Welcome to our interview series where we speak with purpose-driven business owners and ecopreneurs from around the globe. Every few weeks, we’ll dive into their journeys, learn about their wins and challenges, and the resources they couldn’t do without.
Prepare to be inspired and learn something new!
Today’s guest is Jan Rajnoch from Sustainable Butterflies.
Please tell us a little bit about who you are, your background, and what you did before starting your own business.
I’m Jan. I worked as a sustainability manager for six years before starting Sustainable Butterflies (my own consultancy).
During my nine years in the Australian education and care sector, having helped over 1,500 ECCs and schools become sustainable, I’ve seen many approaches and mistakes that are costing services thousands of dollars, and our shared planet thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases (not to mention poisonous & unsuitable greenery, wasted water and resources, toxic products, non-compliant practices, misaligned teams, etc).
What inspired you to create a purpose-driven company and how did you come up with the business idea?
I’ve always felt strongly about nature and the environment, so it was just a natural process. I worked for a large early childhood provider which explains my current primary market.
In your experience, what are the main challenges of starting and running a green business?
You just have to love it and keep at it without seeing quick results, it’s a long game.
What is your business mission & purpose and why?
GREENDOCTRINATE WITHOUT PREACHING – that is, get people to make the change without making it too much about being “green” and sustainable, by tapping into things they already care about.
How does your work address societal and/or environmental issues?
My main audience/target market is the education and care sector (early childhood/school/specialist), so it’s through them. My umbrella program is called the ‘5X Transformation’ which sits on five sustainability pillars: waste, greenery, behaviour, resourcing, energy.
What are the most common mistakes you see green businesses make?
I think they get too swayed by the green hype (e.g. around net zero, single use plastics, etc.) without thinking critically about these issues first. And they just become bland loudspeakers.
What makes your business unique?
I mix the knowledge, experience, skills, and critical thinking together while also weaving in the feedback I get from my clients into my programs and comms, so it’s always a dynamic conversation.
How do you grow and scale your business, and what are the main growth constraints and opportunities?
Via email marketing, FB ads (for lead gen), webinars, YT videos, blogs, and online courses.
Main growth constraints: only moderately advanced copywriting, limited advertising budget.
Main growth opportunities: YouTube videos and ads, improved Facebook ads, improved copywriting.
What green businesses/sectors do you see growing the fastest right now and/or will become mainstream within the next 10 years?
Robotics, e.g. on vertical farms and agriculture. Digitalization of everything, e.g. online courses, ESG reporting.
In your opinion, what are the top skills necessary to be a successful eco-entrepreneur?
Thick skin, copywriting, speaking (e.g. on video).
Any “lessons learned” or advice you can share with aspiring or current green business owners?
Don’t expect people spending lot of money on your services (esp. in the beginning) if you’re not clearly and succinctly articulating benefits you bring to them.
What inspires you every day to wake up and keep going?
People’s limitless potential to make a change, think and act differently if they get the opportunity.
Jan Rajnoch, Sustainable Butterflies.
Jan: I help organizations (e.g. schools, early childhood/childcare, SMEs, banks) with sustainability and ESG. This overlaps with compliance and saves $.
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