It is always necessary for us Freelancers to stay on top of trends and work to create conditions that generate billable hours. If you haven’t done so already, prepare to investigate how your skills can be advantageously applied to green economy and sustainability movements that are hatching in your locale.
President Obama has made the encouragement of green and sustainable business practices a priority of his administration. Throughout the country there is much talk and some tangible actions that could possibly achieve his goal.
The time is ripe to position yourself to grab some of the dollars that are being allocated to the cause by taking courses, obtaining certifications and of course networking, to let prospects know that when green and sustainability projects are in the budget, you are the right person to call.
The first thing you’ll need is information. Pay attention to green business and sustainability conferences in your area and search your local business press for relevant articles. Get current with the names and goals of key players, and think about how you can contribute. Refine your elevator pitch to promote your new emphasis.
Visit the GreenBiz website http://greenbiz.com. The site is an excellent resource for Freelancers who are trying to figure out ways to cash in on the green phenomenon. GreenBiz.com features numerous useful articles that discuss subjects such as the role of IT in helping businesses go green, how to create a marketing strategy that incorporates green values into a brand and how to devise clever advertising strategies that communicate green benefits to a target audience.
Green For All http://greenforall.org is an Oakland, CA based not-for-profit organization that identifies green and sustainability themed jobs, business and investment opportunities and works to build bridges within the various sectors of the green economy. For specific info, you’ll have to join their mailing list.
There is also a green business chamber of commerce, EcoChamber http://ecochamber.com. The Miami based group is the first and only chamber of commerce with the mission of promoting the green and sustainability movement. EcoChamber is dedicated to helping businesses create and implement sustainable and environmentally friendly business practices while maintaining, or improving, profitability. EcoChamber claims to be global, but I could find no evidence of activity outside of Miami. Perhaps as funding becomes available, the group will expand its reach.
How you tap into the sustainability/green economy will, obviously, depend upon your specialty, experience, and relationships. Here are a few sectors to explore:
Banking and finance
We all know that banks are not lending a lot of money these days, but they are favorably disposed toward financing green economy businesses. Venture capitalists are likewise interested in entertaining a good pitch from an entrepreneur with a promising concept for a green business. The NASDAQ stock exchange provided serious validation for the movement when it recently launched an index to track green economy businesses. There are even a couple of hedge funds that focus on green and sustainable industries.
Energy efficiency / renewable energy
Major public investment and the growing availability of financing are driving the renewable energy and energy efficiency market. Some of the money floating around is earmarked for training not only workers but also entrepreneurs. Pay attention to local government info and nonprofit groups. Maybe you can obtain a certification for free, or at a reduced cost.
Health and wellness
Human Resource specialists are convincing company directors that a healthy workforce is more productive and easier on health insurance premiums. Employee wellness programs are a growing phenomenon in businesses large and small.
Reducing the carbon footprint of IT and incorporating energy efficiency are on the to-do list of most companies. That Chief Information Officers and others in IT should partner with other departments across an organization as sustainability and green business best practices are being formulated is gaining traction.
Former manufacturing centers across the country are evaluating the possibility of using green businesses to ameliorate the exploding unemployment that led to poverty, decay, crime and eroding populations. Detroit is taking the lead in the revitalization process.
Thanks for reading,