Three Criteria for the Ideal Socially Responsible Business Venture

If you are a regular reader of Inspired Livelihood or Craft Biz Blog, you know that I have three criteria for the ideal business venture:

  • It is profitable
  • It improves lives
  • It utilizes a local workforce when possible

Frequently, when someone comes to me for help creating a socially responsible enterprise, they are initially thinking non-profit. They are surprised that they can create a business in the private sector that makes a difference and they think they have to  manufacture product oversees to make a profit. Of course they can have the item made more cheaply in sweatshops that do not pay fare wages but what good is building a business to help people and then taking jobs oversees that could be creating local income and helping unemployed Americans create a livelihood?

I try to encourage the use our own labor force whenever possible so I was absolutely thrilled to read about what I think is the perfect sustainable model.  Darr and Tom Aley founded Mojo, (short for Moms and Jobs), a hand made apparel company that hires and trains single mothers living near or under poverty level. They provide child care, health care and career training to help these women get off social services like food stamps and welfare and create sustainable livelihoods to improve the lives of their children.

If you know of other businesses that are profitable, improve lives and use local workers, please post in the comments below. I’d love to share them with our other readers. What can you think of that you can do to meet the above three criteria in your own business?

Find your Life Purpose or Calling in Your Life Theme?

Recently, I’ve been thinking a lot about life purpose and calling.  I have a birthday this month and for obvious reason, birthdays trigger the “ am I doing enough with my life”  syndrome.

An article by my friend Sandy Dempsey @sandydfromnj in The Dreaming Cafe Newsletter got me thinking even more about how a calling isn’t necessarily something we do for a living (although, I believe life’s even richer if it is) but an element that should be present in every aspect of our lives.

Because I help people create business that make a living and a difference, I naturally attract clients who talk a lot about finding their life purpose. Sadly, what I hear too frequently is that they are either afraid of not identifying their true calling or they don’t see how they can make a big enough impact to make a difference, so they do nothing.  My job, and I believe this is my calling but not my sole life purpose, is to show them the possibilities, that they aren’t limited to a single calling and that making a difference in their own community or even a change in one life may be what they are here to do. Not everyone, in fact almost no one, was truly born to change the world.

Life purpose isn’t about identifying your calling and doing one thing for the rest of your life.  I believe we can and do embrace our purpose in many different ways that evolve over a lifetime. Those of us with many interests Continue reading