16 episodes

Diverse entrepreneurs share their experiences, strength, and hope to help mission-driven businesses thrive. In a series of intimate conversations, attorney and CFP Brian Thompson and his guests provide practical steps to create businesses with impact and profit.

Mission Driven Business Brian Thompson

    • Business
    • 5.0 • 10 Ratings

Diverse entrepreneurs share their experiences, strength, and hope to help mission-driven businesses thrive. In a series of intimate conversations, attorney and CFP Brian Thompson and his guests provide practical steps to create businesses with impact and profit.

    Equitably Investing in Cannabis with Seke Ballard

    Equitably Investing in Cannabis with Seke Ballard

    Brian chats with Seke Ballard, the founder and CEO of Good Tree Capital, a financial services firm that uses a proprietary algorithm to balance available economic opportunities for people invested in cannabis companies. On the episode, Seke shares how removing biased data from the lending equation can make the playing field more equal. He also discusses his motivations for starting his firm, the company’s future plans, and why his ultimate dream is to create a banking model that works so well it puts the big, bad banks out of business.
     
    Episode Highlights
    Mission-driven businesses create wealth with purpose.
    All businesses are profit-seeking entities, but Seke said mission-driven businesses build on that by creating wealth for a purpose. Seke’s firm, Good Tree Capital, is no exception. The company uses a proprietary algorithm to create economic opportunities for people invested in the cannabis industry.
    “We want to build wealth with purpose,” he said. “And that purpose is very much around providing fair access to capital to capital to entrepreneurs who are trying to thrive in this emerging industry.”
     
    When faced with inequities, get creative.
    One of Seke’s motivations for starting Good Tree Capital was a conversation he had with his father. When he was younger, his father owned a successful logging company. He wanted to get a loan to expand to other states, but he was denied from every bank he applied to.
    “All things being equal -- if our balance sheet looks the exact same, if our credit risk profile is the exact same -- I have a harder time getting loans,” Seke said. “And if I succeed in getting them, they’re going to be more expensive for me.”
    His father’s experience helped motivate Seke to rally a team of data scientists and developers to create a lending algorithm that assesses credit risk without using factors that typically bias credit decisioning factors. The resulting algorithm can assess the risk of defaulting on a loan with 98.2% accuracy.
    But despite the algorithm’s success, Seke has also run into his own problems raising capital.
    “I’ve always thought to myself, I’ve got to be clear eyed about this,” he said. “The truth of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of venture capital -- the kind of capital that we’re seeking -- goes to white men. And so if I want to thrive, given that reality, then I have to figure out creative ways to remove that as a barrier for our ability to deploy the lending model.”
     
    Dream big. Even if it’s taking on Wells Fargo.
    One way Seke is getting creative and dreaming big is by building a bank around Good Tree Capital’s lending technology. His vision? To take on Wells Fargo, a company he described as the “archetype for everything that’s wrong with banking.”
    “It is a personal mission to create a better model,” Seke said. “And to use that model to drive them out of business.”
    Seke also encouraged other entrepreneurs to dream big. He advocated for finding your big idea and narrowing in on what really motivates you.
    “Once you find that, if you’re a hard working person with a lot of tenacity, then you’ll forge your way there,” he said. “It starts with having that vision that really motivates you.”
     
    Resources + Links
    “Meet The Man Revolutionizing Marijuana Investing,” Forbes Good Tree Capital Seke’s Social Media: Instagram Brian’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook   
    About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 
    Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
    On the podcast,

    • 41 min
    Living Your Passion with George Kinder

    Living Your Passion with George Kinder

    Brian chats with George Kinder, the father of the modern financial life planning movement. George is the founder of the Kinder Institute of Life Planning. He has more than 30 years of experience as a practicing financial planner and tax advisor and has trained more than 3,000 professionals in 30 countries.
    In the episode, George talks about the importance of passion, and how his passion for creating a strong training model fueled him to draft his famous three questions. He also discusses how his purpose continues to evolve as his life grows and changes.
    Episode Highlights
    Mission-driven businesses are driven to a higher purpose.
    George defines a mission-driven business as one that is driven toward a larger purpose.
    “It’s a business that is dedicated to a higher purpose, one way or another,” he said.
    But it’s not just the business itself that can be oriented toward a bigger cause, George said. The people who run the business, the community, the staff, and the consumers can all be part of that larger purpose.
    “If they are going to be mission-driven, businesses also have to be really personal and really connected with who we are,” George said.
    Passion comes before precision.
    George Kinder is perhaps best known for his three Kinder questions:
     Imagine you are financially secure, that you have enough money to take care of your needs, now and in the future. How would you live your life? Would you change anything? Let yourself go. Don't hold back on your dreams. Describe a life that is complete and richly yours. Now imagine that you visit your doctor, who tells you that you have only 5-10 years to live. You won't ever feel sick, but you will have no notice of the moment of your death. What will you do in the time you have remaining? Will you change your life and how will you do it? (Note that this question does not assume unlimited funds.) Finally, imagine that your doctor shocks you with the news that you only have 24 hours to live. Notice what feelings arise as you confront your very real mortality. Ask yourself: What did you miss? Who did you not get to be? What did you not get to do? In the interview, George stressed that he didn’t arrive at those questions overnight. He established his passion for training and life planning well before the three questions were set in stone.
    “The precision of that model took a while,” he said. “You got the passion for it, and little things get tweaked.”
    Passion can fuel you to do great things.
    When developing the questions, George noticed what brought his clients alive during their meetings. It led to a central question: “What brings them into a passionate relationship with their life that they’re feeling like they can make a difference? That they can be who they want to be? And that they can make a real difference to the world around them?”
    For George, that passion was training life planners. Although he started his work as a financial planner and tax advisor as a way to earn money, his passion for helping clients craft a vision of their life -- and then ultimately step into that life -- fueled him to develop the three questions.
    “I became passionate about creating the strongest model for training that I could possibly imagine that would deliver advisors into being mission-driven advisors, having their own mission-driven businesses, and then delivering all of their clients into living mission-driven lives,” he said.
    One thing that still amazes both Brian and George is watching clients find their spark and come alive. Once clients find their passions -- and know someone believes in them -- they turn into problem solvers.
    “What astonished me was that when you lit somebody’s fire, when you got them passionable about their lives, they went at it,” George said. “Suddenly, they solved a lot of the obstacles that stood in their way.”
    Resou

    • 40 min
    When the entrepreneur life chooses you with Nici Kersey

    When the entrepreneur life chooses you with Nici Kersey

    Brian chats with Nicole “Nici” Kersey, the founder of Kersey Immigration Compliance, a law firm specializing in employment-based immigration issues. Nici discusses how she created her firm out of necessity, then grew it into a company that provides opportunities for veterans and military families. She also opens up about how she uses expertise to her advantage and how becoming a baseball fan helped her let go of perfectionism.
     
    Episode Highlights
    It can take time to get comfortable being a business owner.
    Running her own business was not something that Nici planned to do. But when the military assigned her spouse to a new location out of state, the big law firm she worked for let her go.
    “I got the greatest push out the door of the airplane,” Nici said. “It’s scary to start your own business, but I was told we can’t employ you anymore.”
    While Nici could no longer work full-time for her former law firm, the company still wanted to hire her as a contractor because of her expertise in immigration law. So she set up her own business, and in the ensuing years, grew her client roster to include more law firms and other businesses. Still, it took her years to feel confident in her new role as a business owner.
    “It took seven years probably before I stopped thinking that I was being fired by my clients,” she said. “It took seven years for me to feel confident that it’s not failing.”
     
    Mission-driven businesses use profit to serve a purpose.
    At first, Nici didn’t believe her law firm was a mission-driven business. But conversations with Brian and listening to this podcast changed her definition of what a mission-driven business can be.
    “I would say that a mission-driven business is a business that makes a profit, but the profit serves a purpose,” she said. “So it’s not a business that’s only driven by profit.”
    Like other entrepreneurs on the podcast, Nici’s business purpose has evolved over time. Right now, her purpose is two-fold: (1) Making sure people get quality immigration advice and services and (2) providing opportunities for military spouses or people in similar situations.
    “When my business started, my mission was to not be unemployed. To pay my student loans and my mortgage,” she said. “It shifted in that I was able to help both military spouses and really focus on some smaller law firms.”
     
    Use expertise to your advantage.
    One of the things Nici has learned in her career is the benefit of expertise. While she didn’t set out to focus on a specific type of immigration law, her niche has allowed her to connect with clients and thrive as a business owner.
    That expertise comes with other perks, too. For instance, in 10 years, she went from attending a conference on immigration law to leading the event.
    “I still remember the first time I trained a client on I-9 stuff and how terrified I was,” Nici said. “Now I could do that in my sleep.”
     
    Want to let go of perfectionism? Watch baseball.
    When Nici moved to Florida, she moved into a house just three miles from the stadium where the Tampa Bay Rays play. Living so close to a Major League Baseball team has turned her into a fan -- and taught her important lessons about perfectionism.
    “Watching baseball made me really focus more on the fact that you don’t have to be perfect,” she said. “These players are the best in the world at being a baseball player, and they mess up all the time, right?”
    Nici takes those lessons from the baseball diamond to her work as a business owner. For instance, she strives for excellence rather than perfection. She also tries to accept mistakes and move forward.
    “When you make a mistake, you can learn from it if it’s something that you can learn from, but a lot of times, all you learn is don’t do that again,” she said. “Also, be graceful about your mi

    • 38 min
    Guide for Your Midyear Business Review

    Guide for Your Midyear Business Review

    It’s hard to believe that 2021 is halfway over. Things have changed so much since the beginning of the year, and it’s the perfect time to take a step back and reflect. In this special episode, Brian provides insight and advice for conducting a midyear review for your business. You’ll learn steps to gain awareness, evaluate your business purpose, and take corrective action while there’s still time to change things.
     
    Episode Highlights: How to Conduct A MidYear Business Review
    1. Have a personal check-in
    Paradoxically, the first action item is to take a break from the action, as Brian says in the episode. The midyear review is the perfect time to take a pause and check-in with yourself about your feelings, successes, challenges, and goals.
    Here are just a few questions to get you started:
    Are you living up to the company’s purpose and vision? Are you accomplishing your goals? Are you working the number of hours you want to work? Are you feeling overwhelmed or anxious about the future of your business? Do you feel satisfied and fulfilled in the work that you’re doing? “I’ve seen so many entrepreneurs use their passion and energy to accomplish things they never thought they could,” Brian said. “So don’t fight your emotions, let them drive you.”
     
    2. Assess your cash flow
    Cash flow is the lifeblood of your business, and proper cash flow management requires systems. Brian advocates for putting your money into buckets like with the Profit First system, which he covered in Episode 6 and Episode 7.
     
    3. Review your tax payments
    Halfway through the year is a good time to think about taxes. By this point in time, you should have made two tax payments on April 15 and June 15.
    “Mid-year is an excellent point to check in with your accountant and see if you’re on track with your projections,” Brian said.
    An account or tax professionals can make sure you’re on track and help you correct your estimated tax payments if you’re behind. You can also review your payments with an online program, like Quickbooks, Brian said.
     
    4. Conduct an expense analysis
    Now is also an excellent opportunity to review your expenses. To conduct an expense analysis, you need two things:
    Expenses for the past six months Recurring expenses (e.g. rent, subscriptions, training, classes, etc.) Brian recommends adding up the costs of your expenses and multiplying that number by 10%. Then, cut your costs by that number. One place to start is with items you’ve justified as a business expense for tax purposes.
    “Just because you get a tax deduction for an expense, you’re still losing money if you still purchase something you don’t use,” Brian said.
     
    5. Write down 2 - 3 action steps for the second half of the year
    Now that you’ve reflected and reviewed, it’s essential to write down two or three action steps to get you started for the second half of the year, Brian said.
    Here are some questions to help you do that:
    What is it that I can do about the obstacle that I’m facing? How am I going to do it? When am I going to do it? Who can keep me accountable? How do I feel about it? After you’ve set action steps, give yourself some downtime to relax, so you can go into the second half of the year full of passion and energy. And remember: you don’t have to accomplish everything right at the start.
    “You’re more likely to find success taking several steps each day rather than trying to run several miles at once,” Brian said.
     
    Resources + Links
    Episode 6: Eradicating Entrepreneurial Poverty with Ron Saharyan Episode 7: Being Profit First with Mike Michalowicz Contact Brian: hello@btfinancial.com Brian’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook   
    About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 
    Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner

    • 10 min
    Setting Boundaries with Lauren Klafke

    Setting Boundaries with Lauren Klafke

    Brian chats with Lauren Klafke, a small business owner all about supporting other business owners. Lauren’s firm, Willow Creek Financial Services, provides a space for business owners to ask questions and learn more about their financials.
    On the episode, Lauren shares how Instagram Reels helps her build her business and conduct market research. She also opens up about how she implemented boundaries to grow her business on her own terms all while raising a newborn and overseeing a house renovation.
     
    Episode Highlights
    Your mission and your business’s mission don’t have to match.
    Lauren defines a mission-driven business as a business that exists for a specific purpose. But the purpose of your business doesn’t have to be the same as your personal reason for running a company.
    “What is your mission as the business owner? Is it to retire early? Is it to have more time with your family? Is it to serve everyone? Or is it all three?” Lauren said. “I just think about that.”
    That definition is especially true for Lauren, who started her business as a way to spend more time with her husband and son. Before she took the entrepreneurial leap, she worked in the corporate world and realized her career path was incompatible with her ideal lifestyle.
    “What powers me to continue to build my business is all the time I am going to have with my family,” Lauren said.
     
    Adjust until your business works for you.
    2020 was a rollercoaster year for Lauren. The pandemic kickstarted a year of full-speed business growth -- at the same time she had a newborn and a house remodel. Suddenly, Lauren had to find ways to schedule calls around construction and newborn sleep times
    “Something was always happening at the same time,” Lauren said. “First world problems, but it was really a struggle.”
    In some ways, running a business would have been easier if she hadn’t been building her business from home. So Lauren made an adjustment -- hiring a nanny -- to give her the time and space to focus on her business. She then set work hours, so that she stops working with clients after the nanny leaves.
    “It came to this point where I had to realize you have to set boundaries with your clients,” Lauren said. “You can't always be available, or you're gonna drive yourself crazy.”
     
    Customer service is important.
    Lauren describes herself as a straightforward, type-A person. But her straight-to-the-point answers don’t always go over smoothly with clients and prospective clients. Over time, she realized she had to work on her customer service skills.
    “Customer service is such a huge, huge deal,” she said. “You could have the exact same services as somebody else and customer service would change anybody's mind.”
    Good customer service doesn’t mean saying yes to everything, Lauren said. Instead, it means optimizing how she talks to people on calls and consultations, how she sends emails, and how she engages with clients who text her at inopportune times.
    “People want the coddling, and they want the hand holding,” Lauren said. “So I’ve had to develop that in a way that doesn’t seem condescending.”
     
    Resources + Links
    Willow Creek Financial Services: website, LinkedIn Lauren’s Social Media: Instagram Brian’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook   
    About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 
    Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
    On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and

    • 34 min
    Systems and Self-Care with Emlen Miles-Mattingly

    Systems and Self-Care with Emlen Miles-Mattingly

    Brian chats with Emlen Miles-Mattingly, the founder and CEO of Gen Next Wealth, a financial planning firm focused on helping minorities grow and retain generational wealth. In the episode, Emlen talks about his 20 years of experience in the financial services industry, including the challenges he overcame to pivot from banking to starting his own company. He also shares why small habits and daily systems help him to thrive in his business and personal life.
     
    Episode Highlights
    Clients can define your mission.
    Before starting his firm, Emlen worked for an insurance company. Despite helping people grow wealth, the job didn’t quite feel right, which was how he knew it wasn’t mission-driven.
    “It just didn’t sit right because I couldn’t do it the way I wanted to do it until I started my own business,” he said.
    Even after Emlen started Next Gen Wealth, it was the clients who ultimately defined his company’s mission. That’s because Emlen kept encountering similar clients and answering the same questions about fundamental financial topics.
    “People just kept coming to talk to me, and they were all the same,” Emlen said. “So that’s how I got my mission/vision/purpose based on the people who were coming to me.”
     
    Systems can give you freedom.
    There’s at least one thing that Emlen has in common with Tom Brady: They both love schedules. That’s because schedules allow them to block time in their day for the activities that are most important to them, Emlen said.
    “When I look at the time, at any given time, I know exactly what I’m supposed to be doing,” Emlen said.
    Emlen credits the systems and processes he deliberately created with providing him free time for his personal life and wellbeing. In fact, the freedom to be an active part of his children’s lives is one of the things he says he most enjoys about running his own business.
    “I’m the drop off, pick up guy,” Emlen said. “The reason I can do that is because we have a tight process.”
     
    Self-care isn’t selfish.
    Part of Emlen’s tight scheduling includes time for self-care — an act that he stresses is not selfish. In fact, when Emlen first started scheduling time for self-care, he found that blocking out time for exercise, meditation, and reading helped him to ultimately have a more productive day.
    “I could look through my planner, and I could see I was way more productive in terms of revenue,” he said.
    Since noticing that productivity uptick, Emlen has continued to track his daily self-care habits and tweak his routine using a Full Focus Planner. The result is a better business and home life.
    “It was the aspect of tracking over time that made me realize, when I do this, I was a better husband, I was a better dad, I was more patient with the kids,” he said. “It did all these other things, and it freed up a ton of time.”
     
    Resources + Links
    Gen Next Wealth Minority Money podcast Atomic Habits by James Clear Full Focus Planner Emlen’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram Brian’s Social Media: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook   
    About Brian and the Mission Driven Business Podcast 
    Brian Thompson, JD/CFP, is a tax attorney and certified financial planner who specializes in providing comprehensive financial planning to LGBTQ+ entrepreneurs who run mission-driven businesses. The Mission Driven Business podcast was born out of his passion for helping social entrepreneurs create businesses with purpose and profit.
    On the podcast, Brian talks with diverse entrepreneurs and the people who support them. Listeners hear stories of experiences, strength, and hope and get practical advice to help them build businesses that might just change the world, too.

    • 35 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
10 Ratings

10 Ratings

Millennial Financial Planner ,

Amazing content

Brian and his guests do an amazing job demonstrating why having a mission behind your business soooo important!

Alka RD ,

Inspiring!

I really appreciate the balance of business, passion and leading with an authentic mission. It’s an inspirational reminder that work can be more holistic and that your values can drive real change.

KarinOConnor20 ,

Love this new podcast!

Bringing together personal passion, values and business through a smart and experienced lens. ❤️

Top Podcasts In Business

Listeners Also Subscribed To