When  speaker Jerry Gilles told his audience of would-be writers that they should buy one hardcover book every week to support the industry they were part of, there was an audible gasp in the room.

What Gilles was suggesting wasn’t radical at all. It is just one way to put into action  the idea to  “Support That Which Supports You.” Successful people do that all the time.

As entrepreneurs, we have numerous opportunities every day to spread the entrepreneurial spirit. Here are a few ways to do just that.

°  Be joyful in the world. Make other people wonder why you’re so happy. As you go about routine errands, think about those you interact with and how they’re part of your success team. The postal clerk, bank teller and print shop are helping you accomplish your goals, after all.  Let them know they’re appreciated.

°  Adopt a protégé. Even if you’ve only been in business a short time, you’ve probably learned more than you realize.  Helping someone who knows less than you do can serve a dual purpose: besides making their journey  smoother, you’ll also see how far you’ve come.

That can be a huge confidence booster. Coach, encourage and support someone who’s just getting started. Ask them to pass it on.

°  Share what you’ve learned. Write a What I Learned From Starting My Own Business article and get  it published in a local business paper or post it on your Web site.

What do you wish you’d done differently? What was the best surprise you got in starting your own business? Pick six or ten key lessons and find a way to share them.

° Talk to the media. Local media is always on the lookout for stories about interesting folks in their midst. Let them know you’re there. Don’t just be a publicity seeker, however. Come up with an angle that’s newsworthy.

Artist Greg Evans had a great piece written  about him in  Colorado Avid Golfer magazine after he sent out a press release titled “From Corporate Life to Creative Life.”

Might your personal story be of interest? Or do you have expert advice to share that could add to your  visibility?

° Do  the opposite. The entrepreneurial path is not about following the crowd. One way to keep your creative muscles tuned up is to find ways to do things differently than everyone else.

Thinking in opposites is an easy starting point for finding a unique way of doing even simple things.

° Be a student of success. Eavesdrop on conversations and you’ll hear how many people are clueless about success factors and the behavior that leads to genuine success.

Teachers like Jim Rohn devoted their lives to studying winners and their findings are documented in books, in seminars and on CDs. Be more than a casual student of what they have to say.

° Conduct regular interviews with entrepreneurs. My niece Gretchen is associate business editor of the Ventura Star. She was telling me that one of the best parts of her job is talking to passionate entrepreneurs. “If they know you’re interested, they love to talk about their business.”

You don’t have to  be a newspaper reporter to take advantage of all this enthusiasm. Seek out entrepreneurs and be genuinely interested in hearing their stories. Easy as that.

° Support small business whenever possible. There are numerous ways to do this beginning with patronizing the entrepreneurs in  your community. You might pay a little more at your local hardware store, but you may also discover you’ll get useful advice along with your purchase.

And don’t overlook opportunities to form alliances and create joint projects with other entrepreneurs. Collaborations can create positive synergy.

° Help a kid. One of the most common regrets I hear from adults is that they weren’t exposed to entrepreneurial thinking earlier. So cheer a young upstart on.

° Connect with your tribe. While some old organizations, such as the Chamber of Commerce, may not be a fit for the new creative entrepreneur, look for places where the joyfully jobless congregate and join them.



One of the major reasons it gets easier and easier to start a business is because of the generosity of folks who are already doing it. Every day I see entrepreneurs sharing information and encouragement with others who are coming along behind them. Still, new entrepreneurs often think they have nothing to contribute. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As Dennis Hopper says in the movie Crash, “You’re either a roadblock or a short cut.” 


Here are some ways to spread entrepreneurial spirit and provide a shortcut for others.


Be a model in the world. Proudly share the joys and rewards of self-employment. Almost daily I see a Facebook or Twitter post sharing a story that ends with, “I love working for myself.”  You don’t have to be a missionary, but don’t hide it, either.


Patronize small businesses. It’s not always an easy option, but make the effort to support the community that you’re a part of. Take a look at the work Becky McCray is doing on behalf of small town businesses at SmallBizSurvival.com.


Adopt a protégé. Even if you think you’re still a novice, you’re bound to have already learned things that would help a beginner. Don’t be surprised if you’re the one who learns the most.


Be a micro-lender. My favorite organization is Kiva because you get to choose the entrepreneur who receives your loan. It’s a real joy to help a business grow in a far corner of the world and it only take $25 to get started. Once a loan is repaid, you can take your money back or loan it again. 


Start a local Meet Up group. Homebased businesses can be invisible to their neighbors. This is a great way to connect with other entrepreneurs in your own backyard.


Help a kid. Volunteer to talk about entrepreneurship at Career Day at your child’s school. Or become a Junior Achievement volunteer. There’s nothing like a living role model to show that there’s an alternative to getting a job.


Attend Tribal Meetings. Retreats, seminars and workshops designed to help you make your business better are happening all over the place. The connections you make may be as valuable as the information you receive. And, of course, you may have information that solves a problem for another attendee.


If you want to see entrepreneurial support in action, join me for Follow Through Camp, coming up on November 6 & 7. Arrive with an idea. Leave with a commitment.