Business

April 10, 2008 | Leave a Comment

Category: Activism, Auto-Biography

Several aspects of my life inform my work as activist.  Almost thirty years of running small businesses have had a powerful effect upon how I organize.  I’ve tried nine related and unrelated professions.  Two thrived.

Living and working through rejection and trusting your impulses regardless of the number of times you feel rebuffed carries over from starting and running your own business to gathering and organizing people around an action or event.  I don’t take it personally when calls don’t get returned or an email goes without response.  I keep focused on the goal.

But there is a balance.  In business, I constantly adjust my product and my presentation to the people that I’m selling to.  I let myself be directed to success by my audience.  Someone who is organizing often must listen until someone comes up with an idea that feels right, and then the organizer supports it.  Selling is often listening, listening to what potential clients want and consulting with them on whether what I offer fits their needs.

My position as an organizer is to know where the resources are located, to be in contact with people with goals and to match up the resources with the people.

As a businessman, I seek to convince those that can profit from my access to resources that I am the right person for the job; then, I must follow through.

The most important frame that carries from business to activism is to tell the truth.  I pay close attention to doing what I say I’ll do.  To communicate that I can be relied upon, I don’t make estimations of what I can do that are not true.  I am reliable.

There is no small amount of anti-business bias on the Left.  A part of me shares that bias, but it is an unreasonable part.  I carry guilt that I find it relatively easy to make money.  That guilt drives me harder to behave with integrity.  So I find myself an anomaly among the organizers I work with.  I’m an entrepreneurial anarchist.


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