Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in business development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Erin Mogel, Founder of Elevate Social Impact, located in New York, NY, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Elevate Social Impact is a consulting and coaching practice that guides companies, nonprofits, and individuals on their philanthropic journey. We help companies to develop their social impact values, goals, and strategy and put them on the path towards becoming socially responsible. We develop strategies to help nonprofits enhance fundraising and strengthen partnerships. And we provide coaching to individuals who want to work in social impact or make giving back a key part of their life.
At Elevate Social Impact, we believe in setting you on your philanthropic journey by equipping you with the knowledge, resources, and tools you need to make an impact. Purpose is everything to us. Our services are steeped in defining your purpose—your place in and contribution to society.
Tell us about yourself
I am a compassionate and empathetic leader who believes business can and should be kind. At the heart of my work is an unwavering commitment to doing good, making an impact, and treating everyone with dignity and respect. My background is in the nonprofit and corporate social responsibility sectors. I have over 13 years of experience in partnerships, employee and community engagement, communications, fundraising, and volunteer management. I’ve worked across the human rights, immigration, international development, healthcare, and financial services sectors. Most importantly, I’m a proud lifelong volunteer, supporting numerous causes and global organizations.
As a creator, seeker of knowledge, and community builder, I’ve always been intrigued and impressed by entrepreneurs, especially those closest to me—good friends and family members. I wanted more in my career, especially the ability to innovate and lead, work with values-aligned people and organizations, have the flexibility to work from anywhere, set my vision, and work toward my own goals. I reached a point in my career where I knew I had to take a leap of faith and go out on my own. It’s something I started thinking about right after college—and although there is never a “right” time in life—this was the time. I knew I was on a mission to help others do well by doing good, and it has grown from there.
What motivates me each day is the satisfaction I gain from making a positive impact. My work is grounded in social good. It excites me to help companies set social impact commitments, nonprofits elevate their funding so they can effect more change, and individuals develop careers that are focused on giving back. What motivates me are the amazingly passionate, talented, driven, and collaborative people I work with. The community I have built and continue to grow and strengthen is incredible—and it's those who are giving their all to make a difference that motivates me to be the best business leader I can be.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was committing to starting my business. Going out on your own can feel risky and filled with many unknowns. Challenges and obstacles along the way are inevitable. Still, I’m so proud that I took that leap of faith and believed in myself. It was so worth it! Seeing people and organizations excited about what I’ve built and wanting to work together has been great.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Imposter syndrome is real! When we start a business, it’s all on us. To keep it running, develop client relationships, provide a one-of-a-kind product or service, retain clients, manage all admin, and so on. It’s then easy to look at other business owners and compare ourselves. Not feeling confident in our product or service or thinking we’re not where we should be. To not see our worth, uniqueness, or value-add. To question our decision to go out on our own. Was it the right time? Am I doing the right thing? Will anyone want to work with me?
These sentiments are all accurate and valid. But it’s important not to get caught up in the trap of imposter syndrome. To not compare or judge ourselves too harshly. To be confident in our business model and our offerings. To know that we’re exactly where we’re meant to be. To see that it’s a marathon, not a sprint. You’ve got this! It might take time, but remember to keep your eye on the prize and not let external forces get you down.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Define your product or services – Be clear about what you do and who you work with. Also, understand that this might change along the way, and that is okay! Businesses evolve based on client and market demand. But when you start, be sure you are clear on the work you want to do, the contribution you’ll be making, and any voids you’ll be filling.
- Build up your community of “colleagues” – So many people have asked me, “Aren’t you lonely without coworkers?”. The answer is no because I have developed a fantastic community of “colleagues” in my sector. I’ve taken the time to build robust and supportive relationships with other consultants and coaches in the social impact space. There are many that I can call or text anytime for advice, insights, or to vent. I also have a great network of contacts interested in lead sharing. Build a strong community (and put the work in to keep it going), and you’ll be golden!
- Be your best boss – When we work for ourselves, we don’t have a manager or boss to whom we report. We instead need to be our own best boss. We need to set goals for ourselves, set deadlines, ensure that we’re keeping to a schedule each day, and hold ourselves accountable. Make sure you have check-ins or one-on-ones with yourself—take that time to pause and reflect on your progress. And be sure to adjust some things if there are areas for improvement. And if you need outside encouragement, see if any of your colleagues in the space are interested in being accountability buddies. We don’t work in a vacuum—collaboration is essential!
Where can people find you and your business?
Company LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/elevate-social-impact/
Personal LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/erinmogel/
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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