The 29-year-old Generous Coffee co-founder caught up with ET on a trip to Los Angeles this week. He’s been traveling nonstop to promote his new company and causes close to his heart. Here, the former Bachelor dishes on his current projects and if he'll return to the franchise.
Things are really moving quickly! ... Now we're really starting to solidify our product line, so we have coffee ... we have jewelry, [T-shirts] made out of plastic bottles; they're made in Haiti by single mothers ... Generous is set up to supply products that have stories behind them and that are investing in people from the start to the beginning. We're donating the profits back, the idea's catching on ... People living in the world today ... want to see a change when it comes to business and want to see something that gives back.
This has been a very busy year, what does the next year look like?
We want to expand to travel. I want to invite people to Haiti, Rwanda, places we're currently working in, and also, I hope to expand our coffee program to something recognizable in the coffee world.
And you have another project. Your new podcast is Ladybosses With Ben Higgins and Jesse Draper.
It's about interviewing women in leadership in whatever arena they're operating in! ... We want to highlight them, show them off, let their stories be told.
You're a guy who is really OK talking about women's stories, not every guy is -- do you ever get teased about that?
Yeah, definitely teased about it ... where I find my confidence is not in other people's opinions but in my faith, myself, the people around me. When there's injustice in the world in whatever capacity, if i can enter into that arena and combat it at any level ... that's what gets me fired up. If my job could be about highlight injustices and seeing ways to solve them, I can't think of a better job. ... There's problems out there, issues out there, and I'd rather go to bed at night knowing I tried to combat it rather than adding to it.
Did The Bachelor help you understand women better?
I think so. You get off The Bachelor and people are like, 'I can't believe you'd do that! Isn't that degrading to women?' You hear that all the time. For me, it was the opposite. I had 26 beautiful people in one room and got to hear their stories, backgrounds .. I left that show having a lot more respect for people in general and going, 'I need to start listening to stories if I want to build successful relationships. I need to invest in the person.'
A lot of fans are calling for it, so let's be real. Have conversations happened about you being The Bachelor again?
Well, I mean, I think it was always going to be a discussion. I have a great relationship with the show. They’ve been good to me ... What I like about where my relationship is with The Bachelor now is they know where my life’s at. They understand where I’m at as a person. And if they were ever to want me to go back on the show – I don’t know if they would or not – but they would know that, hey, this is a better relationship than the last time. It’s not me coming into it blind scenario where I don’t know anything. It’s a conversation of, 'Is this really right for you right now?' And we haven’t had those conversations yet but we always stay in touch. They know when I’m ready and when I’m not. And I think if they were to ever propose it to me, they would be very open to me saying, ‘I’m just not ready yet.’ And they would say, ‘I get it.’
If you did do it again, what would you do differently the second time around?
I don’t know if I’d do anything. Honestly, I was so happy with how The Bachelor went for me this time. I could not feel more confident in how it ended and how the process went. There was obviously tough scenarios and that’s going to happen no matter what. Breakups are going to happen on that show. I would probably have held back at the end from being so open and honest.
...Does that mean saying ‘I love you’ the second time?
Yeah. I probably wouldn’t have said it so many times! I would have kind of pulled back a bit. But, outside of that, I don’t have any regrets from that show. I had an amazing relationship with somebody that I still care a ton about. I can’t picture a better outcome other than maybe a marriage. But, for me I would hope I’d treat it the same way.
Earlier this year you wrote on your blog, The Mahogany Workplace, that you feel lonely. Do you think work is filling a void?
I wonder if one of the reasons why [my job with Generous] has picked up speed, picked pace up for me in my life and I am so busy, is because it is replacing maybe a [relationship] void that I have. Which isn’t exactly a bad thing. Luckily, this is a really good thing in my life. So, instead of replacing it with some vice that is bad, I replace it with something good and that pumps me up a lot. But, yeah, I still feel lonely at times. You know, it’s weird to sit around a group of friends and have a big friends' dinner, or to go out somewhere, and you’re literally the only single person. You know, that’s an odd feeling! There are moments in time where I do feel lonely. Where I do look around and wonder, ‘Why not me? What’s going on here?’ But I know that I am in this season of life for a reason and I’m here for a purpose.
Well what are three things you're looking for in a woman right now?
Honesty, vulnerability and a ton of love.
And what about three reasons people should buy a bag of Generous Coffee right now?
It truly is the highest quality coffee out there! ... All coffee or any products purchased, the profits are going back to causes that are fighting some type of injustice in the world. Right now we’re focusing on developing jobs for women in Honduras. ... Let’s start purchasing products that are giving back, that are the highest quality and join back into a community of people of the highest quality -- and you’re supporting causes that are doing something great in the world.