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How my “conscious” entrepreneurship journey began

Before I dropped out, I was in college for 5 semesters.

The first four semesters were spent in an Engineering Technology and Management (ETM) program, which taught me a lot about industrial engineering and business management. At the time, I thought I had a good grasp on conscious business practices and ethical entrepreneurship..

I was wrong.

After 2 years of studying manufacturing practices, I had learned a LOT about saving businesses money, but very little about saving the environment. My view of “conscious entrepreneurship” was knowing every aspect of the cash/work flow of a business, not knowing every aspect of the true costs that’re linked to the businesses actions.

In ETM, I went to systems engineering classes and learned how to save on production costs, not environmental costs. I learned that cost was the most important variable of raw materials, not the environmental cost behind the materials. I went to plastics classes and learned mostly about the structural characteristics of non-biodegradable plastics, and almost nothing about biodegradable plastics such as hemp plastic.

I could go on and on!

My epiphany

In the beginning of my fourth semester, when I became vegan, the new lifestyle changed my outlook on manufacturing and business COMPLETELY. It was what helped me realized that I wasn’t truly learning conscious manufacturing practices, I was just learning how to save on  business costs.

When I became a vegan, I realized the importance of our rain forests and wildlife. I wanted (and still want) to do anything in my power to help combat the destruction of our forests to help stop our exponentially growing global temperature.

I started to realize how I wasn’t being taught much about the “behind the scenes costs” of most business decisions, especially the ones that are destroying Mother Earth.

Every day, I went to class with a confused outlook on how I was going to relate my new environmental passions to what I was learning in class.

When I was heading into my fifth semester, I ended up transferring into the Entrepreneurship program. My goal was to completely immerse myself with business and learn how to change the world and combat deforestation with my new business knowledge!

I started to learn a lot of neat business concepts and ethical business practices, but the same pattern of learning continued.. They were teaching me a LOT about how to minimize internal costs of business, but very little about how to minimize the external costs that the environment has to pay.

All of this material I learned was great and will definitely be implemented in my life, but it didn’t place enough emphasis on the most important variable to minimize.

Our environmental impact is the most important variable cost

The most important variable to minimize in business is the impact we have on the environment.

I was hoping that the Entrepreneurship program was going to help me figure out how I was going to impact the world.

This wasn’t necessarily the case.

When I was in business class learning about McDonald’s financial statements, I wouldn’t be the happiest person in the world. When I was in economic classes learning about how dairy farmers are receiving financial help from our government through subsidies, I couldn’t see straight. When I was in business law learning about the lobbying techniques of purely destructive industries, I literally started to lose my cool..

Once again, I was learning about cool concepts, but I wasn’t being taught the most important factor of it all, the environmental factors.

And to be frank, I was learning the exact opposite. Nothing against my professors, I loved them all, but they were nonchalantly glorifying businesses that are destroying our planet with poor business practices. All because their financial statements looked good?

I may have been learning good material, but it was being taught in a way that went against my values.

This ultimately lead to my decision to drop out of school and focus on learning independently.

I’m not saying that universities won’t help you, I’m just saying that the best decision for myself was to learn independently through practitionership.

The new wave of conscious entrepreneurs

Ever since, I’ve been studying other conscious entrepreneurs and learning everything I can about nutrition, business, marketing and branding, all on my own.

Now, me and my mother have plans on launching a vegan food truck on Ohio University’s campus, which is the college I attended. You’ll be hearing much more about it in the near future. But for now, conscious learning is a skill that I’m practicing every day to prepare for our launch date.

I’ve realized the importance of conscious learning, because it’s very easy to fall into the trap of “lazy learning,” which is simply a handicap when it comes to truly thinking for yourself.

If I wasn’t practicing conscious learning in college, I would’ve learned about McDonald’s financials and wouldn’t have been aware of the horrible deforestation practices behind their meats. I would’ve also learned about subsidies and taxes without realizing that our government is handing over tax dollars for the dairy industry to destroy our environment and health and charging taxes on hemp farmers that’re replenishing the environment. And lastly, I would’ve learned about lobbying tactics without realized that some of the most destructive forces in the world (Big Pharma, Big Tobacco, and the industries involved in animal agriculture) are the ones who poor the most money into lobbying to make sure legislature doesn’t sway away from their agenda..

I’m thankful that I learned what I learned with a conscious mind.

This journey towards consciousness has lead me to interning with one of my favorite vegan companies..

This conscious company was formed about a year ago by vegan entrepreneur, Brenden Fitzgerald, to produce sustainable vegan snacks for the growing market of conscious eaters!

-Brenden, Founder of Planet Protein (the_sustainable_ceo)

The Story Behind the Creation of Planet Protein

The following is retrieved directly from Planet Protein’s website.

On April 21st 2016, it was a cold and rainy spring evening.  I decided to throw on a Netflix documentary (cowspiracy and vegucated) – a binge of documentaries ensued.  I was blown away by the level of impact my current eating behavior was having on animals and the environment.

I dove head first, trying to reduce my impact on the world by going plant-based, quickly I realized the modern food landscape wasn’t exactly built to support my desire to move toward more conscious eating.

I could not find any options that met my needs:

    1. Responsibly sourced ingredients,
    2. Optimal doses of high quality protein,
    3. Nutrient dense whole foods as the primary formula
    4. Without Palm-Oil – which has been evidenced to wreck havoc on the environment


5 days later the inception of Planet Protein had materialized.  I would provide a convenient and delicious nutritionally packed high protein meal replacement for anyone looking to consume more consciously.

I was all-in on this journey with a growing community of conscious consumers behind me. Day-by-day I learned more about nutrition’s influence on health and how we could use manufacturing technology to produce a delicious protein bar packed with nutrients.

Despite push-back from suppliers and advisors regarding the cost associated with creating the bar I envisioned – I refused to compromise on my mission to offer a higher quality option than anything currently available.

It was essential to me, no compromise was made with regard to our customers health, animal well-being, or the environment within which we all exist.

Planet Protein’s Founding Principles

Conscious consuming is simply being aware of what’s in our food and how it affects the environment and our health. Distinguishing good from bad (ingredients) and understanding the impact food has on human, environment, and animal health.  We are committed to create the tools you need, in the food we eat or products we use, that are sourced in ways that have the lowest impact on the environment and the conscious beings living in it.

Ultimately we have one mission, to improve the health of people, animals, and the planet we inhabit… by providing the tools to make that effort easier.

Following the footsteps of a sustainable CEO

I still remember the day they launched the company. At the time, I was in search for an internship with a vegan company, so I reached out to Brenden.

At the time, the company was in it’s infancy and wasn’t ready for another member to join. That changed about a week ago when Brenden messaged me about joining the team.. I was stocked!

Now, I’m a Planet Protein intern and I get to be a part of a team that has already made such an impact in just one short year of being in business.

I’ll be helping them create content that helps inspire people to live more consciously by either moving towards the vegan lifestyle, reducing their personal waste, use more sustainable products, and consider alternative methods to unsustainable norms.

One of the easiest ways you can do this is by buying their protein bars!

For a 10% discount use code: DAKOTAMAYS10

Whether you support Planet Protein or not, you should give a lot of thought into the foods you’re currently buying.

Do your best to buy sustainable products that’re made by companies who place environmental costs above all other costs of business.

Planet Protein isn’t just vegan-friendly, one of their biggest factors of sustainability is that they don’t use palm oil.

The following segment is from Planet Protein’s One Tree Planted blog posts.

“Among the earliest observations we’ve had in founding this company was the prevalence of palm oil in our cuisine. For lack of a better word, palm oil is one of the shadiest ingredients in the world, and it’s in almost everything we eat. Palm oil’s impact on the planet is threefold: it deforests some of the most important ecosystems in the world, drives precious endangered species like orangutans among others into destitution, and contributes to a workforce that borders on slave labor. We’ve decided to do what we can from day 1 to address these issues by partnering with One Tree Planted through 1% for the Planet.

One Tree Planted was founded by Matt Hill, known as their Chief Environmental Evangelist. His experience as an industry executive in sustainable packaging constantly augmented his education on the environment. He was inspired to found One Tree Planted to push back against the horrifying quantities of forests burnt and cleared daily. His initiative and disposition make One Tree Planted the perfect partner for our first run with 1% for the Planet. We intend to use our proceeds to directly improve the conditions on the ground in Indonesia and give these animals (and workers) a fighting chance.

For those reasons among others we’ve pledged to never cut corners by utilizing palm oil as an emulsifier. The cost of palm oil to our planet is far greater than any savings we may incur by using it. Much of our palm oil (known by dozens of different names to the American consumer) is farmed on plantations in the rainforests of Indonesia. More than half of our international demand is met by Indonesia, who have scorched massive swathes of Sumatra and Borneo to clear for plantations. The Sumatran Tiger and Rhino are under immense threat, while the Bornean orangutan has seen massive reduction in population.

We want to show the world what palm oil is doing to our planet, and these beautiful animals while offering a cleaner plant-based alternative to feel good about yourself and your footprint on our Earth. We are very excited to continue educating our friends and fighting to offer products that push the envelope of what clean and sustainable truly can be.”

As you can see, Planet Protein is on a mission to making sure the public is aware of the importance of not using palm oil.

Conscious Entrepreneurs Will Change The World

In the near future, we’re going to be seeing a MASSIVE shift toward conscious entrepreneurship, especially with global warming getting worse by the day.

We NEED our rain forests so the trees can help clean the pollution in our air. We already know that going vegan is the single best thing we can do to reduce our individual carbon footprint, but after that, we should pay close attention to who we give our money to!

As explained above, a vegan product can contain palm oil, which is one of the worst ingredients in terms of sustainability.. So, do your best to refrain from eating foods/drinks that contain palm oil.

In terms of entrepreneurship, if you’re an aspiring entrepreneur or have plans on running your own business one day, try to keep sustainability at the top of your list when creating your products and services. Don’t let “saving costs” triumph the expenses you place on Mother Earth.

We live in the information age and have everything we need to start creating massive change in the standard consciousness of businesses. It all starts with recognizing the environmental impacts that take place behind the scenes.

Take this post as motivation to start building you conscious personal brand, because in the years to come, conscious personal brands will be the ones running the show.. you can mark my word!

Contact me here if you have ANY questions and want to subscribe to my email list, I’d be glad to help you! I’ll have plenty more posts about conscious entrepreneurship in the future so stay tuned.

Once subscribed, you’ll know more about how I’m trying to help you by documenting my journey towards better health and consciousness!

Much Love, Dakota Mays