Who doesn't love a good wine? I certainly do!
Well what if your wine did more than taste good, what if your purchase actually created and/or enabled good to be done?
Two social enterprises are changing the world with every sip. As a wine lover and an advocate of social enterprise, I couldn't resist doing a quick write up on these businesses. Quick reads, but I hope you'll spread the word and support.
Did you know that one oyster cleans 30 gallons of water per day? Meet Proud Pour, a wine company seeking to save and protect oysters. Proud Pour's mission is simple, it is: "sustainably-grown and vegan wines that restore local ecosystems". Their Sauvignon Blanc restores 100 oysters per bottle, and their Pinot Noir saves bees by planting 875 wildflowers per bottle. They are not just out for profit, they are saving the world by helping to put our ecosystem back in balance. So, sip away! Learn more about Proud Pour at: https://www.proudpour.com.
P.S. I grabbed a bottle each of their wine and red wines. While, I haven't opened the red wine their Sauvignon Blanc is a must try! And...I helped save oysters and bees. Winning!
For the next wine enterprise, let's take a trip to the land down under to Goodwill Wine. As the name implies, this company is all about promoting Goodwill through wine. 50% of the profit for each wine purchased is donated to a charity of the buyers choice. The goal is to foster goodwill by providing funds to organizations doing good in the country. In addition, "Goodwill Wine uses 100% recycled cartons and offsets all of freight around the country with Greenfleet, planting a variety of trees in permanent forests that help to reduce soil "erosion and provide habitat for native wildlife."
Who knew wine could help save the world?
Living like a King or Queen on a one-week vacation is not the same as moving abroad and having the same lavish lifestyle. Many people can swing a life where they are catered to at an all-inclusive resort for a week and return home to business as usual.
When on vacation, no work is required. You have money to spend on doing fun things and/or time to do nothing at all. This is totally opposite of the daily life of most people where work takes up most of the day and other responsibilities eat up the rest of the time.
Vacation is a usually voluntary election to be free to be for a short period of time without the worries of getting up and going to work.
Living abroad is picking up your life and moving it to another country.
Some people think that living abroad is one extended vacation, it is not.
One of the many questions I am working through myself is, "what is the lifestyle I want when I move abroad and how do I enable it? What do I want when I leave that I don't have now? And why don't I have it now?". Essentially, I'm setting goals/intentions, clarifying my vision and doing an assessment/gap analysis of my current state and making a plan to get to where I am and where I want to be.
Goal A: To live in a place that is walkable with reliable public transportation where there is little need for a car. When a car is needed car rentals are available and inexpensive.
Enabling Factors: (1) Consider moving to major cities (2) Consider moving to a suburb outside of a major city with solid transportation infrastructure with multiple inexpensive options
Current State: Living in a suburb, car is necessary. Transportation options poor. Traffic is a huge problem making it time consuming to get from point A to B. Car note, insurance and upkeep costs...blah!
Underlying Factors/Thoughts: (1) I don't want a car note (2) I possibly could deal with a car if insurance was cheap and upkeep fees weren't much, parking was free and available and car payment (which means that I could buy a car so if this is an option I elect, this is something to save up for now). (3) Don't really need to be in a city, but looking to be within walkable distance of a vibrant community with things to do, eat, see, etc... Currently, this is not the case for me and it is frustrating.
See how I broke that down? I have to understand what I want, what I don't and how to enable it to make it happen. What I also reveal is that I don't want a car note, at all, ever again. I don't want to recreate the lifestyle I have here, abroad. I want to leave the American culture of ridiculous debt right here in America.
It's a Paradigm Shift
Moving abroad is requiring me to change how I think. As I said above, I'm not taking this idea that debt is just a way of live. This idea is prevalent in America. Debt is our middle name. I've long since rejected this notion. I reject excessive consumerism and living above my means.
Wherever You Go, There You Are
I see people who want to leave the U.S., for whatever reasons; however, they want to take the same ideas, paradigms and way of life with them. For example, if someone wants freedom for working a 9-5 job and decide to move abroad to teach from 8-4 at a local school, isn't that the same thing? They may not be in the U.S. anymore, but they still have job that consumes their day. So, if that is a great source of frustration for them, they will still be frustrated.
When I move abroad, my goal is to have enough income to maintain my chosen lifestyle. Income not coming from a traditional job. This will allow me the freedom and flexibility to do what I want, without worry about covering my expenses. This is key for me, which means I need to enable this lifestyle now to enjoy it in the future.
What I know for a fact is that $1000USD per month is a nice sum to live off of in many parts of the world; whereas in the U.S., you couldn't get an apartment for that much in many cities. And this is why people are stressed and in debt and so on and so on.
If anything, I'm escaping the mentality that has so many people trapped, sick, stressed. I don't want it for my life. As I've said plenty of times before, marketers have done a great job of equating things with happiness and people have bought it. There are just systems here than seek to keep people bound.
If someone has a $3,000 mortgage and a $600 car note, they are probably bound to whatever job they have to pay these things. They may be bringing home just $4000/month, barely making it. This is the trap a lot of people fall into, which I want no parts of.
Since I'm on a 4 year plan, I have adequate time to figure these things out. But time flies and 4 years will pass before I know it!
I'm proud to have completed the intensive 3-day session that kicked off my MovingWorlds Fellowship earlier this month. And now the time has come to figure out where in the world I will be going to complete the skills portion of my fellowship. As I did last year in Rio, I will be volunteering my time and talent for a social impact organization.
Literally, the world is my oyster. There are opportunities in Asia, Africa, Europe, South America and also here in North America. Over the next month, I'll be setting up interviews with possible organizations. I have a handful that I am interested in. What's also really cool is that MovingWorlds offers customized matching, so if I don't find something on their site of interest, they will custom match me with potential organizations.
There are few organizations that I would love to do some remote work for. This would help me build my resume as I transition to a career working in social impact. I'm also identifying additional training opportunities as well as networks, events and other activities to immerse myself as much as possible in the field.
What this means is that I haven't been traveling much. As I did last year, I plan to spend 1-2 months in my chosen destination again this year. So I'm banking my time off and making plans. In addition, there is a lot of work involved in being in MovingWorlds Fellow, reading, discussions, etc... Plus, I'm working other projects and my own social enterprise that is requiring much of my time. So unless, its just a 3-4 day weekend getaway, I'm staying put. Sometimes its the season to go, go, go and sometimes is the season to learn and plan. Currently, I'm in the latter season.
Last year I made the decision to pivot my career to work in social impact. I just realized today that I'm making really good progress. By the end of this year, I'll have had 3-4 clients that I can show impact and results as well as significant amount of training. I'm building my network and also using my current job as a springboard as well.
There are so many opportunities, I feel like a kid in a candy store. I've invested a good deal of time, energy and money into making this happen so its good to see progress.
So, this is why I haven't traveled since April. Although, I'm still earning airline miles and hotel points, because that's how I roll (part of my master plan).
I think I'll talk more about my career pivot and how I'm making it happen in future blogs. It's not just about looking for external opportunities, it's also about using my current job to do the type of work I want to do as well. It's about being bold and being willing to take the calculated risk. And not being afraid to fail.
And, that's all folks. I gotta get back to work 😊
Last year this time, I was preparing to go to Rio to volunteer as a social impact consultant.
Exactly one year later, I'm preparing to go to Seattle for a 3-day intensive program as a fellow with Moving Worlds Institute digging my heels deeper into the world of social impact.
I am excited, but I have so much stuff to do. I won't be totally excited until I'm on the plane AND I get my free upgrade (come on Delta!).
I found out I was accepted to the program about a month ago. I had just learned about the program and rushed to get my application in. Needless to say, this was not a budgeted expense. But, I decided to for it anyway. And as life does, life came for me...hard. I almost thought about forfeiting the deposit I made on the program and not participating.
This is part of my pivotal career pivot. Either, I can talk about doing it or I can actually do it...I'm opting for the latter.
So, here I am neck deep in life happening and still moving forward as best I can.
My goal is to travel the world to enable social entrepreneurs to solve the issues they set out to solve. Achieve maximum impact by creating outcomes that surpass initial goals. To advocate for global citizenship, to help create a world where we do good individually, but better collectively.
Thinking of pivoting your career? If so, what do you do now and what are you seeking to do in the future?
I've been compiling all sorts of information related to moving, working and living abroad. There are a world of opportunities available, here are a few:
Jobs in the travel and tourism industry in over 50 countries.
Offers information and postings for internships, volunteer work, full and part time international jobs
United Nations Development Programme
Consulting opportunities supporting world development in over 170 countries
List of various sites offering international opportunities
International Organization Careers
List of IO's offering short term jobs, full time employment and internships
I do not endorse any of these sites. I am listing them for those interested, draw your own conclusions.
Part of my exit the country plan involves maximizing and making the most out of my financial options and other options that will enable me to exit with style and grace 😉
One of the things I'm doing is accumulating as many miles and points as I possibly can. This translates into free stays and free flights down the line. Delta is my preferred carrier. Not that Delta is super fab but by mid 2016, I realized that I was earning the most miles with Delta than any other U.S. based carrier. I wasn't flying with Delta per se, I was flying with other carriers that were partnered with Delta which was how I was earning miles. When I realized that my use of Delta Airlines and their partners far exceed United and American Airlines, I begin to strategically focus on building my points with Delta.
So, I got the Delta AMEX card and earned all the handsome bonuses that come with it. I use that card for everything. If I buy a $1 bag of popcorn from the store, I use my Delta AMEX. Why? I'm accumulating points for every purchase...things I am buying anyway. I pay off the card in full, so I have yet to be charged interest and I've racked up thousands of points. Thanks, Delta! In addition, I've earned points with Delta for Airbnb stays. There are other opportunities to earn with them from car rentals, dining as well as through their partnerships with major hotel chains like Hilton and Marriott.
Another reason why I'm racking up Delta points is for status. Right now, I'm a Silver Medallion with Delta. Which is the lowest status of their "upper crust" travelers; however, it still nets me benefits. Such as free upgrades within 24 hours of departure, free checked bags, and priority boarding. I'm angling for Gold Medallion in 2017 which has more benefits and I will be upgraded within 72 hours of departure. Again, I'm not doing any extra work to get this. I'm just being strategic about the traveling I am going to do anyway. Also with Delta, say it is December 31st you just fall shy of reaching the next Medallion status. No problem. Your accumulated miles will just roll over to the next year, so you don't have to start over. Also, unlike other carriers, Delta miles never expire. Hence, why I'm building with Delta first. I have an entire game plan being formulating for credit cards to earn points towards free travel starting about 1.5 years before I move. But for now, I'm deliberately focused on two that I want to rack up massive points with.
I am 70% away from a free one way ticket on American Air. Problem is, I don't fly them. Can't remember the last time I did. The good news is that they have programs where I can earn points without flying. So I'll have that free one-way ticket by the end of the year.
United Airlines is interesting. I actually have enough miles for a one-way ticket within the U.S. But I have no plan for what I will do about accumulating points with them at this time. I have considered going for status with United in the near future, but, I'm not sure if its worth it.
I need American Air and United Airlines fans to help me make the case for these two.
Besides that I'm racking points with Hilton and Marriott. Though, I haven't stayed in very many chain properties lately. I've been using non-chain hotels and for those, its best to book through hotels.com where you earn free nights or expedia.com where you earn points which translates to money you can save off of future stays (book through ebates and earn cash back...you're welcome!). My goal is to have enough hotel points to stay for at least 30 days by the time I leave.
So, whether or not you are actively traveling now you can earn points towards free flights and hotel stays without ever stepping foot on a plane or in a hotel. All of the carriers and hotels have their rewards programs that are free to sign up for. They offer earning opportunities from everything from shopping through their website portal to dining out and more. I'll say the same thing about earning points/miles for travel as I do about saving money for travel. If you know you want to travel, even if you don't know when or where...start saving money! Likewise, start earning points to earn free travel as early as you can. This way when you start planning you'll have money saved and some points you can use towards your travel.
Tammy C. Freeman
When I was in college, my sophomore year to be exact, I took a job with MBNA America. Back then, they were a leading credit card company and my first credit card was extended by them. The job was sales, specifically cold calling people to sign up for a credit card. I have no problem with sales, we are all in one form or another in sales, whether we realize it or not. I was referred by a friend who raved about how much money she made. So I decided to give it a shot.
I lasted 2 weeks...
It was during my first days or so "on the floor" following training. What they do is give you "lists" of numbers to call. A list is a specific group or population segment they are calling. For example, an alumni group of XYZ university or people between the ages of 45-55. These are example of lists. The script varies based on the list you are provided to make it more "personable".
On this specific day, we were given a list to call; but it was the wrong list. It took about 20 minutes for the supervisors to come out shouting to the folks on the floor to "sell the wrong list!!" Sell the wrong list they said. Basically meaning, proceed anyway. We don't have the right numbers, but sell to them anyway.
I proceed to "sell the wrong list". I called the next number (rather, it was dialed for me) and got an older lady on the phone. I would bet she was no younger than 75. I go on with the script. It was clear to me this lady didn't quite understand what I was saying. She understood, but didn't really get the concept. I get to the part when I was to close the sale, still pushing through the script. Feeling uneasy the entire time. I got the part where I needed her social security number to continue, the lady responds, "okay, dear, whatever you need.". At that point I was done. I couldn't do it. I knew this lady didn't quite understand what was happening and she was being kind to her own detriment. I could only imagine how many times she had been had by people looking out for themselves and worried more about their commission check than the people they are the making commission from.
I decided that day I did not want to be one of those people. I made up an excuse to get the lady off the phone. I can't remember what I said. I do remember thinking that if I made this sale, the trainers and supervisors would have celebrated, especially with me making a sale so soon out of training and so early in the shift. But what was the price I had to pay? Knowing that I was in a sense deceiving someone who didn't know any better. Someone who trusted me, a stranger, to act in her best interest.
I'm not even sure I finished my shift that day, but I do know I walked out and never went back.
I won't lie, I missed the check. The money was really good. Especially for a 19 year old college student. I know that there would be sales where people would want the card and it would be a win-win. But I realized I couldn't be in a culture that would celebrate and encourage me to sell to people who may be vulnerable. Where the pursuit of the dollar trumped the idea that maybe we should try to be decent human beings.
I was the only one that appeared bothered by this. I thought maybe I was a bit too sensitive. I talked to the friend who referred me and had worked there for over a year and loved it. Obviously, she didn't see the issue. I thought it was me. I wish I knew then what I knew now.
Here I am, some years later, in the world of social entrepreneurship/social impact. This world where people have the goal of doing well for their communities and also being financially sustainable. A world where profits don't trump people. A world where it is possible and not mutually exclusive to do good and do well. A word where you can express these ideas to like minds instead of people who look at you like you are crazy.
To be clear, social entrepreneurship is not charity work. It is not this idea that if a company does well then they'll toss a bit over to a charity based on their profitability that quarter. No. Social entrepreneurs are those people who see a social problem within their community (or anywhere) and seek to solve it while engaging in profit-generating activities. Social entrepreneurs do not view profit alone as success. But rather, success is based on the impact they have on those they serve as well as financial sustainability.
Here is a good definition from Wikipedia:
"Social entrepreneurship is the attempt to draw upon business techniques and private sector approaches to find solutions to social, cultural or environmental problems."
The Schwab Fund has a more expansive definition:
"Social entrepreneurship is
I spent the summer of 2016 working as a social impact consultant in Brazil. This was my first foray in the world of social entrepreneurship and I am hooked. I've seen how people have empowered their communities and have made significant change in the face of adversity by doing what their government and big business either would not or could not do. They sometimes face obstacles by the institutions who profit off of keeping people disenfranchised.
It's been almost 20 years since I quit that job.
I finally understand fully what I was looking for then that was missing. What bothered me so much. That I'm not overly sensitive but that I realized then I could do well for myself without exploiting others. I realize now that individual people have the power to solve complex issues and can find leverage ways to sustain their activities to achieve the goal.
My career pivot is all about doing more of this work. It's about using my 10 plus years as a management consultant to enable social entrepreneurs to be a force for good, to solve complex issues and to strengthen communities around the world. I'll be talking a lot about social entrepreneurship going forward, but I wanted to be sure I introduced the concept to those who are unfamiliar.
I am more than happy to answer any questions about this topic. I enjoy it and I am passionate about it!
What does sustainable banking have to do with travel?I guess one could argue that it doesn't, and that may be true for them; however, my lens and outlook on life and travel leads me to understand that it is important to be a global citizen. If I am going to travel to see the best of the world, the beauty of the earth and human invention, then I should do what I can to help preserve it.
There is a false paradigm that exists that leads us to believe that doing good for others, ourselves and the world are mutually exclusive. As if you have to chose one or the other, but not all. This is not true. It has been greed and the pursuit of financial gain by any means necessary that is the cause of so much strife and suffering we see in the world now.
When I travel, I see the beauty of the land of people. I appreciate the cultures, language and customs of others. But I also see suffering, I see the effects of oppressive governments and societies that have engrained policies and practices to marginalize people. I can write a book on this alone. So, I challenged myself to do what I can to be part of the solution.
I am in active pursuit of the Triple Bottom Line. Meaning, I want to do good for myself, the environment and society. When I make a purchase, I feel good knowing that all 3 are accomplished. So, I've been looking at what I'm doing with my money and where it is invested and the institutions I bank with. Trying to make better decisions and to align with and support entities that and in active pursuit of the Triple Bottom Line as well. I have been for a long time disgusted at the practices of the big banks here in America. They are greedy and put their profits before the people they are supposed to serve. What big bank hasn't been caught up in major scandals? Bank of America for their overdraft fee abuse, Wells Fargo for to many wrongs to even name! And what is worse is that they get off with nothing more than a slap on the wrist.
So, there are banking and investing institutions that are popping up dedicated to doing good in the world and doing food financially. Understand the difference here. They are not saying IF we do good financially, THEN we will try to do some good in the world. I am saying that these new institutions (listed below) are saying, we are here to do good financially AND do good in the world. They are equal and we only succeed if we do both.
Aspiration bills themselves as a "new kind of financial firm – built on trust, focused on the middle class instead of millionaires, and founded on the idea that we can do well and do good at the same time".
Aspiration offers a sustainable investment account and a high-yield checking account. There free structure for their investment account is simple, you pay what you want. Yes, you pay what you want even if that means nothing. According to Aspiration, this is how they do good:
"Through our “Dimes Worth of Difference” commitment, we donate ten cents of every dollar of our company’s revenue to charitable activities expanding economic opportunity. Working with respected partners such as the Accion U.S. Network, America’s largest provider of micro-loans, we help struggling Americans transform their own lives – not a hand out, but a hand up".
You can learn more about aspiration at aspiration.com. I am invested in their Redwood Fund, which is, "a fund with the goal of investing in companies whose sustainable, environmental, and employee practices result in their being poised for growth".
If you're interested in Aspiration, use this link to sign up and get $25 towards for your favorite charity and I'll get $25 for mine.
Is a new online banking option with the stated goals of:
I just learned about Bank Purely recently, so I am still researching them. Bank Purely will plant one tree for every account opened and also plant a tree for every sign up (which I believe that just means joining their mailing list).
One of the things I keep my eye on is what these companies dover the long haul. I am cautious of companies using social good as a marketing ploy and not an actual operational philosophy.
More on sustainability, social innovation and social impact to come. I talk more about this on twitter at @edgeofpromise.
When work rubs me the wrong way or even if it's going fine and I want to remind myself that my goal is to not work in the traditional sense for the rest of my life, I add money to my "NOPE Fund".
Let me explain.
My "NOPE Fund" is my way of putting my money where my mouth is. It all came about at the beginning of the year when I was dealing with some challenges at work. Nothing major, but we all have those times where work literally works your last nerve. So, I decided, that when I felt this way I'd contribute money towards my ultimate goal of a location independent and financially free lifestyle. Now, it's not as if I don't have my regular savings accounts, Digit, Qapital and probably 12 savings buckets for various things. The NOPE Fund is an additional savings bucket that I created to make lemonade out of lemons. Anytime I feel particularly frustrated about work, I move at least $1 to my NOPE Fund. On the days where I'm totally over it, I'll move $10. I even contribute when I'm not necessarily frustrated, I'll drop a $1 in the fund just as a symbolic gesture. The Nope Fund is just my way of channeling my frustrations into something positive. I also contribute sometimes when I wake in the morning and think, "I really don't feel like doing this ish". That triggers a contribution to the NOPE Fund.
Today, I could really drop $20 into the NOPE Fund. But my contribution min and max are $1 and $10, respectively. At the end of the year, I'll decide what to do with the money in the NOPE Fund. Perhaps, I'll invest it or put into the rest of my savings or maybe invest in myself with some courses that I want to take. Of course, I could add it to my travel fund 😊
In other news, I will be off somewhere in the world to work as a social impact consultant again this year. Where will I go? What will I do? Details coming soon.
I'm what happens when you don't let fear deter your dreams. World traveler, entrepreneur, creator.
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