My Year in Reflection

It’s almost the New Year, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first year of the Mission Driven Business podcast. In this special Year in Reflection episode, Brian re-lives some of the best moments from the first 21 episodes of the podcast.

You’ll hear some of the insights, strengths, and hope shared by the diverse podcast guests on their respective episodes. Brian also shares some of his favorite nuggets of wisdom, and he recounts how each guests’ story ties into the larger podcast theme — that you can make money and serve a purpose.

Episode Highlights

There is no one definition of mission-driven business.

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that the first thing Brian asks his guests is to describe what a mission-driven business means to them. That’s because mission-driven businesses are distinct, and everyone has a different answer.

One of Brian’s favorite answers came from Phuong Luong, who shared a quote she heard in grad school.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs,” she said. “Instead, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is for more people to come alive.”

Regardless of their definition, Brian makes sure listeners know that your business can make money and serve a purpose. It’s a point echoed by many of the guests on the podcast.

In the very first episode, Dawn Hancock summarized the principle by saying, “Profit does matter. It just doesn’t have to be the only thing.” But Brian Floriani may have said it most succinctly in episode 18: “No margin. No mission.”

Everyone has a different journey.

Every entrepreneur on the show has had a different path to their career. Brian highlighted how in episode two, Bill Bynum credited his childhood experiences as fundamental to him later running one of the largest community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the U.S.

Other entrepreneurs had numerous twists on their paths running companies with purpose and profit. In episode 13, attorney Nici Kersey shared how running her own businesses wasn’t something she planned, but came after her company let her go because of a military move.

Nothing is perfect.

Unforeseen circumstances are a given with entrepreneurial life. In episode 11, Lauren Klafke opened up about how her work and home life adjusted when her business started booming at the same time she was caring for a newborn and overseeing a house remodel.

One way to navigate unforeseen circumstances is to know your values. Perhaps the best example yet of letting your values guide you is financial planner River Nice.

In episode 20, River shared how their values first guided them to leave the corporate world and try their hand at entrepreneurship, then again when defining their niche. The result is that River’s day-to-day work is aligned with their strengths and values.

“I’m just so happy on a day-to-day basis,” River said. “Who knew life could be this good? It feels like bragging, but that’s the point, right? The point of this podcast is that life can be this good, and you can do it, too.”

Learn from the experts’ experiences.

While it’s nice to hear about purpose and values, podcast listeners have most enjoyed learning the strategies and tactics guests rely upon to run their home and work lives.

In episode 16, the owners of Columbus Running Company played up the importance of community, while in episode 3, Jacob Padrón praised the merits of asking for help. But Brian particularly appreciated the insights of Nici Kersey on how to let go of perfectionism: watch baseball.

“Watching baseball made me really focus more on the fact that you don’t have to be perfect,” Nici said. “These players are the best in the world at being a baseball player, and they mess up all the time, right?”

Self-care isn’t selfish.

Brian always ends the episode by asking each guest to share anything surprising they’ve learned on their journey. One of the most commented lines ever on the podcast came from Pamela Capalad’s answer to this very question.

“Running a business mostly sucks,” she said in episode 5.

While running a mission-driven can suck at times, all entrepreneurs on the podcast say the freedom and fulfillment are well worth pushing the uncertainty and overcoming the inevitable obstacles. But the grit needed to do that can be hard to learn, said Mark Suh in episode 21.

“That belief in yourself has to be strong enough that you don’t quit,” he said.

While the year has been filled with wisdom, Brian’s favorite piece of advice also came from the answer to this last question when Emlen praised the importance of self-care. In episode 10, Emlen explained how incorporating self-care into his regimented schedule has helped him ultimately have a more productive day.

“It was the aspect of tracking over time that made me realize, when I do this, I was a better husband, I was a better dad, I was more patient with the kids,” he said.

Resources + Links

About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast

Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.

On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.