I often talk about the importance of building a fun, profitable and sustainable coaching practice. And to me, sustainability means that the business is self-seeding, regenerative and that the longer you’re in business, the less time and energy it takes to have the success that you want.
Let’s take a closer look at the idea of sustainability within business and life as it relates to the current climate crisis. There are ways to have your business be sustainable — not only in terms of profitability and longevity, but also in terms of its environmental impact.
There are a lot of choices that I’ve made this year to make a lighter impact on the planet. Some people in my life consider some of these choices to be extreme. That said, they are really important to me, and I’d like to share three of them with you in case they spark some inspiration within you to find ways to lighten your environment impact in your business and life, as well. I believe if each of us make small changes, it will add up to make a big difference.
1) We use a TerraCycle Box
A TerraCycle Box is essentially a system that can recycle anything that cannot be recycled through regular municipal recycling programs, such as toothbrushes, plastic wrap, single use plastic, Styrofoam, etc. It costs about $300 for a large box (about four feet tall). When I first got one, it took our family two months to fill the box, but now that we’ve collectively become more aware of how much waste we create, it takes us four months or longer to fill. Every time I put something in the box, I think about it. Our behaviors are changing as a result of seeing what goes into that box, which is really cool. Every time we fill a box, we make a goal to have the box last a month longer than it did the previous time.
2) I sent Electronic Holiday Cards and Gifts to Clients
This year, I chose to send digital holiday cards to my clients rather than have some printed and sent through the mail. Not only does this save money, but it saves on paper and ink and eliminates the impact of sending something physically through the mail. I also made a donation to two organizations on behalf of each client rather than send them a physical gift.
3) We Up-cycle when Possible
When I no longer use an item, rather than tossing it out, I now up-cycle it; that is, I’ll pass it along or sell it to someone else I know could use it. For instance, I just sent one of my clients a projector that I previously used for in-person presentations because she needed one. These days, I just don’t need it: I’m either speaking on bigger stages that already provide their own equipment, or I’m presenting virtually. Also, Craiglist has become my best friend. I bought many of my Christmas presents for Connor on Craiglist. Before I buy anything new (Clothes, computer equipment, furniture, housewares), I search Craiglist, thrift stores and consignment stores first.
Those are some examples of what I’m doing to be more sustainable in my life and my business to help the Earth. Here are some things that you can do should you choose (and by the way, in most cases, they will also save you money):
- Support Locally-Owned Business. 80% of money that’s spent at local businesses goes back into the community. Change to a local bank or credit union, go to a local printer for business cards, get your equipment serviced by a local tech vs. a big box store or chain, etc.
- Change to E-Statements whenever possible to save paper and the impact of sending something physically through the mail.
- Buy Used. Look for items on Craigslist or OfferUp to find good quality, used equipment and furniture that your nearby neighbors are selling second hand.
- Recycle Everything that You Can. Refill your ink cartridges and recycle the old ones. Recycle batteries, electronic equipment, and clothing. Before throwing something away, ask yourself “can this be recycled, sold, or given away instead?”
Choosing to focus on sustainability in your business can set you and your business apart from other coaches. People love to spend money where they feel the businesses are responsible and use sustainable business practices.
So, what are some things you do already to create sustainability in your business? Kudos to you! Celebrate that. Are there more things you would like to do in 2020 to be even more sustainable? I’d love to hear your ideas.
Tara Butler Floch