Readers, meet Georgia Marshall. She is a Community and Operations Associate at Folklore Ventures and is the founder of Humans For Good which aims to help more people do good in the world. This was originally recorded as a podcast, and the following are excerpts from the conversation. We chatted about Humans For Good and how it got started (and how it can help you do good); advice on getting started with a project, having a growth mindset, and why failure is a good thing.
What is Humans for Good?
Georgia: The vision behind Humans For Good is to make it easier to make a difference. It’s hard not to be overwhelmed by global crisis after global crisis, so we’re working to connect purpose-driven people (and businesses) with the community, opportunities and information that they need to have a positive impact
Our database (www.humansforgood.co) features a wide range of actions that you can take for people and the planet. The filters enable you to find practical ways to do good that align with your values and lifestyle. So for example, if you’re passionate about the environment, you might find a new super fund to invest in, a marketplace to buy and sell second-hand clothes, or an NFT that will fund decarbonisation projects
We’re also building a diverse ecosystem of humans who have a shared interest in making the world a better place. This will be a space to find and learn from likeminded people: future co-founders, employers, employees, partners, investors and friends.
Could you tell the story about Margaret? I think that’s a great example of one person having a big impact
Georgia: I woke up in the morning to piano music, and had no idea where it was coming from. I looked out my window and there was a lady playing piano on the front step of our apartment block. I went and chatted with her, and she said that someone had dumped the piano there, and that she wanted to save it from landfill.
As people were walking by, she’d play music and ask if they'd like a piano. In the end, we posted it in a Facebook group, and a whole bunch of people were commenting and sharing it with each other. As a result of Margaret’s actions, someone ended up giving it a new home.
It seems small in the big scheme of things, but is a great example of someone who cared a lot, and turned this into action. Imagine if we were all doing the same in our different spheres of influence (e.g. work, home and our community)?
On having a growth mindset
Georgia: If you're starting a project, you don't need to change the world overnight. Start small, test stuff out, learn from the process. Be open to failure and whatever the outcome, use what you learned toward the next step.
What helped you move towards that growth mindset?
Georgia: So I used to be a massive perfectionist, which led to a lot of anxiety in my life. It would be quite paralysing and prevent me from simply starting, I’d be on edge thinking that something would go wrong, or I would take hours to do a simple task. Someone great loaned me a book called ‘Mindset’ by Carol Dweck (highly recommend), which, along with a couple of podcasts, helped me to shift my perspective on success and failure.
One of my favourite sayings is that "perfect is the enemy of good." I still don’t love making mistakes, but I’m now able to take bigger risks, be kind to myself, and leverage my learnings. Rather than thinking ‘what if’ and freaking out about what could go wrong, I accept that it is what it is, and whatever happens, is meant to happen.
The more I manage my thoughts and learn to let things go, the more I am able to see my work, including projects like Humans For Good, as a journey with ups and (inevitably) downs.
It’s like, you have this line, you go up and then you go down a bit, and then you go up and then you go down a bit... You're still going up, but all those downs helps you get further up. You’re still on the upward trajectory, even if you have little dips along the way.
What are your thoughts on failure?
Georgia: By having a growth mindset, my new perspective on failure is that if I don’t succeed, that it’s a) not the end of the world b) not something that others will be likely to judge me for (and if they do, why does this matter?), and c) an opportunity to learn lessons that will help me to get where I’m wanting to go.
For example, if Humans for Good doesn't work out, then maybe I'll build another business that does. Maybe what I learn will help me to do so.
On getting help when starting a new project
Georgia: Firstly, if you're starting a project, I’d recommend surrounding yourself with people with similar ambitions and values. There are so many great, free communities out there these days. Pitch your idea at Fishburners, hit up Earlywork drinks, or join groups with other social impact types like Seed Spaces or Humans For Good.
Secondly, build a network of supporters and mentors who back you and your work. Don’t be afraid to message other startup founders and operators on LinkedIn and ask to grab coffee, or go up to them at events for a chat. I’ve noticed quite a bit of fear around this, but the Australian startup ecosystem is highly supportive and collaborative, and unless they’re too busy, people are usually very happy to connect and offer advice.
Third, share your ideas and ask for feedback. Some people get worried that someone's going to steal their next business idea, and think they should keep it to themselves. Anyone can have a great idea, but not everyone can execute it. 99% of the work is in bringing it to life. I think the more people you talk to - and you don't have to go into all the secret sauce - the more validation, great suggestions or opportunities to collaborate you're going to get. You might even find your next co-founder, advisor, or employee. Test your ideas with friends, colleagues, and your target market. If you receive negative feedback, use this to make your project better.
Lastly, be authentic with how you network. Rather than thinking ‘what can I get,’ ask yourself ‘what can I give.’ Try and see networking interactions as two-sided and mutually beneficial, rather than transactional. And regardless of how impressive or experienced the person is that you’re speaking with, be yourself, back yourself and know what you can and will bring to the table.
Humans For Good