Question of the Week
Why I Started My Mission-Driven Business
This week we released a very special episode of the Mission Driven Business podcast, where I open up like never before. I share why I started my own mission-driven business, and some of my highs and lows I encountered in the process. You’ll also learn the difference between strategy and tactics, and why entrepreneurship isn’t necessarily more risky than being a W-2 employee. If you’ve wanted to know more about me and my story, this episode, hosted by Latarsha Stewart, is for you.
Mission-driven businesses serve.
For me, mission-driven businesses have both a purpose motive and a profit motive. I want clients and listeners to know that you don’t have to run a non-profit in order to run a business that does good and makes an impact.
“The underlying current of all this is that mission-driven businesses serve. And you can make money and make a good living by serving,” I said. “That’s been my focus and why I try to meld these two together. Because you don’t have to do one or the other. You can do both.”
Things happen at the right time.
I had been working at a tax law firm when everything in my personal and professional life shifted. The partners of the law firm split up; my long-term relationship ended; and marriage equality was making huge strides. I ended up using the uncertainty to forge a future I wanted.
“So you have this moment in time to say — What do you actually want to do? What do you want to do with your life?” I said. “Having the support of my friends and my ex-husband and all that just came together at the right time.”
Find your niche.
During this time of uncertainty, I decided to start a financial planning firm focusing on LGBTQ couples. But I soon learned that his core audience was a target market and not a niche.
When looking at my client base, I realized my roster included a lot of business owners who were coming to me because of his background in tax law — and I enjoyed the complexity of meeting their needs. So, I redefined my business focus as helping LGBT business owners who run mission-driven businesses.
At the same time, I am passionate about closing the racial wealth gap, which is 3:1 for people of color who are entrepreneurs versus 11:1 for non-business owners. I see my niche and business as an opportunity to fulfill that motivation as well.
“You have to serve a specific amount of people, so you should make sure that those people are the people that you want to serve and the people that you want to hang out with and the people that you want to talk to,” I said. “It’s a very significant mind shift that really freed me up and allowed me to really enjoy the process.”
Let go of perfectionism.
One of the hardest lessons I had to learn on his entrepreneurial journey was to let go of my perfectionism and live in the moment.
“I had to do it out of necessity because nothing was perfect. And nothing was exactly the way that I wanted,” I said. “I learned how to adjust and pivot and navigate. I had to be okay and get okay with things not being perfect, and things needing to just go.”
Now, I’m used to constantly trying things out and learning from them. I resonate with the metaphor that running a business is like building an airplane while trying to fly it.
Quote of the Week
“You just don’t either have enough time or energy or space to try to do everything perfectly…things still happen, and things still go.” – Brian Thompson
Task of the Week
This weekend I’d love for you to listen to this episode and let me know what you think I did my best to be as open and vulnerable as possible. I hope you can get something out of it!