Deadwood, SD: A Small Town’s “Encore Career”
Oregon’s SBDC State Star Reflects on Small Business and Second Acts in the Black Hills

A small town's encore careerGreetings from from Deadwood, South Dakota! My husband and I are on a month-long road trip, and we were absolutely charmed by this stop-over. Deadwood is an old mining town, but it has totally reinvented itself for the 21st century…which is to say, it has created an inspiring encore career for itself. Today, it’s a financially successful tourist attraction. As the city website puts it:

“Imagine an entire city on the National Historic Register. What you’ll see in Deadwood today is a careful, accurate restoration of a historically significant city. Deadwood’s extensive Victorian architecture is unique to the West. While the gold rush of 1876 brought the likes of Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane, it also provided the wealth to construct a thriving commercial center in the heart of the Black Hills of South Dakota.”

Here’s an entire town that has used its lifetime of communal wisdom and experience to create a successful encore career for itself that is contributing to the greater good–educating visitors and residents alike about a fascinating period in our nation’s history. Talk about inspiration!

As you all know, I’m passionate about encore careers, and I’ve been reflecting on them even more than usual as I prepare to present on the concept at this year’s America’s Small Business Development Centers Conference in September. I was humbled and honored to be named the Oregon State Star for 2015, and have been thinking about the message I’d most like to share.

The ASBDC State Stars are described as “exemplary performers, making a significant contribution to their state or regional SBDC program and showing a strong commitment to small business.” I’ve loved being an adviser at the Portland Community College SBDC for nearly 15 years, and I’m absolutely dedicated to making a difference in the small business community. I think one of the most important–and exciting–developments we’re seeing nationwide is the emergence of the encore entrepreneur, so I’ve decided to focus my presentation on how SBDCs all over the country can best support this growing community of small business owners.

My visit to Deadwood has confirmed what I already knew–encore careers are an inspiring and viable way to support your “second act,” whether you’re an individual, an organization, or an entire community. I want to help aspiring encore entrepreneurs take a leaf out of Deadwood’s book and create a business that draws on their pasts to support their futures. Stay tuned for more news from the ASBDC Conference, and learn how YOU can create the business of your dreams with my new webinar series Best Beginnings, coming September 16th!