Dear Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs, Stop Building Your Brand Alone

Have you ever felt like you were on this journey alone? Here's how you can get out of your own way and empower collaboration in your mission-driven organization.

Dear Purpose-Driven Entrepreneurs, Stop Building Your Brand Alone
Photo by Noah Silliman / Unsplash

The modern entrepreneur is a special breed.

We’re determined; we have a let's-figure-it-out attitude; we’re willing to do what it takes to create success, and at the core of it all, we genuinely care about the world.

These traits are especially valuable.

I mean, think about all we need to consider as entrepreneurs: our administrative needs, team & culture building, branding, digital infrastructure, sales, marketing, content, automation systems, community building. The list goes on and on.

And these skills aren't taught in school. But our big hearts and determination guide us forward to learn, discover, and create a new path.

I am sincerely inspired by the enthusiasm this generation of purpose-driven entrepreneurs exhibit.

But, somewhere along my purpose-driven journey, I got lost in my work.

I was putting in 16-hour days, and the to-do lists were still a mile long. I found myself on a hamster wheel. My mission work seemed more important than meaningful relationships, health, and creative expression. (Fun fact, music is an integral part of my life).

My identity became my work. And because of this approach, I was never satisfied. I never got enough done in a day, and I ran myself into the ground.

My cup was empty; I felt alone, and, frankly, my sense of purpose dissolved.

As a culture, we don't talk a lot about the challenging times we experience as entrepreneurs. But I'm taking a moment to recognize this because it taught me something essential.

Upon reflection, I discovered two contributing factors that had me spiraling out of control:

1) I believed I needed to sacrifice myself in the name of my mission.

2) I believed being a successful entrepreneur meant hustling, grinding, and overextending myself.

But, it's easy to understand that mission work stems from a feeling of contribution and service.

How can I contribute when my cup is empty?

And when you marry this sacrificial tendency with the hustle-grind culture of entrepreneurialism, it’s a toxic formula.

Despite working 16 hour days, I felt like I wasn't achieving. This transformed into a feeling of disappointment with myself, and my purpose-driven approach to work became sort of a force of punishment.

I was pushing myself to do things I didn’t enjoy doing. I lost a sense of the tasks that brought me life, and I lost touch with how I felt inspired to contribute to my community.

It felt like I was in this alone.

Have you ever felt like this on your journey?

If so, I'd like to remind you that millions of purpose-driven entrepreneurs are just like you. And it's time we band together and empower our approach to collaboration.

So, here are 5 steps to get out of your own way and welcome collaboration into your mission:

1: Let go of control –

The Creative Forces of the universe want you to succeed in your vision as desperately as you do.

Read that again.

It's easy to view the world as against you, but it takes courage to see the opportunity of every situation.

Let go and get out of the survival and competitive state. You are a creative being with an intention to expand a meaningful impact. Take deep breaths and start acknowledging that every experience is guiding you towards your highest good.

As organizational leaders, we need to do the self-work. We can only ever take an organization as far as we've taken ourselves.

So, let's get out of our own way and ask ourselves:

"What do I believe in that is bigger than myself?"

There is no correct answer here.

I promise that releasing control of your vision will elevate you to a different perspective. You will experience less worry, less distraction, less dissatisfaction, and more acceptance, grace, focus, and, dare I say- miracles.

It's time to surrender.

2: Express Your Vision LOUDER –

As leaders, one of our jobs is to express our vision with passion, authenticity, and clarity.

This sends up a bat signal of sorts. It's how aligned people discover us and begin exploring creative thoughts on what's possible together.

By nature, visions are constantly evolving. So, I would encourage you to set aside time every day to contemplate it- even if it's only 5 minutes.

If done with consistency, you'll notice a profound change in your clarity and ability to express your vision. Talk about it with your friends, colleagues, and network. Share what exciting things you’re working on, where your organization is going, the challenges you’re experiencing, the why behind it all...

It's time to empower your voice and share the good news. You never know who's listening and what ripple effect may follow.

3: Get Clear: where do you want to be spending your time? –

How much of your time is spent doing tasks that suck your energy?

How much more time would you like to spend doing things that bring you life?

Frankly, your highest value lives in the activities that feel energizing. So the more time we can free up for that, the better.

Don't get me wrong... on the entrepreneurial journey, sometimes there are things we have to do.

This could look like administrative work, creating content, filing taxes, or writing out contracts.

But, it's our responsibility to reclaim our attention.

Let me be clear: the objective is not to go straight to a life where you only do the tasks that bring you meaning. We can't just press fast forward and arrive at our destination.

We've got to do the work. You can start by taking baby steps. Break it down into something possible for you and view reclaiming your focus as a priority. There are people out there with similar values to you that love doing what you hate doing. Let's do what we can to attract them.

Which means we need to get clear on where we need help.

So, grab a journal and ask yourself:

What tasks bring me life?

What tasks drain me?

4: Learn to receive help –

It's incredible the number of entrepreneurs I see struggling to ask for help. There's something about it that feels vulnerable, and it's commonly associated with feelings of failure. This is a fallacy we've been programmed to believe.

The interesting thing about asking for help, in a general sense, is that help will show up. We must believe that this is true.

So, once we have clarity of what type of help we need, we can look for the opportunities that come our way. Pay attention. Be aware. Look for people who align with your values and are excited about the type of work you don't find fulfilling. Keep your heart open to the possibility of meeting them. And, in the business side of things, start carving out budgets to alleviate yourself from doing the things that don't empower you.

But as we learn to receive help, we’ve got to let go of control. When you do meet potential collaborators, listen to their perspectives and celebrate their ideas.

Of course, recruiters can be really helpful at a certain point in the process (and some recruiters are revolutionizing the industry), but the point here is that relationships are the core of collaboration.

5: View Collaboration as Relationships, NOT roles –

Let's talk about the difference between a relationship and a role:

Here's how the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines the two:

Relationship (n.) - the state of being related or interrelated

Role (n.) - a character assigned or assumed

Here's the deal, when we put people in a role, we are limiting them. We are putting them in a box and asking them to perform.

This is partially why up to 85% of working Americans feel run down or drained in their work environment.

When we limit people with a role, we are essentially telling them to be something. We are encouraging behavior through the lens of expectation and task fulfillment. This is a transaction. This is irresponsible and will undoubtedly result in a challenging culture.

The modern workplace seeks autonomy.

The highest value anyone can bring to your vision is through their own sense of empowered contribution.

So ask them: how are you inspired to contribute?

And then do your best to guide and empower that path for them. Provide real opportunities that excite them. Build a meaningful relationship with a foundation of love, respect, listening and care with every single person you collaborate with.

Otherwise, you're holding everyone back, including yourself (see step 1).

The whole point of this post is to remind you that you’re not intended to do this important work alone.

The future of the purpose-driven world is in robust, meaningful, and empowered collaboration. We can accomplish this in five steps:

1: Let go of control.

2: Express Your Vision LOUDER

3: Get Clear: where do you want to be spending your time?

4: Learn to receive help

5: View Collaboration as Relationships, NOT roles

But there’s one more piece that feels important.

BONUS: Quit taking your mission so damn personally –

You are so much more than your mission.

Your mission is a part of you, but it can't be the entire thing.

Carve out time in your week for yourself. Be sure to set boundaries for your work. How do you recharge? How do you fill your cup up? How are you organizing your time?

The more your needs are met, the more generous you can be with your mission.

Do you need some support?

We're cheering for you!  We invite you to join our Impact Entrepreneur community.

If you have questions about purpose-driven marketing or want help, check out our website.

Ultimately, we want to encourage you on your journey to working and marketing with a greater sense of purpose. We believe that if your mission thrives, we all do.