It’s no secret that I consider myself a Social Entrepreneur. I’ve shared this revelation right here on 540Blog and the more I grow as a leader the more I accept this reality. For those of you wondering; What exactly is a social entrepreneur I suggest reading past blog posts here and here. For everyone else; I want to share three (not so) secret tips that I have helped me learn, grow, and in many ways exist as a successful social entrepreneur despite having no guidebook, manual, roadmap.
Of course, there are many more ways to be successful as a social entrepreneur than the three that I am sharing with you in this article. However, these are my top three tips for anyone interested in pursuing entrepreneurship via a socially aware and socially engaged enterprise.
Why does your organization/enterprise exist? What is its purpose? What is it setting out to do or change in the world? These are perhaps the most important questions that you will need to ask and understand when creating and sustaining a successful organization. Every leader needs to understand and be able to articulate (in 30 seconds or less) their organizations core mission. This is true whether you run a local non-profit or a Fortune 500 company. Understanding your company’s mission is even more important when your organization is a social entrepreneurship. A clear understanding of your mission will drive virtually every decision you make as well as the activities that you and your staff engage in to see this mission through. Spend time refining and honing in your mission and then before every single decision or strategic move you make, ask yourself “How does this drive our mission“. The only way to successfully answer this question is to fundamentally understand your mission from the beginning.
“Rome was not built in a day”
and it certainly wasn’t built by a single person. Successful social entrepreneurs understand that it will take the strength of a small nation to help them build and grow their business and that they absolutely cannot do it alone. When your business is interested in more than just making money and has a community or global change at its core; the leader has to reach out and look to others to help push the mission and vision forward. This means reaching out to others to support and help you. You absolutely cannot do all the work it takes alone and understanding this fact, accepting this fact, and living in this truth will enable you to build a network of as many competent volunteers as possible to help you be successful.
“It may not come when you want it but it always comes on time”
You will absolutely have challenges. Growing your social enterprise whether for profit or not for profit will absolutely be the hardest task you will ever take on in your life and nothing will quite prepare you for the journey. You will not make a personal income for a long while so money cannot be your driving force.
Business is a journey and not a destination. And for socially conscious businesses this couldn’t be more true. The needs of your stakeholders constantly change since those stakeholders are typically not board room members but a segment of the community or the community at large. This means that you have to be extremely malleable, adaptable, and willing to change direction. This doesn’t mean that you need to change your mission but it does mean that you will need to be able to switch methods and perhaps directions. Just like a seed, growth will be very slow especially in the beginning. Expect to have doubts. This is normal and the reason that you have to understand your mission and grow your network.
I could certainly share more tips and ways to be successful as a social entrepreneur but like all entrepreneurs I am always thinking up creative ways to connect with people, create meaningful content, teach others what I have learned along the way, and share my experiences. I am crafting a new workshop to launch in the fall titled: How to Be A Successful Social Entrepreneur © Calvin Eaton 2018
Submit the form below letting me know what information would be super meaningful to you and what you would like to gain from the workshop.
Keep Fighting. Keep Shining. Never Give Up
About Calvin Eaton
The Gluten Free Chef Calvin Eaton is the Founder/Executive Director of 540WMain as well as a blogger, author, whole foods chef, and recipe developer with many years of experience as a freelance recipe consultant and/or ambassador with natural foods brands such as: ProYo, Boulder Brands, Enjoylife Foods, Harts Local Grocers, and more.
by Calvin Eaton © 2018
540WMain’s mission is to enrich the historic Susan B. Anthony Preservation district as well as connect greater Rochester to the neighborhood through courses, programs and events rooted in antiracism, the arts, and wellness.