For decades, we’ve followed the rule that business is business. To put it another way, profitability matters more than making a difference. This viewpoint has changed, though, as more and more businesses embrace the “business as a force for good” mentality.
As Cheryl Fields Tyler, CEO of Blue Beyond Consulting, points out in Forbes, “Business as a force for good” has reached critical mass, and it can’t just be dismissed as a momentary response to a crisis. Most CEOs, HR leaders, and knowledge workers surveyed expect their employer to be a force for good (76%) and business as a whole (77%). Furthermore, societal leadership is now considered a core business function, according to the Edelman Trust Barometer 2022.
Almost 70% of respondents from all company sizes and regions, of all ages, and from all business functions-from customer service to operations to finance and IT — expect their employer to be a force for good. According to Edelman, people desire more business engagement than they do less across every single issue, and 72% believe purpose should be prioritized over profit in a McKinsey & Company survey.
In my opinion, there’s one leader who best embodies the “business as a force for good” concept. And that person is Britnie Turner.
Britnie is an entrepreneur, real estate investor, humanitarian, and philanthropist who positively transforms the world through her business ventures.
At 21, she founded Aerial to elevate people and places. She moved from living out of her car and working for free to becoming a multimillion-dollar real estate investor with active domestic and international projects.
Prior to founding Aerial Development Group at the age of 21, Turner dreamed of being a missionary in Africa, rescuing children from human trafficking. As part of her mission, she attended survival school to learn how to endure even in the toughest circumstances. As a result, she began learning how to flip houses to fund her mission work.
Since then, Britnie has formed a number of companies under the Aerial Brand, all advancing the mission to empower people, sustain the planet, and make capitalism work for the greater good. In fact, in 2016, Forbes and Fortune ranked Aerial as the “6th Fastest-Growing Woman-Owned/Woman-Led Company in the World” based on the Women Presidents’ Organization (WPO) annual ranking.
Aerial was also listed by Fortune as the third fastest-growing inner-city company in 2016 by the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC). Turner was also named one of Start Up Weekly’s “2021 Successful Women in Business.”
In this article, Britnie Turner explains how businesses can transform lives. She’ll share her missionary work in Africa, the journey from homeless to becoming Nashville’s biggest real estate flipper, how she revitalizes distressed neighborhoods, and what she bought on a private island. You’ll want to listen to the whole interview with Britnie Turner.
Realizing who you are meant to be.
Britnie’s first piece of advice says to tune into your intuition and understand what your heart wants. For her, that was a way to hear God’s voice. Everybody has a hole in their lives that needs filling as soon as they activate into their purpose, whether you’re religious or not.
As you listen, “see what resonates with you and take those pieces, no matter what you agree with or don’t agree with,” she adds. Britnie believes her experiences on this Earth are like puzzle pieces. “If you saw your full potential in life, you wouldn’t believe it. So they’re not the full picture, but they’re close. The journey is about trust, enjoying the human experience, and growing along the way instead of just getting there. The becoming is what it’s all about. What matters is who you are and how you express love with your actions, life, and words.”
For Britnie, her businesses are expressions of love. It’s a reflection of who she is. It’s her journey that shapes this mentality.
Her story is pretty amazing. Britnie went from living in a car to owning a private island within seven years. However, her success doesn’t diminish her value. Because at the end of the day, there’s nothing more valuable than yourself. With that in mind, she says that you need to discover who you are beyond your stuff so you can own your stuff instead of your stuff owning you.
There’s more to her career than the island. Even though this is a small piece, it’s a wonderful, beautiful, tiny piece. In exchange, Britnie says that she gets to use this asset as God’s hands and feet to reach people and heal them so they can live their purpose. “But I want to be very clear,” she explains, “this island still does not define me or my worth, maybe my net worth, but not my real worth.”
Be grateful for your opportunities.
“Stop worrying about what you don’t have and start enjoying what you do have,” is her next piece of advice. “You have access to so much if you have a country where you can Google and learn stuff and start putting pieces together, and it doesn’t have some giant corrupt government structure that keeps you from getting ahead, so you have access to that most people do not.” Britnie found that “with that access comes a responsibility to be able to bless others, but it’s also the best thing ever.”
You aren’t throwing money at problems by doing that, however. “When it touches something, money expands it, but it is also an expansion tool of the heart.” For example, the more money you throw at poverty, the worse it gets. “So, I really work to build my life, to create hand-up, not hand-out opportunities, to be able to open the door for people who want it, to be able to step into it,” she says.
Depending on where you are in life, you could feed the hungry as you learn because as you become more aware of what’s happening, some people might call it consciousness, and others might call it education. Whatever it is, you will want to help your friends and family as you grow. At the same time, others will challenge you.
Britnie’s callings are between her and God, so you cannot bring anyone along. “You’re born alone; you’re going to die alone,” she adds. “As a result, you are responsible for the decisions you make in your life. Because of this, there’s only so much space you can give to other voices in your life, especially since humans cannot see beyond the present. Isn’t our future too important to be dictated by them? Eventually, you’ll have to carry them with you, and when they don’t want to come, you have to say, well, I’m here to feed them. I will open doors of opportunity for people who truly desire it.”
The dark moments of your life are preparing you for the light.
Britnie has experienced a lot of darkness in her life. In Costa Rica, while attending missionary training school to be a missionary in Africa rescuing kids from human trafficking, she met a child whose vocal cords had been destroyed by sexual abuse. She witnessed parents selling their babies for $25 in Africa, knowing they would be used as sex slaves daily.
These stories may have been horrific, but they helped Britnie use business for good. In Costa Rica, she discovered that she could flip houses to fund her missions.
When Britnie was in class, this guy came in and said, “Did you know you can buy a house with no money down? And if your mortgage payment is $900 a month that you rent it out for $1,200 a month, you get to keep that $300.” Britnie was intrigued and wanted to hear more. “Do that ten times, and you can live in Africa, and you don’t ever have to ask anybody for money again,” he said.
It was 2007, and everyone was given loans back then, so Britnie bought a house when she was 18.
She learned from her friends that she could flip this house for $10,000 after she bought it. By doing so, she also discovered she could eventually put a down payment on an apartment complex, yielding even more income.
As Britnie learned more about this vehicle to make money and fund her projects, she made an ambitious plan to flip many homes. She would save $10,000 and then use the $100,000 to buy an apartment complex. As a result, that apartment complex would generate $10,000 of cash flow each month. “And then I can build my own freaking orphanages, and nobody can cap my calling; nobody can ever tell me what to do because they can’t cut me off,” Britnie says.
“And I loved that idea,” she adds. “And I want you to love that idea because you may educate yourself on whatever it is you want to do in life. You’ll want to learn and be able to be resourced enough to make sure nobody can cut you off from your calling.”
As a result, what began as a dream for Britnie Turner to build her own orphanages became a successful real estate development company that allowed her to bring about change on a very deep level. Through her involvement in an organization that builds orphanages, she’s discovered that real estate development outside the country can eradicate poverty from its roots.
Featured Image Credit: RDNE Stock project; Pexels; Thank you!