Episode 141: The Way Of An Ecopreneur: Creating Purpose-Driven Businesses with Muffa Saylawala
interview with muffa saylawala ecopreneur
Episode 141

The Way Of An Ecopreneur: Creating Purpose-Driven Businesses with Muffa Saylawala

Podcast Guest

Muffa Saylawala


Casa Oro Group

Oro Chocolate

"I grew up your stereotypical, know it all, overachiever kind of kid. I was after this thing, this wider goal of just wanting to make money. That was it. And the more boxes I checked, the more unsatisfied I really felt."

You're in for a really special episode of our podcast today.


Because today we're sharing our conversation with Muffa Saylawala with you. He's unlike anyone we've had on the show before and we can't wait for you to listen to this episode.

You see, Muffa is an ecopreneur. Meaning, an entrepreneur who carefully designs businesses that will benefit both the people and environments they exist in. The intention behind all of his ventures is to create greater good in the world.

At the time we're releasing this episode, Muffa runs 10 different businesses – ranging from eco-friendly hotels, an organic farm, and even a “bean-to-bar” chocolate company.

If that sounds like a lot to juggle, don’t worry.

In this episode, Muffa shares how when you design businesses according to the laws of nature, each business can support the others and ultimately form a self-sustaining ecosystem.

It’s fascinating stuff.

But things weren't always this way for Muffa.

In our conversation, we start at the very beginning and hear how Muffa transformed from an overachieving kid on a traditional career path into a purpose-driven, socially conscious entrepreneur.

So, regardless of where you are on your own entrepreneurial journey, we hope you'll walk away from this episode with a new perspective – a new vantage point from which to see your life, business, and success.

We hope you enjoy this episode!


2:05 Meet Muffa, an ecopreneur
5:54 How the financial collapse in 2008 inspired Muffa to make a huge transition in his life & career
9:29 How Muffa found a true sense of direction and purpose in his life
11:40 Purpose Driven Entrepreneurship: the hallmark of businesses that do good
18:10 A look at the overarching mission of Muffa's businesses
20:30 How to design your business according to the laws of nature
28:40 Muffa's vision for the evolution of his businesses
37:10 Where to learn more about Muffa

Full Transcript

Download Transcript

“I grew up your stereotypical kind of know it all overachiever kind of kid. Right? I was the one studying all the time and felt like I was after this thing, this wider goal of like just wanting to make money. That was it. I just wanted to be rich and I thought that that was the point of it all. And the more kind of boxes I checked, I felt like the more unsatisfied I really felt.”


You’re listening to Muffa Saylawala – my fascinating guest on today’s episode of the Subscription Entrepreneur Podcast.

Muffa is unlike anyone I’ve had on the show before and I can’t wait for you to hear our conversation.

You see, Muffa is an “eco-preneur” – meaning, an entrepreneur who carefully designs businesses that will benefit both the people and environments they exist in. The intention behind all of his ventures is to create greater good in the world.

At the time of this recording, Muffa runs 10 different businesses – ranging from eco-friendly hotels, an organic farm, and even a “bean-to-bar” chocolate company.

If that sounds like a lot to juggle, don’t worry.

Muffa shares how when you design businesses according to the laws of nature, each business can support the others and ultimately form a self-sustaining ecosystem.

It’s fascinating stuff.

But as you heard in the clip, things weren’t always this way for Muffa.

In our conversation, we start at the very beginning and hear how Muffa transformed from an overachieving kid on a traditional career path into a purpose-driven, socially conscious entrepreneur.

So, regardless of where you are on your own entrepreneurial journey, I hope you’ll walk away from this episode with a new perspective — a new vantage point from which to see your life, business, and success.

As always, I’m your host Eric Turnnessen and this is Episode 141 of The Subscription Entrepreneur Podcast.

Eric: Welcome to the show, Muffa.

Muffa: Oh, thank you. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Eric: Yeah. And thank you so much for joining us. So you and I met recently at the Northwest Chocolate Festival in Seattle, Washington.

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: Tell us why you were there.

Muffa: I came to the Northwest Chocolate Festival really to learn, to absorb, to meet other leaders in the industry and just to get more ingrained into the world of craft chocolate because I’m a chocolate maker based in Nicaragua.

Eric: That’s pretty awesome. And you also actually run a number of other, I’ll say operations, down in Nicaragua from running a farm to, what is it, three hostels that you’re running down there?

Muffa: Yeah. It’s like a hostel and like for like more boutique bed and breakfast in the farm and it’s like this whole group of businesses. We call it the Casa Oro Group and it’s a family of four purpose businesses that care, that really care about people, that care about the environment, that care about nature, that care about communities and that also care about turning a profit.

Eric: So now let’s rewind, right? Because you’re in Nicaragua now, but you started in the suburbs of Chicago?

Muffa: Right.

Eric: You went to school earning a couple of degrees in finance and accounting. You were on a certain track to do a certain thing and then something happened. Let’s talk a little bit about that period of time.

Muffa: Sure. I grew up, yeah, in the suburbs of Chicago. You’re stereotypical kind of know it all overachiever kind of kid. Right? I was the one studying all the time and joined every club and did really well in exams and I was really into school and studying and felt like I was after this thing, this wider goal of like just wanting to make money. That was it. I just wanted to be rich and I thought that that was the point of it all.

And the more kind of boxes I checked, I felt like the more unsatisfied I really felt. And I’ve kind of graduated from college and finance in 2009 and accounting. Right? And it was an interesting time to be in the world of finance and accounting because it was the mortgage crisis of 2008, 2009, and there’s all this crazy stuff happening in the financial world with banks failing and other banks buying other banks and security things and all this stuff happening in the news.

Yeah. And so I was able to get a job there and it was a blessing to have a job in that time in finance and so I felt like I just, I had to take it, you know, even though I wasn’t quite sure like what I really wanted and just kind of kept going along this path of got to make money and stuff and that’s what you’re supposed to do.

And yeah. And I felt the more and more that I went down that path, the less happy I became, the less satisfied it became. I felt all this strain in my personal and professional relationships. I was more irritable. I was getting angry. I just wasn’t really a good person to be around and I didn’t like myself.

Eric: I went through a similar thing when I got out of college and started working and was doing consulting and just felt the effects of how the job was getting to me.

One thing I wonder, because I feel like that’s not an uncommon thing. Like I feel like a lot of people may resonate with the idea that they had some objective that they had in college and they had maybe an idea that they wanted to make a lot of money and then when they started going down the journey, things didn’t start to feel right, but some people just continue doing that. Right?

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: In your case, you didn’t, so what was it about your awareness of how you felt that made it so that you actually made … you were willing to make that huge transition and just like take another road?

Muffa: I think that has a blessing of while I was in college, I got really into traveling. All right. So because I was such a nerd, I had all these AP credits and stuff and so I didn’t have to take all the classes. I studied abroad like five times and did like two internships abroad and that really began to shift my constitution, if you will. It really started to shift kind of the fundamental way that I saw the world that it was and something about those experiences in college really changed me in a way that I couldn’t be changed back, I guess.

Eric: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Muffa: And while I was in the consulting world, I was still traveling. It was a different kind of travel, but I still felt like this connection to this nomadness and I feel like that was a huge element in it, that I had this kind of base, other inspiration, and then the other part was really, I was really struggling.

I was really, really angry. I was in a really, really dark, dark place. The thing that really kind of ended it all, like I had been thinking about leaving the job for a long time. I think even before I started the job, I was like looking for other things that I was actually more interested in.

The thing that really shifted was I was sitting in a high rise in Minneapolis reviewing mortgage loan files for Provident Bank and it was this thing that we had been called in by the government to like review this stuff. We’re serving as this third party thing but also like kind of helping other banks improve their processes about foreclosing on mortgages.

And so I was reviewing all of these like loan files, like super thick files. Right? There like 10 inches tall, each file, and trying to come up with a process of what to do and just like reading through all these files.

And I remember reading about widows and veterans and just these really kind of gut wrenching stories of people that were no longer able to afford they’re $87 interest payment on their 30 year mortgage and they’re in year 28 and a half and my job is now to figure out how do we take their house from them?

And I just, I didn’t feel good about that. I just really didn’t feel good about that and I lost it. I really lost it and I went in the next day and I just told the manager, I was like, “I can’t do this anymore,” and I left that afternoon. I just got on a flight and came back to Chicago, put in my two weeks, and then entered into this whole other phase of ambiguity and grayness.

And well, now what? The path to money was so clear, but no one talked about path towards fulfillment and happiness and feelings.

Eric: They blurred the line. They’ve said money was the same as fulfillment. That was the trick.

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: You know, I think more and more people realize that, but maybe they realize it later when maybe it’s harder to turn the ship.

Muffa: Right.

Eric: So you left that situation and now, yeah, of course, you’re going in one direction and now you abandoned that direction, but now there’s nothing.

Muffa: Right.

Eric: So there’s a period of nothing. And then what started to coalesce that gave you direction again, and where did you start going next?

Muffa: So while I was in, like in the last couple of weeks, the consulting job, I was looking at photos. I had all these photos that I’d taken from traveling. Like I had, I don’t know, like a hundred gigabytes worth of photos from all my travels and it was just kind of would be scrolling through it and just thought man, it’d be really cool if I could share this stuff with the world, if I could just share these little moments of these things that I learn that like kind of shifted the way that I saw something, and I thought it’d be like a really cool idea to like post a photo a day.

And so that’s what I started doing. That was the first thing and that kind of morphed into different business ideas and conscious consumerism and buying things that are good and I was really hot on this idea of social enterprise.

I didn’t really know what it meant beyond businesses that do good. I mean, it was like this new thing that was starting and there was one professor at my university who was kind of a pioneer in this industry and I went and chatted with him a few times and found a lot of inspiration and in just our conversation and there wasn’t really a clear path of like how does one do this?

But I just knew that I was really into this idea that like business can be good, business doesn’t have to be evil, that business can do good things also. And how could I do that?

So that was the thing that was really driving me, this idea.

Eric: So then what do you, and you can talk about your current perspective, because I’m sure it shifted from that time, but let’s talk about how you look at it now. What are the characteristics of a business that does good?

Muffa: That’s a great question. You know, and I think it’s something that we’re continuing to evolve and it’s the place where there’s so much gray. It’s so subjective. It’s like what’s a good chocolate, kind of, right? Or like what’s a good coffee or a good tea? And like it’s so subjective, I think.

In my experiences so far, I’ve found that the hallmark of businesses that do good are ones that recognize profit as an important part of doing business, but maybe don’t except that as the definition of business. Right? I think in the traditional sense of what we’re taught in most business schools around the world is that the purpose of business is to maximize profit for the shareholders. It’s a wonderful idea and I think that it can motivate and create changes that last in societies and shift behaviors in remarkable ways.

I think that the businesses that are more socially minded, these for purpose triple bottom line kinds of businesses are ones that recognize that there’s more to it. Maybe we should also have top of mind, how do our people feel? How does our team morale feel? Like how are they doing as human beings? Like are we fostering a safe, encouraging environment for people to come and spend their days? Like what’s our impact on the environment? Are we like hacking our supply chain or conscious of our supply chain in a way that we’re not polluting waterways or messing up lakes or ecologies or clear cutting trees for the sake of putting something else or cows or there we’re not being exploitative in our ways for the purpose of profit, that we’re able to kind of really weigh out different factors and different elements that are connected to running a business, right?

That are like all of the other things that the business has to interact with. Like the community, like the government, like how do we serve our customers? Like how do our customers really feel? And what’s the end result of the customer’s action of purchasing our product?

And that’s the part where it gets a little squirrely because it’s so gray. When it comes to money, to dollars and cents to profit, it’s a very clear measurement. It’s income minus expenses. That gives you a profit. And that can be accounted for, it can be measured with very, very high level of precision. Whereas consciousness about all that other stuff that your business is affecting the world and the people and the environment, those kinds of things are a bit more challenging to measure with any kind of precision.

Eric: So have you seen that since the point in time where you’ve gotten interested in this, because obviously part of the solution is one thing, but part of the solution too would be to have some visibility around metrics that give insight into the health of these different areas that you’re talking about. In this time, is there more visibility into those other metrics in terms of being aware of supply chain and how it influences communities and other things like that?

Muffa: I’m sure there is and to be totally honest, I’m not so aware of them. I haven’t really kept up with the metrics part because I guess I’ve taken it in this other approach of where I just really embodied this into the fabric of our organization more as an attitude then as a metric, as a specific metric.

Eric: So you follow your own guidance in regards to it?

Muffa: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Eric: When you say there’s a gray area in it, there may be a better word for it because gray implies that murkiness or whatever. Maybe it’s just more of a spacious and more opportunistic for us to bring our own individual characters to the problem because everybody’s going to address it differently, but ultimately, how it looks is going to be based on an individual’s personality as opposed to some prescribed formula from some course in college or some directive from shareholders or whatever.

Muffa: Sure.

Eric: It’s … you’re bringing the human element back into the direction of the business organization’s decisions and direction.

Muffa: Yeah. I think that’s a great way to look at it. Even taking the example of profits, right? Like there are rules of thumb with different industries about what’s a reasonable profit margin and stuff, right? Or like what’s the profit margin you need to run in your business in order for it to be viable and continue onward? But even within that, each and every business is so unique.

Eric: Well, the problem is too, as soon as you get to rules of thumb, you’re more thinking and following guidelines than you are tuning into the thing that makes the business more human. Because now you’re just, okay, now you’re back to the numbers problem. Okay, I’ve got to hit this profit margin and if I do that then that’s good but maybe it’s not good.

So there’s a certain awareness and one has to have to their own business and how things are operating. To me, some people who have kind of allergic reaction because there’s a lot of people who are into different movements for the environment, for sustainability, for other things that have an allergic reaction to any sort of money, which again could be perfect for their situation. But if it’s taken as a rule that money is bad, then that’s going to be an issue because in order for these organizations and operations that are trying to accomplish something to sustain themselves, they need to take into account the practical aspects of running a business which has to do with profit and income.

It may not be profit, it may not look like profit in the traditional sense, but you do have to consider, you have outflows and expenditures to do the things that you want to do, so you need inflows. That has to be a part of the thinking. Otherwise, you’re not going to sustain yourself.

Look at nature, for example. Nature does this automatically. There’s inflows. All the plants take from the environment, they use resources, and they produce something. They keep something from themselves, which is basically their body at the time, the trunk of the tree, the leaves, but then they also drop and give back. They bear fruit and all these other things.

So it’s this whole continuum of resource, not taking too much, not giving too much. It’s just a very interesting question and problem to look at.

Muffa: With that, it’s like that’s been really the thing that we’ve adopted as our top line mission, right? And like everything that we do, and this is where it kind of this for purpose part really bleeds into the fabric of the business, is that our vision is regeneration.

How do we like leave people, places, economies, environments better? Like how do we have a net positive impact on everything that we touch, on every single person that we interact with, and we see this as a thing that really can be applied. Like this kind of thinking, this kind of attitude, I think, can be applied to any industry. And that’s kind of like part of what we’re doing is that we’re demonstrating that. We’re kind of making an example of kind of applying this kind of attitude to hospitality to service and now into a product business.

Eric: It’s kind of like you’re taking a more holistic vision of the thing. I mean, when resources are super plentiful, you can get into the mindset of taking them for granted and not considering them because there is no sign that they’re going to run out. So you may not even consider that this is part of the foundation on which your entire operation is built.

Like say for example, you run a paper mill and you need trees. Well, if you live in the middle of the forest, you don’t think about the fact that you need to replace those trees. And so it’s maybe not until the point that it’s too late that you’re like, Oh wait, we messed up and maybe now you don’t learn the lesson. You just moved to another forest or another location. Part of this sustainable aspect of a business is to recognize whose shoulders are you really standing on.

A lot of people in business can be very mind heavy. I don’t use this word in a judgmental way or a negative way, but egotistical. A strong ego can be a good thing. It helps to accomplish. It helps to manifest. It helps to move things forward. But it can also, if it’s out of balance, it can create personal and individual destruction as well as then partly your environment.

So in your individual businesses, you’ve talked about how you strive to imitate nature in some of your different venues. What does this look like in some of your individual businesses?

Muffa: Yes. Design inspired by nature is really, yeah, that’s like our compass, right, in so many of our decisions and so many of our specific designs even, right? So the basic idea, right, like the premise is that nature has 4.6 trillion years of research and development and maybe we should just copy that. Maybe that’s really smart. Maybe there’s something to that, that it’s survived way longer than we have, where like of it actually, maybe kind of that whole nature thing knows something more. So observing nature’s step one, right, of like, well, what’s really going on in this forest? Why do these plants line up next to each other every time? Or why does this one not grow here? And just like noticing like the layers of a forest maybe or kind of like the nature of a prairie and trying to kind of see patterns.

That’s the objective, is to notice patterns in nature and then extrapolate those to meet human needs, to meet the needs of our species and our society. As a proxy for like engineering college or like problem solving even, like it’s just like, let’s just copy nature.

And then so some of the ways that we do that, right, or from an organizational perspective, right? Like I think one of the common things also that we’re taught in business school is specialize, specialize, specialize, specialize. Do that one thing that like no one else can really quite do it that way. Don’t try to do it all right? Like why would you be a generalist and you can’t do anything, right? However, when you look in nature, nature is a generalist. Nature does everything all at once in like tiny spaces, like one teaspoon of really healthy soil could have like billions and trillions of different bacteria and cells and different things that are living inside of like one teaspoon.

And so, that’s the approach that we’ve taken to even just start top level design of our organization, that there’s hospitality, there’s service, there’s products, there’s shuttles, there’s a restaurant, there’s a farm, and it all kind of connects together, right? It works as like an entire organism, as a business, as opposed to like one individualized specialized part of the business. So we’re building more of a forest than like a single really tall tree.

Eric: You’re talking about the approach of your multiple businesses, how each individual business plays a bigger role in the overall organization.

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: Does that have any related reflection to the individual business itself and the operation within one of the individual businesses like the chocolate business or the farm, etcetera? Let me ask it better.

I’m asking this on behalf of people who may be listening who just have one business. So I’m trying to tap into some of your knowledge about this that they can take and apply to their situation where they may not be operating multiple things.

Muffa: Got it. Okay. So one of the things that I’ve noticed just from a very pure like business costs perspective is just resource sharing that is able to happen. Right? So we have one team. We have a single team that serves all of the businesses. And so my person in reception for example, like she’s managing reception and messaging and kind of communication across five different properties.

And so there’s this kind of economies of scale, if you will, in that, of responding … the difference between responding to like 10 people to having to respond to like 12 or 15 people, it’s not actually that much more work. It’s not actually that much more challenging. It’s actually like as you do like more of it and for like different kinds of customer groups, you’re actually able to get better at it and more efficient at it.

And so with that, and also, then she’s also like helping in the kitchen and she’s also … she helps like clean things. She helps make beds. She’s coordinating transport. And so this one person is now touching 10 different things.

Eric: Okay. So basically to generalize that a bit, are you basically suggesting that your team becomes very important and you don’t necessarily have to find a person who specializes in a one particular thing? The fact is you found a good person, so now you can leverage that person in ways that is more varied than just a specific task.

Muffa: Exactly. And by her understanding, for example, like what happens in cleaning and transport and the kitchen, she’s able to be way more effective at how she’s kind of coordinating or how she’s communicating then with guests or with check-ins or with checkouts or with like when new people come in because she has a wider kind of understanding of the entire organization.

Eric: And this is a theme, again, we’re coming back to. You’re talking about, you know, when I first asked you what makes it a good company, you didn’t say this exactly. It came down to you need to have a broader perspective. It can’t be just about profit as a metric. You need to look at a wider spectrum of things and consider the impact of what you’re looking to do based on that broader grouping.

And so here again, you’re pointing out that there’s a value that comes from having a broader perspective and I tend to agree with that too. With my team, the more that people can be aware of the vision, the more that in their individual actions they can tailor them at that level of which they’re working to go along with the vision. If they don’t know what the vision is and there is no even opportunity to be able to participate in that.

Muffa: 100%. Yeah. I think that’s so well said, this broader perspective. It’s just so valuable, like understanding why. I think it really creates this deeper human element, right? Where it’s like you’re not hiring robots now. You’re not giving out tasks. Now, it’s people have autonomy and responsibility and they like care and like own it. That’s what you want. Right?

Eric: Because in and of itself, that’s sustainable.

Muffa: And I feel like it’s like this enlivening, empowering kind of experience for the team members then also, because now it’s not just this task oriented thing of I’ve got to cross off everything on the list. Now, it becomes this thing of like real responsibility and making decisions and I’m important and if I don’t make this decision, there’s an effect, and I see that effect and it matters and those are my peeps too. Those are my brothers and sisters that are working in their departments and like, I don’t want to make it bad for them.

Eric: For sure. Now that you’ve been running these businesses for however many years it’s been, we indicated earlier how part of your journey has been this evolutionary process. There has been an element of it where you’re … you travel somewhere or you work at a job or you do something for a period of time and then you look at yourself and you reflect on how you’re feeling about that after you’ve been doing it for a certain period of time. You say, is this good for me or is this not working? Travel does something good for me. Working in this situation makes me feel this way, and then based on those assessments and observations of yourself, you now adjust your direction and move forward accordingly. I imagine that that aspect of your character is still in play today. Do you have any vision based on where you are now of how you want to move forward and where you want to be?

Muffa: Tons of visions, right? That’s the … lots of ideas and creativity. But I think I’ve become more tempered in kind of thinking about the future, I guess, really and getting so caught up in it. Like who knows, who really knows?

Five years ago, I never in my wildest dreams would have imagined that I would be doing what I’m doing now kind of thing. Right? I did have, I think, the strong vision towards business with purpose and nature and community and being abroad and being surrounded in a place with lots of nature but really had no idea that it was going to manifest in such ways of hotels and farms and like chocolate making.

I guess my real vision or a kind of like in that reflective period, in those reflections, what I find is more of this, like keep going. It’s kind of this thing that comes up for me a lot, is keep going. Just keep going. Just keep doing this. 

And I would really love to be part of this being not just one example, that’s the hope. That’s one of the visions is that this is a seed, a seed for a model of doing business of real estate development, one could even say, of owning hotels and operating businesses and this kind of holistic connection of it, of being able to do that in other places, right? Being able to take it to other countries and other cities and maybe partner with other folks or who knows what?

But seeing something like this happen more, that’d be a wonderful, a wonderful fulfilling vision.

Eric: What I hear and what you’re talking about too is yeah, there’s tons of vision, but at the end of the day it’s just the day that you have to work with and so whatever you’re doing today, you execute on, you operate on based on how you feel at that time, and who knows how that may affect tomorrow and then tomorrow you’ll do the same thing and then ultimately you’ll end up living in Nicaragua with a chocolate business.

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: But the thing is, there were elements that you did foresee, you had a sense of, okay, this feels like where I’m going, but how it ultimately came together and manifested specifically, you couldn’t see that specific vision. But I feel like there’s a great lesson there because with regards to vision, the thing that I see that you followed there was that you weren’t attached to some specific vision. You had something that you were shooting for, but you were also willing to follow the bends in the road when they appear and not just be stubborn and be like, no, my visions that way I don’t care that that’s walking over thorns and this is a beautiful path with flowers on it. I’m going to walk that way because that’s where I was going.

I think that that’s important because I found in my journey to that getting to where I am was a partnership. Only part of it had to do with what I actually did. Other parts and probably the majority of the parts had to do with just circumstance, serendipity, whatever you want to call it, opportunity, all these different words of us trying to describe things that we could not have planned and we couldn’t have created for ourselves. You know?

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: So there is an openness to living that way where you’re … you have a desire, but at the same time, you’re open, even curious about how that’s going to manifest, but you’re not trying to force it.

Muffa: That’s exactly it. Yeah. Yeah. It’s like I’ve … I feel like I’ve set the sail and I’ve set the direction very strongly and I just accept that I don’t know what’s … the way it looks like. I don’t know what I’m going to find on the way there and I’m just so excited for all of it to come.

Eric: Speaking of sailing and shipping metaphors, I often think about like a boat metaphor in terms of accumulation of things. If each of us are on a journey and we’re a ship in the ocean, I had this idea of like the more things that I accumulate, the more it weighs down my ship and it may make my ship very beautiful, I may have everything that I possibly need, you know, pinball machines and Merry Go Rounds and cotton candy machine and whatever, you know, whatever is on that ship. So I’ll have a great time sailing very slowly in the ocean, but I’m going to be much more slow to reach any sort of destination in that scenario.

So I often find myself talk about broadening perspective and being more aware of wider things like the impact of accumulation. Often we think that it’s a positive thing. If I’m accumulating something, that’s positive, because I wanted it and I got it, but we don’t often look at the cost of accumulation.

I mean look, you know, a lot of that stuff gets swept under the rug. Literally. Like, I heard this stat at one point that something like with all of the storage units in the United States, some insane amount of, like a population of a country could stand in these storage units. I forget the exact stat, but essentially all this stuff that people have accumulated are now in storage units because they needed it at one point, but now they don’t need it anymore, so now it just goes to the thing. But now they need something else, so it’s accumulate.

And then, you know, so it’s like …

Muffa: And they pay to store it even.

Eric: Right. You pay to store it and the houses get bigger or the desire for bigger houses happens and then it’s like, well, now you have to fill the house. And what is the value of filling? Is the filling of the house fulfillment?

You know, and these are questions. I’m not positing answers. These are things that I think about, like if I’m going to acquire something, do I really need it? But I’m also a very practical and I appreciate functionality. I also appreciate people who have a perspective of beauty and say, Oh well, you know, I want to put this thing here because it brings beauty in and that’s a whole different thing.

Muffa: I’m imagining that you’ve got a sailboat that’s like quite agile. It’s super aerodynamic.

Eric: I don’t know. It’s not for me to say.

Muffa: Yeah. I mean, and like I think part of the thing with like the vision and the future is also, it’s like I feel super blessed that I’m in pursuit of this … it’s almost like impossible mission. I couldn’t tell you what it looks like to arrive per se and maybe that’s something that I need to work on with my business planning or something. But like, this …

Eric: Do you really think so? Do you think that, that you do?

Muffa: Yeah. I guess I don’t really think that I need to work on that. I feel like …

Eric: What is the arrival?

Muffa: The joy. Yeah.

Eric: Like actually think about it right now. What would … what is arrival in anything? What is arrival?

Muffa: Achieving the vision, maybe or like achieving the mission, like meeting the target.

Eric: It implies an ending though.

Muffa: Right.

Eric: Because arriving means, okay, it’s this vision of I’ve left one shore, I’m on some journey, and now I reach another shore and I’m done.

Muffa: And then what? And then we just hang on a hammock?

Eric: If there’s a then what, you haven’t arrived, because arrival, literally, you’ve arrived. You’re done.

Muffa: Right.

Eric: Maybe it’s just more about the journey?

Muffa: Yeah. And just keep going. Just don’t ever arrive.

Eric: I mean, or maybe … there’s obviously more philosophical we can get into. I don’t know if now’s the time. It is definitely interesting to think about.

So are you back in Nicaragua now or are you still in the States?

Muffa: I’m still in the States actually. Yeah. So I’ll be here through the end of the week.

We’ve come together with all the other transformers of cacao in Nicaragua. There’s about 13 of us in the country and we’re hosting a festival at the end of the month in Managua. We’re going to be talking about chocolate.

Eric: That’s awesome.

Muffa: Yeah.

Eric: Yeah. That sounds awesome. Well, I hope you have a great holiday and a safe trip back to Nicaragua. And before we wrap up here, can you just tell our listeners a place where they can go to learn more about what you’re doing?

Muffa: Sure. Yeah. Yeah. So the best place is casaorogroup.com. That’s casaorogroup.com.

Eric: Yeah, and we’ll put it in the show notes.

Muffa: Okay. Cool. That’s where you can find kind of links to all of the different things that we do and if you want to find out more about the chocolate, you can visit orochocolate.com.

Eric: I actually do have one more question for you. At some point, I remember reading on your site, and you were obviously writing this in the past because it currently says that by 2020 you want to have been … to have gotten somewhere with this project. 2020 is coming up.

Muffa: It’s upon us.

Eric: Your book, where does the book stand?

Muffa: The book is on the shelf. The book is a … it’s being lived, really. I had this really strong urge to write, to publish this book about four years ago and it’s kick started a writing practice and journaling every single day and I feel like there’s still a, yeah. I feel like I’m not ready to publish the book yet.

Eric: Well, yet another example of your openness to change directions. I find that happens in my life too, like I’ll get this really strong direction of you need to accomplish this thing or go to this place and that thing itself gets me in the motion, but as soon as I get into motion, I realize that I’m in motion for a totally different reason. It’s not about what the reason I got into motion, so that’s the most important time to just let go of that original vision.

Muffa: It was about writing and reflection and maybe at some point a book will be published. I’ve been really, really enjoying writing. There’s one specific practice that one can pick up. I think just writing one page or sitting in writing for 10 minutes or something like that every single day, it has really, really powerful effects on the human, I think.

Eric: Your ability to broaden your own perspective, which is the crux of becoming more aware and then having your actions fit into a larger context. Well, keep living the book. I appreciate you coming on and sharing and talking.

Muffa: This has been great. I appreciate you having me on and inviting me here. I’ll see you next time in Nicaragua.

Eric: Sounds great.


Thank you so much for listening to this episode of The Subscription Entrepreneur Podcast. I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Muffa and are now walking away with a more expansive perspective on life and business.

Many thanks to Muffa for coming on the show and opening up about his life, journey, and views on business.

To get links to all the resources we mentioned in today’s episode, head on over to SubscriptionEntrepreneur.com/140.

There you’ll also find the show notes and a complete transcript of our conversation.

If you enjoyed this episode of our podcast, be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or Stitcher. We have a growing library of engaging episodes just like this one and many more to come.

Speaking of that, our next episode features Jack Born – an online marketing veteran and the founder of Deadline Funnel. If you sell online courses, memberships, or subscriptions be sure and tune into this episode where Jack shares powerful strategies for designing high-converting funnels.

We’ll see you next time!


Resources Mentioned:

Thanks for Listening!

Thank you so much for listening to our conversation with Muffa. We hope you enjoyed this episode and are now walking away with a more expansive perspective on life and business. We’d love to hear any insights or takeaways you now have. Join in on our discussion and leave us a comment below. We’d love to hear from you.

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