Hannah Le is a student at Wharton Business School and an impressively young professional who has founded The Good Startup, a blog dedicated to highlighting, sharing, and interviewing the organizations that are doing amazing work for the social good. I came across The Good Startup online and immediately reached out to Ms. Le to learn more about her company, the motivation behind it, and what we can expect from her in the future. The Good Start Up is a wonderful resource for anyone interested in breaking news about the great strides being made toward the sociocultural good that is both honest and impactful.
Q: Before you began The Good Startup, you studied new product development and entrepreneurship at Wharton. What led you to social impact blogging?
I was doing industrial design work and at the same time looking to start a new company as a way to make more money for the semester, but I soon realized that I couldn’t find passion in what I was doing. I always think, we weren’t put on this planet to just merely make a living, so I just felt like I needed to practice what I preached and actually do something to change the lives of others.
I created The Good Startup and began writing and interviewing companies that were saving the world because I felt it was important people recognized what they were doing. Studying a lot of entrepreneurial management at Wharton as well, I looked into the relationship between personal life fulfillment and meaningful work – still truly believing that people who dedicate their lives to helping others tend to be happier and more fulfilled.
I also felt if I was conscious of the companies doing the impossible, changing the world, and solving humankind’s biggest problems, then I could be doing more with my life too. And if I could be doing more? Well, that meant others could be too. With The Good Startup, I’m helping others see that they can devote their lives to noble causes that actually impact people and planet because there’s already so much living proof out there of people who are already doing it.
Q: What is your personal mission statement?
I have quite a few. But I think the one that comes to me more often these days is “I want to be a beach bum and save the world.”
It sounds weird at first, but for me it balances a happy, relaxed life of freedom with a highly ambitious life goal of wanting to do the most to benefit others. The two things are seemingly contradictory but just enough to keep me focused on both staying independent (shout-out entrepreneur/freelancer lifestyle) and using my gifts, talents, and blessings to do the most I can for others.
My personal mission statement probably will never make sense for some people, which is what makes it a personal mission statement, so the one for The Good Startup is “to be the authentic media voice that normalizes socio-environmental enterprises and the progress they're making for the world.” I want to make it so so SO normal for someone to not have to choose between “financial security” from a totally boring, meaningless job and feeling like they are contributing something meaningful to the world.
Q: Who is The Good Startup for?
Our readers come from a lot of different backgrounds, but many are from roles in tech, business, or academia. We have many college students who look to The Good Startup for career guidance, but we’re also helping a lot of working professionals make that leap from corporate jobs to either an impact-driven job or creating a socio-environmental enterprise of their own!
It’s always really touching when someone reaches out for advice. Warms my heart that we’ve been able to move so many people in such a short amount of time and reminds me why I do what I do.
Overall, The Good Startup is for the ones who feel unfulfilled at work or in life or confused on what their next move should be in their life’s work. We’re showing the young readers that it’s really common to be able to make a living while solving the world’s biggest issues; we’re showing the established professionals that it’s never too late to chase your dreams; and we’re showing the lost or confused readers that socio-environmental impact jobs is that next step towards fulfillment and happiness.
Q: How are you looking to change the game in your field? / What makes The Good Startup unique?
To be honest, that’s something I’m figuring out day by day. When you create a business, you can get caught up in the planning phase and take little action. Instead, I’m being very active in getting The Good Startup out in front of as many readers as possible and letting them help me decide what it’s going to become by really listening to their needs and inputs on my blog. It’s like creating Frankenstein’s monster: you can put all your time and effort into it, but you still have little to no idea what it’s going to really become.
So far, The Good Startup is a game-changer in not just spreading the word about the “good startups” that exist out there, but also being an exploratory force that really gets to know the people behind the good startups. We get very close and personal with the businesses we interview and keep lasting relationships with them, so we can really ask them anything to get down to the root of who they are and why they do what they do. The people saving the world are something special.
On the readership side, we make conversation go both ways. The Good Startup really wants to learn about our followers and hear all their ideas, hopes, dreams, ambitions, and more because it helps us 1. Stay inspired and 2. Make a better product for them. Go ahead, reach out to me, I’ll always be eager to respond!
Q: What’s something that would surprise people about your day-to-day?
Hmm. That I am border-line neurotic about planning my week. I don’t even use Google Calendar or a digital calendar; I handwrite everything onto an e-ink notebook. My workflows have all the tasks I need to get done and what days I’m going to do them, and the way I lay them out help me not do too much in one day or get burnt out. Life is about constraints. You can’t do everything; you have to pick and choose what matters most.
Events go on another handwritten calendar. My friends and family are incredibly important, and ultimately, they come before any “work” related thing.
It’s also all about balance. Checking off daily tasks is as batty as I get because other than that, I am just incredibly unbothered. My other huge priority is focusing on taking care of my health and wellness. I work out for two hours a day, read for fun for at least 30 minutes a day, do a skincare ritual before bed. I also try to write down all the good things that happened to me that day or good things I did for myself and sort them under the categories “mind,” “body,” “soul,” and “heart.” Just a very easy way to stay grateful for everything I have.
Q: What are some of the biggest rewards of your work?
Feeling like I’m making a difference. Nothing beats that. It’s really validating when someone reaches out to ask for further advice after reading an interview with someone working on an impact company. It shows that the hard work I’m doing isn’t for nothing.
I’m lucky that every step I take to work on The Good Startup gives back in some way. I’m helping these companies get exposure for the crazy-cool work they’re doing to save the planet, and I’m helping readers be inspired to exceed their own potentials.
Q: In your opinion, what aspect in the social services sector deserves more attention?
I tend to gravitate towards the environmental ones tackling climate change. We only have one home planet, and if we destroy it, we’ll have literally nothing left. So, anything related to solving climate change, whether it’s in tech, scientific research, or beyond – that’s all pressing news to me!
Other than that, I try to prioritize my interviewees list by getting a good balance of different industries because it’s important to show that there are a lot of different ways people can save the world. These companies all try to tackle the existential issues that affect life on earth as we know it, so the bigger the moonshot, the better!
Q: What are your aspirations for The Good Startup years from now?
That people look forward to hearing from us as much as they like watching their new favorite Netflix season when it comes out, seeing their favorite celebrities or influencers share a new post, or sharing the latest viral news videos online.
I want to take The Good Startup from just merely a blog or media page to a movement. I’ve always had an incredible talent for bringing people of all different backgrounds together, and I would love to test those skills through the internet and empower everyone to bond over how much they can work together to save the world.
There’s power behind realizing you’re not alone in still believing you can save the world, so by bringing all of The Good Startup’s readers together into a community, imagine all the good we could do.
Q: What advice would you give to others interested in entering the world of socio-environmental impact?
Do it now, and don’t forget why you’re doing it. And if you can’t do it now, ask yourself why you can’t and what’s stopping you? Then find ways around it and do the most you can instead. Remember that not everything will be rainbows and butterflies, but the difficulty is what makes the story worth it. Builds character.
The Good Startup has so many stories with people at these incredible impact companies that it’s impossible for me to make any more excuses not to work on anything related to socio-environmental impact. Our slogan is “You’ve been given too much in this lifetime to do anything less,” and I stand by that because we’ve each been blessed with so many skills, privileges, talents, and more that should be used to bring everyone else up and make their lives better. Any and every effort is necessary and counts towards progress.
You can read more about Hannah Le and The Good Start Up at thegoodstartup.com
About the Author
Morgan Downey is the Newsletter Editor and Technical Writer at Village Creed. She is a senior at Auburn University, majoring in Professional and Public Writing. She is passionate about meeting new people, pursuing new experiences, and connecting positively with the public through written communication.