One of the things we’ve done recently is partner with a few non-profits in our business. I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the success of the program and wanted to share how it came about and how we’re moving it forward.
A few years ago I was approached to be on the Board of Directors for Jeans 4 Justice, a non-profit in San Diego that educates kids about sexual abuse and sexual violence. I believe strongly in their mission and joined their board.
Fast forward a year.
The J4J work was going well but I saw that they continued to have the same problems that many other non-profits face. They have to spend tons of time raising money which takes away from fulfilling their true work. Raising $ was their constant focus.
This bothered me enough (I hate broken systems) to come up with a plan to help them out. We designed a plan to put a profit-sharing program in place so that as our company earned revenues, we’d donate 5% to them. We actually wrote it into our corporate by-laws and it’s worked beautifully so far. They know that as we close deals they get checks.
Still, the whole non-profit donation model bothers me. It seems like non-profits are constantly asking for money and not able to provide much in return to their donors.
Below is plan that we’re doing to help a few non-profits in the area. I believe it can be good for the non-profit and good for us. I’m hoping other businesses blatantly steal my idea on this because if so, a lot more non-profits doing great work can thrive.
Check out our company intro video (1st video) and then please enjoy the outtakes (2nd video). I never realized how long it would take me to shoot a 1 minute video without swearing…
And now for the outtakes…
During one of the best summers of my life I spent numerous nights eating dinner sitting in my driveway. I would come home from work and my wife and kids would be playing with our neighbors in the yard. The kids would all be playing and the wives would be drinking wine and talking.
Each of us dads would get home, pop a beer and join the party. After a couple of hours the sun would be going down and we’d all head inside. There would be times where I’d get home at 5:30 and not step inside my house until 8pm.
What I love about those times is how spontaneous and easy it was to hang out and be part of a community of friends*. There was no agenda, no planning, no driving. It was easy, enjoyable and made living in that particular house fantastic.
If I could I would happily live in a shack in a neighborhood where my family could enjoy that sense of community again. Most people would.
In fact, in designing the ‘Healthy Home Method’, one of the biggest impacts we considered was the societal impacts of homes. Sure, we want our houses to be green and cost less to run, etc. We also want them to be designed in a way that makes it easier for people to be neighbors and build a sense of community.
Most current house designs make that virtually impossible- huge houses, with monster garage doors and no front porches. All of the activity takes place in the backyard and the front is largely for decoration. Because of this many of us barely know our neighbors.
We’re designing healthy homes with big front porches to make it easy for you to know your neighbors and create hassle-free community. Don’t worry, our houses still offer a ton of privacy, we’re just making it easier for you to hang out with your neighbors when you want to. We believe that our healthy homes can make people’s lives healthier, happier and more rewarding.
*We still get together with those friends every month for pizza night. We moved from that neighborhood more than 4 years ago but the bond with them is strong enough that we see each other once a month.
When we launched our company and raised money from our 1st investors (2007) the concept of ‘green’ homes was far from commonplace. In fact, no one really knew what we meant by green and the industry really hadn’t taken off yet. Our team (our company and our investors) enjoyed success because we were in the early adoption stage. Green homes were new and the desirability for green homes buoyed our success. Being early adopters was good for us and for our investors.
Fast forward to today and the concept of healthy homes is very new. We again are at the early adoption stage of the growth in this sector of the housing market. Again, our team (our investors and us) expect to enjoy success because we’re at the beginning of the curve on the upswing. The sector hasn’t matured yet and is continuing to grow and expand.
Since we’re one of the only companies focused on healthy green homes as a model we’ve got the double benefit of:
I’m glad we seem to be ahead of the curve (again). Also, I’m very happy that our business model gives our investors the greatest opportunity for long-term growth.
For the past several years an idea for a better way to build homes has been at the forefront of my thoughts in green building. While their are countless energy-efficiency rating systems (Leed, BuildItGreen, Energy Star, etc) there really hasn’t been one that encompasses a whole life method of building.
That said I’m excited to announce the Healthy Home Method of building. This is my take on how to design and build a healthy home that supports every aspect of your life. This isn’t just about saving money (energy-efficiency) this is about creating a happier life. By utilizing all of these elements we can create homes that are more than energy-efficient. We’ll create homes that allow us to lead longer, happier lives and protect the planet in the process.
The five elements of the Healthy Home Method are: (more…)
This blog used to be primarily for the coaching side of our business. I didn’t spend much time at all describing the work we do in the green development world since I did most of that on the Simcoe Green site.
Well, now for simplicity’s sake all of my writings will be here. Much easier to manage (my selfish reason) and probably more effective for you, my cherished reader. Really, I do cherish you, very cool and very happy that you have chosen to read this blog, if only for a few minutes. After all Espn.com is available 24/7 so I appreciate you being here.
Also, as per the request of several people, I am going to approach these posts from a conversational level rather than a professorial level. Looking back on a few things I’ve written in the past and I feel like I come off like a professor in a tweed jacket, which I clearly am not.
I’m just a guy who chucked a pretty easy, well paying corporate career because I wanted to do something different. Something that I could be proud of and something that inspires me. I do miss the nice expense accounts and fancy sales dinners but mac and cheese is fine with me if I get to do what I love.
All investors are not created equal. Some care strictly about their returns, their IRR and pure performance of their portfolios.
Then there are investors who want to build something. Investors who be part of something historic and contribute to their legacy. These people are often called ‘impact’, ‘caused-based’ or ‘mission’ investors.
They invest in companies that:
Impact investors realize that the question is not, “Will you leave a legacy?” but:
It’s a subtle difference but looking at it from that paradigm can change your perspective dramatically. I have 2 daughters, Kaya (8 yrs old) and Noa (4yrs old).
Regardless of my intentions, I’m daily creating my legacy right in front of them. When I pass on (50+ years from now hopefully) they’re not going to remember how much money I made or the nice clothes I wore.
I hope they remember the difference in the world their Dad made. I hope they remember our dates and the path I chose to try to make a difference in the world. Unfortunately, they’ll probably remember my bad jokes and my god awful grey sweatpants.
Neutral isn’t neutral, it’s bad.
Put a car in neutral and it doesn’t go anywhere until it slowly slides downhill.
Neutrality is apathy and apathy kills. The enemy of neutrality is passion. Ask any Red Sox fan how they feel about the Yankees and you’re unlikely to hear anything neutral and thats’ good.
Passion drives results and endeavors on when most would give up. Thomas Edison wasn’t neutral about inventing a light bulb and because he had passion he got it done.
The less neutrality, the more progress.
In the housing design we need less neutrality. We need to stop being neutral about the growing disconnect between our living needs and modern day home design. Let’s build homes that are healthy, easy to run and cost less to operate and made from superior materials.
Home that foster neighborhood interaction, encourage front-porch living and generally contribute to happier lives.
The time to be neutral is gone.
The time to launch or run an inspired business is right now. There has never been a more auspicious time to launch and the world has never needed it more. What is an “inspired business”?
An “inspired business” is simply a business that makes the world a better place. I’ve worked with inspired CEO’s running inspired company’s all over the US including: wind farm energy companies, non-profits, schools, green real estate investors, commercial builders and apartment managers, solar companies, etc.
Uber- successful Inspired CEO’s that I’ve had the pleasure to work with all share three common traits:
So the question really is, are you an Inspired CEO or do you strive to be one? If so, keep reading.
Like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, there exists a hierarchy of needs for every business owner:
I believe strongly that the hierarchy of needs for an Inspired CEO is a much better path to pursue. Let’s take a look at each area:
Growth – This is where your business is just starting out and your brand, services, team, offerings, etc are all still being established. Cash flow varies often, sometimes it’s spa vacations in Hawaii and sometimes it’s Mac and Cheese. You are the guy running a green carpet cleaning service.
Success – You’ve made it through the growth stage, you’re profitable and you’re finally making money. Your team is experienced and you’ve figured out many of the business hiccups. You are the family running a thriving rainwater catchment company.
Freedom – Your business operates almost on autopilot with healthy profits, happy teams, and satisfied customers. You choose your customers, everyone loves your brand and things are good. Translation: You can go on vacation when you want. You are the woman running a group of successful Montessori schools in Southern California.
Legacy – You are THE trailblazer in your industry. Your company makes the world a better place and serves as an example for others. People seek your insight, write books about you and you feel proud of the work your company has done.
You are Yvon Chouinard- Founder, Patagonia; you are Richard Branson – Virgin.
To get from green cleaning carpets to Richard Branson status you’re going to need some help. That’s where I come in.
Here’s what you’ll learn with me:
Five Elements of the Inspired CEO coaching program:
Some (not all) of the Outcomes you can expect working together:
If you’re interested in being a candidate for the Inspired Coaching Program please email: Jim at SimcoeGreen dot com
This post is written for anyone who doesn’t live in a hermetically sealed, LEED Platinum, net-zero, passive solar house built with fair trade materials. Basically, it’s for all of us. Our company has greened tons of homes and wanted to pass along the biggest things you can do to green your house. I am defining a green house as one that is:
Healthier/Safer/Less toxic to live in for you, your family, your kids and your pets.
Less expensive to run, costs less in utility bills every month.
There are some added things in here for people who live in California (where I do) but the info can be used by anyone.
1. Painting: Always use zero-VOC paint. Almost all brands pitch their paint as low or no-VOC paint however that’s usually before you add the color tint to it. The tint is where most VOC’s are located. I always recommend Olympic Zero-Voc paint because it’s zero-VOC even after the color tint has been added. It’s what I used in our house, they have it at Lowes and it’s inexpensive. Here’s a link:http://www.olympic.com/products/paints/23/olympic-premium-interior-paint
2. If you live in California: To get a majority of basic energy efficiency work done, check out the Energy Upgrade California program. You can get up to $4000 back from SDGE and $500 from the county. Here’s the link:https://energyupgradeca.org/overview
3. If you DON’T live in California: Check out DSIREUSA.ORG for a list of rebates and incentives to make your home more energy efficient.
4. HVAC: If possible get your HVAC duct work checked out and cleaned. In California Energy Upgrade California covers this I believe. If you’re in San Diego, call Guthrie and Sons (they are a local green HVAC company-speak to Matt-619-571-3563 and tell him I referred you). I’ve used them before and they are cool, affordable and very good at what they do. Their link:http://guthrieandsons.com/
5. Carpet: If you are replacing any carpet, consider using Mohawk Smart Strand. It’s looks/feels like regular carpet but is made from corn sugar and off-gasses less. You can get it at Lowes/Home Depot and it’s priced the same as regular carpet. Link: http://www.mohawkflooring.com/flooring-products/carpet/smartstrand.aspx
6. Kids health: Make sure their rooms are Zero-VOC painted if possible, keep all electronics 6 ft away from their heads/heart when they are sleeping (to reduce impact from electromagnetic rays), try not to position their beds directly under a vent (HVAC register) and add a plant or two to their rooms to filter the air. Here’s a list of best plants to filter air, compiled by NASA.
7. Install a water heater blanket: Available at Lowes or Home Depot, inexpensive and can cut down water heating bills. Here’s a link.
8. Add foam outlet gaskets to all exterior wall outlets. Reduces air infiltration, lost heating and AC costs.
9. Add foam pipe insulation to your hot water pipes. This will reduce heat loss and conserve water.
10. Add faucet aerators to conserve water. Simple to do, inexpensive and can save up to 50% of water use. Check out this video- the guy’s accent is awesome.
That’s it, hope this is helpful.