Rural Economic Designs, LLC

Building A Stronger Future for Rural Communities

Create a Network of Friends

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Creating a business, running an organization, or being a community leader takes some stamina and it also takes some strong leadership skills. One of those leadership skills, that I think is probably the most important one is the ability to connect, and I mean really connect with people.

I have been so blessed in my career, especially now that I’m working as an independent contractor, to have these amazing colleagues, mentors and friends I can lean on from time to time.  And who can lean on me from time to time too. Having a network of business professionals is so much more than whose following you on Facebook or how many contacts are in your phone. It is really about who can you call to discuss a project with and trust that they are going to give you their best because at the end of the day your friendship and business success is important to them.  And it is key that this type of business relationship is a two way street.

So here is my advice today- take the time to get to know those you are working with! Get a cup of coffee and truly understand what people do as you never know when a connection will come in handy for you and for them. Join an association or a club of interest in the field you are working in, or go to a conference and challenge yourself to meet 10 new people.  It can be hard and uncomfortable, but trust me at the end of the day knowing that you have a team supporting you is worth the cost of a cup of coffee or a glass of beer.  Enjoy your time and make friends along the way.

Building A Business in Montana

As an economic developer for North Lincoln County Montana, I had the pleasure to work with a number of entrepreneurs.  Now, taking the plunge and becoming an entrepreneur myself, life is taking on a new meaning.  First, taking my own advice and starting a consulting firm has been the most rewarding challenge I’ve done in my career.   There were some doubts, as with anyone starting a business, but the thought of not taking this next step for my career seemed unfathomable!


Taking the leap of faith, I left my secure position and became a full time consultant in January 2016; though I actually developed Rural Economic Designs in 2013 as a way to work in areas outside of the nonprofit I was working for.  It has been a whorl-wind of mixed emotions and successes as the firm continues to grow.  I’ve hired a PT person to help with keeping us going in the office, remodeled a home office for the base of operations, and been traveling often for meeting with clients, colleagues, and partners, while also  doing presentations across Montana.

Now, 4 months in I have amazing clients, a great employee, a wonderful bookkeeper (lifesaver!) and building my first website.  It might take a while to get used to everything but my words of advice… take the opportunity to fly!


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