"The only person you need to answer to is the one in the mirror. Why would anyone continue to do something that had a negative impact on them? When we touch something hot and burn ourselves, we learn not to touch it; but when we work at a place we don't like we stil continue to go. It doesn't make much sense to me. Do something you like and you will never work again."
I am working with construction firms in the Chicago area to establish recycling and resourcing programs within their offices. Ideally we can work with firms on closed circle recycling where the firms are purchasing their paper back in the form of resourced notebooks, used for general office use and marketing collateral.
We also work with local schools on hosting fund-raisers to resell the resourced notebooks to students. These programs helps raise awareness about sustainability while helping the school raise capital to fund programs for the students.
With my old career, all I got to see was the sales side of things. I did not get to focus on the accounting, or the processes in place to actually run a successful business. I am always looking for additional schools and businesses that want to be involved with our program. I am finding these companies via the web, social networking sites, and attending green or sustainable events.
On top of all that I am taking classes to learn the accounting, and work with a mentor at the Small Business Association to figure out how to sell my products at a retail level. Needless to say there is not much spare time in my day.
Before I started this I was a print consultant for a commercial print house. I did this for 5 years before starting http://www.2020recycling.com" rel="nofollow">2020 Recycling. I spent 5 years trying to sell as much paper as I could to my clients and now I am trying to get it back and teach them to use less.
Ever since I started learning about business, I have wanted to be an owner. I am not one to have a desk job or stay in the same place for a long period of time. I like being involved with all aspects of the business, and really enjoy helping companies save money, time and resources.
At 2020 I get to do all that and at the end of the day I know I am working for the greater good, rather than to make a buck. The city of Chicago claims to be the greenest city in America. I was working with them on printing the construction sets for 9 new schools they were building. I noticed that when the bids were all done there was roughly 2,000 pounds of paper, per school, being wasted with their current process - enough paper to convert into legal pads and notebooks to provide every student at the schools with three notebooks to start the year. Based on that process I started http://www.2020recycling.com" rel="nofollow">2020 Recycling.
In the beginning there was tons of planning. I wrote a 15 page business plan going over my first 3 years of sales and growth; target audience, research on competition, and what my marketing and sales plan would be. It has all changed. I was too rigid in my plan.
I have found the plan is something that should be used as a loose guideline to what you want to accomplish, and let it evolve with what your clients need. Starting out as only recycling and resourcing, 2020 has evolved into a company that works with firms on shredding documents, and scanning as well. We also have more of a product line than I first had planned. I funded it through personal finances. Also the basis of the company is so simple that it does not rely on heavy investment to get off the ground. Sure I could raise money and get things moving faster in terms of the web and more of a marketing presence, but I want to grow at a sustainable rate and learn as I go. I am selfish in that I want to learn all about the business before I start hiring people to have specific rolls.
Hardest thing about making this happen is the current state of the economy. Not many firms are doing much business and the construction world, where I depend on to get my paper from, is almost at a standstill. Other than that it would have to be staying positive and trusting in yourself, your product, and the business you are building.
We all want to think that building a business is easy and if you have a formula that makes sense it should take off. Building a business is a lot of peaks and valleys. Just try to stay on top of the peaks and if you fall, climb back up.
Best: Hands down the gratification of working for myself and being part of a business that makes a difference in the world. It is a great feeling to see students get excited about a product that is "greener" than what they are used to. Being part of and leading a movement that will benefit the greater good is always nice.
You only get one shot at this thing called life. Don't waste it doing things that are unsatisfying. The only person you need to answer to is the one in the mirror. Why would anyone continue to do something that had a negative impact on them? When we touch something hot and burn ourselves, we learn not to touch it; but when we work at a place we don't like we stil continue to go. It doesn't make much sense to me.
Do something you like and you will never work again.
Some of the places I have found useful are the http://www.sba.gov/" rel="nofollow">Small Business Association, http://www.usgbc.org/" rel="nofollow">US green Building Council, and my local government office. It is amazing the resources we have out there; when you ask everyone you see questions.