Are You an Ecopreneur?

andreaharvest-721.jpgA nation of 9-5-ers is giving way to a spirited movement of innovators, searching for ways to make a life filled with purpose and meaning, instead of simply earning a living. And they’re thriving in the place-based “honey bee economy” that restores, preserves and conserves the planet.

From an enterprising individual operating a small retail business to an inventor who comes up with a better way to fuel our vehicles, from the founder of a non-profit organization to the organic grower who feeds our local community, just about anyone can be an ecopreneur and run a green business.

Are you one? See how many questions you answer affirmatively below.

  • Are you more interested in what you do and with whom you work than how much you make?
  • Does community, environmental and social issues drive what you focus on with respect to your livelihood or volunteer time?
  • Do you view your experiences, growing and diverse knowledge base and unique skills sets as the primary value you can offer clients, customers or workplace?
  • Do you think the late Nobel Laureate economist Milton Friedman ate too many Big Macs after he argued — much to the chagrin of the massive multinational corporations and millionaire politicians — that “the only social responsibility of business is to make profits”?

  • Do you focus your life pursuits on helping others or restoring, enhancing or preserving the environment?
  • Are you more concerned about achieving balance in your life, seeking quality of life that doesn’t adversely impact the Earth or exploit people?
  • Do you readily try new ideas, explore new ways of doing things or adopt new practices or use new products or services that reflect your values?
  • Are you mindfully aware of your direct and indirect impacts on life on Earth, and accept responsibility that results in you being actively engaged as a steward of limited resources for the benefit of all life, not just for the present generations but for future generations as well?
  • Is work a reflection of your passions and values, deeply fulfilling and providing meaning and purpose, or merely only the focus for paying the bills, building personal wealth and funding your retirement?

If you answered “yes” to one or more of the questions above, then welcome to the ecopreneurial movement that is changing the world for the better.

Everyone can follow their dreams. Everyone has them. No more specialized training is needed than what you’ve already experienced up to now. As explored in ECOpreneuring, a change of perspective, a new approach to money and wealth and the necessary hard-thinking work of pruning your passions and forming your Earth Mission, your life purpose and business plan, are the necessary ingredients.

This is the first of many blogs that will touch on the many aspects that define ecopreneurial enterprises and the ecopreneurs who guide them. I hope to learn more about your approach to ecopreneurship, since diversity is both the foundation of the “honey bee economy” and the Earth’s ecological systems on which we depend.

Related to this, within the next week, Lisa Kivirst and I will be collaborating with another organization to provide a web portal to share your approach to ecopreneurship, learn about other enterprising ecopreneurs, seek funding support, and network with other green businesses.

About the Author

John Ivanko, with his wife Lisa Kivirist, is the co-author of ECOpreneuring, Rural Renaissance and Edible Earth, innkeeper of the award-winning Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast, national speaker, freelance writer, and copartner in a marketing consulting company. Ivanko is also an award-winning photographer and author or co-author of numerous books, including the award-winning children's photobooks, To Be a Kid, To Be an Artist, Be My Neighbor and Animal Friends, which help support the Global Fund for Children Books. He's contributed to Natural Home, E/The Environmental Magazine, Mother Earth News, Hobby Farms and Wisconsin Trails, among many others. Former advertising agency fast-trackers, the husband and wife duo are nationally recognized for their contemporary approach to ecopreneurship, homesteading, conservation and more sustainable living. Based in Browntown, Wisconsin, they share their farm and Inn Serendipity Bed & Breakfast with their son, a 10kW Bergey wind turbine, and millions of ladybugs.
  • I’ve been wondering how I can change careers and become involved in the movement as a professional, not just a consumer. I have two babies so going back to school would be tough at the moment. Know of any places I might be able to get my foot in the door or anything I might want to look into in particular? Currently I am a loan officer and a part-time massage therapist, and I’m working on a natural health website. any input is greatly appreciated!

  • Sounds like you’re unearthing what my wife and I call your “Earth Mission”. It’s a lot tougher than getting a job or, even, making money. Few schools, especially business schools, devote much to cultivating our core as human being. And many large companies, like Dow chemical (makers of Agent Orange) like to tout their “Human element” (Hu) in their ads.

    You have lots of connected enterprises, linked by your concern and interest in helping enhance the well-being of people. Our next blog post addresses owning a diversified portfolio of enterprises, rather than just one.

  • FINALLY! People are starting to wake up! This is a fabulous website! Thank you, thank you, thank you! Please keep the news coming for us Ecopreneurs!

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  • Well done!

    Can you direct me to the best location for advice
    on a startup business in Maine we’re looking at..
    a Green Tennis/Health business with LEED certified
    building material, and a natural clay court surface
    that’s non-carcinogenic…we’ll be creating a wholistic
    approach to tennis and well being, with healthy
    alternatives to the traditional snack fare as well..

    A very simple, safe alternative to the traditional
    “meat markets” of the current lines of small health
    businesses…no pun intended….

    Thanks for your direction!

    James T. McGarry, EcoPreneur

  • What a great article…and fabulous website!

    Here’s my GREEN idea: I’m working on the development of a local on-line green community by Houstonians, for Houstonians. My goal is to keep it PROFIT-FREE as to maintain the site’s integrity and authenticity. The purpose of it is to provide a place where people can exchange ideas, interests, knowledge and expertise for going, being and living GREEN. My current efforts are recruiting small, local GREEN business owners to join the site so that they can share provide expertise and passion about their contribution to the community (their products and/or services).

    It’s a BIG OL’ GREEN DREAM but I believe in it!

    I welcome your suggestions and comments.

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  • I always enjoy reading spot on articles by an author who is definately up to snuff on their chosen subject. I’ll be watching this post with great interest. Keep up the great work, till next time

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  • We are ticking all the boxes at Eco Kids. We would love to here what you think of our business. Good luck, health and happiness to all you ecopreneurs.

  • The “Earth Mission” link is broken and I would like to know what that is. =)