your hobby into a full-time business. Of course, there’s more than just time and commitment to your idea that matters here. You need to plan ahead of time for success and learn from others who have done just as you want to do.

Take heed to a lesson here from Sophie Unwin, who runs a social enterprise that teaches people how to repair and recycle damaged household items known as Remade in Edinburgh, made this amazing statement about passion and business ideas:

 “I’ve been thinking about the social enterprises that have sprung up around me, and why some succeed where others don’t. I think a lot of success comes down to how convinced the founder is about their idea, and how they can make that idea a shared vision…”

Related: Powerful Lessons From 3 Award Winning Social Entrepreneurs

  1. Start Building Your Audience

It doesn’t matter if you are selling the holy grail of weight loss pills that actually works. Without an audience, you will have no one to sell your product to. If you’ve been hustling on the side for awhile, your audience might be larger than you think. We love to consider the low-hanging fruit you have around you, by that we mean your friends, your co-workers, your circle of influence. We all have them. Just look at your social media feeds! How many potential clients or customers are there?

While you should have already built an audience working on your side hustle, you will need to expand in order to become a business. First, build a website that’s attractive, functional, and make sure that it showcases your achievements to your audience. This website will help you to sell yourself to people and convince them that it’s your product or services that they should be buying. You can also start creating social media profiles that make your work and advertisements easily shareable.

Next, you will need to figure out your marketing plan. Here are some questions that you are going to need to ask yourself during this process:

  • Who exactly is MY audience?
  • Do I have enough funds to pay for commercials and advertisements?
  • What are some free methods that I can use to get my products or services out there?
  • How can I market myself and appear more attractive to my audience?
  • How can I stand out from my competition?

A marketing plan and a website may not be immediately put to use but they are both things that need to be established prior to filling out business forms and licenses. This way, you will be able to launch your business immediately once you’ve been approved.

Side Hustle Nation founder and social entrepreneur Nick Loper was recently featured in the Change Creator podcast where he talks about monetization, marketing, and reaching his desired audience. He says,

 “It’s been just a slow steady climb… Basically, when you write every post, you gotta think of, who is this for and how can I get it in front of them?”

  1. Add to Your Experience and Ask for Feedback

There is a big difference between occasionally earning money from a side hustle and running a serious business. Let’s imagine that you have been producing wedding invitations and other wedding-based goods on a small online marketplace. While a couple of successful designs that you’ve produced for your side hustle are impressive enough to a potential client looking for quick, affordable work, you are going to need more experience than what you currently have in order to attract customers to your business.

Rather than taking on clients who aren’t going to improve your work experience or reputation, aim to take on bigger clients who will help you to grow in your field. These clients generally pay more, respect you and your time, and expect you to provide them with products or services that are of the highest quality.

Along with growing your experience, you will also need to ask clients for feedback on your products or services. This feedback will be valuable to you later one. Especially when you post it on your website so that you can prove to potential clients that you have worked with others before and are capable of delivering them the product or service that they need.

You should also be looking for feedback from other organizations and businesses. Unwin, who we mentioned earlier in the article, discussed the importance of receiving feedback from organizations in regards to her business:

 “I talked to a lot of organisations in my field before I started Remade in Edinburgh, to get feedback, learn from them, and to ensure I wasn’t replicating what anyone was already doing in Edinburgh… A couple of years on, when things were really picking up, those other organisations felt like they had a stake in our success because they had been consulted from the beginning. Having them on board has been really valuable as we’ve grown. Make sure there’s buy-in from the groups you work with… you’re going to have a difficult time if the people in your field aren’t convinced.”

  1. Save Enough Money for Emergency Situations

We all envision our businesses being successful from the moment that we launch them but this is often not the case. To prepare for this, grow your savings until you have enough money to safely fall back on in the event of an emergency.

Take into consideration both business expenses and personal living expenses such as:

  • Marketing Costs
  • Website Costs
  • Employee Wages (if applicable)
  • Office Rent and Utility Costs
  • Food
  • Electricity and Water
  • Personal Costs
  • Debt

Once you have enough to cover the costs of launching your business, unforeseen costs, and a couple of months of living expenses, you should be able to safely move forward with your business.

Of course, this is only applicable to side hustles that are not large enough or significant enough to receive the funding that they need. Do you have interested investors? Are you currently looking for more funding for your social enterprise? If you want to increase your wealth, it starts with a mindset. I recommend you read Lessons for Wealth that Stand the Test of Time to get started!

Related: 8 Considerations For Social Enterprise Growth and Funding That You Need to Know

  1. Build a Network Now!

Forming relationships with other experts and professionals in your field is necessary if you want to thrive as a business owner rather than survive. When you have a relationship with another business owner, it benefits both parties. Through them, you are able to better market your product to a larger audience who will trust what your partner is endorsing. You will also be able to collaborate with them in the event that you find yourself running out of ideas for new products or services.

In order to network successfully, you will need to form meaningful relationships with other professionals. These meaningful, personal relationships will bleed over into your business life when you begin performing favors for each other. Attempting to only ask from favors from others without attempting to form a relationship with them will only prevent others from working with you and might affect your reputation.

In fact, there is a great post in Change Creator magazine that explains the why and the how of reaching out to important influencers in your industry. In order to reach these people in your industry that have already developed their business and have an extensive audience, you will have to:

  • Identify who these major players are
  • Start mentioning them in your content and providing valuable feedback on their content
  • Reach out to them once you’ve received more exposure and attracted their attention

These types of business relationships with other experts will not only help you grow but will make you a major player as well.

Turning your side hustle into a full-time job isn’t as difficult as it seems. Once you’ve done the research, created a plan, and prepared yourself to execute it, you will officially be able to say that your passion is now your career. Take these 5 tips seriously and the transition from hustler to business owner will happen with ease.

PROTRASH’S Winning Strategy to Clean Up Poverty and Waste!

The world needs social entrepreneurs and it is our mission to help create 1 million Change Creators in the next 10 years. That’s why we want to celebrate those social enterprises that are on the ground changing the world and making money while doing it. Every week, I choose an amazing team, individual, or social enterprise out there changing the world. Let’s get started!



 Team Members

  • Andrea García López
  • Valeria Sanchez Navarro
  • Yuvia Lopez
  • Monica Lopez Vargas

They are a team of four Mexican women, Andrea, Valeria, Yuvia, Monica, eager to create more economic opportunities for our country. They have grown up seeing wealth polarization, poverty, and waste accumulation all their lives and they decided to take action in order to change this reality.

How long have you been running this business?

2 years


PROTRASH is a social enterprise that empowers women in low-income communities, by exchanging their recyclable waste for money in an expense card.

What are the big problems that PROTRASH is solving?

  • Poverty
  • Waste accumulation
  • Wealth polarization

How is PROTRASH solving the problems?

They generate a sustainable culture in low-income communities, collecting the recyclable materials in order to generate an extra income, that we pay with a card in order to create a financial inclusion.

What is PROTRASH business model? How does PROTRASH make money?

They collect the trash in the communities and sell it to recycling industries. From every Kilo they sell 60% goes to the community, and 40% goes to PROTRASH as gross margin.

What has been the biggest challenge and how did PROTRASH overcome it?

The process of getting the government permits was a huge challenge — they couldn’t operate without them. They created a model that circumvented that process so they could continue forward.

What has PROTRASH accomplished?

  • They currently have 89 active users and operate in 4 communities in Mexico
  • 4300 kg of recyclable waste has been collected
  • Selected as one of Top 5 finalists at Hult Prize for 2016

Team Pro Trash presents during the Hult Prize Finals and Awards Dinner 2016 at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20, 2016, in New York. (Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Hult Prize Foundation)

Related: 5 Women Social Entrepreneurs Reinventing the World (Get Inspired)

What impact has PROTRASH had?

They are changing the way people collect and repurpose their trash, creating income for families. This creates a new system of economic opportunity for communities while improving the environment on a real grassroots level.

PROTRASH pays people in low-income communities with an expense card which can cover their basic necessities.

What’s next for PROTRASH?

  • Expanding PROTRASH Machine —  a more compact machine that can be placed anywhere in the city, an original model of exchanging waste for incentives.
  • Creating PROTRASH Card —  which gives people more access to their points for goods, or allows them to give them back to reinvest in expanding their impact. The machine can be adapted to any place where there is electricity and where the points accumulated in the PROTRASH card by the person inserting the recyclable materials can be exchanged.

  • Developing PROTRASH App for smartphones that registers every transaction of recycling waste that is made in the center. The mobile device is connected to the scale with Bluetooth and transfers a number of points for every transaction automatically to the PROTRASH card.

Why should we pay attention to PROTRASH?

Because they are a company that is focusing on revitalizing low-income communities by implementing a sustainable culture, so they can lift their economy by themselves. We’ll be on the lookout for what these women can do! 

5 Steps to Consider Before Leaving Your Job to Pursue a Socially Conscious Business

This is a dream that many people have; to one day leave full-time employment to focus on business or a worthy social cause. Perhaps you wondered what the best time to leave was. Or whether you would succeed or not.

Leaving your job should not be an overnight decision.  Plenty of time and energy must be spent on it. Begin by identifying your passion or drive. Before you consider making your move, explore the following steps carefully.

1.   Don’t just decide alone, consult widely

Leaving a full-time job, where you have been working for an extended period, can be a major decision. It’s not a decision to be rushed and may not be ideal for everyone.

While we’d love to tell you to go out and follow your social good passion, this can be a really big decision. One that you should only make this after wide consultation, especially with those who care about you. Also feel free to include some professionals in your consultations list. Make a list of everyone you know that is already doing what you need to do, then reach out to them first with your plans.

Talking to people helps you understand what to prepare for. Discuss your ideas with your mentors to obtain advice. Find out if your friends believe in your idea. Is your spouse or partner willing to take this major risk with you? Put out a wide net to figure out what resources you’ll have if you do decide to leave and go out it alone. This is the first step in your plan to make your dreams a reality.

Not sure how to find social entrepreneur opportunities? Read our in-depth article on How to Find Social Entrepreneur Opportunities to get started if you don’t know where to start. 

2.   Ensure you have a feasible idea

Spend time examining your idea to establish whether it is viable. Within a day, numerous ideas cross your mind. Although many of them are good, not each is sustainable. The theory is very different from actuality and what may seem excellent in theory, may not work in real life.

Check carefully your idea’s viability. This includes a lot of market research.

Identify any potential competitors involved in a similar business or cause. How did they start? What made them succeed? Why? What made others fail? Find out how consumer-ready your solution is before implementing it. Again, we’re telling you to do your homework. It can take a few weeks of hard-core market research to figure out if you have a viable idea.

Sometimes the best way to test out an idea is just to get out there with it. We’ve talked to many social entrepreneurs that had to test out their ideas on the front line — sometimes that’s the best way!

You also might want to figure out your business model at this stage. Don’t worry, we have you covered! We talked to Tim Berry about lean business planning last month and he set out 4 steps that you can do today! Read the full article on Lean Business Planning and get started! Get to know your business before you make the big leap to do it full time. It could save you a ton of money and time!

3.   Outline a Detailed Financial Plan

You knew we’d talk about money, right.

It costs money to start a business. It costs even more to grow a business.

It’s up to you to make sure your finances are in order if you want to make that leap from employee to powerful change creator! It can be done, but you need to be strategic and smart if you want to succeed.

Remember this. Leaving your job means losing a source of sustainable income. You need to have counter measures in place to help you transition to your business or cause becomes profitable.  Your financial plan needs to be perfectly orchestrated to help you avoid financial challenges.

Evaluate how much money you have and what amount is needed to fund your current lifestyle. How long can your savings last? In case money runs out, what backup options are available? How can you lower your fixed expenses? How will you deal with debt? Begin now to accumulate cash reserves that will cover your future expenses and offer a constant income stream.

We won’t leave you stranded. We’ve got lots of content on our funding, investments, budgets for you here! It’s our number one question we get from you — How do I get funding for my social enterprise?

Here are some amazing resources for you to check out:

  1. How to know what type of investment to seek out — This article quickly explains the various ways you can get funded. Start here to figure out your options.
  2. You’ll have to do some serious number crunching in your own life. Here are 5 tips for managing your own finances as well.
  3. For more on funding, you should read this article on everything you’ll need to know to get considered for funding and growth!

4.    Success is not guaranteed

Branching out on your own doesn’t guarantee automatic success. Be prepared for the reality that the first few months (or years) may involve a lot of struggle with few rewards. Refuse to be discouraged and commit to keeping it no matter what. Change how you measure success and make fulfillment a big part of that.

Being a change creator is not for the faint of heart, but you know that.

Bear in mind that many successful individuals failed several times before they finally succeeded. Leaving your full-time job is very challenging but can be rewarding in the end if done right. Preserve your relationships and don’t burn your bridges as you leave. You might either need to get back to working or connect with employers as part of your business.

As stated, success is still not guaranteed, therefore establish multiple income sources. In fact, you can start working on your new cause while still employed, then only leave when you see some form of sustainable success. Whatever you decide to do, always have an open mind.

We have already shared a lot of stories of people who stuck with it and built successful social enterprises. It can be tough in the beginning stages, but that’s why we learn from these amazing examples — it’s motivating to hear other’s stories of how they got started.

Here’s what you need to do when you are getting discouraged. Listen to some of our amazing Podcasts! Here are a few of our fave pics to keep you focused on what really matters:

  1. How to Overcome Life Challenges and Pursue Your Mission — In this podcast, Adam sits down to talk to Iffit Qureshi who had overcome personal and professional challenges to pursue her mission.
  2. How to take your side hustle into your full-time hustle. This podcast with Nick Loper will give you valuable insights on how to make your side project your main mission. Isn’t that what we are all here to do.
  3. Creating a responsible food system with Tom McDougall. In this podcast, we learned how to quickly get an idea on the table. You’ll be more motivated to get moving on your mission after hearing what Tom has to say!

You can spend so long preparing to prepare that you never launch.” ~Tom McDougall

5.   Stay motivated and learn from others

Fear and doubt are expected as you consider leaving full-time employment. When you are committed, staying motivated becomes critical. Design in detail how the new life will be and review this daily. Identify and connect to people that will build you towards your goal and teach you more. Communicate regularly with them.

Stay positive and place yourself in a position where the only option is to keep going. Read about people who made the transition and thrived. Learn from their mistakes and embrace their advice. Listen to encouraging podcasts and don’t be afraid to ask for help because this will bring success faster.

After going through these steps and you feel confident about leaving, go ahead. At least you will be more prepared to make the move.

Of course, we’ve talked about motivation a lot on the site. All of us at Change Creator magazine get discouraged at times. There are so many variables in growing a business — money, time, risk, reward… it can be overwhelming at times. That’s why I wrote this blog: How to Be Motivated – 5 Ways to Find Motivation Before You Hit the Big Time.

If you don’t want to be working for ‘the man’ anymore and you have the fire in your belly to do something meaningful in your life, stick with us here at Change Creator magazine. We help people like you break free from the norm every, single day through informative articles, insights you won’t find anywhere else, and interviews with people on the front line of change. It isn’t easy to leave the safety and security of a full-time job, but with a lot of determination, some planning, and a lot of hard work — it can be done.

How Fitppl’s Social Mission is Helping Busy People Stay Fit

This article was originally posted by Grant Trahant on Caustartist

“…there needs to be something to help busy people stay fit people.”

Fitppl is a BCorp certified collective of individuals who are producing forward thinking products, such as plant— based protein powders and ethical apparel.

The founder of fitppl, Patrick Schecht, strives to reduce plastic pollution by using kraft paper pouches and wooden scoops for their protein powders.

Fitppl takes their entrepreneurship a step further and provides funding for Active Cleanups, which are fitppl hosted events where the fitppl community cleans up heavily littered areas.

change creator fittppl

Check Out My Q&A with fitppl founder, Patrick Schecht.

What’s the story behind fitppl and its community!

Fitppl started from an idea back in 2012, while standing in the company kitchen of a startup that I was working at. The options provided were mostly unhealthy, and was I feeling the effects of consuming them daily. This was right after returning from living in Costa Rica, where I was eating clean local foods and smoothies.

I asked the office manager to bring in a protein powder to offer smoothies as a healthier option. She ordered a generic dairy based protein with flashy graphics and a laundry list of ingredients I didn’t understand.

Other employees wanted to make healthy choices too, but I noticed they needed simplicity to balance out the busy workday. I remember standing in the kitchen thinking, “there needs to be something to help busy people stay fit people.” This was during the explosion of social media and smartphones, common words were usually abbreviated on these platforms.

So I abbreviated people and came up with fitppl. I loved the simplicity and uniqueness of the name. Now I had a name and an idea.

I eventually quit that job in March of 2013 and pursued freelance film, a skill I’d taught myself from personal interest. This schedule allowed me to spend time traveling and put more focus towards fitppl, which was still just an idea at this point.

The purpose piece came to me while traveling through Thailand in the Fall of 2013. Swimming near Koh Hong Island, I noticed a lot of plastic floating around the otherwise clean and crystalline ocean, this sparked my concern. I started doing research while in Thailand, and the more research I did about plastic pollution, the more dire the situation became.

The catastrophic plastic waste in the oceans is one of the biggest problems facing our species and countless others.

The origins of the Ditch The Plastic initiative was born from the experience, which was the catalyst that took fitppl from an idea to conception.

I spent 2 years developing everything and then launched in late 2015. Our community has been flat out awesome since the launch. They are incredibly passionate and an integral part to spreading our mission.

What types of plant-based proteins can be found in your protein and superfood blends?

We started with two products, our plant proteins and our 2-in1 superfood. Starting a company that was so purpose driven towards the environment, I couldn’t use whey due to the environmental toll that dairy farming is causing, not to mention the nasty hormones and steroids in dairy. I also could never stomach whey protein with just water. I wanted something I could mix with water, but still versatile enough that people could make recipes.

For the plant proteins, we use an organic rice, pea, and hemp blend and instead of flavoring it with artificial ingredients commonly found in protein powders, we use fruits like acai, goji, pomegranate, and blueberries. Then, we created two flavor variations, Vanilla & Goji and Cocoa & Blueberry. Both are really smooth and delicious with just water, and can be added to smoothies or whatever you can think of!

Our 2-in1 superfood is a blend of alkalizing cereal grasses and algae which make up the greens, and a diverse array of fruits which make up the reds. Hints the name, Green & Red superfood. This blend delivers a combination of chlorophyll & antioxidants to increase energy, promote detoxification, battle cell damaging free radicals, boost your immune system, and other benefits. It’s our most versatile as far as recipes.

We even had one person submit their superfood avocado dip. It can be mixed with just water also, it’s tangy and delicious!

For those not in the fitness world, what makes your protein different from what most of us see on the shelves in stores.

It’s what sources of protein we use, and what we left out. If you look at our ingredients, you don’t have to google anything. No xanthan gum, emulsifiers, or artificial ingredients. We also left out the stevia. It’s usually highly processed in powder form, turning it from a green leaf to a white powder.

We’re 100% plant-based, which is better for people and better for the planet. Our diets have an immense effect on the environment, mainly due to meat and dairy production. Cows require a lot of water, energy, and transportation. They also release a good amount methane gas through belching and farting. This is without even touching on the animal cruelty aspect.

Do some research on humans consuming cows milk and there are some alarming facts. Plus, milk gets denatured due to Pasteurization, the process of heating milk to high temperatures, which destroys vital vitamins, minerals, good bacteria and enzymes. Additionally, most commercial whey protein powders are highly processed at high temperatures leaving a highly denatured and damaged protein.

Our plant proteins do not go through this high temperature processing, while still achieving a complete amino acid profile. You can also find plants and nuts that have more calcium than milk.

So, if you can replace meat or dairy with plants, it’s a win-win, for you, the environment, and animals.

[Related] If you’re liking this than you’ll probably love “Spotlight: On The Ground Floor With Yarden Garden


change creator

Tell us about the Ditch The Plastic Initiative and what it means to you.

“A lot of people don’t realize that 80% of plastic pollution enters the ocean from land.”

Our Ditch The Plastic initiative is an integral part of the of why fitppl was created, it’s all about action and awareness. There are too many people littering and not enough picking up, we want to shift this trend and influence individuals to make an impact in their everyday lives. If you see plastic or trash litter, pick it up and dispose of it properly.

This is really what put the idea into overdrive. I didn’t come from a background in any kind of environmental studies or influence. I just saw the plastic pollution issue first hand in Thailand back in 2013 and literally thought to myself, “This is f*cked up and I have to do something about it.” The challenge was how to get people behind a daunting issue, the facts are real and can be discouraging.

There’s an estimated 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile in our oceans, and by 2050 we’re estimated to have more plastic than fish in our oceans. Plastic production is set to double in the next 20 years and we’re dumping a garbage truck worth of plastic in our oceans every 60 seconds.

This is where the problem lies, when plastic makes its way to our oceans, it causes havoc for sea-life, and eventually human health. This plastic doesn’t magically go away, it can take up to an estimated 1000 years to decompose.

So the initiative is about action and awareness. I wanted to weave the initiative into the brand in a way that empowered people to support our purpose. Consumers have immense power with their spending. Where you spend and invest your money is a powerful way of voting each day to support a healthy you, and planet. So each purchase supports our mission to reduce plastic pollution through our Active Cleanups and forward-thinking products.

Our Active Cleanups combine the active lifestyle of fitppl and our company mission, by hosting free community workouts with an organized plastic cleanup afterwards. These are free for anyone to join and as the company grows, so do the cleanups, our goal is to host all over the U.S. and eventually the world. We also drastically reduce plastic packaging and eliminate plastic scoops. We did this by using kraft paper stand-up pouches and reusable wooden scoops included inside. All future products will honor this initiative. Our Ditch The Plastic initiative is an integral part of the of why fitppl was created. Our branding, messaging, products, and cleanups all tie together to allow customers to get involved in numerous ways.

We’re loving the organic clothing. What ethical fabrics are you using in crafting your fitppl tops?

We use organic cotton and recycled plastic bottles. They’re also made in California using low-impact dyes, and water-based screen printing. A lot of people are unaware that the fashion industry is the second biggest polluter of freshwater resources on the planet, behind the oil industry. A quarter of the chemicals produced in the world are used in textiles. People wanted apparel, but we couldn’t promote this mission, then cut corners when making products outside of our core focus.

What’s the fitppl collective about and how does someone become a member?

Most brands in the supplement space have ambassadors, which is commonly a person, celebrity, or athlete with a large social following selling their products for an incentive. What we’re doing with the collective is featuring people who are creating real change in their communities towards our mission. Activist, environmentalist, and community leaders actually doing positive things and making a real impact. We don’t care about followers or likes, we care about impact. We recently launched this and are looking for people to feature, you can go to fitppl.com/collective/ to apply.

If their were a few tips you could give to someone who wants to create a more healthier lifestyle for themselves, how would you tell them to start what are the most important first steps to take.

There is a lot of information, diets, and fads floating around. Simplicity is the best way to start. A good starting point is to eat 5 times a day. Eat mostly plants. An ideal day of eating should include breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, mid-afternoon snack and dinner. This will help keep your metabolism in check and curb over eating. There are calculations you can use with your weight and height for target calories.

When you buy food products, the less ingredients, the better. You should be able to count them on your hands. If you have to pull out your phone to google ingredients, you may want to pass.

[Related] If you’re liking this than you’ll probably love “Spotlight: On The Ground Floor With Yarden Garden

Yarden Garden: Starting a Social Enterprise Spotlight

Social entrepreneurship is the new sexy. Not only that, we and the world need social entrepreneurs. We love when people are out there making the world a better place. Let’s give some love to the social entrepreneurs and social enterprises out there that are making a difference but might not be getting all the PR and media that they deserve.

Here’s where we change that. In this feature showcase,  I choose one social entrepreneur per week and introduce them to you. So, let’s get started!

Name: Jason Coleman
Company Name: Yarden

How long in business:

10 months (less than 1 year)

What big problems are they solving?

1.Lack of health literacy and food literacy

Today, people don’t have local access to gardens or food literacy. According to Jason’s experience of losing 165 lbs by eating healthy, such as fresh vegetables that his family grew, and of seeing his nephews eat the same exact food as he was, health literacy is about the same as his was growing up and schools, all they are teaching about eating healthy much are the same diet was being fed to them.

2. Commodity Crop Farming (Food waste, water waste, massive unhealthy and unnecessary food)

65% of all home in America had a garden during World War 2 and it turned to commodity crop farming now for the purposes of turning into processing foods, which is completely unhealthy and unnecessary, and unfresh. Much of our crop fresh produce is more than 90 days old, which brings us to gases and GMOs to help all the produce, grow bigger, last longer and sustain the wear and tear distribution travel chain.

Commodity crop farming leads mono crop culturing with high usage of pesticide and the distribution for those crops requires millions of gallons of fuel per year to burn lean to go to the atmosphere. All these problems that we have, climate change, water waste and food waste, human health awareness, need to be addressed in an impressive but practical way.

How are they solving these problems?

Yarden is a home gardening platform for people who want edible gardens. Yarden maintains gardens that their customers own, harvests their produce, and set it at the door steps ready to eat. The “Yardeners” handle that distribution and are out maintaining the gardens weekly, and they also harvest and pack produce.

The reality is that people grow vegetables in their gardens without proper knowledge so it ends up ruining the vegetables and wasting water. On the contrary, “Yardners” are professional. They know how to grow vegetables and herbs, so to the customers, the gardening gets done without too much effort. All they need to do is just to decide what to do with the produce, which is trade and eat it, sell it to the restraints, or give it away to the charity to the local food bank.

Yarden decreases food waste, water usage, pesticide usage, the greenhouse gases due to food distribution, and increases health and human wellness, food circulating in the community, and job creation.

Yarden’s customers have the option of getting a Mediterranean, East Indian & Asian, or an American Liberty garden with all the corresponding vegetables and herbs that can be found on the homepage.

Why should we pay attention to them?

Yarden has under 50 customers in the Bay Area and 98% of the customer satisfaction rate.
Since they grow 50 pounds per every 100 square feet of garden with high maintenance gardening, Yarden encourages their customers to donate their produce to the local food banks and 100% of their customers donate 20% of their produce to the local food banks in Alameda County. They are very excited that their customers are conscious enough to respond to that accordingly.

[Related] You might also be interested in checking out our top 7 socially aware clothing companies to look out for.

How to Find Entrepreneurial Opportunities in Social Enterprise

Looking for a way to make money — and a difference! Yes! That’s the beauty of being a social entrepreneur but where do you find these entrepreneurial ideas? Let’s explore!

It can be excruciatingly tough to get a new business moving, especially if you’re thinking of doing something that will bring forth a positive change in a community.

You first have to deal with the struggles within self on whether or not the society will take up your idea. After that comes the naysayers who will want you to focus on what they consider conventional. Let’s not even mention the challenges of getting funding.

However, it’s very doable for anyone who wants to make a difference and work hard for it. You simply need to align your values with the different opportunities that are out there.

Who is the social entrepreneur?

The social entrepreneur is a different kind of business person. They are saturated with a burning desire to create sustainable solutions to issues ailing the society. Although the stages of creating a thriving social enterprise can be identical to building a conventional business, they vary in certain aspects.

The inspiration and motivation behind a social enterprise business model arise from the desire to see the community have a better experience. As a result, entrepreneurs embark on a journey to provide facilities and resources that safeguard the interests of the community without seeking to put personal interest first.

That’s the key difference between a normal business and a social business; the fact that instead of solving a problem for financial gain, you focus on using the business as a means to solve pressing matters in a society.

Here, social, economic, and environmental gains are equally important. Below are some examples of entrepreneurial opportunities that exist out there in the social enterprise:

Waste management to make things clean, green and pure in a creative way

Waste management is an important stepping stone to a green and clean neighborhood. An effective model should always be put in place to ensure there is proper solid and liquid waste management.

The conventional methods don’t always work everywhere, and smart social entrepreneurs are now coming up with very creative ways to handle this challenge. Some are using awesome integrated systems that end up killing two birds with one stone.

That pesky hard-to-recycle waste

When agricultural waste is turned into packaging material

For instance, waste has been turned into agricultural inputs. It has also been used to generate power as biofuel. In a nutshell, you need to find something that can be sustainable. Solve a single problem by creating multiple benefits: This stops the struggle with the business model because it creates a model that powers itself to the next level.

Businesses in this sector require the right infrastructure to be efficient. A closer look also reveals that most people and governments have focused on infrastructure-based solutions. To some extent, it has led to the belief that heavy investments in infrastructure are necessary, but this is not necessarily true.

If you take some time to reflect and let your imagination roll, you could come up with a better option rather than trying to catch-up with existing innovations.

One example of a company that has literally been able to convert trash to treasure is Green Collect. Would you consider buying back your own waste? No? Green Collect, a Melbourne social enterprise does exactly that.

Companies pay it to remove waste that’s hard to recycle. Green Collect then hires people who are socially disadvantaged to create something useful from that waste. They then sell those newly created items back to the same companies that had thrown them out. Well, how creative is that?

Related: Nike Founder Phil Knight Reveals Powerful Secrets to Success


Renewable energy innovations to counter one of the biggest man-made challenges

With the current debates about climate change becoming a mainstream conversation, the world is waking up to the reality. The population has experienced an exponential growth over the years and this has led to the overstretching of natural resources.

In short, humans have been exploiting the earth’s resources at a higher rate than they can regenerate in nature.

The rampant felling of trees has led to deforestation thanks to the insatiable appetite for wood and its products. As a result, huge tracts of land that had been previously covered by thriving forests and ecosystems have been destroyed.

Today, you’d be surprised to realize some of these areas have either become deserts or are on the verge of desertification. And this is all man-made.

Who doesn’t know the pollution caused by oil and its products? In urban areas, automobiles have contributed to the accumulation of carbon which has an adverse effect on the climate. Similarly, industrial areas are notorious contributors to the carbon menace since many are still powered by combustion engines.

This sector has experienced some innovative ideas that are trying to fix this miserable mess caused by man’s actions. With heavy weight companies like Tesla tapping into the solar power generation, it is a true indication that this is a stable and promising sector.

Although this company may be using a different approach, their participation in the renewable energy sector shows the stability of the industry as well as the potential that can be tapped.

A Renewable Energy Example: d.light scores big with solar power

When we talked with Ned Tozun from d.light a while ago for Change Creator Magazine, we talked about the huge market potential for d.light’s solar-powered lighting solution — a renewable energy source that impacts billions of people.

The market potential for d.light’s solar-powered lighting solutions was massive, with 2 billion people in the developing world without access to reliable energy, and 1.2 billion of those people without electricity at all. As Tozun explains,

“People in these countries were already spending huge amounts of money on kerosene lamps. The market was vast.”

Not only could d.light create an affordable solution for these people, but they were also creating a much safer one as well.

Today, d.light has impacted over 65 million people’s lives with their solution.

Related: Two of the Top Markets with Big Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs

Kerosene lamps are potentially dangerous sources of light, as the fumes can be the equivalent of smoking two packs a day, and in India alone, 2.5 million people suffer burns (many of these children) from Kerosene lamps. These are the real market stats that propelled d.light to continue, as Tozun says,

“You’ve got to be absolutely passionate about what you are doing, not just worry about the return on investment.”

As social entrepreneurs, we not only have to find these renewable energy problems to solve, we must also find market opportunities to make money so we can have the greatest impact.

As a social entrepreneur, you might want to join the bandwagon with a business model that has been adjusted and tailored to directly benefit the society. Simply try to match your innermost values with the myriad of opportunities out there.

In communities where deforestation is negatively impacting their lifestyle, a solution that tackles the root cause can work. Providing solar energy not only solves the chief cause of climate change but also deals with clean energy.

Of course, there are many third world countries that still use wood as a source of household energy and this messes up the environment. To people like these, solar energy safeguards their livelihood and provides a better, cleaner alternative.

Social entrepreneurs have also come up with alternatives for third world countries. For example, efficient wood stoves have been introduced to minimize tree felling and occurrence of respiratory diseases.

Using information technology to remove barriers and limits

We are in the information age and the potential that comes with embracing that fact is huge. But there are communities that are disadvantaged because they have no way of tapping into the industry.

With almost every business integrating daily operations with online platforms, some communities are being left out. A remote village with no capacity to provide or access IT infrastructure will have a lower rate of bringing in business when compared to a well-connected area.

Today, innovative social entrepreneurs have developed business models that are set to improve business in remote villages. For instance, custom internet services are being created and owned by the community, with the aim of attracting businesses to the area.

Facebook’s satellite internet

Using tablets with the internet to make teaching effective

How do you discover entrepreneurial opportunities?

Entrepreneurial opportunities are always there. But it takes a keen eye to notice them. Discovering an entrepreneurial opportunity is the first step towards tapping into an exciting and challenging career.

You should have the right mindset; one that helps you dissect the opportunity and determine the best approach to turn it into something that matters.

Some people are said to be born with this quality while others have developed it over time. To both types, practice and constant learning will hone the skills for a better and efficient approach.

Let’s look at some of the ways of discovering profitable opportunities across the industries.

The Technological Evolution: Get Your Ideas Into the World So Much Faster

The most important determinant of an entrepreneurial opportunity is the level of technology in use in the industry.

If you are keen to observe, you will realize that young industries tend to have several undefined needs. Therefore, the opportunities that lie in young markets are more compared to the ones you’d find in well-established markets.

One of the best times to hunt for opportunities in any sector is before any design or way of doing things has become widely accepted. Once your venture dominates the market, you can now focus on scaling and ensuring lean operations.

In addition, industries tend to have lucrative opportunities when a big industry player is involved. The reputation and track record of a respected company works towards improving the public perception of the technology involved.

As such, it is better to venture into an emerging market when a big player is involved because they will validate the business. However, the timing must be perfect because the competition will be stiff as more companies join. For instance, when IBM joined the PC industry people found it easy to trust the innovation and technology used.

Organizational environment of an industry

The number and potential rewards of opportunities will depend on the current structure of an industry.

When you are the first to offer a certain product or service in a market, you face perception problems. In this case, both consumers and investors are not accustomed to your products and may not realize their importance.

The best option is to settle on an industry with operating businesses in the same sector. However, overcrowding will also contribute to business failure for new entries. But if you can identify a sector with complementary businesses, you can benefit from their presence.

Besides profiting from the social relationships established by the businesses, you stand a better chance of building a better service.

For instance, if you are opening a daycare service in a neighborhood with several daycares, you could easily fail. But if you focus on a complimentary daycare service that focuses on a different age bracket, success can come quickly.

Demand: You Better Figure This Out First!

Demand is influenced by two main approaches, the first is conformity and the other is a distinction. Conformity seeks to address the segment that wants standard goods but distinction serves those that seek unique and personalized goods. However, most markets have many segments and there will always be parts that are underserved.

It’s also good to note the trends in the market and realize the changes in demand patterns. Because most of these patterns are predictable, it is easy to anticipate the next move for an industry. As a good entrepreneur, it’s better to play where the ball will be as opposed to where current affairs are.

Understand Legal Frameworks

Most businesses are regulated by the law and all interested players are required to be licensed. Therefore, some alterations in the legal aspects of an industry will affect the opportunities present.

When laws are clear on what an entrepreneur can claim intellectual rights or patents, the approaches to business are different. Most entrepreneurs will dedicate time and resources towards what the legal framework protects because the benefits are guaranteed.

Now It’s Your Time to Join the Mission

Entrepreneurial opportunities can be found in any sector. But it takes determination and courage to make something out of it.

If you are to succeed with any business model, you need to focus on the journey and not the destination.

When you restrain yourself from focusing on a mirage, you can find the energy to take action and experiment with different ideas.

When it comes to social enterprises, never lose your focus. Here, you’re not just another entrepreneur trying to dominate the market. Instead, you’re the light to that society. You’re using your values, intellect, and resources to bring about a greater good to a disadvantaged people.

Go ahead and shine brightly.

The joy, pleasure, and satisfaction of creating real change in people’s lives is something that is just too great to be quantified.

Related: Two of the Top Markets with Big Opportunities for Social Entrepreneurs

“Social entrepreneurs are not content just to give a fish or teach how to fish. They will not rest until they have revolutionized the fishing industry.” (Bill Drayton)