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

Being a social entrepreneur does not mean that you’re working solely for the sake of charity. It means that you’re working with the greater good in mind and with the intent of having a positive social impact, while also employing effective business practices to ensure a positive cash flow and to generate profits. Despite social entrepreneurship’s seeming conflict between profit making and the greater good, it’s still very possible to do both – and here’s how:

Watch Your Funding

You may be tempted to give in and accept offered funding without careful regard as to its source, but that’s an even worse idea for a social entrepreneur than for a traditional one. It’s far preferable for you to struggle to assemble funding, whether via savings or by liquidating an asset, as these methods will further motivate you to make sound business decisions in pursuit of positive returns on your investment. When you’re using your own capital, you won’t lose sight of the profit angle while working on the social goal.

Do Some Research

Dedicate a period of time prior to launching your social enterprise to thoroughly research your target market. Following this period, you’ll need to create a cogent business strategy. You’ll find that the deeper your research, the more market unknowns you’ll discover. Fill these knowledge gaps by actively seeking advice from individuals with in-depth experience in your chosen market. Soliciting their input – and fully understanding it prior to making any decisions – will serve you well in the long run.

Learn to Barter

If you don’t possess all the resources you require, you shouldn’t squander your minimal funding by purchasing assets outright. Instead, try to think of different ways in which you might achieve your objectives via barter. Doing so will enable you to share your skills while also benefiting from the skills of others. As your business begins to prosper, you’ll find that you’re increasingly able to purchase necessary assets and further expand your enterprise. If you think smart from the beginning, you’ll save funds and enable your business to develop.

Create an Amazing Team

No matter the sort of business you decide to enter, your success will be closely tied to the individual and collective qualities of the team you select. Take whatever time is necessary to hire an amazing team, then ensure that everyone is on the same page with respect to meeting your goals. In addition to raw competence, try as best you can to make human resources decisions with character in mind and you won’t go far wrong. As a social entrepreneur, you need to be a visionary and, to the best of your abilities, anticipate future events. The more successful you are at this, the more likely you’ll be able to meet your goals.

Be Open to Learning

As a social entrepreneur (and a human being!), you cannot know everything. You need to remain open to learning as you go. Learning from your mistakes – and those of your team – will help to ensure future success and greater profits, both for you and your social beneficiaries. Additionally, you’ll spread a powerful ethic to your employees of being flexible and meeting with challenges as they arise.

Get Creative

It’s often said that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. The same thought applies to making money as a social entrepreneur. You need to be highly resourceful in creating a revenue model that will work for your business.


Social entrepreneurship, despite having its ethical roots in aiding the greater good, can be highly profitable and lead to financial growth. When the metrics and your own good sense tell you that your efforts are finding success, remain consistent and you’ll find that you can generate profits while fully enjoying your experience as a social entrepreneur.

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