C. Street

Founder of Become The Movement

C. Street is the founder of Become The Movement, a social enterprise startup that uses e-commerce to partner with, curate, and sell unique items to fuel social impact initiatives and organizations. Become The Movement’s innovative model and multi-tier approach works synergistically to help independent makers earn while providing shoppers the opportunity to support causes they care about through buying unique products, and allocating up to 20% of every PurposePurchase™ to organizations and community initiatives on the frontlines of humanitarian work, social and racial justice, education and healthcare reform, and more. C. Street is also the principal and owner of CStreet Creative, an online-based marketing, marcom, advertising, and creative services consultancy. Her work has garnered recognition in innovation, art, marketing, and advertising. She is based in the greater Chicagoland area.

Where did the idea for Become The Movement come from?

I’ve always had a passion for helping people and addressing the hard issues from racism and inequity, to poverty, and strained school systems to healthcare disparities, and more. I realized that while much had changed regarding impact-driven work, the processes for supporting that work remained greatly unchanged – it seemed antiquated and limited. I wanted to provide more options than what had been historically available. I created Become The Movement as a way to get more people involved beyond just giving but changing the process. I knew that there were countless organizations (many unknown) that were dedicated to doing transformative work but they weren’t big enough to be noticed. I wanted to give them the same chance to get support and funding as the bigger organizations we all know and love. I also wanted to give everyday people who were committed to giving back or supporting great causes a chance to do that in multiple ways. Become The Movement is predicated on a multi-tier four-way impact, and approach. It’s not about one organization or one initiative but all so the impact can be a collective (and collaborative) one.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

My typical day includes following up with potential “makers” (people who are interested in providing products for our store) and curating those products, and speaking with or reaching out to organizations and social impact initiatives who may want to partner with us to receive funds or resources to help propel their missions forward. I also spend my day considering potential investors or companies to partner with.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I’m a huge advocate of letting ideas happen but at the same time, I appreciate looking at things from the past and present as a gauge of what’s possible. In the case of Become The Movement – I noticed that there was so much conversation about how people could help but I found that the overall processes to do that were antiquated and limited. I wanted to change that and create a more rounded approach that will facilitate more impact and progress across the board. Essentially, I looked at what has historically worked and hadn’t worked in the past and used that insight to guide me in creating BTM’s innovative model. From there, I tune and refine our approach.

What’s one trend that excites you?

I’m excited about the implications of web3 and blockchain technology. I believe once people understand the power of that technology and what it can do it’s going to be a major player in imparting change, globally.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Not sure if this habit makes me more productive but reading keeps me informed and in touch on what’s happening around the world and people’s lived experiences. I think being informed is vital in doing any impact-driven work.

What advice would you give your younger self?

My best advice is – no one has to believe in you for it to be true – meaning, just believe in yourself and do the work. Everything will work out as it’s intended to.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

People, regardless of background and culture, (mostly) share the same innate needs. It is not a cliche that we are more alike than we are different.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

More times than not, I obsess over the details. While I wouldn’t recommend others do the same, I believe that taking pride in the details and your work, in general, will pay dividends in the end.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

I know the ask is for one but here’s two – I make myself available. It seems simple but a lot of founders are often not reachable and that’s the opposite of what I believe is necessary to make an impact. Lastly, I’m always open to share Become The Movement’s vision and mission with the media/press. Both of those things have helped us strategically.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

Honestly, this interview would be way longer than either of us expected if I had to cover all the areas where I’ve failed (or succeeded) but one that stands out is failure to do my due diligence to protect a product I created. I knew there were risks and should have invested more time and resources in mitigating those risks. I didn’t and it cost me considerably. I’d like to believe I’ve overcome it but it’s still a major sore spot. One way I’m able to keep fighting to overcome it is in making a conscious decision to keep learning, growing, and going.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If you’re looking to start a business or a side hustle, you can consider selling novelty items online. You can get started with less than $200 and then, put it on autopilot so you don’t have to do much. In this day and age, it’s super easy to become your own boss. Staying the course, if you want to do that, is where the extra work comes in.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

The best $100 I recently spent was for renewing a few of my domain names. I know you can run a company without an actual domain name but for me, it eliminates some of my concerns for the brands I’m building to be vulnerable.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I use Photoshop and Adobe Creative Suite more than any other software because I’m always creating something from wall art, and header images, to NFTs, ad campaigns, editing photographs, and more. I don’t go a day without using some kind of creative software.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

It’s a great read (for both men and women) and is packed with stories from global entrepreneurs who, despite immeasurable odds and even failures, found their path and built successful businesses. It certainly motivated and encouraged me when I felt self-doubt seeping in.

What is your favorite quote?

I mentioned this earlier but one day, I realized and told myself that – No one has to believe in you for it to be true. For more context, it means that regardless if you have support or are given an opportunity, and regardless if people believe in you, your skillset, or your product/service – it doesn’t matter. Whether someone believes in you doesn’t mean their opinion is true and doesn’t mean you’ll succeed or fail. What does matter, beyond everything else, is that you believe in yourself. That’s the most important truth to keep in mind.”

Key Learnings:

  • Sweat the details and take pride in your work – it’ll pay dividends in the end
  • Try to read and learn something new every day. When you learn something new and are informed on issues beyond the ones that only affect you, you’re better positioned to do your best work and make the most impact;
  • No one has to believe in you for it to be true: people’s opinion of you isn’t the determining factor on whether you’ll succeed or fail. Your opinion of, and belief in, yourself is.