Learning to trust, collaborate, be authentic, believe, & do at EntreFEST

Thanks to Bart Schmitz (@bschmitz14) for snapping this photo of me presenting "Taking Your Email Inbox From Ridiculous To Inbox Zero" on Thursday of EntreFEST. Download the slides of that talk.

Last week in Iowa City, EntreFEST 2014 entertained around 500 entrepreneurs, business people, and community members who shared an interest in innovative business ideas from high tech-startups to messy pig farming.

Uniquely Iowan

From the speakers, to the venue, to the food, to the wonderful people this event had the flavor of the Iowa entrepreneurial community I am proud to be part of. I thoroughly enjoyed the event, which was produced by my friends at Seed Here (who also asked me to help with a few things).

The event was the first in Iowa I’ve seen which included some unique aspects I’ve seen at conferences I attended on the coasts (sofa stage interviews with keynotes, off-the-wall interaction/ice breakers/social times, centering around something other than a conference center [used Iowa City’s Ped Mall], etc.). Plus, the speakers and topics throughout were so vast the biggest problem was what to attend during each session. There were 2-4 sessions during each breakout which I wish I could have attended.

Trust, collaboration, authenticity, understand, believe, do

During a session on sales tactics called “The Secrets of Getting To ‘Yes’” with Barry Boyer (Van Meter Industrial) I made a note of the themes I was already starting to hear from that session and the event as a whole: Trust, collaboration, authenticity, understand, believe, do.

To be an entrepreneur and to put yourself out there you need to trust yourself and others.  To do so you need to collaborate, seek to understand those around you, and in doing so be authentic to yourself in your relations.  The trick is, even when you master these challenges, you then have to believe in yourself and accomplish your mission by doing.


Valuable Reassurance

No wonder so few choose to be entrepreneurs and why even less are wildly successful.  The lofty list of values I noted are difficult, even for the largest of the optimists, to continually believe in and accomplish when you are on the lonely road of starting your own business.

The wonder of EntreFEST and any such gatherings of entrepreneurs is when we are together something magical happens.  First, we believe.  Then we understand those around us are just like us.  We in turn get in touch with our authentic selves, goals, and dream.  We then take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate on new ideas, trusting those around us to give valuable feedback.

This mix of trust, collaboration, authenticity, understanding, and belief provided a valuable boost of hope into all the entrepreneurs attending the event.  I went into the event knowing it would be a great networking opportunity (which is was) but it also was a wonderful reassurance I am in the right place in my life.  I am an entrepreneur and proud of it!

Now it is time to do

The true test of all of this activity will now turn to the last of the themes I noted: do.  I am looking forward to acting on many of the ideas I learned at the event as well as using the inspiration I experienced to explore ways to develop other ideas I have been considering.  Further, I’ll be curious to see what progress my fellow attendees make during the coming year (I made a Twitter List to keep an eye on them) and when we reconvene in 2015.

Would you like the slides from my EntreFEST talk “Taking Your Email Inbox From Ridiculous To Inbox Zero”? Download the slide deck to learn the six step process to Inbox Zero, how to quickly process your email, & get extra resource slides. Best of all, it is free!

Showing 7 comments
  • Chad Johnson

    Great write up. Thanks for summary and the Twitter list. It will be very interesting to see how people’s businesses grow from now until 2015’s EntreFest. I hope it is in Iowa City again. Very convenient and great community.


    • Joshua McNary [Beta]

      Thanks Chad. I agree, it will be fun to see everyone again next year.

  • Ethan Anderson

    Joshua, you’re a great example of someone who is a big supporter of the entrepreneur community!

    • Joshua McNary [Beta]

      Ethan, thanks for the nice comment. It is easy to be supportive of people following their professional dreams!

  • Ashley Burchert

    Thank you for including EDEN Lounge in EntreFEST 2014! We loved having you and it was so good to meet you!

    • Joshua McNary [Beta]

      Thanks Ashley. I would have hung at EDEN all evening if I had not other parties to also visit. Cool venue. I hope to visit again when in IC – maybe I can bring my wife down to visit. Stay on touch.

  • Pat Palmer

    It needs to be back in central Iowa for a year…at least. It’s been in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, now spread it around liked they USED to do it.

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