I started my first business when I was 16, it was a small landscaping business but it was successful enough that I earned as much as a college graduate working 2 days a week. My second business was in my mid-twenties where I started a state of the art sustainable farm and started growing vegetables, that’s when I hit a snag. The business was rocky and it created the most anxiety prone years I have had in my life so far. I felt lost, without support, constantly trying to dig myself out a ditch. I wished for a community of people that could understand my pain, that I could belong to, that I could learn from.
That is why I started Voice of The Entrepreneur, to give entrepreneurs a community and resource they can turn to when they feel like they are in the ditch. So that they can do more, have more and be more in every facet of their business and career. That means more satisfaction running your business , more money in the bank account, better relationships and the confidence of knowing that you are living the life that YOU want.
If you’re ready, I invite you to check out our blog and podcast. You’ll learn from entrepreneurs from all walks of life just like yourself who have taken their business, relationships and lives to the next level.
As I was thinking about the message I want to spread through the Voice of the Entrepreneur I thought about what is it that I believe in, perhaps even deeper than that the question I was asking is who am I at the core. Then I realized that most businesses that I ever got into, I got into them because I believed in the cause that that business would stand behind. The most recent business I had was a sustainable farm that used one of the most greenest agriculture technology. The reason I went into this line was because I saw a problem with how our food system works how broken it is and how much we waste and pollute our earth just by providing for our most basic need. I wanted to change that, I wanted to get into a business that took upon itself to be part of the solution, to create opportunities so that we could steer away from what is not working to something that is. That was my cause.
Another thing that I realized was that I was searching for a purpose in anything before I started it. Even though I might not have been able to put it in words but I realized that I was very conscious of my purpose in all my businesses. So for example in my last business I was conscious of the purpose my business served and that was to develop and improve a technology that grew crops using a fraction of the water than traditional agriculture. My purpose was to shift the paradigm in agriculture from what is generally not sustainable to something that works more harmoniously with the natural world. Lofty purpose but that is why I got into that business.
And the other important think that became clear to me was that I was never about was the pursuit of making money and material gains. And I don’t say that to be righteous I say that because that to me became the defining factor what I call the consciouspreneur mindset. Money is considered as a byproduct of what we do and the not the motivator for it.
So as I got more clear in this message of what it means to be a consciouspreneur I came up with what I like to call the consciouspreneur manifesto. Which is divided into 2 foundational elements and 3 pillars.
Foundation 1 Driven by Cause: A consciouspreneur is an entrepreneur that is first and foremost driven by a cause. you believe that there is a certain injustice in the world a problem that must be solved and you have become the champion of that cause. You feel so strongly about this cause that you are willing to risk a lot in your life to carry the stewardship of this cause.
Foundation 2 Conscious of Purpose: A consciouspreneur is very conscious of the purpose they and their business serves, they are very protective of the footprint that their business activities have on their local and global communities. Their motivation comes form the deep understanding that their purpose is to serve a greater good that is much bigger than their personal interest.
The 3 pillars:
Number 1 Consciouspreneur Bring Change: By the virtue of who a consciouspreneur is they bring change in society. The work they do creates a positive impact for the people they serve and through that servitude they create ripple effect that lead to a larger change which over time grows way beyond just the individual or their immediate community.
Number 2 Consciouspreneurs Build People: With the business they run consciouspreneur almost always have a mission to build other people. As they progress in their journey they become more and more capable of helping others succeed. They believe in passing the torch and they do that by investing in people that they see have those similar attributes.
Number 3 Consciouspreneur Serve Others: This one ties all of them together. Consciouspreneurs acknowledge that their greatest joy comes from serving others. Without bias Consciouspreneurs remain steadfast in servitude. Almost always service is intricately tied into their cause and it may be one of the major pieces that gives their cause a meaning.
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I am, Ahmed Aibak, former engineer turned online and offline entrepreneur. After getting a Master in Engineering I worked the corporate ladder for a few years; working long hours, without passion or a sense of purpose I found myself marching to the beat of someone else’s drum. I was disillusioned and I wanted more from my life but being in a “comfortable” place I wasn’t ready to make a change. Little did I know that change would be imposed on me and that I would be left with no choice but to seek a different path. One fine morning without warning I came to my cubicle to a letter headlined, “Notice of Termination.” No explanation, no support just words that made me instantly expendable without warning. Not that a warning would have made things any better.
I found myself marching to the beat of someone else’s drum.
I was lost and felt that all the years of hard work in school amounted to nothing, I could not find another job for months and the pressure of a massive student loan loomed over my head constantly. I felt desperate and started seeing myself as a major failure.
That’s when I started my own brick and mortars type business. It was a revolutionary concept and I was the first one to do it in my region. I thought I was going to be an overnight success. But that didn’t happen. I ran the business for over two years faced tremendous challenges, lots of ups and downs. To say I was married to the business is to underestimate my time commitment to it. I didn’t take a weekend off let alone a vacation for over two years! Even with all the hard work I was desperately trying to stay afloat, I decided it was time to sell. Fortunately, I was able to find buyers to take over the business but I came out with more debt than I went in with.
I realized that in order for me to have true freedom it wasn’t enough to just have money and control over my time but also have meaning and purpose in the work I did.
That’s How VOE came to beVoice of the Entrepreneur
Today, I run my own online business and am living a life of meaning, purpose and service.
I work where I choose, when I choose, and I have the privilege to select the people that I want to work with. The skills that I have learned has allowed me to even revive my old business and bring it online. I manage two separate companies and am that much closer to creating my life of true freedom. Voice of the Entrepreneur, VOE – Be Heard
I believe in living authentically and with passion, I think living a life of service is the greatest opportunity one can have. My dream is to create a business deeply rooted in these principles. I am excited for what the journey has in store for me and everyone I have the privilege to work with.