Friday, September 6, 2013

Going From Lean Man to Green Man: Can A Freelancer Go B-Corp?

Badger Balm provides not only natural,
but also ethical products.
It's hip to be green, right? 

With more and more businesses around the world joining the ranks of the B-Corps, the future of for-profit environmentally sustainable and socially responsible businesses is looking brighter and brighter. But what about the little guys - like me? 

There are millions of freelancers, sole traders, artists, writers, designers, journalists, and IT professionals around the world who aren't part of a company. They are just themselves. What can they/we do to make a difference?

In my other life, I work in a health store. while all our products are natural and contain botanically-sourced ingredients, that doesn't necessarily mean that all the companies that manufacture the various products we stock are sustainable or responsible.

Recently, however, one company did stand out to me. 

Badger Balm is an American company that produces natural balms and ointments. It has become famous around the world for the quality of their products, as well as for their mission and principles

I'd never really paid them much attention, but the other day after a conversation with a customer about Badger Balm, I decided to go online and see their website. I was impressed. Their integrity, what they do for their employees as well as their customers, was astounding. They give money to charities, give their employees paid lunch breaks, and even have community workshops you can attend by giving a donation. 

No wonder they are in the top 10% of B-Cop businesses around the world. 

So I thought, right. I want to be like them. 

I may not have employees I can spoil with health insurance or free workshops, but I do have a computer, freelance skills, and a buttload of determination. 

So here's the plan.

I have turned down a recent offer on a project that would have earned me $2000 USD. For writers, that's good dosh. Don't get me wrong, I need the money, badly. But I really have to search my soul during projects like this one. The sort of project that demeans your skill as a professional, that make you feel like a dirty, ghostwriting SEO writer, formulating articles not on the basis of good content, but to maximize Google search hits. 

  • I am going to earn the same amount of money ($2000 USD) in 8 weeks;
  • I will only write articles that teach, inspire, empower, and free readers;
  • I will work by the the ethos that earning money by doing what you love can and will result in both personal and public healing;
  • 10% of all my before-tax earnings will be donated to selected charities;
  • At least 5 articles will be given away for free to local community-based publications in my area;
  • If I don't love it, I won't do it;
  • I will take the opportunity to both eco-friendly my office, my house and my life.
So here, I go, wish me luck. 

I have 8 weeks to get there. 

Who knows, maybe at the end of all this, I can even make my freelance writing business B-Corp certified.

If I make it, not only will I be able to pay off my credit card (following my expensive midwinter wedding), but I will finally be able to put to rest the age-old question: can you really make money by being a complete idealist, a dreamer, and a fool? 

Let's hope so. 

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