Small Business Interview with Anna Hackman

By katie simpson on February 21, 2014

Today, we’re excited to share a recent interview with Anna Hackman, editor and founder of Green Talk. Started in 2007, Anna has grown her blog from a small site about green building, to create a larger discussion about sustainable business and creating a greener lifestyle. Not only is her site an amazing resource for information, but also a vibrant community.  

Anna Hackman, editor and founder of Green Talk 

Today her business continues to grow. She has expanded into sustainability consulting. Anna now helps businesses reduce their wastes, use green products, reduce their energy footprint, and market their initiatives. This past year, she also co-founded the Green Sisterhood with Karen Lee of ecokaren. The company is a blogging network of 25+ green women bloggers. With a mission to move the market to a greener one, their goal is to help green companies to increase their exposure of their products and services.  Recently, I had a chance to speak with Anna more about her work.

You have an impressive background in construction and real estate. Now, you focus on greener lifestyles and businesses on your blog, Green Talk. What made you start thinking about business and the environment together?

I was a real estate lawyer before I decided to stay home with my children. As they grew older and entered school, we noticed that all of my children had learning disabilities, and a myriad of health issues. I wondered, could the building products we surround ourselves with have caused their issues? After I built my house using eco-friendly materials ten years ago, I realized I had a passion for green building.  

As the blog expanded, I started learning more and more about green business and commercial green building products.  Subsequently, I obtained my LEED AP certification to help business owners and became a sustainability consultant.

Helping a businesses to go green, not only reduces the business’ carbon footprint, but also filters that knowledge down to their employees and changes their lives as well. The employees in turn start incorporating green choices in their life. So, in essence my role is full circle–greening your life and business.

 What is the biggest misconception business owners make about greening their business?

Most small to medium size business owners think “going green” is too expensive. They feel the ROI (return on investment) isn’t there.

Why is that?

Many companies do not have the capital reserves to pay for energy retrofits. However, lighting has one of the fastest paybacks and is a good investment to green your company. Also, there are plenty of low hanging fruit options that a business can do right away while not costing money such as reducing its waste stream by recycling more.

If you have one piece of advice for someone looking to make their business greener, what is it?  

Involve your employees in green goals for the company. Ask them what ideas they have to make the business greener. Then, choose one goal to implement. Your employees will feel a part of the decision and this will help with the implementation of that goal. After that goal is implemented you can see how the organization handled the change. A few of your employees may step up to become green champions of further goals to help implement more change.

At GoCanvas, we love using tech to help reduce environmental impact. What are some ways technology has helped you run a greener business?  

I reduce my travel footprint by using technology such as Skype or Google Hangouts to keep in touch with customers and the Green Sisterhood team.

In addition, I use cloud applications such as GoCanvas that help with completing sales transactions and keeps track of customer information and tasks.  

On the building infrastructure side, there are cloud based technologies that help automate your building and provide information about your energy consumption. This data can pinpoint issues within the building.

You have a great presence on social media. Do you have any advice for small businesses trying to create a manageable yet effective presence?  

Yes, be sure to check into your social media pages a couple of times a day to answer questions or to respond to comments of your customers. In addition, you can upload and schedule all your social media content on such products as Buffer or HootSuite. Scheduling enables a business owner to have content on his or her social channels but frees them up to do what they do best–sell their services and products.

When you’re not working, what do you love to do?  

That’s easy. Gardening!  I love to grow vegetables and herbs. It is a new passion of mine and I incorporate my new love into Green Talk’s content.

Thank you for your time!

Thank you for interviewing me.