Don’t give up. Don’t cut corners. Collaborate!! Advice for social entrepreneurs, Part II.
Social entrepreneur Maxime Dücker shares some of the best advice on launching a social venture from the dozens of fellow innovators she's interviewed.
Editor’s note: Yesterday, we published Maxime Dücker’s first installment of timeless advice for social entrepreneurs. Being a social entrepreneur herself, Maxime has quite the network of fellow innovators and they all have lot of great tips, based on their own experiences. So today, we’re sharing Part II of her roundup. Shout out to Causeartist.com (a great resource for social entrepreneurs!), where this piece was originally published.
1. Julie Weig, co-founder of Ruby Cup
“If you have an idea, make an imperfect start-up plan and then get out and test it. You won’t know if it works until you try. In my experience, many skilled and experienced people out there are willing to help and give advice, so don’t be shy to reach out to people, even those you might think are too important or out of reach. If you want to use business to make social change, make sure you put heavy weight on the business part of the idea. You won’t make any impact without money.”
2. Sarah Freeman, founder of The Clothes Library
“Don’t give up when things get tough. There is always a way to achieve what it is you want to achieve. It might be hard work and long hours and what you end up doing may not necessarily be what you planned in the beginning, but somehow in some way, you can make it work and, if you can’t do what you set out to do, at least you tried. Failure isn’t not being successful, but it’s about not bothering to give it a go in the first place. Learn from every mistake—teach others what you learned.
“Another piece of advice is to COLLABORATE!!!!! I cannot tell you how important it is to share information, share experiences, share opportunities and people will want to do the same with you. It is hard when you are trying to do everything on your own. Help others out wherever you can. Support businesses in your area and get involved in community events. Meet people. Ask for help when you need it. You can write all the business plans in the world but you have to get out there and put them into practice to see if it works.”
3. Mark Suarkeo, co-founder and Chief Paper Saver at SquiQR
“I would say that it’s really important to understand how it feels to have compassion. Make sure your whole team can appreciate this essential quality too. This will help sustain your desire to carry out your mission while feeding off the positive energy that surrounds you. Flourish authentic relationships with those who truly align with your values. Help as many people as you can along the way, and most of all, enjoy every moment of the journey.”
4. Diti Kotecha, founder of Théla
“Keep at it and don’t give up! Intention and talent and intelligence are all very good, but they mean very little without perseverance.”
5. Lisa Sjöblom, founder of TYOUB
“Get involved, join groups, learn from others and make your journey a shared experience. Trying to do everything yourself is not as easy as it sounds—tasking others with things you can’t do is a great way to sustain your business. Be organized and keep a vision of why you are doing what you are doing.
“Make each day about learning and not necessarily about selling. It must be a passion. Something that feeds your inner-self. Having people you can trust and call on to help you with questions you are not sure of. Be curious and ready to learn, even when you think you have all the answers.”
6. Malou Claessens, founder WAVE Eco Solutions
“Environmental and social entrepreneurs, we all are on the same path, working towards the same goal. Responsible entrepreneurship needs to happen to save the environment and make that change the world is crying for, so let’s all help each other.”
7. Lauren Derrett, founder Wear’em Out
“Be as personable as you can be, every large marketing campaign you see is built on connection with the customer on an emotional level, you have to touch people so they can relate to you and in time, trust you, and therefore, trust your product. People will know if you have a passion for your product and in turn, they will become passionate about it too.”
8. Jo Salter, founder of Where Does It Come From?
“The main advice would be to choose something that you feel passionate about and test it on your target market. Being heard in a busy market is much more challenging than I ever anticipated!”
9. Shivani Patel, the founder of Arture
“Sometimes it can get overwhelming, especially when starting up because you want to get everything 100% right. I would say, try to get as close to 100 as you can, but don’t beat yourself up. Start, dive in, and ensure that you keep making small changes to get you closer and closer to that 100%.”
10. Svintha Bootsma, co-founder Common Texture
“The hardest thing about being an online business is that people can’t feel your products before they buy. Our collections are very textural, so most people are blown away by the quality and feel of the products. Some people just gasp and say, ‘oh I didn’t think they would be this luxe.’ Conveying that online is our biggest challenge, our advice would be that stockists are your friends. Opt for stores that stock fairly made products so it’s easier to get your message across.”
11. Lindsay Platzer, co-founder of How Cork
“It might be hard at first to get going, but we have an important message to spread. Encouraging people to think differently about everyday choices such as food or fashion is never easy, but in my view, there is nothing more important than creating a sustainable alternative to our current systems of mass-production that leave pollution and exploited human and animal rights in the wake. So don’t give up if it takes some time, in the end, it will be worth it. What we’re doing matters!”
12. Megan Shepherd, founder of Lovesay and Mo
“You can’t change the world single-handedly but as part of a community, you can make a big difference.
“Don’t give up. You will have to make sacrifices but it will be worth it.
“Accept help if it’s offered. You can’t do everything.
“Listen to criticism but learn from it and move on.
“You can’t please everyone!”
13. Maria and Emily, co-founders of Me & Em
“It’s a lot of work building a business but having a greater good makes it so worthwhile. Always remember why you do what you do and what makes your business special. And don’t forget to have some fun too.”
14. Josh Bowden, co-founder of noissue
“Don’t cut corners, do your research, and be patient!”
15. Samuel, founder of Ozaclean
“Be patient and believe in yourself and your products and try to add value by providing solutions to real problems. Don’t think only to earn money, provide products that will not harm the future generations because it does not make sense to earn money while destroying the place where we live.”