To be honest, before participating at Startup Weekend, the only reason I believed anyone started a business was to either make a good living or to gain recognition or celebrity. But there is another reason to start a business: to change the world.
I’ll bet many of the businesses we love today were started with the mission to change the world in some way. Perhaps how we see computers, like Apple. Or how we socially connect, like FaceBook. Or how everyone can have access to great domestic design, like Target. My goodness, how I love Target.
And there are a ton of social entrepreneurship ideas out there as well, gaining momentum, targeting missions for social change in a new and exciting way.
People have great ideas for businesses every day. But most of us do not pursue the idea. Many of us say it is because we think the financial risk is too great. But MAYBE the motivation of money or recognition is not tasty enough. They are not the rewards many of us are truly searching. Maybe, if we consider changing the world as a motivator, embarking on a great idea would seem more fun, less frightening. At least for some of us!
The saddest part for me of leaving iTipArtists was realizing that I would not be part of adding a new way for artists to connect to their audience. I felt that with this idea, I had just found my motivation, and I wasn’t frightened anymore of the financial risks. But the emotional risks were too high for me.
The concept of starting a business to change the world does make me consider trying a startup again.
Or, it makes me think that when I do enter the salaried world of work again, I will look for a company with a “change the world” mission specifically.
As a side note, before starting my family, the engineering job in which I have the best memories was for a “change the world” organization. I can say now why I liked working there so much. It wasn’t so much the non-profit-ness of it. It was that the mission made the place special.
Anyway, we all know that motivation is a tricky subject. But after all the time and effort wondering why money and status did not make me want to work harder, it is a gem to find at least one idea that works.