This article is part of a series I launched at Social Change Nation – I interview Purpose Driven entrepreneurs from around the world for my podcast, and now you’re getting the inside scoop on the lessons they are teaching me…I’m sharing these with you so that we can learn together from these change agents. So, whether you’re a purpose driven entrepreneur, want to be one, or hope to learn more about cause based entrepreneurship, stay tuned. I’ll publish a new one of these every weekday for at least a month – and even longer if you all love it & comment on it. Want to keep up? Then follow me on umano.me, subscribe to my podcast, or just link up with us at socialchangenation.com. Either way, sit back and join in as we learn about the stories of world changing entrepreneurs.
Bridget Hilton and Joe Huff are the purpose driven founders of LSTN Headphones. Bridget is a lover of music – she was born into it, and it has been what she’s lived and breathed ever since. From record companies, to bands, to musical instruments – she’s been in on it all. Bridget didn’t find her ultimate purpose however, until she saw this video of a formerly deaf woman receiving the gift of hearing for the first time at age 35. Bridget realized how drastically different her life would be without the ability to hear beautiful music. It was at this moment of deep personal reflection that Bridget created LSTN headphones.
The headphones are beautiful – both sonically and cosmetically – but their true beauty is in their story. Each pair of headphones sold directly leads to a person receiving the gift of hearing during one of the many trips that Bridget takes around the world with the Starkey Foundation (see the pic above). Let’s sit on that for a minute – Bridget is the CEO of an awesomely successful headphone company who, while still running the company, has it as a non-negotiable that she actively engages herself in her company’s social mission.
Here were my five key takeaways from my interview with Bridget:
1.) You can be mission AND business minded. I’ve interviewed a lot of cause based business founders all over the world, and Bridget is one of the few who runs her company and personally flies around the world to pour into her company’s social mission. You can do both if you want to – don’t ever think that running a company, working for someone else, or pursuing profit means that you can’t also be a social change agent.
2.) Link up with a cause that is deeply meaningful for you. I’m really turned off by all these businesses out there who, when I run to their website, have some random cause buried about 20 pages into their website that obviously is some PR stunt, and has no meaning for them. When I interviewed Bridget of LSTN it was abundantly clear that she had been personally transformed when she saw that woman hear for the first time, and Bridget devoted herself to helping others hear because that cause had deep meaning to her. You’ve gotta find the same if you want to succeed as a purpose driven entrepreneur.
3.) Create a premium quality product or service, so that you can make a dollar AND a difference. I use my LSTN Headphones every day. But LSTN didn’t win me over just with their cause alone, rather, the headphones are beautiful, unique, and sound amazing. The fact that they contribute to a cause I also care about sealed the deal, but it didn’t lead the deal. Purpose driven entrepreneurs get this, so they create premium products that stand on their own and bring people into the social movement they’re supporting.
4.) Create things that spark conversations. When I wear my headphones on my head, they look so unique that people inevitably ask me about them. This gives me the chance to tell them about Bridget, her passion for the less fortunate, and the Starkey Foundation. Purpose driven entrepreneurship is about creating conversations that lead to social change.
5.) Redefine success. All too often in our society the word success becomes synonymous with ‘making a crapload of money’. Purpose driven entrepreneurs like Bridget and Joe of LSTN show us a radically different definition of success, one that defines ‘success’ by the number of lives changed, rather than number of dollars earned.
Bridget & Joe, you’re an inspiration to social entrepreneurs, cause based shoppers, and anyone else who needs a healthy dose of purpose in their life. You truly live out the mission of the Starkey Foundation as you build your company: “So that the world may hear”.
Want more stories of purpose-driven entrepreneurs? This story originally appeared in our Social Good Guide – 50 businesses. 50 causes. 50 ways to change the world. You can find them all at socialgoodshopping.com.