Recently, I was invited to attend the Fireside Entrepreneur Conference in Canada and speak at the event. I have to be honest. I did not know what to expect and I wasn't sure if this conference was really going to impress me. But, I was willing to give it a shot. Man, was I surprised.
First, the conference is held at a camp about 4 hours north of Toronto. And it is exactly what you'd expect when you here the word "camp." It is a self-contained camp on a lake where you bunk up with total strangers in cabins with no cell service or even access to electricity. The event is what I would call "Summer Camp for Entrepreneurs."
And over the course of 3 days, I was reminded of why we as entrepreneur's do what we do and of the importance of focusing on yourself and helping others. Here is are 5 Takeaway's I took from the confernce.
1.) The Power of Connecting with People Face to Face
It is amazing what happens when entrepreneurs from all walks of life get together, don’t know each other, and bunk up. You meet people of all backgrounds and walks of life, doing incredible things, and full of life and hope for the future. You also learn to deal with their snoring habits as well :)
I met some wonderful entrepreneurs and just people in general. And, it was nice to spend time with a group of like-minded people face to face - not through social media or a web-meeting or anything. It is something we should all commit to do more often.
2.) Networking and Relationships are Still the Best form of ROI
When you can truly network and make real human connections with people, you can create great, lasting relationships. I was very humbled to be able to connect with and discover business opportunities with a number of entrepreneurs at the event. In fact, I was even able to connect with and spend time with Jeffrey Haslett of CSuite Network fame and we became fast friends. We even decided to do a live podcast together for the group and share some of best thoughts on how to succeed as entrepreneurs and took questions from the audience. It was a great time and we were able to really help some people.
3.) Being Unplugged for a Weekend is Sooo Worth It
As I crashed into the cold lake water from a zipline that started 400 yards back at over 50 ft. up in a tree, I said to myself, "How nice it is to be unplugged where I cannot be reached and get to just relax and take a break. Cold-water notwithstanding, I floated in the lake for a little while looking up at the sky and the beautiful serenity of the place I was in and understood why Fireside has become such a popular event - and why they have made it invite only. Everyone would want to come! But, it is very important to schedule time to truly unplug in your life. Force yourself to do so - it will give your perspective, allow some of your best thinking to arise, and you'll even notice things that you maybe would never have see before.
4.) Opportunity is Everywhere
And I mean, everywhere! I could not believe some of the businesses people had created that were doing 6 and 7 figures and more. I have seen a lot and met a lot of entrepreneurs in unique business niches in doing the Misfit Entrepreneur, but even I was surprised at some of the niches and unique business concepts people had created. One guy had left the C-level in the corporate world and created a total system for creating and telling your story as a person and your business. He has a waiting list of clients. Another created a company that works like AirBnb for finding student housing on campuses and universities. Oh and let's not forget the marijuana millionaires (it was Canada).
My point is that, there is opportunity everywhere around all the time. Everything starts as an idea and then needs execution....but listen to your ideas as they may not be a crazy as you think. We live in the age of long-tail where even the smallest of niches that never would have survived 10-20 years ago can be a thriving enterprise for someone willing to put the time and effort in.
5.) We are So Lucky to Be Entrepreneurs
No matter who you are, you are are entrepreneur. You may not own a business (yet), but you have entrepreneurial qualities. They are innate human qualities. The ability to come up with an idea, vision or a mission, passionately take steps to make it a reality, and overcome the barriers that get in the way are all things we as humans have innately in us. We should do well to embrace them more and celebrate them. We are very lucky to have these qualities - they are what make the journey of life so exciting, frightful, and rewarding. Embrace your inner entrepreneur and make it happen!
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