Vegan entrepreneurship | How to turn a good cause into a business
Turning a good cause into a business
When you go vegan and start understanding what this lifestyle is about, some people feel the need to get more involved and take action in one way or another. The most difficult part when starting your own business is having an idea, so in this article we will help you brainstorm ideas to turn a good cause into a business.
What led me to become an entrepreneur
I have been vegan for almost nine years and although I knew I wanted to work for animal rights since I was at university, I never thought I would do it on my own.
Moving to Norway was an easy move but not so easy when it came to find a job that fulfilled me. Long story short, after applying for over a hundred jobs, getting some interviews and ending up with jobs that paid the bills but nothing else, I decided I would hire myself to do a job I knew I was capable of doing. It has been almost half a year since that decision, and I wish I had dared to jump to it sooner.
I am still in an early stage, and Covid doesn’t help, but I am optimistic and happy with the feedback I have got so far. My main goal is to raise awareness and educate our youths about the way we consume, and how our decisions have a direct impact on animals, the environment and other people. To achieve that, I am working on a few parallel projects that will see the light when Covid restrictions are over -hopefully very soon-, so stay tuned.
Starting on your own is usually scary and challenging, but also exciting and joyful. If you, like me, are wondering if you should dare to make your activism profitable, answering to these questions will help you clear your mind:
There is not only one way to help the causes you believe in. Keeping your current job and making donations to NGOs that work for these causes is also a very valid contribution. However, if you had imagined saving animals, starting your own business or being the change you want to see in the world, this might be the sign you were looking for.
How to monetise your activism
Once you decide you want to do your bit for the movement, it is time to brainstorm and find out what can you do to make a living off it. Spoiler alert: all beginnings are hard and usually less successful than expected, that is why having a clear vision, learning as you go and being consistent are so important.
1. Brainstorm business ideas and do dream big!
Let your mind wander without limits and write down every single idea that crosses your mind, even if it doesn’t make sense, you will figure that out later.
2. Find the option(s) that suits you
As I see it, there are three main areas where people alone can start a business: selling a product, offering a service, or using art.
Selling a product
This includes plant-based foods, cosmetic, cleaning products, clothing, complements, etc. Anything you can think of, the possibilities are endless. Remember that everything is invented already. You don’t need to come up with a revolutionary idea that doesn’t exist. You can just create your own and it would be different already because it’s yours.
Offering a service
It can go from developing an app for a specific business, opening a vegan salon, consultancy for vegan startups… find (or create!) a need and go for it.
If you are good with words and want to raise awareness about a cause, write songs, poems, op-eds, blogs, or books! If you are handy, craft, paint or draw using vegan materials and sell it. If photography or filming is your thing. Make a documentary, sell the images to organisations or businesses that might need them.
3. Visualize the following steps
After spending some time going through different ideas, think of what are your current resources. What skills and knowledge will help you build that business? You don’t need to have a background in business to have a great idea. A good start would be knowing the market. Having a clear idea of what you want to achieve, and having a supportive environment.
Another important thing to think about is the investment. Do you need capital to start your business? Can you make it 0 or low cost? How much is the inversion? As always when it comes to starting a business, the less investment the better. Play safe and don’t risk too much.
4. Use all the resources you have around
Following point number two, try to do everything on your own at the beginning. The less you need to rely on other people to do the job, the better. When visualizing the following steps you should do to start your business, write down the tasks and then the name of a person you know that could help you or give you a different insight. It is always great to share your idea with people you trust. It will help you to have different perspectives and see how people respond to that. Also look for funds, sponsorships, investors, etc, anything you can find that can help you grow your business.
Don’t let fear, impostor syndrome and personal insecurities boycott your potential. The best way of learning is doing, and excellence comes with practice, so don’t expect to nail it in your first attempt. Fails are necessary in order to succeed.
Growth happens when you start doing things you are not qualified to do.
5. Think of it a as a business
Some might find it confusing or even suspicious when one says that they want to turn their activism into a business, but think it through. When you become an entrepreneur to be able to pay your checks at the same time that you fight for animal rights, it’s nothing else but a win-win.
People purchasing your product means they don’t buy from non-vegan brands. The better the business goes, the better it is for the animals. Another option is running an unrelated business but sharing part of the profits with an NGO or animal sanctuary so they can keep doing their work.
As a final tip I would like to encourage you to immerse yourself in the chosen topic. Learn as much as you can from different sources. Listen to podcasts, read books, watch documentaries that inspire you, talk to people that might have more experience. Learn as you go and enjoy the process.
If you want to learn more about hos I got started, check out this article!