Where her country only saw disabilities, she saw real people who have a lot to give. Here are the lessons she's learned along the way.
Angkie Yudistia started a business to give the 37 million people in Indonesia who have a disability a chance at the training and skills they deserve.
She would know about that. She herself is hard of hearing.
She was familiar with the lives of folks with disabilities — a life that was, in fact, her life. But still, Thisable, an independent foundation that empowers people living with a disability to be financially independent, was going to be her first business venture ever. She even quit her job to pursue it.
And she learned a lot along the way. It wasn't easy for Angkie to start her business, but she did it anyway. And by learning from her, we might all be one step closer to making our own firsts happen!
Here are some lessons in starting a socially conscious business from someone who knows: Angkie!
1. You'll have to take a financial and personal risk.
That's just how it is.
2. You may have to give up a stable job — and your regular income.
Angkie was a well-paid marketing communication officer, but she knew she had to give that up to do what she dreamed of doing.
3. You might have a lack of business experience, but do your best.
Know that each mistake is a learning opportunity. Angkie says, "Being an entrepreneur is hugely rewarding, but there can be moments when things aren’t going perfectly and it can affect your morale."
4. Your parents might not come around at first.
Recently featured in an article through Facebook, Angkie says her parents really got on board when they saw how their daughter had actually turned her calling into a business.
5. Take time for yourself AND be a great entrepreneur.
As Angkie told Facebook, she'll even bring her husband and daughter to overseas meetings with her — just to make sure she spends as many weekends with them as possible.
6. Have someone to support you and help you keep your life in balance.
Her husband really supports her finding balance. She said he's "happy to pitch in around the house" which helps her keep work and life on an even keel.
7. Use social media.
It's clear from Angkie's Facebook page that she has many stories to tell. But her Instagram presence has helped her build her personal brand so much that it led to a publishing deal to tell the story of her personal journey from marketing executive to a budding, blossoming entrepreneur.
8. Sometimes business as usual isn't enough. Especially if you want to change what's usual.
Thisable Enterprise is more than just an organization that provides training to people with disabilities (though that would be plenty). To truly change the way Asia — and Indonesia specifically — views disability, Thisable had to get in the trenches. With Angkie at the helm, Thisable is lobbying governments and private and public companies.
9. Mentorship matters.
Thisable, and Angkie in particular, emphasize providing mentorship to participants.
10. Working together helps us all.
Angkie works with corporate social responsibility programs at various businesses in order to drum up employment opportunities for the community she has formed of people with disabilities.
11. Giving people power over their own destiny isn't just good for the world, it's good for the economy.
By giving the 37 million people with a disability in Indonesia a stronger start, Angkie is giving her homeland vast new natural resources — people and talent. Imagine the potential of so many new, skilled, happy, and supported people.
Thisable has only just begun its mission to redefine disability. But it's safe to say that Angkie has learned a great deal by taking the plunge and starting her own thing.