Katie Jeanes is one of those outgoing, spunky people full of positive energy who you just can't picture thriving in a typical 9-5 job. Instead, this 20-something social entrepreneur went out to start her own business, aptly named A Little More Good, which connects people in Vancouver with easy (and fun) ways to give back.
We previously featured a profile on her business, so in the interview below we're focusing on Katie and her journey to becoming a self-employed changemaker. In addition to telling us where the business idea came from, she also shares tips for staying motivated and inspired as an entrepreneur.
4 Questions with Katie Jeanes, Founder of A Little More Good
1. How did the idea for the business model come about?
After I graduated from the University of British Columbia, I felt pretty cut off from all the volunteer opportunities I'd enjoyed at school. The options I could find were really extreme and also really depressing. It was a lot of "watch these cows being tortured and now become a vegan" and I often left feeling overwhelmed and guilty, so I wanted to make something that made it easier for people to get involved and create positive change and also to make the whole experience of social activism a lot more fun.
I think another big barrier for people is this idea that volunteering means touring the soup kitchens of the US or protecting baby turtles in Costa Rica. While those are both great causes, I think that by focusing on local change and on the things people can do in their every day lives, we make the whole concept a bit less daunting. We started two summers ago with a blog and it's just kind of grown from there. I made this list of 100 ways to do a little more good and when we started checking them off, people wanted to come with us, so now we have monthly events as well.
2. How did you decide to join this sector?
To be honest it was kind of by accident. I always knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I never really had the guts to go for it. I spent my first year out of university bouncing between careers. I had four different jobs in twelve months and finally I ended up working at a bike rental shop. At that point I thought I might as well give it a shot.
I wanted my company to be successful, but I wanted it to do good as well. I saw myself as this sort of rogue corporate hippie. It wasn't until a few months later that someone referred to me as a social entrepreneur. I kind of nodded like you do when you're trying to get by in a foreign language and whoever you are talking has just said either "this way to the beach" or "don't go there because there are crocodiles" and you really can't tell the difference. Shortly after, I found out about the whole social venture sector and it was a massive relief to find a such a great group of people who understood where I was coming from.
3. How do you get your inspiration?
The people around me are a constant source of inspiration. The A Little More Good team is a phenomenal group of people. They are constantly inspiring me to do and be more and I am beyond lucky that they choose to work with me. Our readers are also awesome. We sometimes get emails from them saying that they donated blood because they saw our video or that they got involved with a non-profit we featured. That is, quite honestly, the best part of my job. My friends and family tend to melt my heart as well. My mum recently started plugging parking meters to help others avoid parking tickets and my dad gave up straws. Hearing stories about how people are creating change on their own terms gives me this sense of immense gratitude.
4. How do you reset yourself to be creative? Do you have any rituals?
I take breaks. I've burnt out a couple times and it was awful, so taking little breaks here and there keeps everything running smoothly. I read fiction instead of business books before bed, I take my dog for walks in the forest behind my house and I travel as much as I can. Even if it's just a day at Whistler, I always come back with a boatload of new ideas and a renewed sense of excitement for what I do. We don't really have any business rituals, but I always put my left shoe on before my right one. It used to be my pre-game ritual for basketball and I am pretty sure it's good luck.