I’m Illana Burk, CEO of Your Life’s Workshop, coach to entrepreneurs and solopreneurs across dozens of industries and host of Good Business. With nearly 20 years experience helping hundreds of clients create profitable, ethically driven and sustainable businesses based on their life’s work, I’m here to teach you how to do great work, make great money, and make a positive impact without feeling like you need a shower afterwards.
Hi everybody. Today’s episode is less of a lesson than recent episodes. Instead, I want to really make a case for a topic that I want to talk a lot more about in the future, and that is impact. So essentially, today, I want to make you care about impact. Nothing more. I pay close attention to business news. I’m a nerd like that, but I don’t pay attention for the same reason as most. I pay attention not to watch the stock market or wag my finger at another CEO’s stupid golden parachute. I pay attention because to change the way business impacts the world, we have to learn how to not make the same stupid shortsighted mistakes as the big boys.
If we want to be different, first we have to learn how to not all be the same. See, business is pretty straight forward on its surface. You make a thing; you sell a thing; you make money. Repeat. Attempting to make it as cheaply as possible and selling it for as much as you can is just good business, right? Yup, totally right. That is good business, but is it good humaning? See I read the Harvard Business Review and the Wall Street Journal because I want to see what big business does so that I can do it differently and thereby teach you how to do things differently and there is no area of business where the stakes are higher or where I endeavor to make a change, more than in the area of impact.
Here are the basics. If you’re going to lament about not paying attention to something sooner, figure it out now. If you’re going to have to apologize for something that your business does down the line, don’t fucking do it. If you want to have a positive impact on anything, you have to know what the inversely negative effect will be because there will be one, and you will have to know if you and your stakeholders can live with it, mitigate it, or disregard it. Those are the basics of impact.
What would our culture look like if beauty companies paid attention to the emotional harm their marketing does on the very population they’re selling to? What would the planet look like if Henry Ford had the forethought to develop an engine that didn’t run on oil? How many kids would be alive today if we never put lead in paint and water pipes? All of those choices were made because of new deal economics, which state that shareholder return is the primary responsibility of business leadership and the primary function of any business. And to that, I say, “Fuuuuuck Thaaaat.”
That’s how we got cubicles and time clocks and how we have all crushed the middle class. If you’re reading this, you might like to reestablish that middle-class because you’re probably part of it. But that level of impact no longer comes from the top. It comes from us. We are the next generation of business ownership, and if we do everything in the same ways as those before us, we end up in the same place, only we’re at the top. Look at baby boomers. Seriously, you guys, what happened to the revolutionaries? Oh, right. They run everything and have all the money now. No, thank you.
So what does that have to do with starting and running your little micro business? Well, I bet Tim Ferris started life hacking and had no clue of the impact his business would one day have. I’m pretty certain that when Marie Forleo was still hocking fitness videos and life coaching, that she had no idea she would wind up making millions and affecting the lives of thousands, maybe more. They were microbusinesses once. At this moment, right now, listening to this, this could be part of your founder’s story. The decisions you make right now will become the bedrock you build off of. Who knows where that’s going to take you.
So again, don’t fuck it up. Okay? We need you. Pay attention to your impact. We need more people to care. Please care. Please, please care. Please care. Can I ask you to carry it? Please care. We’ve got to do stuff differently, you guys. Otherwise, we’re just a bunch of CEOs 20 years from now that have the same fucking problems and are grinding the next couple of generations into dying for entrepreneurship because their souls have been crushed by us.
We have to do it differently. We have to stop creating shame. We have to care about the impact that we have. We have to stop making people feel like they have to cut their rates to work with us. We have to stop paying bottom dollar. We have to stop hiring the lowest bidder. We have to support each other, and we have to care about our impact. Thank you for caring enough to listen to me rant today. I very much appreciate it, and I very much hope that it made an impact. See what I did there? All right, everybody. See you all next time. Have a great day. Bye.
Thanks so much for hanging out with me today. For more information, visit www.thegood business.co or www.yourlifesworkshop.com.
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