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Ep. 72 - Building a Business With a Purpose

Could you imagine leaving a multi-million dollar/year marketing agency you co-founded while in college and then pivot to create a non-profit foundation? Well, that’s exactly what our guest Chris Lesner did 8 years ago. Him and a few other college buddies started a business their freshman year of college not really knowing what it was to become. By the time their senior year rolled around, they had grown to a full fledged marketing agency serving Fortune 500 companies. As you could imagine, he was having a great time running this successful business but was then challenged by a mentor to do something greater. So he decided to leave the agency and start his own non-profit to support other nonprofits. 

All this before he graduated college. 

But as he started helping these nonprofits, he soon realized that these organizations needed marketing support but had too small of budgets to afford quality service. So he went back to his roots and added marketing services among other tools they had developed to help nonprofits raise more money. 

They have sinced grown tremendously over the last 8 years and support both for-profit and non-profits with their marketing services. One big difference is that due to the success on their commercial side of the business, they can afford to offer their marketing and fundraising services at a fraction of the cost they charge for-profit businesses. 

This is a purpose-led business! 

Tune in to hear more on how Chris built a successful business in college, pivoted to be more purpose led and how he and his wife Jenn have navigated some of the challenges that came with it to keep their relationship and family the priority.

Key Takeaways

  • Met as interns
  • Started the agency
  • Became the entrepreneur couple in college
  • School was an afterthought
  • Mentor challenges Chris to do more
  • Decided to leave the agency and start a non-profit
  • Jenn had early concerns
  • Developed fundraising tools for nonprofits
  • Created a for-profit and nonprofit arms of the business
  • Finding the right people allowed him to work less than in college
  • The 1 year vacation

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