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My Year in Reflection

Mission Driven Business

Release Date: 12/28/2021

Bringing Your People With You with Braxton Fleming show art Bringing Your People With You with Braxton Fleming

Mission Driven Business

Brian Thompson chats with Braxton Fleming, founder and CEO of Stealth Bros & Co. Stealth Bros & Co. provides stylish luxury medical storage products and Dopp kits. Braxton started the company as a solution for the transgender community, but he has since expanded to meet the needs of people with diabetes and undergoing in vitro fertilization treatments. On the episode, Braxton tells how his passion for Stealth Bros and Co.’s mission keeps the company rooted and fuels its growth. He also shares why consistency yields results and explains how he came up with the idea for his company after...

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Mission Driven Business

Brian Thompson welcomes Mike Michalowicz back on the podcast. Mike is the mastermind behind Profit First Professionals and the author of books for entrepreneurs and small business owners. In episode seven, Mike talked about his Profit First system and his experience growing several multi-million dollar companies. Now Mike is back to talk about his latest book, Get Different: Marketing That Can’t Be Ignored! Mike shares the research and insights he learned when writing the book, and he offers his tips for creating an effective and radically different marketing system. Episode Highlights Small...

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My Year in Reflection show art My Year in Reflection

Mission Driven Business

It’s almost the New Year, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first year of the Mission Driven Business podcast. In this special Year in Reflection episode, Brian re-lives some of the best moments from the first 21 episodes of the podcast. You'll hear some of the insights, strengths, and hope shared by the diverse podcast guests on their respective episodes. Brian also shares some of his favorite nuggets of wisdom, and he recounts how each guests’ story ties into the larger podcast theme -- that you can make money and serve a purpose. Episode Highlights There is no one...

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Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with Mark Suh, a serial entrepreneur and founder and CEO of Everwell, an Orange County, CA-based wellness clinic. On the episode, Mark shares how a series of health trials led to a wellness journey that transformed his life and sparked his passion for Everwell, his first mission-driven venture.  Mark also opens up about why mindset is the most challenging but essential aspect to develop as an entrepreneur. And he touts the importance of flexibility, a skill he used after opening the doors to Everwell just months into the COVID-19 pandemic. Episode Highlights Mission-driven...

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Defining Your Niche with River Nice show art Defining Your Niche with River Nice

Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with River Nice, the owner and financial planner of Be Intentional Financial. River’s company seeks to reduce the harm done by capitalism to transgender and queer individuals and families by providing education, tools, advice, and a place to talk about money. Known as the anticapitalist financial planner, River shares how they found their niche by playing to their strengths and reaching out to their community. They also discuss how running a mission-driven business can serve both your community and yourself. Episode Highlights Mission-Driven Businesses serve your community and...

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Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with Sarah Santacroce, a LinkedIn guru turned humane marketing revolutionary. Sarah opens up about the breakdowns and breakthroughs that led to her living her passion for bringing empathy and kindness to business and marketing. On the episode, Sarah discusses how to succeed in online marketing by finding your purpose and being your true, authentic self. She also shares the pitfalls of buzzy marketing phrases, and how using softer words can bring compassion to current and future clients. Episode Highlights Mission-driven entrepreneurs focus on their why. To Sarah, mission-driven...

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The Mission Driven Business Podcast Episode 18: Social Enterprise for Literacy with Brian Floriani show art The Mission Driven Business Podcast Episode 18: Social Enterprise for Literacy with Brian Floriani

Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with Brian Floriani, a golf professional turned literacy advocate and entrepreneur who has founded two companies dedicated to improving literacy in the U.S. Brian’s latest enterprise, Freadom, was founded in late 2020 as a purpose-driven lifestyle brand that uses 100% of its proceeds for literacy initiatives. On the episode, Brian Floriani talks about how he is using a social enterprise model to turn the traditional approach to social giving on its head. He also discusses how values can help Freadom’s direction and shares numerous adages to aid aspiring social entrepreneurs....

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Brian chats with Anna Murphy, a Latina entrepreneur and CEO of Murphy and Associates Consulting. Anna shares the wisdom that led her to build a multiple six-figure business in a year and a half. She also discusses the importance of surrounding yourself with people who believe in you, and why hitting rock bottom is worth talking about. Episode Highlights Mission-driven businesses have a purpose. Starting a business is challenging in and of itself, Anna said. But having a mission-driven business allows the founder to be able to overcome the inevitable challenges and keep moving forward....

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Running a Successful Retail Business with Columbus Running Company show art Running a Successful Retail Business with Columbus Running Company

Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with Matt DeLeon and Eric Fruth, the founders of Columbus Running Company. As the first retail entrepreneurs on the show, Eric and Matt discuss how they turned their deep passion for running into a long-running mission-driven business. They also share why community is central to their work and how they have used kindness and determination to overcome obstacles and land major opportunities.   Episode Highlights A mission-driven business is like planet Earth. Matt used a distinctive analogy to define a mission-driven business. “A mission-driven business is like the Earth,”...

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Mission Driven Business

Brian chats with Seke Ballard, the founder and CEO of Good Tree Capital, a financial services firm that uses a proprietary algorithm to balance available economic opportunities for people invested in cannabis companies. On the episode, Seke shares how removing biased data from the lending equation can make the playing field more equal. He also discusses his motivations for starting his firm, the company’s future plans, and why his ultimate dream is to create a banking model that works so well it puts the big, bad banks out of business.   Episode Highlights Mission-driven businesses...

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More Episodes

It’s almost the New Year, which means it’s the perfect time to reflect on the first year of the Mission Driven Business podcast. In this special Year in Reflection episode, Brian re-lives some of the best moments from the first 21 episodes of the podcast.

You'll hear some of the insights, strengths, and hope shared by the diverse podcast guests on their respective episodes. Brian also shares some of his favorite nuggets of wisdom, and he recounts how each guests’ story ties into the larger podcast theme -- that you can make money and serve a purpose.

Episode Highlights

There is no one definition of mission-driven business.

If you’ve listened to the podcast, you know that the first thing Brian asks his guests is to describe what a mission-driven business means to them. That’s because mission-driven businesses are distinct, and everyone has a different answer.

One of Brian’s favorite answers came from Phuong Luong, who shared a quote she heard in grad school.

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs,” she said. “Instead, ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs is for more people to come alive.”

Regardless of their definition, Brian makes sure listeners know that your business can make money and serve a purpose. It’s a point echoed by many of the guests on the podcast.

In the very first episode, Dawn Hancock summarized the principle by saying, “Profit does matter. It just doesn’t have to be the only thing.” But Brian Floriani may have said it most succinctly in episode 18: “No margin. No mission.”

Everyone has a different journey.

Every entrepreneur on the show has had a different path to their career. Brian highlighted how in episode two, Bill Bynum credited his childhood experiences as fundamental to him later running one of the largest community development financial institutions (CDFIs) in the U.S.

Other entrepreneurs had numerous twists on their paths running companies with purpose and profit. In episode 13, attorney Nici Kersey shared how running her own businesses wasn’t something she planned, but came after her company let her go because of a military move.

Nothing is perfect.

Unforeseen circumstances are a given with entrepreneurial life. In episode 11, Lauren Klafke opened up about how her work and home life adjusted when her business started booming at the same time she was caring for a newborn and overseeing a house remodel.

One way to navigate unforeseen circumstances is to know your values. Perhaps the best example yet of letting your values guide you is financial planner River Nice.

In episode 20, River shared how their values first guided them to leave the corporate world and try their hand at entrepreneurship, then again when defining their niche. The result is that River's day-to-day work is aligned with their strengths and values.

“I’m just so happy on a day-to-day basis,” River said. “Who knew life could be this good? It feels like bragging, but that’s the point, right? The point of this podcast is that life can be this good, and you can do it, too.”

Learn from the experts’ experiences.

While it’s nice to hear about purpose and values, podcast listeners have most enjoyed learning the strategies and tactics guests rely upon to run their home and work lives.

In episode 16, the owners of Columbus Running Company played up the importance of community, while in episode 3, Jacob Padrón praised the merits of asking for help. But Brian particularly appreciated the insights of Nici Kersey on how to let go of perfectionism: watch baseball.

“Watching baseball made me really focus more on the fact that you don’t have to be perfect,” Nici said. “These players are the best in the world at being a baseball player, and they mess up all the time, right?”

Self-care isn’t selfish.

Brian always ends the episode by asking each guest to share anything surprising they’ve learned on their journey. One of the most commented lines ever on the podcast came from Pamela Capalad’s answer to this very question.

“Running a business mostly sucks,” she said in episode 5.

While running a mission-driven can suck at times, all entrepreneurs on the podcast say the freedom and fulfillment are well worth pushing the uncertainty and overcoming the inevitable obstacles. But the grit needed to do that can be hard to learn, said Mark Suh in episode 21.

“That belief in yourself has to be strong enough that you don’t quit,” he said.

While the year has been filled with wisdom, Brian’s favorite piece of advice also came from the answer to this last question when Emlen praised the importance of self-care. In episode 10, Emlen explained how incorporating self-care into his regimented schedule has helped him ultimately have a more productive day.

“It was the aspect of tracking over time that made me realize, when I do this, I was a better husband, I was a better dad, I was more patient with the kids,” he said.

Resources + Links

About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 

Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.

On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.