Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Becky McCray, co-founder of SaveYour.Town, located in Hopeton, OK, 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. My co-founder Deb Brown and I picked the name SaveYour.Town because we believe small towns can only be saved by their own people using their 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
Throughout my career, rural places have been the focus. I ran a small town liquor store. I’ve been a city administrator for a small town with a population under 1,000 and a nonprofit executive working the broad stretch of rural counties that no one else wanted. I’ve been an antique dealer scouring rural auctions for bargains and a teacher of computer classes for rural small businesses and senior citizens.
Along with Sheila Scarborough and Tourism Currents, we helped small towns learn how to use social media for tourism. In 2006, I started my site SmallBizSurvival.com to share my rural business lessons with other small town entrepreneurs. Then in 2015, Deb and I started SaveYour.Town together to provide practical steps people could put into action right away. I don’t just talk about rural issues; I live them.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Seeing people take practical steps that they learned from us. The kids in Miller, South Dakota, who took the idea of shed-based small businesses and made it happen in their town. The senior volunteer in Castle Rock, Washington, who worked with students to transform a chain link and barbed wire fence into an art gallery in their downtown. The economic developer in Colfax, Washington, who turned an empty building into a shared mercantile with ten new businesses and a waiting list.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being the only person in the business. I work better when I have a colleague to share the work and the excitement, which is why Deb and I work so well together. I also connect with other entrepreneurs for peer mentoring and accountability. I have a peer mentor I meet with weekly and a monthly international mastermind group. They keep me motivated.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Spend your brainpower before your money. Keep up to date on the apps, automation, and outsourcing that let you do more with less.
- Always have more than one line of income.
- Plan for zero. There will be days, weeks, months, or maybe even years when your income will be zero. Save and be ready for that.
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.
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