An Interview With George Kao
Many would-be entrepreneurs don’t pursue their passions and self-employment dreams because they fear that working for themselves will mean they have to compromise their morals. However, this doesn’t have to be the case.
George Kao is a business coach who advocates integrity in entrepreneurship (marketing in particular), and has taken his own path to become a successful soulful entrepreneur. We chatted with the businessman to learn more.
Can you please tell us a little about what you do and how you came to work in this area?
In the early years of LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, I found myself helping colleagues improve their professional presence online. Before long, I started teaching classes. Then, I discovered that a lot of online marketing practices were not very conscious: hyped-up social media ads, which led to cynical sales funnels as well as scarcity tactics that pressure people to buy.
Also, students of mine were spending thousands of dollars on other business training/coaching programs that didn’t deliver the promised, fantastical results. I started speaking out about these things, and advocating for conscious marketing and business, and it’s become the core of my work. I’ve now written four books, the latest of which is called Principles of Authentic Business: Create a Sustainable Livelihood from the Heart.
What does the term “authentic business” mean to you, and how is this different from traditional views around being self-employed?
Conventional self-employment is money-driven: you do it instead of a job. Yes, you have more autonomy, but now you have to self-motivate to find work that pays the bills.
Authentic Business, while it also pays the bills, is primarily about pursuing a deeper (or higher) drive: to express one’s potential and deeply serve life. From this foundational intention and commitment, we then use authentic marketing as a mechanism to reach and care for one’s true fans, who by definition are people who are seeking exactly a business like ours to help them.
What are some simple tips new entrepreneurs can follow to achieve their goals while at the same time being authentic to who they are and adhering to their moral compass?
1. Apply the Golden Rule
Do business and marketing in a way that you would also love to experience as a consumer. Notice the practices of the businesses you buy from: what do you most appreciate, and how can you emulate that spirit (maybe also the methods) in your own business as well? Similarly, notice the business activities and marketing tactics that turn you off, that don’t treat you well as a conscious human being. Make a mental note to avoid such practices in your own business.
2. Value the relationship over the transaction
Whether it’s building your audience, or selling a product, care for the person in front of you more than the action you want them to take. Whether or not they subscribe, comment, or buy, ask yourself: “Have I (or my content) benefitted them anyway?”
3. Remember that it’s all a stage for your spiritual/personal development
Everything, from giving an important keynote address, to a product launch, to the smallest daily acts of admin, can be seen either as “just building the business” and “getting things done” or it can be viewed as opportunities to grow your soul and express your higher values. This is the essence of joyful productivity.
Entrepreneur well-being often goes out the door when people are busy trying to build their business. Do you have any suggestions for ways to be more productive, yet also take better care of ourselves mentally, emotionally, and physically?
It’s much easier to connect to our higher selves, and make wiser decisions, when our body and mind are healthy and thriving. Therefore, self-care must be a top priority in business, especially during launches and growth periods.
What I do is first put into my calendar the hours each day (on a recurring basis) for personal activities such as rest, exercise, and meals, blocking out that time before I plan any business activities and appointments.
As one example, and it may sound strange, but I take four naps a day (15-25 minutes each) because I find this really helps me to stay personally sustainable and professionally creative.
How can readers learn more about your services and tips?
1. Readers may be interested in my best articles about authentic marketing and joyful productivity which I send out for free once a month in my email newsletter. Head to www.georgekao.com/email to sign up.
2. My newest book, Principles of Authentic Business: Create a Sustainable Livelihood from the Heart is available on Amazon: https://viewbook.at/AuthenticBusiness.
3. My most popular online course is on How to Do Facebook Marketing and Ads and it’s geared specifically for conscious solopreneurs: www.georgekao.com/facebookworkshop
George Kao is a business coach who champions integrity in marketing, instead of the predatory tactics that we have all experienced as consumers. George has personally coached hundreds of clients, and offers valuable free articles and videos about authentic marketing and joyful productivity at his website, www.GeorgeKao.com. He’s the author of 4 books, including Principles of Authentic Business: Create a Sustainable Livelihood from the Heart.
Learn more at