THE BLOG

You Can Actually Change the World and Make Money From It!

27/08/2015 17:22 BST | Updated 26/08/2016 10:59 BST

You might have read that title and thought I was joking, but it really is true. You can change the world and make money while doing it - social good does not just mean 'charity' or voluntary work.

I've been taking a look into purpose beyond profit, opportunities and career paths which take you beyond the boardroom and to the heart of the world in which we live. I think you'll find it extremely fulfilling just like I did.

I actually started my career as a bit of an outsider. At school, I didn't really fit in - I was always a very high achiever and people described me as bright, intelligent and full of promise for the future. I was in fact an Oxbridge candidate and one of my college tutors almost swung me into studying PPE, but I didn't.

Why not? Many of you reading this I'm sure would have jumped at the chance of heading straight for one of the most prestigious and highly regarded Universities reading what one might call a 'golden ticket' degree - many of this country's most distinguished politicians are PPE graduates and have since made their way in society.

I turned all of this down to satisfy an inner desire for something more - for a chance to make my own success, on my terms, with people who I really wanted to work with. At first, this was through entrepreneurship. In school I set up a small consultancy business helping teachers navigate digital technology in the classroom and this developed into a training and learning resources company which won a host of regional business prizes when I was just 14. I continued my IT side-business and dropped out of A Levels a year early to transfer to the Peter Jones Enterprise Academy.

For me, here my life changed. I was put into the world which I really wanted to explore and develop. My IT portfolio grew and grew and I began to take on contractors and worked with some pretty impressive clients. But this still wasn't quite enough. I transformed the venture into a social enterprise and began to give back skills and experiences I'd learned by giving young people 'apprenticeship style' freelancing opportunities in the business - to the point where I started to develop 'social impact projects' alongside this.

This was all a tough call and made possible through a series of unpopular and difficult decisions - ones which at first, my family at home didn't quite understand.

I've gone on to help develop and foster social entrepreneurship and social good across a variety of charities, campaigns and non-profits across the world and continue to do so focusing on engagement and the power of digital media for good causes. Whilst I am by no means the world's most advanced, I've achieved big things. I was an Ambassador for Bono's ONE Campaign tackling extreme poverty in the developing world, have led international social campaigns and even gained a coveted spot on that big red BBC Breakfast sofa talking about my work.

So where do you go if you want to do something different with your career?

You might think careers like this are hard to build, somewhat based on luck, having the right connections and putting yourself out there. A little bit of that is true, but not all of it. There are actually fantastic organisations and causes out there which can really help you get into the world of social good.

Escape The City

Launched in 2010, Escape the City helps talented professionals find exciting opportunities outside of the corporate mainstream. The site was founded in January 2010 by three corporate professionals who wanted to 'do something different' with their careers. The idea for Escape the City was born out of a frustration at how hard it was to discover exciting, viable career opportunities outside of the corporate mainstream. Excited by the Internet's potential to reach a community of likeminded people, they set out to build a solution.

Escape the City's primary objectives are to provide its members with exciting, unconventional (but viable) jobs, as well as providing a world-class education through The Escape School. Since launching in 2010, the site has advertised over 10,000 job vacancies in startups, SMEs, social enterprises, charities, and businesses around the world.

Young people, professionals and the curious head to Escape The City every day, all around the world, to do something different and impact driven in the world. Those with creativity, a desire to be the change they want to see in the world. It's a revolution which is growing, at a time where social issues are evermore pressing and becoming more complex to solve. Take a look at some of the amazing, inspiring and no doubt fulfilling things people have done here.

UnLtd - the foundation for social entrepreneurs

I have had the pleasure of working with the folks at UnLtd who do a stirling job in a very innovative way. Not only do they provide funding, networking opportunities and stellar development support to people with social enterprise ideas, they do it through a unique number of programmes for both young people and the mass public.

They have recently spearheaded work to bring about a new apprenticeship for entrepreneurs, with particular focus on social entrepreneurship - the act of profit-making for social impact. Their Director of Programmes and Development Zulfiqar Ahmed spoke to me:

'An apprenticeship for entrepreneurs (including social entrepreneurs) was a key component of the election 'manifesto' by the Social Economy Alliance, a group of more than 700 individuals and organisations campaigning for a more society-friendly economy. UnLtd is delighted that the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills has approved proposals to develop an apprenticeship for entrepreneurs, including a specific pathway for social entrepreneurs. The apprenticeship recognises that entrepreneurship is a viable career choice, and will give those aiming to start their own business or social venture the opportunity to gain experience while building their entrepreneurial skills.

The new apprenticeship for entrepreneurs standard is backed by a 'trailblazer' group of around 50 employers, chaired by Alberto Masetti-Zannini from Impact Hub King's Cross and is supported by UnLtd, the UK's foundation for social entrepreneurs, along with the Federation of Small Businesses and the Centre for Entrepreneurs. Employers backing the bid include Deutsche Bank and a number of SMEs and social enterprises including Reason Digital, Talentino Careers, Super Being Labs and Simply Do StartUp'

Find out about UnLtd's opportunities and work through their website here.

Do-It Trust

More and more, young people and seasoned professionals alike are turning to volunteering to add extra spice to their CV, to revitalise their passion or to help them build new networks and gain new skills to make a change in their careers. There are lots of ways to get involved in volunteering through speaking to contacts, perhaps helping out at a local charity shop or through more substantial and innovative ways.

One such way which is leading the sector as the go-to place for voluntary opportunities and 'beyond profit' jobs is Do-It.org.

Do-It.org is the UK's national volunteering database, with over 1m opportunities through over 50,000 organisations, it's fair to say that if you're looking for inspiration or a chance to put your skills to good use - this is the place to do it. With over 250,000 people advancing their careers through jobs and opportunities on the site monthly, and growing, the volunteering-revolution is truly catalysed by portals like Do-It.org.

Whether it be through using your skills for the good of the world in exciting assignments and worthwhile impact projects, or through being entrepreneurial and adventurous - you really can change the world and make a living from it, not a bad one either!