Tackling societal problems using a market approach––or social entrepreneurship (SE)––has become a central goal for a growing number of organizations worldwide. Although achieving social and commercial success is challenging for most social enterprises, some social enterprises have been more successful than others socially and commercially. While research in SE has proliferated in the past two decades, we still know little about why and how some social enterprises achieve better performance than others. In addressing this “performance void” in SE literature, we conducted a grounded theory study to interrogate the mechanisms that distinguish high from low performing social enterprises across two territories––Hong Kong and Singapore. Our study that focused on 20 social enterprises––around half are high performing social enterprises––between 2019 and 2020 revealed three broad mechanisms of performance that we labelled as resource assemblage, visionary market building, and persuasive issue selling. This article offers a first theoretical contribution on the integration of resource conserving and optimizing processes (or resource assemblage) as well as market pioneership, uniqueness, and partnership to build new markets (or visionary market building) and influence and media work (or persuasive issue selling) as central mechanisms that explain high performance in SE. This study also offers insights for practitioners and policy makers to “achieve more with less”, to identify market visionaries, and how to be master persuaders to gain support from stakeholders.