Do you have dreams of changing the world? But how can you do that if you are struggling yourself day to day?
Social entrepreneurs are idealists. In my point of view, however, they must also be practical.
Make Money OR Change the World?
In your own journey towards social entrepreneurship, you will come across challenging decisions you have to make. One major challenge that you will have to face is the balance between providing social impact and actually making a living for yourself. A key philosophy of this website has been for you to do good AND to do well.
I think that in today’s age, many people feel like they have to decide between the two. Several people feel that they can only do one or the other. Many people think that they can only change the world if they forego making money. I actually held onto this belief myself for many years, as seen through my many years of volunteerism in developing countries. My ideas on this have somewhat changed recently.
Role Models Who Have Made a Difference With Little or No Money
I admit that there have been several examples in history of people who have been able to change the world without caring so much about money. Think of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Gandhi for instance who both lived poorly in India but have impacted the lives of millions of people. While these people are great role models, I think that for the majority of people today who have families or who have daily financial responsibilities, it may not be possible for them to give up good pay.
Practical Life Challenges for Aspiring Social Entrepreneurs
I think it’s important to support yourself and your family. I think that survival is a basic instinct for human beings, and we must at least reach a level of material comfort for ourselves before we can fully devote our time and energy to other worthwhile causes, such as changing the world, without having to worry about money. See Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs for more information on the path to self-actualization.
Nevertheless, many people “sell out” entirely. They settle for making money ONLY. They give up on their dreams in order to make a living, and they give those dreams up indefinitely, which is a pure waste, in my opinion.
Balancing Making Money and Social Impact
If you don’t want to give up making an impact in the world, and you also don’t want to give up making a good living for yourself and your family, you can choose a vocation or a mission that grows both your financial wellbeing and your contribution in the world. That’s why I view social entrepreneurship as very important and more relevant to the majority of people.
It could be the right pathway for you and exactly what you were looking for.