Reflection: 5 ways to survive on low budget as a social entrepreneur


As early stage social entrepreneurs, we have spent the past few months hustling to launch our venture, while working with a limited amount of funding. If you’re one of us, you know the struggle. Here are some of our experiences from travels in Costa Rica that might help you as you work to launch a venture!

  • Find creative ways to make ramen for days!
  • Soon into our trip, we realized that eating meals at the local Soda’s (restaurants in CR) was a luxury we couldn’t afford. Also, Costa Rica is 20% more expensive than other Latin American countries. So, ramen it was! We used our creative nature to make various different types of ramen - with eggs, without eggs, fried, boiled, with veggies, with sausages, and with tuna - anything that could help us eat generic ramen with a different taste. Food is important, but we also realized that the company you’re with is more important than the food.
  • Get some personal time!
  • As social entrepreneurs, we tend to get caught up in the everyday hustle that comes with launching a venture. Emails, social media marketing, business plans, meetings, more meetings. Life can be rough, and if you’re living with your teammates while working with them, it can be exhausting at times. Our advice: get some personal time! Whether it's early in the morning (like our CEO who wakes up at 4 am) or late at night (like our CFO, who falls asleep at around 2 am) - get some ‘me’ time to do reading, write a blog, or just relax with shows so you can be one with yourself. 

    Don’t read too much!

    As this article writes, “Stop trying to read everything out there. There’s too much. And you’re too busy.” As social entrepreneurs, it is very easy to get overwhelmed by everything out there, and not know what to do. We have learned through our experience that it is best to read enough to be knowledgeable (and be aware of the trends), however, spending excessive amount of time on social media/websites trying to understand which solution works is not very useful. As we have learned, if it’s about innovation, you’ve got to make your own solution. We used what we read for inspiration, but at some point, we had to make those decisions that worked for us and went with the gut feeling.

  • Share - beds, clothes and laptops!
  • If you’re a social entrepreneur, you’re probably a socialist who believes that wealth is to be shared fairly and equitably. However, sometimes we can forget the principle with our own teams - learn to share. We quickly discovered that the best way to save some money while traveling and working on a low budget is by sharing resources - shampoo, toothpaste, snacks, and anything else that can help you reduce the costs that we generally tend to keep for personal expenditure.

  • Be shameless if you’re proud of your work.
  • If you believe that your idea is one that can really have an impact, but have never really sold anything, this is the moment to lose all the shame. When we initially started posting content on facebook, we were afraid of the fact that people would criticize our ideas from all angles, and de-construct our philosophy (typical of liberal arts students). Yet, we quickly learned that the more we share, the more feedback we receive and many of the times, it comes in the form of constructive criticism that allows us to further improve our work. As you can see, we’re still learning and hoping to improve our impact on the community that we serve. However, if you’ve got more experiences, share with us in comments below! We’d love to receive more advice as we continue this voyage! 

    By Abhinav Khanal, Co-founder & CSO



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