Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Paul Zelizer, Founder and CEO of Awarepreneurs, located in Albuquerque, NM, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

In our modern culture, business is the most powerful engine on the planet. And given the real challenges our human family faces, leveraging it for good is the most hopeful movement in the world right now.

At Awarepreneurs, we've built one of the world's leading social entrepreneur podcasts and membership communities. We have helped thousands of founders who are passionate about making the world a better place by leveraging the principle of business for good and learn how to do so much more effectively.

Tell us about yourself

My first career was in the community mental health and organizing space. I've always been motivated by helping others. But when I burned out 15 years ago, I knew I needed to find a way to help others that a) wasn't dependent on dysfunctional government and foundations grant priorities and b) paid a much more sustainable wage.

I LOVE working with social entrepreneurs and helping them to increase the impact and quality of life they get to have. And along the way, I'm grateful that I've been successful at creating a much more sustainable lifestyle for myself and my family as well.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Creating one of the world's most trusted social entrepreneur podcasts with listeners all over the world and getting to interview some of the most skillful impact business owners on the planet.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Having to make decisions in a fast-paced, ever-changing environment when you're doing innovative work and building things that haven't been done before. It's both exciting and scary.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Don't try to do it alone. Founders who build truly impactful businesses have robust networks of support. I strongly encourage you to join or build an ecosystem of people who share your values and vision.
  2. Have a startup financial plan in place. It's REALLY hard to do innovative work and put strong foundations in place when you're worried about keeping a roof overhead or where your next meal is coming from. Most successful impact founders use one or more of these three strategies to fund their startup: a) use the salary from a job, b) leverage existing assets you may have like home equity or retirement funds, and/or c) get help from family and friends. For me, it was mostly option a. And, whatever choice you make, have a plan in place.
  3. Clarify your WHY and your WHO. That is, write down your core values and an impact statement of how you want your business to make the world a better place. And, be clear WHO your ideal customer is.
    Business owners who rush to the WHAT (your products or services) and the HOW (your business development and marketing strategies) struggle and fail much more frequently.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Make sure you create a business that works for you and your quality of life goals as well as has a vision for how you want to impact the world.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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