Joe Johnson, Ph.D.
Entrepreneur. Investor. Startup Expert.

Take a moment to consider everything happening in the world around you. As you do, you’ll begin to see that, while many things are wonderful, there are a similar (if not greater) number of negative issues. These negative issues affect the well-being of millions and it is this very understanding that inspired the emergence of the social entrepreneur.

A social entrepreneur is a person who uses their initiative and innovation to create a business intended to transform the lives of others. Typically, social entrepreneurs will work within certain fields, including health, education, poverty alleviation, and the environment. The social entrepreneur will use their knowledge of business practices to innovate a sustainable organization capable of achieving social change on a large scale.

If you’re interested in becominge a successful social entrepreneur, consider these points:

Understand The Issue You Want to Address

Begin by ensuring that you have extensive knowledge of the issue that you want to address. Do not simply jump into a new social entrepreneurship venture without taking the requisite time to complete the necessary research on all that might be entailed. The best social entrepreneurs are those who don’t allow their passion for change to blind them to the exigencies of business.

Everything Should Be Positive

Achieving positive results (i.e. profits) is not the true bottom line when it comes to social entrepreneurship. You need to ensure that everything you do as a business continues to have a positive impact on everyone around you, especially the desired beneficiaries of your company’s social efforts. Happy and satisfied employees (and suppliers!) will guarantee that the work you need done continues to be completed well and on time.

Create a Powerful Network

Social entrepreneurs are faced with a massive challenge: they need to sell their ideas twice as hard as traditional business entrepreneurs. Consequently, it’s invaluable for social entrepreneurs to nurture a powerful network to include both other social entrepreneurs and investors. By fostering these alliances, it becomes easier for the social entrepreneur to meet his goals.

Be Honest

A significant component of being an effective social entrepreneur is locating funding to facilitate driving your business goals forward. For people to trust you, they need to believe that all the information you present to them is an accurate representation of what is truly happening in reality. Make sure that you’re honest in every respect and produce truthful annual reports that can be audited and analyzed by neutral third parties.

Build a Strong Team

When you’re starting your business, you need to ensure that you have the right team working for you. Seek out people with the relevant experience and never hesitate to hire those individuals whose experience complements your own. You’ll ultimately incur lower training expenses while continuing to move your social enterprise forward.

Tap into Peoples’ Emotions

Your potential customers need to connect with you and the public should be inspired by the social enterprise that you’ve created. Ensure that you’re on the right side of public perception from the moment that you begin. In other words, you must tap into people’s needs, retain careful control of the message that you’re sharing, and also be clear about your true objectives. Reinforce this message by seeking as much goodwill publicity as possible, as people respond better to information received in this way versus that encountered through paid advertising.


As a social entrepreneur, you have two business options, to work for profit or as a non-profit enterprise. Either way, you should keep these points in mind to ensure that you’re able to make a real difference in the lives of your chosen beneficiaries. Being a social entrepreneur requires that you combine the smarts of a businessman and the heart of a charity.

About the Author

Dr. Joe Johnson is an entrepreneur, investor, and startup expert. He is the founder and principal of GoodField Investments and the GoodField Foundation (

Joe has a Ph.D. in Entrepreneurial Leadership and an MBA. He is the author of the upcoming book on The Science of Why Most Entrepreneurs Fail and Some Succeed.

Most importantly, he is the incredibly blessed husband of one amazing wife and father of six wonderful children. He resides in Bradenton, Florida. For more information on Dr. Johnson and his work, go to