THE BUSINESS MODEL

What do you do when something is broken and those responsible do not see it is broken or refuse to fix it? You have to find or create something new. Creating something new is what this article is about.

For years, I voluntarily served on various non-profit boards as a director or on a project team or as a volunteer providing a service, such as assisting disabled horseback riders, or even as a paid secretary-treasurer. For years, I worked professionally in a variety of business environments from corporate, retail, and factory, plus as a contractor, sole proprietor, writer, and artist.

Formal education includes business administration, visual arts, design and communication arts, plus some university studies. Additionally I was in a one-year self-employment program and I took a variety of one-off courses, such as marketing and basic French. Various roles included, but have not been limited to department store assistant manager, head cashier, office manager, storefront manager, desk manager, operations contractor planner, human resources assistant, business planning assistant factory worker, nanny, cook, and odd jobs.

As you can tell, I love to explore the world and learn new things, yet I also love to innovate and transfer my natural talents and skills to a variety of roles and responsible for which I have been very successful. Because my learning environment was not financially supported by a university or business, financial success was moderated by the poverty wages paid for part-time contract work,  the reality that is now common to an increasing number of people. Yet, most of my in-depth education has been acquired through personal experience, plus self-directed research and studies done during the past twenty some years.

A key component of my self-directed studies has been the motivation to learn from others who have presented a new idea or created something new and what they experienced. I needed to learn from people who were not in my more limited social and professional circle, but were risk takers, so I could learn what it takes to become successful, fulfilling both a mission and vision, as well as financial independence.

In a nutshell, I learned that the current business models in Canada and in many other countries do not serve innovative creators, but in fact are the nemesis of such people.

EXAMINING THE OPTIONS

Last fall, I spoke with a community administrator who informed me that project grants were only available to artists if artists were not going to make any money from the creative project, begging the question, why should an artist or anyone be forced to work for free or worse: even create something new that many would benefit from, yet not be able to earn income from their creations? Do farmers not get paid? Do ministers minister for free? Do politicians work for free?  Does an inventor not get paid for his invention?

That is, of course, if an innovative creation is not outright stolen first.

When I professionally worked for others and when I volunteered, my ideas resulted in saving organizations a lot of money, such as reducing a monthly planning cycle by one week. But when I struck out on my own, I discovered many people who were eager to take my ideas, even the ones in print for their own use. Some people even tried, unsuccessfully in the long term, to take credit for my creations and make it their own, either oblivious to copyright laws or just did not care about them.

I also encountered people who told me that usually the creator is not the best person to run the company. Such people may get a token role as a board member or consultant, but the creation and rights are handed over to a board of directors and a manager. Unfortunately, when that happens, time and time again, it has been proven that such takeovers often shift the priority from mission first to profit first, at any cost, which I am determined will not happen in this case.

Someone once asked me, “What if someone steals my idea?” I laughed and replied, “Just the act of attempting to steal the idea would prove they really did not get the concept and therefore could not have been the creator.”

A consultant who lead a business workshop and an angel investor’s contest seminar I attended later contacted me to inform me he had created a business plan for my innovative creation, without asking my permission first.

A friend with more formal arts education took over my role for two performance workshops I sold, leaving me to sit on the sidelines while he took the credit and half the money. Additionally, a professional who should have know better, figured she could just take the concept on the road as if she owned the rights by paying for a workshop.

I could go on, but instead, I was motivated to also be innovative and creative to protect my rights, while using what I have created to help the many people, who are often exploited by people who have little or no respect for what is not theirs.

THE UNUSUAL SOLUTION FOR THE UNUSUAL MISSION
Surprisingly, I was inspired by legal and accounting firms, yet also by film production companies operating as limited liability partnership firms.

Of course, discovering first hand and from research what happens to corporations of any kind, also motivated me to instead transform my sole proprietorship in the future to a limited liability partnership in order to prevent the social business venture from being transformed into a political, profiteering organization.

Bringing on four management partners will result in partner investments, a vested commitment, the opportunity to belong to an unusual organization designed to do good on a grand scale, and also the acquisition of their bonuses from their partnership’s  percentage based on net profits.

There is a lot of talk about equality these days, but after working directly for management and in human resources, as well as a manager, trainer, and  supervisor, this social business exemplifies what equal pay for equal work is supposed to look like. My salary and the partners’ salaries are all the same and will remain the same even with increases. The only difference is with regard to year end net profit distribution. Each four partners (see the online job descriptions) will receive five percent annually, while I as developer, founder, and president will receive ten percent  initially, leaving seventy percent to be poured back into the business. In time, the percentage will skew as funds will also be redirected to establish the foundation and Spirit Ranch and as otherwise required. (Visit  http://www.connectingthedotswiththerespectprinciple.com for additional information.)

THE CHALLENGES

Transforming respect from a discretionary value to a global principle may seem daunting, but then again, any great work is daunting, often seeming impossible.

Not being a non-profit organization or even a for-profit organization means most grant sources are not available for this global initiative. In contrast to the typical organizations, contributor recognition can only be acknowledged by being listed as one of the supporters rather than being provided with a tax receipt for writing off contributions. This method also serves to separate the philanthropists from the altruists.

Borrowing money, whether through investors or any other means, also puts the social business venture’s integrity at risk, including the potential loss of ownership for something I have spent much of my life developing. From my perspective, I have given and sold enough to others, it is time to fully respect my work and be paid accordingly as everyone else should be also.

The goal this year is to secure the initial financial support for the first project and/or year and after that to become financially independent through sales, rather than dependent on the whims of politics and other influencing factors that are often reflections of the interest of a few  people rather than all people.

THE SOLUTION

We know tradition has its place. It reminds us from where we have come, which can either help or hinder us as we move forward in the present and into the future. And we can learn from the wise ones who have come before us. In this particular case,  Albert Einstein’s wisdom rings loud and clear, “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity.”

Let us not continue to be trapped by thinking that “what was” is still “what needs to be.” Our world has changed and continues to change more rapidly, so we all have to continuously adapt in order not just to survive, but to thrive. And that means all of us, rather than a select minority who are in control and work diligently to keep it that way, proven by the fact that the wealthy could use their means to eradicate the majority of the world’s problems, but historically and presently continue to choose not to do so–which means we must be the change we need to thrive as individuals, families, and collectives that share the world with everyone.

KAITLIN ANN TREPANIER

Specialist Writer Speaker Social Entrepreneur Founder and President

of Connecting The Dots With The Respect Principle

Smashwords interview @  www.smashwords.com

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Last Updated July 27, 2020