How saying ‘yes’ can lead to your next big thing

It’s really quite simple. But the story is entrepreneurship gold.

25 year old Australian girl sees a cool opportunity on Escape The City, a popular career changer website for 20 & 30 something skilled professionals.

She applies for said opportunity.

She has one powerful conversation with someone about said opportunity. Is offered a place.

She doesn’t think twice: before she knows it, she’s taking 6 weeks out of her life as a creative artist and arts lecturer in Brisbane, to take on the role of Social Impact Consultant to develop the business model of a young social entrepreneur from a favela community in Rio de Janeiro.

Whilst there her ‘client’ Guillerme is interviewed for a national Brazillian newspaper, El Pais, and she designs and delivers several training workshops that mean his volunteers feel more empowered to deliver his mission – improving  youth literacy in favela communities through storytelling and Guillerme’s bicycle mobile library.

Whilst on the programme, the girl starts to develop an idea that could revolutionise and create a new culture back home in Australia. By the end of the programme she’s having conversations with prospective partners and designing viable revenue streams that mean she’s potentially created her own job, if nothing else, discovered more about the kind of work she’d like to do that is in alignment with her passions and values.

This is just one story and i’m proud to say off the back of the _SocialStarters Immersion Programme we’ve seen over 70 skilled volunteers like Cassie come on our 9 programmes in Brazil, India & Sri Lanka. Collectively these volunteers have worked with over 80 social changers – that is, grassroots social entrepreneurs from the age of 18 – 35, who are already impacting their communities around them. With passion and tenacity already on lockdown, they need additional support in the form of core business skills (finance/marketing), contemporary start-up methods, outside (and often unemotional) fresh thinking as well as a sounding board, or someone to help steer them forward into their 1st or 2nd year.

And off the back of that, our international volunteers are starting their own socially impactful businesses, as well as designing and creating their own jobs. Just check the following out (off the top of my head):

beneficent.co – Eddie Capstick, India Feb ’15 Alumni

The Social Enterprise Conference (a big event in October ’15 in London) – Lily Chong, Sri Lanka July ’15 Alumni

Infinite Energy – John Remigus, Sri Lanka July ’15 Alumni

Plus there’s marketing consultants, freelancers, social impact consultants and those who are getting jobs with larger employers they wouldn’t have necessarily would have before because their CV lacked the right kind of edge.

As one of the co-founders of this awesome journey that our Consultants are going through, I’m really taking stock at the moment – maybe its the warm fuzziness of Christmas on the horizon or the fact that i’m approaching the end of our first financial year, we’ve made a small profit, enough to make our first formal hire and there’s been a lot to reflect on. But when we were knee deep in the delivery, learning from the trial and error and implementing the long hours it wasn’t always easy to sit back and appreciate our achievements. Now we’re approaching one year of our Immersion Programme, and I’m receiving so many lovely emails and compliments about what’s been created here, I cannot lie. It feels pretty good.

And all because 18 months ago, I said ‘yes’ to a great opportunity. Through an advert on Escape the City (see a theme here?) for a volunteer position with a Social Enterprise in Kenya, I found myself asking some pretty pertinent questions – which lead to me then creating my own job.

So if you’re thinking at all about the theme for your life in 2016, then how about you run with ‘Saying Yes To A Great Opportunity’

As ole Dicky Branson famously once said:

inspirational-smll-business-quotes4.jpg

I think my theme for December is definitely ‘Gratitude’.

And for 2016? Hmm… I definitely need to think about this. But I think it’s about Revolution. Change. More of this another time!