Projects and impact and… discontent

Things are progressing, if not as quickly as I had hoped, at least steadily. The Grow team has completed two projects and have two more in the works for companies based here in Camas and Washougal. It’s a start, doing the kinds of projects with the types of partners that I set out to help. But, that all being said, I question the value of the work.

I question the impact that I am making. The over-arching goals of Grow are: 1) make meaningful, valuable contribution to my community and 2) provide a livelihood for my family. In either regard, I am falling short.

I doubt these four active projects will measurably ‘move the needle’ in our local economy. In fact, what does ‘moving the needle’ even mean in this context? How would I even know if I’m having an larger impact? What are the metrics by which to judge success or failure in this venture?

Measure economic output of the individual businesses that I’m working with? If I help a single business lift revenue 25%, is that a win? Even if that 25% increase has little impact on the economy as a whole? This is an imprecise metric for deciding success, because there too many factors involved. Did my customer close those deals because of the promotion we ran? How do we know? What about the work doesn’t necessarily yield immediate returns?

Perhaps something else would work better? Perhaps I judge success by the numbers of connections or introductions that I have made. In this regard, I have had much success. I’ve met more new people in the last month then the previous year, easily. So in this regard I suppose Grow has been a success.

Yet this doesn’t feel like a true metric. This very self-centric worldview would suggest my new connections are a value to the greater community, a notion of which I am highly suspect. In fact, a better metric would be noting how many new connections are formed as a product of my work. Introduce company to a new service provider? Would this would be success, even if I don’t personally make the connection? Sure, but how would I know? And…

While all this connecting is valuable, it does not, however, help meet the other goal, which is to provide my livelihood. Obviously if I was independently wealthy, this would be a non-issue. My work would be so much more efficacious were that the case! But unfortunately I must succeed with both front.

So in an effort to make greater impact as well as a better standard of living, I’m focusing my attention on two efforts:

Unlike the consulting work, this is a scalable product that will allow me to disconnect the relationship between my effort and impact. A product like this more easily facilitates those 3rd party connections I mention before while being a monetizable asset.

2. Regular, valuable creative output
As mentioned in the previous post, getting into the discipline of regular content creation will help me clarify and share the value I bring. Building my brand and helping others.

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