The risks and rewards of becoming a social entrepreneur

What is a social entrepreneur?

A social entrepreneur is a person who establishes an enterprise with the aim of solving social problems or effecting social change.

What is a social enterprise?

A social enterprise is an organization that applies business strategies to maximize improvements in human and environmental well-being—this may include maximizing social impact alongside profits for external shareholders.

Why I started my social enterprise, Karmabitez

I started Karmabitez as a way utilize my degree in business marketing in a way that compliments my hyper-altruistic personality. To create a voice for myself and others who care about the same social causes as I do. It was challenging to be myself in a competitive corporate setting where it was impossible to avoid overstepping others to get ahead. It's not in my nature to do so and I felt like I couldn't thrive in a typical corporate setting.

My background, my experiences and what motivated me to become a social entrepreneur

After finishing my business marketing degree, I worked in the corporate world for 3 years before embarking on my entrepreneurial journey. Like many, I took the path of working at a multi-national company with great perks and impeccable "perceived" opportunities for growth. Yes, the perks were great. Yes, the free industry parties were great. But there was always something missing. I always felt unfulfilled. Always daydreaming about working in the health and wellness industry, doing something I'm passionate about and surrounding myself with like-minded individuals. Most days, I felt out of place and preoccupied with thoughts of doing something I loved.

That's when I knew I had to make a change. To do something that was in line with my moral values. Putting this as a priority (including financial security), using it as my life compass. A couple months down the road, the idea of Karmabitez was born. An idea that encompasses a collection of all my passions, skills and experiences. 

At this point, I knew I was on the right track. Starting something new is exciting. But it comes with lots of hurdles to overcome. A huge hurdle I found was insecurity in three different areas of my life:

Risks of being a social entrepreneur

Lack of support from close family and friends.

1) Expect push back from friends and family. They may have good intentions, wanting what's good for you. But only you know what's best for yourself. 

Financial insecurity.

2) Time and financial investments are inevitable as a start-up. Set the right expectations for yourself and know where to set the limit. Be realistic and reasonable with yourself. 

Self-Doubts.

3) Feelings of self-doubt and questioning whether this is the right thing to do is common. Especially going against competitors that have less to worry about than profits and gains. 

With these feelings of insecurities, I often remind myself of why I made the decision to do this. The purpose behind my social enterprise and what my end goal is. Insecurities are real. But so are the rewards that come with it. 

Rewards of being a social entrepreneur

Be amongst like-minded people.

1) Meet amazing people and be inspired every day by other social entrepreneurs who are on the same path as you. Learn and aspire from those have trodden longer on the path. A great way to do this is to join communities like EHF where everyone has their own unique but similar story as yours.

Take ownership.

2) You are solely responsible for your successes and failures. The work you put in is equivalent to what you get back. Every action and step you take will see immediate response. 

Cultivating your own culture.

3) To create a culture of your own. Cultivating an environment conducive to your life, to attract and collaborate with people who are aligned with your values. 

The road to entrepreneurship is not easy. It's definitely not for the faint-hearted. 

But if you've had the slightest itch of becoming one. Don't shy away from it. Don't bury and keep it enclosed in a locked box. Because you'll never know what treasures you'll find in it. 

I hope I've inspired you to be courageous and making it a priority to do something meaningful every single day of your life.

I'd like to end off with a quote from one of my most admired human beings on earth.

Being the richest man in the cemetery doesn't matter to me. Going to bed at night saying we've done something wonderful, that's what matters to me.

- Steve Jobs


Learn more about Jollia (instagram@jollia.karmabitez) and her passion project turned social enterprise, Karmabitez (instagram@karmabitezyvr). See what they're doing to rescue juice pulp from local businesses in Vancouver.