Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Deb Brown, Co-Founder of SaveYour.Town, located in Webster City, IA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

SaveYour.Town provides practical steps to help you shape a brighter future for your small town or rural community. We picked the name SaveYour.Town because we believe small towns can only be saved by their own people using their own resources. No one is coming to do it for you.

We specialize in low or no-cost solutions that can work in the tiniest of small towns, like our Tour of Empty Buildings, Empty Lot Economic Development, and Cheap Downtown Placemaking Ideas. They’re available online through short videos, longer courses, and detailed toolkits. For in-person learning, we both deliver keynotes, workshops, and in-depth Idea Friendly Action Visits that create lasting change in rural places.

Tell us about yourself

I keep coming back to rural! I grew up on a farm outside of the town of 141 people. I’ve lived in small towns, metropolitans, and a major city. Yet I find myself driving back roads, visiting with locals, and coming back to rural small towns. I’ve had a long, illustrious career in fields like foreign casualty insurance, bartending, retail management, social media training - even selling knives around the United States. Almost 20 years ago, I found myself working in the Chamber of Commerce world and found ways to make a difference in my small town. That morphed into traveling and helping other small towns with practical steps towards a brighter future for them. Becky and I joined forces seven years ago, and we believe in the power of small towns.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

Watching the light bulbs go off when someone ‘gets it.’ Columbiana, Ohio, became the friendliest town in the United States after I visited them on an onsite visit. Akron, Iowa, has turned a small, sad town into a place to live and start businesses. Belle Fourche, South Dakota, caught the Idea Friendly fever, and its residents are creating all kinds of new opportunities. Showing people that they can create a community without all the red tape and bureaucracy is what keeps me on this path.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Be accountable to yourself! It’s easy enough to say, “I’ll do that tomorrow.” But to be successful, you need to first be accountable to yourself, then to the communities you work with. Becky McCray helps keep my excitement at a high level, and we work very well together. That matters too. I enjoy my weekly calls with my peers. I also follow up with the towns I’ve worked in, and that keeps my energy high.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Follow the news that matters. Not all the doom and gloom available, but the stories of successes in small towns.
  2. Build a cushion in your bank account. Lean times happen, be ready for them.
  3. Be kind, always.

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Anyone struggling against bureaucracy can benefit from our Idea-Friendly Method. You Gather Your Crowd with your big idea. You turn your crowd into a powerful network by Building Connections. You and your newly powerful network accomplish your big idea by Taking Small Steps.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

Turn your craft into recurring revenue with Subkit. Start your subscription offering in minutes and supercharge it with growth levers. Get early access here.