Is it really possible to live and work where you want? Or do you have to be located where the action is?
We talk about this a lot here, and Jesse offered an interesting opinion in the comments on Barbara Winter’s guest post, Becoming and Entrepreneurial Villager:
Its true the new technology enhanced economy allows each of us to have more autonomy over our personal and professional live and where we choose to live. But I still think that in order to make it big (not just tread water) you have to go where the people are.
I mean it says a lot that you [Barbara] are located in Las Vegas! Anyway, its great to see someone writing about small town business. As more of these markets become aware of the resources available on the internet your name and popularity are only going to skyrocket!
I picked a few folks for my photo montage who I think are small town successes.
- Michelle Riggen-Ransom co-founded BatchBlue from Rhode Island.
- Aliza Sherman is a national expert on women and technology. She is currently based in tiny Tok, Alaska.
- Britt Raybould is defining her own level of success from Idaho.
- Hugh MacLeod invented the idea of the Small Town Global Microbrand and is now a best selling author. He has lived many places in the world, but chose to return to Alpine, Texas.
- Jack Schultz of Effingham, Illinois, wrote the book on small economic development and is a premier consultant on economic development.
- Des Walsh chose long ago to move out of the big city to Australia’s Gold Coast, where he is still in demand as a speaker and authority on home-based business, government, and technology.
- I haven’t yet met Jason Kintzler, founder and CEO of Pitch Engine, so I don’t have a photo of him. He’s another small town person running a global technology company. He happens to be happily based in Wyoming.
What do you think? Can you make it big from a small town? Are the folks I mentioned just treading water? Do you have any examples you’d like to point out?
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Judy Dunn says
Aren’t you proof enough? :-)
Seriously, I think that the Internet and social media have leveled the playing field. I came from a small logging town in southwest Washington state, moved to a big city (L.A.) and am back about as rural as you can get, on an island in Puget Sound, with 975 residents in winter, 3,000 in summer.
I think we have great opportunities these days to live, work and play where we want to. There has never been a better time for talented, committed people, almost regardless of industry, to make their voices heard. I don’t pay attention much to where people live anymore.
Curious to hear what others think about this issue.
John H. Howe says
It entirely depends on your definition of success. There are many small entrepreneurs I have run across who I would consider a success because they blend lifestlye with business sense to make a living, and enjoy living too. A good example is Becky who designs and creates custom handbags while enjoying her familyh, too.
Like Judy, social media has broadened my own horizons vastly. Having moved from a big west coast city to a smallish one in New England, I’ve been able to maintain my west coast accounts (and collect new clients there as well) from way over here, all thanks to Social Media, Skype, wifi, and smart phones. I am proof positive my work (web and graphic design) can be done anywhere. Where there’s a will…
Chris S. Cornell says
Yes, you can make it big in a small town. Sure, there are more opportunities in more densely populated areas — but there’s also more competition. The key is finding what you are passionate about, and pursuing that passion. Do it well and people will notice.
Steve Collier says
My wife and I run a small business in a historic tourist town. We live in the same building we have our shop in. We’ve been doing this for six years, so maybe that qualifies us as a success to some since many small businesses don’t survive that long. In fairness though, my military retirement pay allows us to continue, not the amount of tourist traffic.
However, we disliked our past lives as professionals (Environmental engineer and scientist) with the big bucks but the government/ large corporate environment. Our quality of life is so much better now that we are doing what we love.
Make it “big” in a small town? We are making it, and that is quite satisfactory. Things get busy here in the second half of the year, then die in January- and we get to take a break then. Its a wonderful chance to enjoy the beauty of our village without having to put up with pressure of store hours and customers. Helps us regroup and freshen up for the upcoming year, when we get to enjoy the tourists and selling our products.
That’s “making it big” for us.
p.s. You can check out the town at http://www.MetamoraIndiana.com – 60 miles east of Indianapolis.