As a mission-driven entrepreneur, you don’t create a giving program for your business to make you more successful. You do it because you’re compassionate and you want to make a difference. You care about those who are hurting and about the world we are leaving for our children and grandchildren.
But did you know that becoming a purposepreneur is, in fact, one of the best things you can do for you and your business this year?
What is a Purposepreneur?
A purposepreneur is someone who recognizes that the skills she has used to become successful in business are the same skills the world needs to solve the most challenging social issues. Using a combination of funding, brain power, networking, and entrepreneurial audacity, purposepreneurs uncover sustainable solutions that can be scaled and make a serious impact.
Moreover, as she gives back and makes a difference in the world, she is also greatly impacting her own personal and professional happiness and fulfillment.
Here are 7 reasons why:
- Helper’s High: Psychologists have presented studies showing that giving releases endorphins that leads to a sense of euphoria. It’s called the “warm glow of altruism”. The result? You’re in a better mood and tend to be more positive when you’re generous.
- Increases Happiness: Research has proven that giving increases your level of happiness and acts as a buffer against depression.
- Reduces Stress: Studies show that giving makes you healthier by reducing stress and strengthening your immune system.
- Builds Relationships: The coolest people on the planet are volunteering or working for non-profits and social enterprises – and the organizations that support them. You can’t help but be inspired and develop some amazing and lifelong friendships.
- Team Building: As a business owner you care about the culture you are creating. Tapping into the skills and talents of your team to support a cause that is near and dear to your heart is one of the best ways to encourage team building, foster goodwill, and increase employee engagement and retention.
- Customers Will Love You: Your customers want to purchase goods and services from companies that care about the triple bottom line: people + planet + profit.
- Makes You More Successful: In 2009, Arthur Brooks presented a speech called “Why Giving Matters” in which he shares, “When people give more money away, they tend to prosper.”
In fact, Brooks goes on to reveal that individuals who have lower stress levels – and are positive and happy – naturally tend to be more successful. Additionally, we know that strong relationships with team members and customers leads to greater success.
Social Impact as a Way of Life
Think about it: Aren’t you more productive when you’re happy – better mood and stress levels in check? Doesn’t your business run smoothly when your team members are working collaboratively and committed to your mission?
And isn’t life more meaningful when you’re sharing the fruits of your labor and lifting up others so that they, too, can pursue their dreams?
Then being AWE-dacious and unleashing your inner purposepreneur should become a standard for your business – not just once a year, but as a way of life! Becoming a purposepreneur may just be your simple path to health, happiness, and success – while making a positive impact in the world around you.
The Entrepreneurial Adventure
As an undergraduate studying business at the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana, my Finance 101 class was held in a large auditorium with hundreds of students. On the first day, the professor got up on stage and began his lecture with this…
“The purpose of a business is to increase shareholder profits.” He then went on to describe how this might be accomplished.
But I wasn’t paying attention because I was stuck on the first sentence. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t believe that was what it was all about or that was the only reason someone went into business.
(And if it was true, I couldn’t believe I’d chosen to study business.)
Perhaps I was naïve in thinking there were more important reasons because that was the go-go 80s when it was all about the money. In truth, there was more going on than I recognized.
I didn’t realize (way back then) that I would always believe there is more to business than just making money.
Fast forward some 30+ years to the launch of, what is now, AWE Partners. As I was getting up and running I heard – on more than one occasion, “If you’re not making money, it’s not a business – it’s a hobby.” And again, I was somewhat struck by that declaration.
So what is a hobby, exactly? It’s defined as: an activity of interest pursued for pleasure or relaxation and not as a main occupation. Ask any hard-working, nose to the grindstone entrepreneur. Entrepreneurship is not a hobby! But I realized why the focus on profit alone seemed so limiting.
Because it is. Entrepreneurship is so much more than that!
I totally get that we want to make money in business. I understand the importance of revenue generation and profit maximization. I have an undergraduate degree in finance and an MBA from one of the most prestigious business schools in the world. I worked at two premier global corporations. I have learned from the best. I get it!
But here’s what I didn’t know when I launched my business: I didn’t know that entrepreneurship was my way of expressing my creativity in the world. And that owning a business was my way of becoming. I didn’t know that AWE Partners was my destiny.
Yes, I want to make money. But I also want to empower my clients to be as effective as possible with their giving and investing so that we can begin to move the needle on our social challenges. I want to inspire entrepreneurs to be part of the solution and make their “AWE-thentic Impact” in the world. I want to build a community of AWE-dacious women who support each other in pursuing their soul’s calling in life. I want to create, what I call, a “Movement Toward Meaning”!
And through it all, I want to test my limits and learn more about myself, my gifts and talents, my passions, and my purpose.
But if I never made a dime the journey would still be worth it. My life is so much richer, so much more abundant, and so much more than I could have ever imagined. All because I had the courage to take a chance on being an entrepreneur.
Know Your Calling
What if I had listened to those who told me it was a hobby if I wasn’t making money? What if I quit before the money came in because I thought no one would take me seriously? And what if I thought that not making money meant I didn’t have what it took to be an entrepreneur?
I know a woman who started a really cool business with an awesome mission (and much needed in our world). But she didn’t make money in the first couple years so she let it fade away. She had to find a way to support her family so I understand why she did it.
She happened to be one of the women who told me that no money equaled “just a hobby.” Apparently, she believed this. What do I believe? I think she just needed more time and encouragement. As entrepreneurs, we have to decide – just like a writer, actor, artist, etc. – that this is our calling.
Think about it…
Would we ever tell a writer that if they’re not making money they’re not really a writer, it’s just a hobby? Or an actress who is waitressing that she’s not really an actress until she makes money at her craft? Or would we ever tell a starving artist not to keep painting unless she can make a sale?
Of course not! Because that is who they are. In the depth of their soul they see themselves as a writer, or an actress, or a painter. Even if they don’t have the money to show for it – just yet. They know who they are and who they are meant to be – and we should never squash somebody’s dream because of money.
(Unless we’re their parent and they’re still living in our basement well into their 30s. Then let’s maybe have a chat.)
Entrepreneurship is the act of creating. It is a calling. It takes amazing courage, dedication, discipline, and hard work. And typically takes a lot of years before you can support yourself from the profits it generates.
But like any other creative endeavor, the glory is not in the destination – it’s in the journey. It’s the inner energy it unleashes and the connection to our soul. It’s the entrepreneurial adventure and I encourage my fellow adventurers not to give up the dream. We need you. So go out there and be AWE-dacious!