Misha studied Industrial Design completing a BTech in sustainability focused design. During his studies, he worked for Instant Grass, a trend forecasting, product seeding and guerrilla marketing company, beginning when the company was a start-up to being ‘grass’ manager for the Western Cape. Following this, Misha completed trans-continental expedition from Cape Town to London, profiling over 60 organisations and NGOs with a group of six friends. In 2010 Misha started Greenpop, an award winning social enterprise that has planted over 45,000 trees in Southern Africa. He focuses on being a creative catalyst, pushing the objective to create environmental and social mass action through growing Greenpop core focus of (re)connecting humans with nature.
What are his top ten tips for fostering sustainable thinking for anyone who may consider social enterprise as a way to be active citizens?
- Understand your personal measures of success before embarking on your journey as a social entrepreneur: For instance, I think of success as the ability to have purpose in my work, be respected for the work I do and to live simply and comfortably in a way that does not negatively impact anyone or the environment.
- Passion is the first part of any business plan: Make dedication to your ideals a habit.
- Be resourceful: How far can you stretch yourself? How frugal can you be with your own finances to keep the business reinvested? How much magic can you make from the resources you have?
- It pays to be a jack-of-all-trades: Attend tutorials. Google it. Make it happen. Learning new skills is more often than not favorable to outsourcing.
- Stay positive: Motivation is key to an entrepreneur’s success and negativity is the biggest motivation-killer. There have been times where the risk of the ship sinking, the self sacrifice that lead to nothing, or the potential of feeling humiliated among my peers due to failure – has felt like the world is ending. This emotion can ruin you. It will get everyone you surround yourself with feeling demotivated. So, stay focused, keep your cool and know that no matter how bad a situation is, it will never be the end of the world.
- Find your balance: Keep things fun. Bring strong culture into the office environment, which allows for everyone to feel part of something big. Share your vision.
- Live and breathe your industry: Consuming books and media from the best people in the business keeps you motivated and ahead of the curve.
- Keep your focus: Sometimes your biggest enemy can be ambition. Rather than chasing stray opportunities, define your product vision and stick to it. It will keep your systems simpler and more effective in the long run.
- Observation is everything: Be sensitive to and aware of the world around you. This will help you market your product, understand your consumers and get better at what you do.
- Always seek to add value to your stakeholders: Sooner or later you will run into problems if you aren’t creating value for all those that benefit from your product or service. And, in anything you do, do no harm.