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Note: Between now and the end of the year, we’re counting down the top twelve popular podcast episodes of 2018. It is a people’s choice award, determined by the number of downloads. This interview originally aired on April 28, 2018.
Meghan French Dunbar grew up in the mountains of Colorado. She saw early examples of how to run a business. “Both of my parents started and operated their own small businesses and were incredibly supportive of everything my brother and I did,” she explains.
She was driven to succeed from an early age. “I was an achiever. I idolized my older brother and was obsessed with excelling in all sports, especially soccer and basketball. I was always driven to achieve academically as well and saw everything as a competition.”
Meghan also saw the importance of making a difference in the lives of others. She says, “My mother is an occupational therapist and works with kids with severe disabilities. When I was young, my mom took me to work with her often and had me watch children my age who were struggling with very sincere challenges. It planted in me a deep desire to want to help.”
Eventually, Meghan discovered the power of business to do good through her work at the Environmental Defense Fund. And she deepened her sense of purpose while attending Presidio Graduate School.
After graduation, Meghan edited magazines. However, the work did not go well. One evening, Meghan and her friend Maren Keeley talked about an idea for a magazine that focused on purpose-driven businesses. It was a fateful conversation. Three hours after Meghan and Maren had this conversation, Meghan lost her job.
Meghan and Maren decided to launch Conscious Company Magazine. But there was a lot to do. They cold-emailed a list of influencers and, to their surprise, most of the people they approached agreed to be interviewed.
To fund their first run of the magazine, they launched a Kickstarter campaign. They hoped to raise $50,000. Unfortunately, they fell short of their goal. Because of Kickstarter’s all-or-nothing model, after all of Meghan and Maren’s efforts, they received none of the pledged money.
Instead of giving up, they decided to try again on Indiegogo. This time, they succeeded in raising $20,000.
Their first issue of the magazine was picked up by every Whole Foods in the US. “From there, we got the word out by hustling,” Meghan explains. “We sent magazines to every conference we could think of, we attended as many events as possible, we sought speaking opportunities, and did anything we could to tell people about our work.”
Meghan admits that they did not get everything right. “The biggest thing right out of the gate was not focusing more on marketing and sales. We also totally overestimated our growth in the first two years, which threw off our projections.”
Still, they kept moving forward. “We continued to push for distribution in more retail stores and added Kroger, Barnes and Noble, and many more. In 2017, we added events to our product line, and that helped us get the word out even further.”
Conscious Company Magazine has firmly established itself as the authority in the conscious business movement. The brand has continued to grow beyond the magazine. Today, Conscious Company Media is the first multimedia organization in the United States that specifically focuses on purpose-driven business. In addition to the magazine, they produce the annual Conscious Company Leaders Forum and World-Changing Women’s Summit.
The Conscious Company Leaders Forum will take place June 6 through 8 in Scotts Valley, CA.
Social Entrepreneur Quotes by Meghan French Dunbar:“The path was insane.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “This is what I was put here to do.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “We didn’t have a lot of money, but we had a lot of love.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “I always wanted to help.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “They were telling us, don’t even think about going into magazines.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “I saw this collaboration between environmental groups and companies.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “I was hooked.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “I went in open and curious.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “It was one of those questions that change your life.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “Things unfold if you start taking steps in the right direction.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “At that moment, the sky was falling.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “It was the gut-check moment for me.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet “I viscerally remember walking into Whole Foods and seeing our magazine.” @MegFrenchDunbar, @ConsciousCoMag Click To Tweet
Social Entrepreneurship Resources:
- World-Changing Women’s Summit (Use code WCWS_TONY_10 for an extra 10% off): https://events.bizzabo.com/2019WCWS?promo=WCWS_TONY_10
- World-Changing Women’s Podcast: https://consciouscompanymedia.com/world-changing-women-podcast/
- Conscious Company Media: https://consciouscompanymedia.com
- Conscious Company Magazine: https://shop.consciouscompanymedia.com
- Conscious Company Leaders Forum: https://consciouscompanyleadersforum.com
- Conscious Company Media on Twitter: https://twitter.com/ConsciousCoMag
- Conscious Company on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/consciouscomag
- Book: Crazy Good Advice: 10 Lessons Learned from 150 Leading Social Entrepreneurs: https://tonyloyd.com/book