Tad Hargrave, self-described hippy, magician, musician, writer, blogger, comedian, entrepreneur and founder of Marketing for Hippies, is a busy guy bursting with ideas.
“There’s always such an impossible amount to do,” Hargrave says. “Like most entrepreneurs — there’s no shortage of ideas — just a shortage of hours.”
Hargrave tours his marketing workshops around Canada, is writing a book about hub marketing, maintains his blog, is working on some new virtual products and generally does whatever he can to help what he calls “conscious entrepreneurs” become better marketers.
These “conscious entrepreneurs” are holistic practitioners, social entrepreneurs, local businesses and sustainable or green businesses. In a nutshell, Hargrave likes to work with folks engaged in meaningful work.
He’s got a unique approach to marketing best suited to conscious entrepreneurs and he’s got a unique approach to business. His workshops, for example, are a pay-what-you-can experience. Hargrave believes in an economy where people decide on the price tag of a service for themselves. This commitment to an alternative economy hasn’t produced a six-figure salary, but Hargrave earns a respectable, professional income while actively growing his business since 2001.
It’s an income Hargrave admits he’d be challenged to make in a more traditional career path. He says he had a hard time fitting into the 9 to 5 conventional work environment and that’s part of the reason he ventured out on his own — he needed to find a better fit for himself and he wanted to use his skills to help others become successful.
“I couldn’t keep a job and was tired of seeing my friends with brilliant and conscious business ideas struggling because their marketing sucked and they didn’t know how to get the word out,” he says. “I knew I liked coaching and being at the front of the room. And I’d had years of experience in facilitating groups. So, it all kind of just fit together.”
Hargrave is building the capacity of like-minded entrepreneurs by giving them the marketing tools they need. Building community by encouraging positive change seems to be his life’s work. Beyond his core business, he also cofounded e-sage.ca, which has become one of Edmonton’s leading hubs for green and local lifestyles. He also occasionally presents workshops on nonviolent communication, and regularly hosts community events and potlucks “to make good things happen.”
Strong community support has helped Hargrave make his business successful, he says.
“My whole business has been built because people liked what I was doing and stepped in to support with absolutely no financial incentive. They just believed in it and wanted to see it work. They’d find and book me venues. They’d arrange my travel. They’d help me fill the events. There’s no way I could have done what I’ve done without their help.”
In the same way that Hargrave was encouraged to move forward in the early phase of his business, he likewise encourages others, fostering that sense of community each day through the many ways he engages in meaningful work.