Doing Business With Heart

As passionate entrepreneurs who love what we do, we put our hearts into serving our clients and building our businesses every day. But what does it mean to run a heart-centered business, and how can we make a profit doing it?

At Any Old Task, we know our clients as people, not just our clients. We value our relationships, always keep their interests close to our hearts and make every effort to help them find the best solutions for their businesses (even if they don’t end up hiring us). We help our clients uncover their struggles, opportunities, and challenges so we can work together to find and implement solutions.Working together, truly serving someone, making a meaningful impact on their business and having them say, “I couldn’t have done it without you!” at the end of the project makes me soar. I love what I do and the people I serve, and several of my clients and fellow colleagues share our values.

That’s when I started wondering how many people outside my circle had the same perspective, and it turns out there’s an entire philosophy called heart-centered entrepreneurship that has attracted more and more attention in the past few years, and for good reason: we all want to feel great about how we choose to live our lives, provide services that change the lives of our clients, and be inspired and excited to wake up and come into work every day.

I’ve had a number of conversations with clients and colleagues about this recently, and discovered something interesting: we all had varying degrees of awareness about what a heart-centered entrepreneur is, and we were all eager to learn more, whether we want to become one, join an active community or satisfy our curiosity.

So here goes. For this article, we’ve interviewed three amazing women entrepreneurs to cover a diverse range of perspectives on heart-centered entrepreneurship:

Have a read and let us know what you think in the comments!

Defining Heart-Centered Entrepreneurship

To identify where we are on the spectrum of heart-centered entrepreneurship, we first need to understand it.

“Heart-centered entrepreneurship means running every part of your business (and your life) in alignment with your core values,” said Anna Frandsen, a business mentor and coach who helps women entrepreneurs turn their heart-centered passion into a thriving business. She also runs the 2,600+ member Facebook community The Heart-Centered Entrepreneur.

Day to day, that means making sure we’re clear on our core values and that we integrate them into every aspect of our business, from the content we create to our core offers and team members.

She said her goal is to not just develop business owners but also leaders, and that she wants her clients to “stand out in the industry as influencers. I want them to not just make an income and live a comfortable life, but stand up for what they believe in and invest in making the world a better place.”

But, she says, there’s a disconnect in that often the women with the most potential also have the biggest roadblocks to launching and building a business with success. Frandsen turns those challenges into opportunities for the women entrepreneurs in her community to connect through social media by sharing their stories with the hashtag #heartcenteredproblems, discussing everything from Imposter Syndrome to pricing issues, perfectionism and more.

“I work with my clients to help them boldly face and overcome [their problems] because I truly believe the world is a better place with heart-centered businesses thriving in it,” said Frandsen.

As for how she integrates a heart-centered approach into her practice, she makes sure she gives and receives equally in her business – “that I have an abundant, generous mindset and am empowering my clients and community. That I am delivering no-strings attached value to my community and over-delivering with my one-to-one clients.”

The Key to Staying Profitable: Learning How to Give and Receive

“On the other hand, in order to keep my business doors open and keep serving in a way that fully brings my best to the table, I have to be willing to receive in my business,” said Frandsen. “As this pertains to income, this doesn’t just mean receiving money when someone asks about my service but also being willing to sell…and when you believe in what you have to offer, and you are certain of the impact and value it brings, it is so much easier to sell.”

From the perspective of copywriter Tarzan Kay, running a heart-centered business is the only way to operate if we want to be profitable.

“I’m in business because I want to feel good and do work that I love…when I think about heart-centered entrepreneurship, I don’t know any entrepreneur that isn’t working from their heart,” said Tarzan, adding, “That’s really the definition of being an entrepreneur is following your passion…we want to come home at the end of a work day with a smile and to feel good and to give back to our families.”

To sustain and thrive in challenging times, we need to remember to push ourselves to conquer new heights. “Being in business is hard. You get challenged every day. You have to take big risks. If you’re heart’s not in it, it won’t last.”

She also balances generosity in business with keeping her schedule open for the projects, opportunities and relationships that best fit her. In September 2016, she attended the Archangel Summit and spent the day learning from accomplished, world famous entrepreneurs with household names, connecting with fellow attendees over lunch and striking up conversations that have resulted in lasting business relationships.

On a daily basis, she often gives back by giving valuable referrals to other copywriters and clients, or donating money when she can.

“When I refer a client, I’m also reaffirming to myself that another client will come that’s better suited (to me). It’s an affirmation that future abundance is on its way to me.”

Tarzan has worked hard to establish a powerful mindset and pricing strategy that reinforces her worth. In 2016, she hit her first 5-figure sales week writing web and email copy and launching campaigns for clients.

But she didn’t get there without doing some serious internal work.

Her drive for profit and her passion for doing meaningful work “are inseparable.  It’s about offering something that’s really powerful and putting a price tag on what it’s actually worth. That is part of doing meaningful work, otherwise you’re giving everything away. You’ll end up depleted and not able to do the magical work you do,” she said, adding that achieving and maintaining the mindset that fuels both profit and passion “requires so much deep soul work.”

To achieve our earning potential, we must first work through our self-limiting beliefs and “find a price point that you’re comfortable with and slightly uncomfortable at the same time.”

Finding the Right Clients

Both Frandsen and Tarzan said their perspectives and beliefs shape the types of clients they work with.

“I think my view on ethics and my own personal beliefs in addition to how I operate, definitely shape the kind of clients that are attracted to work with me,” said Frandsen, who advises business owners to be consistent and clear in their messaging so clients who do choose to work with them aren’t surprised.

“Because of this, I think I do “choose” my clients but just by not hiding who I am. Once a client is working with me, I encourage them to get clear on what they stand for and empower them to let that drive their business mission and decisions.”

Thoughts from the Other Side…

As a trainer-facilitator in social impact education, Vanessa Faloye builds on her experience at two social startups to design and deliver social impact education programs to teach people about social enterprise. She is also an online editor for social entrepreneurship blog WHATAMISSION and holds a Post-Graduate Certificate in Social Enterprise Education at The Do School in Berlin, Germany.

She places herself firmly on the other end of the spectrum, describing her stance as “critical” of the term ‘heart-centered entrepreneur’ because “it creates these silos people want to fit in…and from there it creates this marketing grab where companies start greenwashing and social washing, which really frustrates me,” she said, adding, “I’m cautious of the term because I think it creates boxes for people to put themselves in.”

Though Faloye has been an active social startup co-founder and has spent time in Napal working with a disability rights organization and in Nicargua on natural resource management issues, she said she doesn’t see herself as a heart-centered entrepreneur, “because at nature, …I feel I’m much more militant and unforgiving than a warm-blooded entrepreneur…I’m 100% on a mission. I’m way too grounded and way to ‘A to B’. I’m trying to get somewhere, even if it’s 0.1% of steering the world in a different direction.”

Heart-centered entrepreneurship “speaks to me more about the relationships you have with your customers rather than the enterprise itself. I could definitely see a heart-centered entrepreneur as a consultant who does not have a social mission inherently built in. It’s more about the relationship than the actual mission or objective itself for me.”

She contends that while the ability for organizations to self-identify as ‘heart-centered’, ‘social enterprise’ or other terms is important, and that the social good performed as a result is a positive aspect, “I worry about the silo effect.”

“In my mind, social enterprise is more specific in that there’s to some extent a categorization of what social good is,” she said, mentioning that the Triple Bottom Line: People, Planet, Profit philosophy of the co-operative and social enterprise movements provide guidance to organizations who identify as such.

She said it’s important to ask, “Are we really understanding the problems we’re solving? If you want to empower your beneficiaries, your beneficiaries should be part of your social enterprise.”

Today’s social, economic and environmental challenges require us to tune into one another with empathy and understanding, and to put our capacity for creative problem solving to work.

“It’s that empathy and understanding (that allows us to see) where people are coming from.”

“I’d be really interested to see where heart-centered enterprise goes…If it’s a definition that’s coming into being…I hope to understand it more because I wonder if it speaks to that kind of, ‘let’s get back to being human, back to being empathetic and thinking with our feelings.’”

Faloye hopes for an era in which ‘enterprise’ won’t be compartmentalized into categories, and that entrepreneurs and founders of organizations will by default look to be self-sustaining and contribute meaningfully to the world around them.

“Eventually an enterprise should be that,” said Faloye. “Especially now in these times, there shouldn’t be enterprise, social enterprise and heart-centered enterprise. Hopefully we’re moving to a time where enterprise is socially and financially and environmentally sustainable. Enterprise is enterprise. Why the hell wasn’t it in the first place? Whose idea was that?”

Meet your host

Sandra Booker, Founder of Changemaker Inc. (home to Sidekick COO and The VA Studio) and creator of Scale Society and The Advisory Board, is a mentor, Fractional COO  and growth strategist. She specializes in helping overworked, overwhelmed, multi-hatted entrepreneurs become the CEOs of sustainably scalable, and powerfully profitable businesses. 

After helping local businesses thrive, and receiving accolades in her community (like the 40 Under 40 award) Sandra turned her attention to the world of online service providers, and her clients include familiar names like Chanti Zak, Tarzan Kay, and Laura Belgray.

In her (efficiently used) spare time, she teaches others how to build and grow their own 6-figure virtual assistant practices and is on a mission to create a million jobs by helping her clients and students scale their businesses.

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