I've got a confession.
I'm all about making a positive impact, but I’ve been pretty horrendous at actually doing anything about it.
My professional background is rooted in nonprofit grant writing for causes I adore. I've volunteered countless hours in the past. I know I'm on this planet to make it a better place.
So I figured my business should be a natural extension of that. And for the seven years I've co-run my copywriting and messaging firm, I've talked a good talk about creating change in the world.
Yes, we've given to charities through the business. And that's awesome. #lifegoals, y'all.
But the sad truth? Every time we click that "donate" button, I fight a nagging question: Can we really afford to give this money away?
The last 12 months have proven tricky for our business. We've made a number of pricey investments, plus we've shifted who we serve. That's translated into some serious expenses while starting over with a new set of clients and a fresh business model.
There’s a donations line item in our business budget, but do you know how much of our expected charitable gifts we've actually made so far in 2017? Zero.
And what's worse, the gifts we made in 2016 came from a mindset of scarcity.
I remember how tight my stomach felt in December as we donated. There we were, in the midst of a cheerful holiday season, and all I could think was, I hope we're not making the mistake of our lives. Please don’t let this put us in the hole.
Is it any question why we've been in such a massive funk ever since?
The spark has been gone. My business partner and I have been pushing harder, selling stronger, doing "all the right things."
But expenses are high and income isn’t pie in the sky.
Which means we've felt like we can't afford to give any money away or take the time to volunteer.
Next month, we tell ourselves. We'll make a difference next month.
And that has proven a breeding ground for feelings of resentment and inadequacy.
We've decided things have to change.
We know it’s time to stop merely paying lip service to making an impact. We have to actually get up and do it. Giving is part of our identities, and we never have too little to contribute. (Even with $0 in your wallet, you can still volunteer your time or extend a nice gesture to make a stranger's day a little brighter.)
So that's why we're starting a movement.
#ChangeTheStars is about leveraging your business to change the world. When you use your business to make a difference in a way that matters to you, you will be more profitable. You’ll attract clients you love, you’ll find motivation outside yourself (and your bottom line), and you’ll feel awesome about every sale you make.
Maybe your cause is a favorite nonprofit, or maybe it's your family. Perhaps you want to become more invested in your community or adopt a rescue animal. Whatever you're passionate about, when you move your business forward, you free up the time, resources, and energy to make a deeper, more positive impact in the world. You can give. You can volunteer. You can shop local and make socially-conscious, sustainable choices. You can make a difference in the way you crave.
And that's what we're going for. We want to create a community of empowered entrepreneurs who love ourselves, the work we do, and the positive change we're creating.
Share the positive impact you’re aiming to make in the comments below. And then join me for our inaugural #ChangeTheStars service week. Let's start a movement together.
I help purpose-driven entrepreneurs find their voice and write compelling, strategic content that's aligned with their vision and values. As an entrepreneur, your stories are the key to forming authentic relationships with your audience and creating the change you want to see in the world.