1 – Passion

  • “Be the change you hope to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi 
  • “Make a living from creating the change you hope to see in the world.” Activist Entrepreneur!

Articulating your Passions as an Activist Entrepreneur

An Activist Entrepreneur creates a product or service that attempts to address political, social or environmental issues in a direct way.

Not only will you be personally fulfilled from having worked to correct the issue that so upsets you, but you will also be helping others or the environment!

However, coming up with that ‘good idea’ is not always easy. In fact, it can be quite difficult because you really have to use your imagination and have some original ideas. Developing a business solution to combat a social issue actually goes against traditional thinking about causes and charity.

Most charities revolve around a Cause, but it is still relatively uncommon for business to be involved in finding a solution to a social issue. In fact, many social enterprises have faced hostility from charities who feel that it is better to just give aid rather than to offer products or services to address problems.

But, We think this story shows traditional wisdom is not always infallible. Detroit: Sleeping Bag Coats. Made by the Homeless for the Homeless

But, first and foremost it will be your Passion that will enable you to make a difference!

How do you go about identifying your dream. Your passion?

Passion based on PAIN!

Sit with your thoughts and identify what either makes you happy or angry about the world.

Many times a social enterprise can involve a business idea that looks at a very painful problem.

Sometimes it might even be a cause that has caused you personal pain. Your personal tragedy in other words can be the fuel to create something that prevents others from experiencing your pain.

Passion based on PLEASURE!

Think of things that could bring the world ‘sustainable pleasure’. We define sustainable pleasure as something that makes the world better but in a way that is pleasurable and sustainable. For example, creating and developing an ecofriendly organic massage lotion  might be sustainable and pleasurable!

Personal Causes are different from personal interests. A ’cause’ is something that would make the planet a better place. An ‘interest’ is something that makes your own life better or gives you personal enjoyment.

Passion for a Cause that resonates with you will be key to turning your desire to see change, into tangible action with measurable outcomes.

Sample causes and issues:

Environmental causes:

  • Saving orangutans in Indonesia
  • Reducing the impact of climate change
  • Alternatives to fossil fuels
  • Saving the tigers in India
  • Organic farming
  • Rainforest protection
  • Sustainable forestry and so on
  • Alternatives to animal experiments
  • Reducing consumption of plastic materials
  •  Stopping the Yangtze dam in China
  • Stop clear cutting of old growth forests
  • Creating an urban garden or park in your neighborhood
  • Eco-tourist vacation lodgings

 Social Issues: 

  • Organic tasty snacks for healthy eating
  • Natural massage lotion
  • Physical/mental rehabilitation for drug abusers
  • Freedom of speech in Iran
  • Starvation in Africa
  • Women’s rights in Afghanistan
  • Religious freedom in Muslim countries
  • Human rights in Sudan
  • Reducing religious fundamentalism
  • Political prisoners in China
  • Female reproductive rights in places such as Georgia, USA
  • Gay rights in places such as Tennessee, USA
  • Education of school girls in Afghanistan
  • Terminally Ill: Dying with Dignity
  • Prison reform in America

None of these issues have simple solutions. No significant social issue ever does. But as long as you are Passionate about your cause, the challenges you face, however large will ultimately be surmountable.

When you have a cause or causes you are passionate about you can channel the desire for change that you feel and use it as high octane fuel to propel you forward through the inevitable difficulties you will face as you bring your idea to fruition.

For some people, finding out what makes them passionate can be the most difficult stage. Many people are usually concerned about their immediate world, their friends, and their family. As a result, many have never really thought about issues that are greater than themselves.

Finding out what you really believe in is a lesson in self discovery. Basically you are looking in the mirror and articulating your worldview. That kind of self examination can give great insights into your life.