1b) Product

Think of a product or service that would address your Passion.

Try to identify what specifically upsets you about a big issue in the world. Why does this make you mad?

Research. To help you think about the big picture: READ, READ, READ! Learn everything that you possibly can about that passion that motivates you!

  • Read Newsweek, Time, Utne, or other magazines that have articles on your subject
  • Read any book on the subject
  • Google your passion thoroughly, using many different search terms
  • Get a volunteer position or work in a related field in any organization that is already in the field.

As you understand every aspect and angle of the problem, eventually you will see a product or service that address that passion, like a bubble rising to the surface! You may have an idea right after reading this paragraph or it may hit you after learning and working in the field for a few years.

Once you find your ‘big picture’ passion you can create your own Activist Enterprise by means of earning an income and yet living according to your personal life ideals and morals.

Here are some examples:

– Cause: Saving the Amazon Rainforest.
Activist Entrepreneur Solutions: Selling products or services, and donating part of the proceeds to a reputable charity that purchases and maintains Amazon Rainforest as well as lobbying politicians to encourage rainforest friendly legislation.

– Cause: Alleviating the poverty in Inner Cities.
Activist Entrepreneur Solution: Creating ‘urban gardens’ and selling fresh garden produce and lobbying for legal recognition and support from local, state or national government. Many inner-city neighborhoods in America do not have supermarkets selling fresh vegetables. Detroit is an excellent example of where ‘urban farmers’ are thriving with government support.

2. Trade, not Aid. ‘Monetize’ your cause: Make a Living From Doing What You Love or Combatting What You Hate: Passion = MOTIVATION!.

Even if you can’t think of anything, in the beginning, one of the easiest and simplest ways to create an activist business is to create products that heighten awareness of the issue. For example, if your cause is to save the Humpback Whales you could sell eco-friendly t-shirts, posters, mugs etc., emblazoned with images and catchy phrases about whales and then donate part of the proceeds to an anti-whaling organization. Companies like Cafepress allow you to even ‘create’ customized eco-friendly products without having to spend a dime!

However, while it is always important to make people aware of a cause, it is much more effective to go even deeper and directly address the issue with a business solution. This is why research is so important. The more you know and learn about your cause, specific details as well as the big picture, the more you will see possibilities for creating a product or service that will help in a small or large way to ‘solve’ the problem.

Remember an Activist Enterprise idea can be fun as well as solve real problems. For example, to combat  Repetitive Stress or Carpal Tunnel problems in the workplace, a activist entrepreneur could create a mat or device that works with Wii so that a person can ‘type’ letters with feet and arms.

Arm, foot and leg motion would give a much better workout than typing with fingers on a laptop! In fact, any kind of body motion keyboard would solve problems of health, sedentary lifestyles which would lead to much more fit and happy workers who do certain jobs that involve a lot of typing.