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Finding Your Purpose as a Social Entrepreneur

By April 4, 2018February 12th, 2021No Comments

I’m a social entrepreneur, writer, and cultivator of all things local. I get having a burning passion for working in your purpose. After all work is where we tend to spend most of our time. It is an extension of ourselves and it gives us the opportunity to make a difference. But if you’re in the wrong vocation or just the wrong company with values that don’t align with yours, your work can be a drudgery and lead to burnout.

Social entrepreneurs are born wanting to make an impact-  work is more than just making money and using your talents and skills, it’s about making an impact. That is why it is crucial that social entrepreneurs spend some time finding their purpose.

Here are the keys to finding your purpose and creating a successful social enterprise:

You love it- Passion & Mission

Passion is that intense desire and enthusiasm that gets you out of bed every morning and energizes you for your work, even when things are hard. Ask yourself these questions: What are you great at? What do you do that you love so much you lose track of time? If money were not an issue what would you do?

Mission keeps you on track. It’s the aim of your passion. Ask yourself these questions: Who is it you want to serve? How will you serve them? What is the goal in serving them?

This is what you love.

You are great at it-Passion & Profession

Hopefully, you are already in an occupation and have the needed education and qualifications that align with your passion. Maybe not. Profession refers to your training, schooling and qualifications. Profession is an area that can be developed over time as you discover from your experiences what training you need in order to do what you have an interest in. I learned about living wages and buying from local businesses from my customer service job at a theatrical supply company, in my early 20s. I was not doing local economy work then, I was just a theatre geek with a masters degree in directing. Little did I know that work would help lay a foundation for me now.  Along with passion and my future career moves I received the education and the qualifications that have brought me to where I am now.

Passion and profession together is where you become great at it.

The world needs it- Mission & Vocation

You’ve already thought through your mission: your aim, your product or service and your audience. Now it’s time to consider your vocation. Vocation refers to your innate talents, affinities and calling. When you are doing work that you are naturally gifted for and working in your calling, you’ll be relentless. You’ll have the ideas, the energy and the focus to innately know what needs to be done. When you direct that towards your mission and those you are serving, you’ll get results. We all can look around and see all the needs in this world. But your mission and vocation is unique and called to meet a very specific need.

Where your mission and vocation intersect is the need you are called to meet.

You are paid for it- Profession & Vocation

Those who work in both their profession and vocation are going to have  real fulfillment as they can do what they are naturally gifted to do and make money at it. Don’t forget you can outsource or create jobs for those who are qualified to do what you aren’t. Depending on your organizations structure, volunteers may be able to fill those voids while you focus on the area where you are talented and qualified.

What is important to a social enterprise and to your purpose is that it can and will make money and be able to reach and serve people-  otherwise you just have a hobby. Ask yourself: Will people pay for this product or service? Are they already? If these services or products are being offered for free from others, do they have the qualifications, the expertise and the natural talent you do? What is the difference in what you have to offer? How does that justify charging for what you offer? Will people recognize that and want to pay for it?

Find profession and vocation intersecting and you’ll find what people are willing to pay for.

I encourage you to take some time to reflect on these key intersections in finding your sweet spot of purpose. If you have an idea for a social enterprise but haven’t been able to answer all these key areas and find that sweet spot, let’s meet and talk about it. I evaluate the needs of businesses and organizations, and help develop impact through social enterprise development. My consulting includes teaching, guiding, and facilitating my clients through strategies to do better by doing good – for themselves, their business, and their communities. It is my passion to help you do what will make your heart sing and impact this world.