Becky standing underneath an art installation looking up at it.

What is a Legacy Business and How can you Build one?

My most aligned clients are those in their biz for more than just making a buck. We’re all born with an innate desire for meaning and connection with others. By building a legacy business, you can create an income for yourself whilst at the same time enjoy meaningful work. In this blog, we’ll explore what a legacy business is, and how you can make the mark in the world through your work that will last.

What is a Legacy?

A legacy is something of value left behind in the world after someone moves on or passes. A legacy is any positive contribution to the world that stands the test of time. It’s how you change community for the better with the future in mind. It’s how you change culture. A legacy is impact that echoes for eternity. 

-It’s the scholarship program for refugees in the Middle East that has just seen its first university graduates.

-It’s the brand that brings joy to generation after generation

-It’s the product that changes the game for health

-It’s the NGO, charity, or community centre that rescues, rehabilitates, and helps people heal

-It’s the business that funds your passion project

-It’s your beliefs and values that you pass on to the next generation

Leave it to one of the most significant musicians and businesswomen of our time, Beyoncé, to sum it up the concept of legacy nicely in her song ‘I Was Here’ (2011):

I want to leave my footprints on the sands of time
Know, there was something that, something that I left behind
When I leave this world, I’ll leave no regrets
Leave something to remember, so they won’t forget

I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here
I did, I’ve done, everything that I wanted
And it was more than I thought it would be
I will leave my mark so everyone will know I was here

I wanna say I lived each day, until I died
I know that I had something in somebody’s life
The hearts I have touched, will be the proof that I leave
That I made a difference, and this world will see
I was here, I lived, I loved, I was here

Then, on the other end of the worldview scale, famous atheist and comedian Ricky Gervais, in his latest show Armageddon on Netflix, jokes about when journalists ask him whether or not he’s planning his own funeral and whether he cares what people will think of him after his dead: ‘No I don’t care, I’ll be dead.’ ‘What about your legacy?’ continued the journalist. ‘F#%! my legacy!’ Ricky replied.(It’s a bit sweary but you can see the (clip here.)

Although my worldview is very different from Gervais’ I get his point – and I agree it doesn’t matter whether the world remembers my name! I won’t know any different cos I won’t be here. Unless I am hugely famous, it’s doubtful my name will be remembered beyond my grandchildren. So, for me, legacy isn’t so much about my name being remembered but about the difference that I have made that can continue to make ripple effects after I’ve gone. 

Legacies are for Others

Historically, people leaving legacies through their livelihoods has been a powerful way to develop society. When the next generation benefits from those who have gone before, they, too, are more inclined to consider the future generations in their entrepreneurship. Thinking long-term helps us take more responsibility- for our future grandchildren, the economy, and the planet.

‘If you’re going to live, leave a legacy. Make a mark on the world that cannot be erased.’ Maya Angelou

You Have a Unique Legacy to Leave in This World

We were all created with unique gifts, talents, and passions and are all beautifully unique. From this uniqueness, we each have something to offer to our fellow human beings and the planet that no one else can- and this has the potential to become our legacy. We might offer similar legacies to others, but just as every human’s fingerprint differs, so will our legacies.

My community of business owners shows me this rich diversity.

From menstrual rights activists to allied health professionals helping infants and toddlers with different feeding needs.

From business coaches going against the ‘smash it’ culture and help people achieve their goals slowly and peacefully, to fitness coaches who approach health from the heart first.

I consider it an honour to write copy to help propel these legacies forwards.

What is a Legacy Business? 

If you want to leave a legacy behind one day, you have to live your legacy every day starting NOW. It’s about being faithful to your call. Taking consistent action day-in-day-out of your craft or your services will lay the foundations of your legacy. And this takes time, consistency, and commitment. It means that every moment you work on your business, you’re focussing on building: 

-Something that can be passed onto future generations (a brand, product, or a brick-and-mortar business)

-A business that produces the revenue to start a passion project or charity 

-Services or education that make lasting changes in people’s lives that will affect the lives of future generations (therapy, healing, breaking cyclical patterns, etc.)

What’s MY Legacy, you ask?

My legacy as a copywriter will include helping others to reach their highest potential in the world (basically helping you fulfil YOUR legacy).

But don’t want to be remembered for being a brilliant copywriter; I want to be remembered for my compassionate, warrior heart.

I want to use my writing to uplift others, speak up for injustice, and use the revenue to one day start a project that will help children somehow. That’s all I know. I’m already sponsoring children for other NGOs where I can. I want to play my part in building a permanent and sustainable legacy that will offer hope to children born into less privileged circumstances than me. 

What will Your Legacy Be?

A legacy business doesn’t happen overnight. We’re talking about your life’s work here- so no matter what stage of your entrepreneurial journey, remember, slow and steady wins the race. The first step is to identify what your legacy will be. If you’re not sure what your legacy will be, here are some journal prompts to help you:

What do I love doing/what’s my passion?

What wrong do I want to ‘right’ in the world?

What injustice do I want to fight in the world?

What makes me the happiest?

What do I want to be remembered for one day?

What do I want to leave my children?

As you ponder these questions, why not ask your community what they see in you? Sometimes, we need those closest to us to speak truth into our reality when we can’t see the path clearly ahead of ourselves. 

‘Your legacy is every life that you’ve touched,’ Oprah Winfrey.

Becky standing underneath an art installation looking up at it.

Three Tips to Help you Build a Legacy Business

1. After you get clear on what legacy you want to create, it’s time to get laser-focused on it. (And this is where I can struggle sometimes because I like to say ‘yes’ to such a wide variety of things). Keep the main thing the main thing as you build your business. Work hard and choose carefully who you work WITH. 

2. ALWAYS refine your craft, keep up-skilling, and dedicate time and budget to becoming the best you can be at what you do. Legacy builders like Steve Jobs and Walt Disney are household names today because they didn’t stop at mediocrity; they wanted to create what no one else could.

3. Keep the future in mind. Trends in your industry will come and go, but to build a timeless brand or a service that can evolve with the times so it can still be impactful ten, twenty, or fifty years from now, you need to keep looking forward.

Conclusion

No matter what you do, when you make a positive contribution to the world, and it continues to make an impact after you’ve moved on or even after you pass, this is your legacy. Your legacy can look like continued impact (the therapist helping parents heal for their future generations), or it could look like a charity or movement that continues to help others. It could also be a brand or product that helps people in the future or improves the outlook of the environment for the next generation. 

I love working with legacy builders as a copywriter because I find deep meaning in helping others to make their mark. It’s possible to build a successful business that supports your dreams and makes a difference to the rest of the world at the same time. Getting very clear on what legacy you are called to build, refining your craft, and focusing on the long term are the keys to building a legacy business.

So what are you waiting for? 

Comment below and let me know what action you’ll take to start building your legacy today.

 

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