A Pioneer Nation Follow Up

I spent a few days at Pioneer Nation, a small conference geared towards entrepreneurs here in Portland. I heard a few comments over and over again, to the point that I wanted to bring them to your attention:

It’s so amazing to talk to people who get what I’m going through. My family just doesn’t understand.

Being willing to make the leap into running your own business isn’t easy. Even if no one in your family is ready to jump off that sort of cliff with you, t’s crucial to find a community of support — hopefully with people who you can talk to on a regular basis, rather than once a year. Going it alone isn’t impossible, but if you’re going to do something as demanding as starting a new business, why make the process harder?

I know what I need to do. I’m just having trouble doing it.

I’m pretty sure that this is an ongoing problem for most entrepreneurs; I know it’s something I suffer from on a regular basis. For most of us, the next step is pretty obvious: Maybe we need to launch a product, send a proposal, or set up a marketing campaign but we haven’t. Part of the problem is usually finding the time. It’s a legitimate problem, by the way — there is a hard limit on how many hours you can work in a day. But part of the problem is often that we’re a little afraid to move forward, especially if we feel overwhelmed by the successes we’ve already had. I don’t have a solution for this problem, except to power on through whenever you have a rush to move forward. Just do as much as you can, when you can.

I have to think bigger!

In my line of work, I have to tell a lot of my clients that they need to think a little smaller — that their budgets won’t support the high-minded plans they’ve been making. But at Pioneer Nation, several people told me that they’d realized they need to think bigger. Part of that may have been the audience; it included a lot of people who were shooting for businesses that would first and foremost support their lives. But part of that is also that it’s tempting to focus on what we know we can accomplish with the resources we currently have, and let the big opportunities pass us by. But it’s good to think big and chase goals that seem a little audacious. Otherwise, we can’t tell what we’re capable of.

Pioneer Nation was a great conference, both to present at and attend. I just want to take a moment here to thank Chris Guillebeau and the legions of folks involved in putting Pioneer Nation on. Great job! I look forward to seeing where you take it next year!

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