how to choose the impact career path that fits you best?

Looking for a career combining autonomy & purpose?

As we mentioned in this article, the pandemic has been a massive wake up call and people got the opportunity to think (a lot) about their career choices. What came out from recent studies (cf. Gallup study, PwC Workforce of the Future survey 2017) is that a growing number of people crave more autonomy and purpose in their jobs.

When we know that we spend an average of 80.000 hours in our lives working, that doesn’t come as a surprise. Indeed, who’d want to dedicate so many hours doing something that is not meaningful to them and in a format that doesn’t suit them?

But the big question then is: how do we find the dream job that combines both autonomy and purpose? We mostly tend to think the only way is by becoming an entrepreneur, as you get to choose your own rhythm and develop your own project.

Hm… What if there were (many) other options that could fit you perhaps better?

Indeed, despite the fact that many alternatives exist, we saw too many people rushing over only one option: becoming an entrepreneur! But it’s not the only way. Let’s see what are the different possible paths to hopefully help you identify the path that would fit you best!

There are different impact career paths to consider!

Here are 5 career options you can consider if you want to have independence and purpose in your job: being an employee in an impact-driven organization, an intrapreneur, a freelancer, a social entrepreneur or a “replicator”.

Let’s discover them in more detail!

  • Employee in an impact-driven organization

As you might already know, there’s a growing number of social enterprises out there. If you’re not familiar yet, social enterprises (or also called impact-driven businesses, impact businesses, etc.) are companies whose main purpose is to solve a social or environmental problem. Profit is a means to an end, rather than the purpose itself. Check out some amazing ones here.

You can really be fulfilled by joining such an organization if you deeply believe in the company’s vision & mission and if you like the working habits related to the company’s culture. It’s not necessarily true all the time but these companies also tend to be made of small teams, where it’s easier to get more flexibility and autonomy.

  • Intrapreneur (the changemaker within your corporation!)

Have you noticed how mosquitoes can systematically wake you up at night despite their small sizes compared to humans? How powerful is that!

Take this metaphor in the corporate world: you could also be the mosquito that bites the big corporation you’re working in to bring changes from the inside out. You could for instance launch new impactful projects while benefiting from the existing resources, or improve the company’s processes to reduce their carbon emissions. Of course, convincing the C-level to let you work on these initiatives can require time and effort. But if you succeed, the impact could be tremendous, as the power of execution and scale once it’s implemented is huge!

  • Freelancer (the expert supporting impact businesses)

As a freelancer, you have an expertise and you can offer your specific skill sets - be it in communication, marketing, design, tech, business development etc. - as a package (either based on time spent or results) to your clients.

If you carefully choose the impact business you work for, you indirectly contribute to their growth and impact. Of course, you are a service provider and work independently. Therefore, you also have all the flexibility and freedom you wish for as you are the one setting up the pace for your work!

  • Replicator (the entrepreneur who spreads impactful solutions!)

Replicators (or also called ‘spreaders’, ‘entrepreneurs’, ‘multipliers’, ‘pollinators’) are entrepreneurs who replicate a social enterprise that’s already successful elsewhere. The idea is to reproduce what already works in another location to avoid reinventing the wheel!

That can be done with various levels of autonomy. You can either replicate an existing company while having support from the initial team. That is possible either as you being the regional director (same company, different regions), or a franchisee (same brand, different regions). Or, you could replicate the concept without as much support and in a more decentralized way, by opting for an affiliation or an open source model (same concept, different brands in different regions). To know more about these models, watch out this video!

  • Entrepreneur (the changemarker that creates a startup from scratch)

And you know this last one of course, so we won’t detail much.

Being an entrepreneur means that you start a project from scratch, that you’re ready to develop and grow further. Here, you are the one giving directions, choosing the angle and defining the rhythm. So you obviously have autonomy and purpose, but it can also be a harder and longer journey!

How to choose among all those options?!

Tip #1 Take this quiz!

You'd like to have a job that has a positive impact on the world? But you're lost among different options you could do: Freelancer? Employee? Intrapreneur? Entrepreneur? or replicating a proven social business?

👉 Take THIS QUIZ to find out what profile you are closer to!

Tip #2 Join the Snowball Effect community!

Making a career change is a hard process to start, especially if you are looking in the impact field. To avoid losing time and energy on endless research and on making the right connections, be sure to be supported by the right organizations!

At Snowball Effect, we help you identify which impact career path is the right one for you among the options mentioned above, and if you’re eager to replicate a successful social business in your region, we’ll help you make it happen! Check out our programs here.

Curious to learn about other organizations? We work with many different partners we can recommend to! Feel free to reach out to us ;)

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