The year that will forevermore be known as TwentySucksteen, the year that took Prince and Bowie and Merle and Leonard Cohen and Harper Lee and so, so many others, is almost over. A month and change until we put up the new calendar and, hope against hope, start anew toward a better year. (Bar’s low, at least.)
If you’re feeling similarly beat down by Sucksteen, you could probably use a little optimism too.
For us, entrepreneurship is what we do, and what we love. In a murky haze this week, we tried — and mostly succeeded — to lift our own spirits by plotting plans for 2017: new endeavors for The Skillery, new ways to better serve our community, things that could make this thing we created stronger, more rewarding and more positive.
That all led to a brainstorming of things to look forward to in our specific, fundamentally hopeful part of the world.
Your mileage may vary, but if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you’re connected to the entrepreneurship community in Nashville. So the things we’re looking forward to and celebrating might help spark your pilot light too.
If not, we can at least offer this much: Puppies often visit our space, and that keeps us going some too. Feel free to come by and explore; if we don't have a friendly furry face in the house, we'll have plenty of friendly non-furry ones.
Check out what we’re celebrating, below.
5 Nashville entrepreneurship things we’re looking forward to at the end of an OOF year:
We’ll admit some bias, since Porter Flea cofounder Katie Vance was also one of the earliest members of Team Skillery. But even without that connection, we know we’d be looking forward to every installment of this longstanding Nashville maker market, both as shoppers and entrepreneurs who love to see our ilk do well. At every Flea, a broad mix of local (and regional) artisans, artists and other makers convene to show off some of the coolest stuff you can own, from art prints to earrings to coffee tables to pancake mix. At each year’s Holiday Flea, we all knock out a bunch of our holiday-shopping list and high-five entrepreneurs whose creativity makes us (and our giftees) happy. This year’s Porter Flea Holiday Market is set for 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 10, with a ticketed Preview Market 6 to 9 p.m. December 9, all at Skyway Studios (3201 Dickerson Pike) in East Nashville. You don’t want to miss it, promise.
Nashville Entrepreneur Center educational programs and events
The Nashville entrepreneur community is lucky to have a resource like the Nashville Entrepreneur Center here in town — from advisors to educational opportunities, their offerings can be a big boost for starters in need of advocacy and information. Since we’re big fans (and providers of) entrepreneurship education, we have to point to their regular spate of programs and workshops, which range from artist entrepreneur training (Periscope) to a program by and for veterans (Bunker Labs) and lots more. What we do at The Skillery tends to be more focused on small, local businesses — more for people who want to launch a local bakery, not scale a brand across the country. If you fall more among the latter, the EC is a great place to look. Check out their upcoming events.
Creative Mornings Nashville
On Friday mornings once a month in cities across the country, creative people gather together to share, learn, interact and support each other. It’s life-affirming stuff, not only because you can regularly see the strength and breadth of your city’s creative community, but because you can mark a regular place on your calendar to get a dose of uplift, and lift others up in return. It’s also free, and there’s coffee, so that’s good. Our founder, Matt Dudley, spoke at Creative Mornings Nashville a few weeks ago about transparency — we’re committed to sharing our path, even when it gets a little ugly. The friendliness and feedback there helped us feel buoyed on that path. No secret: Entrepreneurship is hard. Regular inspiration, information and camaraderie is invaluable.
Continuing to read Startup Southerner
Some great things came out of 2016, like Startup Southerner, an online media mouthpiece that focuses on the South’s vibrant entrepreneurial ecosystem. From encouragement to advice to insight into the lifestyle and work, Startup Southerner’s content digs deep into what we experience, and what we seek, as small businesspeople in this region. It’s fun and community-driven, and if you feel like you’re a lonely satellite in your own building-a-business orbit, it’ll show you that you’re not alone. We’re happy to get to keep reading.
Our Introduction to Entrepreneurship workshop in January
We’d be lying if we didn’t point out our own handiwork, because we love it, and we look forward to it every time. Since we started offering entrepreneurship education at The Skillery, dozens of aspiring entrepreneurs have worked with us, and dozens have gone on to build fantastic, inspiring businesses. Watching them grow fuels us to keep going at The Skillery, and to keep offering our one-day Intro to Entrepreneurship workshops. Our next one is set for Saturday, Jan. 21 at our place in Germantown — it’ll include a foundation of approachable business basics, plus breakfast, lunch, snacks and surprises, and through the end of the year, Early Bird registration is $149. If you’re dreaming about a new start in 2017, exploring a business idea you’ve been chewing on, come join us. We’ll help you get your footing. If you can’t be with us — or if you know another aspiring entrepreneur outside of Nashville that you think could use some direction — we also have Intro to Entrepreneurship Starter Kits. Those are, in a sense, our curriculum in a box, for studying on your own time, in your own Santa footie pajamas, if that’s what works for you. They’re $59, shipping included, and we’re looking forward to sending them to your loved ones, too.
Hope those sparked a little positive inspiration. If not, well… high five for trying?
Counting down the days ’til we can smell you later, 2016,