How to Leave Your Job & Volunteer Overseas in Vietnam: Interview with Hien Tran

In today’s episode of the Social Entrepreneurship Series, we talk with a good friend of mine, Hien Tran who’s an international volunteer from Australia but he’s volunteering in Hanoi, Vietnam.

He’s actually an economist that used to work at the Australian Government Treasury but left his job in order to support a smaller organization there with regards to their economic policies and to help out Vietnam in that way.

Now, why is it important to listen to this particular audio?

The reason is because I recently read an article which talked about how social entrepreneurs can develop their skills or aspiring social entrepreneurs can get involved and get active in 2013.

One of the ways that it sugested was to get yourself to volunteer.

In my experience and in Hien’s experience, volunteering is a great way for you to get exposed to and experience the world and to see the global issues out there: whether it’s economics in Hien’s experience.

If you volunteer for various nonprofit organizations, you’ll be able to engage and understand and experience some of the major problems out there, and perhaps, as you find those problems, you might be able to discover a new solution as you experience it volunteer.

Through volunteering, you might be able to come up with a new social entrepreneurial idea. In many cases, it might inspire you and motivate you and make you driven enough to build an organisation and take initiative.

New Year, New Direction – Social Entrepreneurship Series

In this episode of the Social Entrepreneurship Series, we talk about the new year, the new direction for the website and for the series.

We take a look at the past of and our insights into the past.

We also look into future and consider how we can change and improve to provide you more value with regards to Social Entrepreneurship.

Stay tuned!

photo by: ell brown

What the World Would Look Like If There Were No More Entrepreneurs

I came across a unique thought today:

What if there were no entrepreneurs in the world today? What would the world look like?

As I began thinking of an apocalyptic earth where entrepreneurs disappeared off the face of the planet, the very qualities of entrepreneurs began to go missing along with them too. This though experiment highlighted for me the value of entrepreneurs in modern society today.

So here are 3 features that I think would be in an entrepreneur-less world:

1. The World Would Be Boring

The very first thought that came into mind was that the world would be a dull and lifeless place. Sure we would exist, but I think a large part of the human experience is the process of creation. Humans love to create things, and entrepreneurship is all about creating new products and services as well as building businesses.

Entrepreneurs, like myself, LOVE to create. They are creative.

Not only that, entrepreneurs enjoy pushing the boundaries of what’s already in existence. They innovate and many entrepreneurs really do change the world with their inventions and ideas.

A world without entrepreneurs would be dead boring in my opinion.

2. The Economy Would NOT Function

On a more practical level too, I think that the entire global economy (and even local economies) are built upon entrepreneurs and their spirit. The economy relies on businesses, which create jobs and which give people opportunities to live a productive life.

However, businesses are started up by entrepreneurs, and new businesses are consistently required in any economy. As the world unceasingly changes, new opporunities to create meaningful and worthwhile businesses are formed, and entrepreneurs are required to take advantage of these opportunities.

Without entrepreneurs, I see a world where the current mode of economy is defunct. Capitalism relies on entrepreneurs who are the total epitome of today’s modern capitalist – people who use capital to invest it in worthwhile goods and services for a profit.

3. More of the World’s Problems Would Remain Unsolved

The very reason why entrepreneurs are able to generate a profit is because they do provide value. Entrepreneurs who do not provide economic value will fail.

The value that entrepreneurs provide can be found in the way that their business must solve some human problem, whether great or small. Human beings will always face some problems. Some problems are basic necessities of human existence such as the need for shelter, food, clothing. Other problems are not so fundamental but the perceived problem can be enough for a person to want to find a solution. These sort of problems could be the need to be entertained or the desire to have a better lifestyle.

I see entrepreneurs as essentially problem-solvers. Entrepreneurs provide value through the solutions that they come up with via their business.

In a world without entrepreneurs, I envision a world where there are more human problems that are left unsolved. More people will be frustrated, bored, annoyed, or struggling to survive because entrepreneurs have not been there to come up with an adequate solution to the problem.

What Do You Think Would be Missing in an Entrepreneur-Less World?

These are the big 3 things that I think would be missing in a world without entrepreneurs. It seems like a sad, grim picture. Share your thoughts about how the world would look without entrepreneurs. Would the world be better or worse?

photo by: mikelehen

Why Entrepreneurs Need Focus?

The past couple of weeks, I have been trying to be even more strategic about my business endeavors. The aspect that I am now really trying to improve with my entrepreneurial skills is my power of focus.

Why Entrepreneurs Need Focus

So I’ve been engaged in self-employed activities for about 2 years now. After that time, with more experience and having learned from a number of great entrepreneurial mentors, I’m now pushing more and more towards developing a business that can scale and work without me. There are limits to self employment, as the impact of my work and the value that I can give is limited by my personal time and energy.

Entrepreneurs, however, need to learn to think about the big picture, and to stop trading their direct hours for dollars as soon as possible.

This is what I have been focusing on for the past few weeks, and many other successful entrepreneurs agree with this.

I’m currently in Taiwan on a business trip, but before I left Australia, I met up with a close friend – who is also an entrepreneur. He had reinforced the need to focus as he had mentioned to me that he had stopped his previous business ventures in order to concentrate on just one.

Not only that, I recently read the book “Built to Sell” – a great book which really stresses the need for entrepreneurs to focus on only one idea at a time.

Why Entrepreneurs Struggle to Focus on Just 1 Thing At a Time

While my friend, and the Built to Sell book, emphasise the need to focus, I found it curious that I wasn’t really implementing it in my own life. I was trying to run multiple businesses, and continously came up with new start up ideas, as well as kept trying to find new business opportunities. Let me tell you now, this is a recipe for failure. None of your businesses will succeed if you are trying to startup 5 businesses at once, while testing out other new ideas too.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to stop pursuing new business opportunities. Stop trying to find new clients for older ventures that are not scalable. Now, I’m focusing my energies, time and skill into just one business idea that has the highest chance of success – in terms of value, profit, sustainability and scalability.

Are you an overwhelmed Entrepreneur?

Maybe you’ve got too many of your entrepreneurial eggs in different baskets. You’ve got yourself involved in too many things. Share how you feel and why you’re overwhelmed.

Maybe you just need to focus!

photo by: eschipul

Calling ALL Philippines Social Entrepreneurs & Social Enterprises

Hey all,

Suspended... [Photo by bingbing] (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Just a reminder that last week I announced that a friend and I are very keen to support Philippine social entrepreneurs and social enterprises through funding opportunities and other kinds of support online that are used for business development.

If you are a passionate person in the Philippines who wants to start up and build your own positive impact business or a nonprofit which has social goals or environmental goals to make a difference in the Philippines, then be sure to sign up to the subcriber list NOW!

I’m very happy that a number of people and organizations in the Philippines have signed up already! BUT we still want more interested persons to sign up.

Our aim is to get 1000 sign ups. If we achieve this target, then it will prove to us that the demand for this service is very strong and we will definitely create the online funding and support platforms for soc ents in the Philippines.

Sign up today for free!

We want to reach out and help you. We are driven and passionate to provide this service for business development, nonprofits and social enterprises in the Philippines that are making positive change in the community. I’m Filipino myself and I truly believe in the power of supporting people like you.

Matthew =)