BUILDING A ZEBRA - NOT A UNICORN
Zebras and sustainable entrepreneurship
At Social Innovation Booster we strive for building sustainable businesses by providing a user centered innovation framework. That is why we love the Zebra movement! The zebra movement calls for a more ethical and inclusive movement to counter existing startup and venture capital culture that rewards quantity over quality, consumption over creation, quick exits over sustainable growth, and shareholder profit over shared prosperity. The zebra movement supports businesses that repair, cultivate, and connect, rather chasing after “unicorn” companies bent on “disruption”. We believe that sustainable, impact-driven businesses are the future of business and a necessity for future generations.
A unicorn, in startup terms, is a company valued at one billion dollars or more, and is characterized by exponential growth and market domination at almost any cost. Zebras on the other hand, are both black and white; profitable and improve society, and they won’t sacrifice one for the other. Zebras are also mutualistic; by banding together in groups they protect and preserve one another. Their individual input results in stronger collective output. “Zebras Fix What Unicorns Break”.
The founder's guide to creating sustainable work-life boundaries
One of the members in Social Innovation Booster community is Kristina Bohnerth, the founder of Impact Jobs. Kristina is a founder who is determined to build her company in a sustainable way, by working no more than five hours per day. This mindset gives her the energy to be fully focus on her work during these hours, as well as having time for other important things in her life. Her motto is "work smarter, not harder" and she rather work too little than too much. This is a consequence of seeing burnouts up-close among friends. Even though working five hours a day is a huge privilege that not everyone has, Kristina has made conscious economical choices that made it possible for her to work this way. She prioritize her family and her personal time before buying stuff she does't need. She doesn't spend much and her family are buying most of their stuff second hand. Kristina doesn't strive to build a huge company with profit and fame, she just aims for enjoying what she is doing and survive on that.
How to keep your work hours to 5 hours per day
Stick to your routines Routines are personal. Some can wake up at 5 am and workout, others need two cups of coffee to get started. My tip: try to find your routine instead of creating an artificial one which doesn’t suit you. Your personal routine will enable you to keep a natural flow and make work-life-balance much easier. It will also naturally point out which types of work you can do during the day.
Communication is key Even when you are a solo entrepreneur, you will most likely depend on others: it might be a designer who helps you with your new brand or the developer who needs to fix a bug on the website. You are always a part of an ecosystem. Be clear to voice responsibilities and expectations - that will achieve results much faster.
Be persistent If you feel stuck with some assignment that is particularly hard, instead of leaving it for another day, try to force yourself to do it anyway for 30 min. If that means sitting and staring at the computer - fine. Sometimes that’s exactly what it takes to solve the issue.
Use digital tools Digital tools such as the G-Suite, Asana and Zoom let you work basically from anywhere. All you need is a computer or even just your phone. If inspiration hits you on the subway, you can work with a document on your phone. You can use formerly unproductive time for work to have more space for other important things.
Be inspired Some call it to procrastinate, I call it to gather inspiration. Find out where or how you usually get good ideas for your business. By listening to podcasts during a walk? By scrolling on social media or through the news? Then do it! Actively schedule and take this time - it will pay off.