How One Conference Changed Us

 

Have you ever attended a conference for your job? I have. They can be incredible events. Rooms filled with the best professionals in your industry, eager to learn and better themselves. And while I've been to conferences in the past, I've never been to one like the SCORE Conference for the 2018 American Small Business Champions. Daunting and overwhelming, but inspiring and fueling and filled with passion all at once. I've ever experienced anything quite like it.

If you've never heard of SCORE, it is the nation's largest network of volunteer, expert business mentors, and a partner of the U.S. Small Business Administration. When it comes to small business, they get it. They're the real deal, and they will stop at nothing to help small businesses succeed. Earlier this year, we were named one of the 2018 American Small Business Champions. Out of 27.9 million small businesses in America, we were one of the 102 recognized. I can't think of a bigger honor I've ever had, and to say I'm still a bit shocked would be an understatement. Our little shop, our little collective filled with the work of other entrepreneurs, other business owners, other dream-chasers? Let's just say small businesses are here to stay, and it's super special that our business and the others that we incorporate and support have been recognized.

This honor gave us the opportunity to fly out to Reno, Nevada back in April to meet, learn and celebrate with our fellow 102 #BizChampions. When I say this conference was unlike any other, I mean it. Rather than hundreds of people from the same industry, this event brought together small business owners from industries across the board, but we all had one thing in common: we were each unapologetically passionate about our business and what it meant. We each had a story to tell, and we all told it. We told it to each other. To the SCORE mentors we met. To the incredibly successful speakers who had built their businesses from the ground up. We told it at round tables, over dinner, in sessions, at the pool and over drinks. And we've continued to tell it to each other every day since then, reaching out for advice on the confusing days, encouragement on the hard days, and congratulations on the milestone days.

To each person that we met, the ones from SCORE who brought us together, the mentors and speakers who took time out of their busy lives to teach us how to grow and share our passions with the world around us, and especially to our fellow champions, thank you for inspiring us and understanding us. Being a small business owners isn't all sunshine and rainbows. It's hard work, but it's the most rewarding work. Small businesses are the lifeblood of our country, our states, our towns and our streets, and we're not going anywhere.

That top photo up there is a pretty accurate capture of our faces throughout the week. To be surrounded by passionate entrepreneurs who believe so much in what they do was a one in a million feeling. We got your back. Thanks for having ours.