Many business owners choose to become entrepreneurs because they enjoy the freedom associated with answering only to themselves and their clients and in working for their own benefit, rather than the benefit of another company. Variations on the freedom theme are endless, but I think that one powerful word pretty much sums it up - freedom. But another, more altruistic purpose, is often the driving force behind the start up.
Theresa Stelter began Hillcreek Designs in 1994 when she was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The diagnosis brought with it the awareness that she needed to work in a repetitive task and a singular focus. She also wanted to be able to stay home with her children. Crafting was a passion for Theresa so she created a process to hand die novelty buttons and to produce other embellishments for the crafting industry.
But Theresa's crafting company also crafts relationships. Independent store owners, designers, and private labeling company's all benefit from Theresa's ability to promote their products through her connections. Theresa's company has become a sort of "hub" for the industry and has grown from a $50 investment to a thriving company with its own factory. Today she is connecting people and creating opportunity for those in the crafting field all over the world. Her tagline "We put a little heart in everything we do" aptly demonstrates the importance of helping others.
Smita Paul launched Indigo Handloom when her travels as an international journalist opened her eyes to the dying art of handloom. Wishing to assist the Indian government in sustaining the industry and to do her part to improve the poverty-stricken living conditions for the artisans, Smita set out to bring business to the small villages and keep the ancient handlooms running. Today, this beautiful cloth is bringing a creative edge to the textile industry and enhancing the designs of both high-end and independent clothing and home good designers. The idea of socially responsible buying led Smita to develop a concept called the Good Karma Party where the party hostess chooses a charity and Indigo Handloom donates a portion of the party's proceeds — so everyone can participate. You can read more about Smita's fascinating journey on her website.
Financial donations aren't always the driving force behind the entrepreneur's desire to "pay it forward." Many coaches and other service-oriented businesses believe that touching the lives of others in a positive way will continue to pour "good karma" into the world. As a client's life grows in a positive direction, those around them will learn, grow and benefit as well. So these services also have a global impact as they keep on giving.
Knowing that your company is far-reaching in its ability to connect, touch, and give back, can truly have a motivating and fulfilling impact on you and your entrepreneurial enterprise. How do you imagine your company's efforts touching the lives of others? Please share your charitable purpose here on The Million Dollar Mindset!
Last updated: Sep 1, 2009
MARLA TABAKA is a small-business adviser who helps entrepreneurs around the globe grow their businesses well into the millions. She speaks widely on combining strategic and creative thinking for optimum success and happiness. @MarlaTabaka