Entrepreneurship doesn’t seem to be common subject matter for singer-songwriters. Think about Bob Dylan, and among the many topics that will come to mind, “series B funding” or “IPO” will not be one.
On the other hand, singer-songwriters’ stock in the trade is crafting songs about the lives they live. So if the musician in question’s day job were launching companies, we might get a song like “Sorry I’m Not Sorry,” an ode to entrepreneurship written by John-Paul Maxfield, founder and president of the agri-business startup Waste Farmers. “We’re all artists,” Maxfield says, in describing the connection between his day and night jobs. “Business, the guitar, etcetera are just the vehicles through which we spread our messages.”
Business, the guitar, etcetera are just the vehicles through which we spread our messages. Tweet This Quote
Maxfield comes from a family of farmers and ranchers—the first entrepreneurs—and is the founding president of Waste Farmers, a sustainable agriculture company that produces and sells organic soils and fertilizers, and the founder of the Inspired Economist. He strives to live at the intersection of healthy lifestyles, homes, and food. And, while a farmer at heart, Maxfield recognizes that he is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. He remains comfortable putting on a tie—talking to a room full of executives and bankers—but at heart, he’s a rebel in Carhartts. The lyrics of the song state that, “just sheep following sheep, but the herder’s inside. We long to bash down those fences and graze the other side.”
The lyrics define entrepreneurial success for Maxfield. It stems from a mental transformation: the realization that entrepreneurship is a mindset that enables him to see business as an instrument for communication—just like the guitar. “The lightbulb that went off was not an idea,” Maxfield says, “but a realization that I had be comfortable being an agent of change—acknowledging that I can be one. I found that the only thing stopping me, was me.”
Music and impact entrepreneurship are cut from the same cloth Tweet This Quote
The process in which it was made is entrepreneurial as well. Maxfield says, “It started with an idea… and the idea needs a great team to become a great song and connect with others. They add their pieces and it takes on a new life. We bootstrap it and raise funds to bring it out of beta.” The process of taking idea to beta, from beta to launch and being able to communicate and provide value all the while is an entrepreneurial process that is seen across society—in many different mediums—as Maxfield points out, “It is about packaging ideas into a platform that connects and moves people.”
Whether you’re an artist painting on a canvas, a musician manipulating sound with an instrument, an engineer using a computer to code new software, or an entrepreneur affecting markets with new business models, they all have a common thread. “Music and impact entrepreneurship are cut from the same cloth,” says Maxfield as he shows through his actions that the key to becoming an effective entrepreneur lies in the realization that capitalism can be a tool to affect social change. “Ain’t it funny it’s that easy to be free.”