Raise the Spirit of Entrepreneurship

By Ryan Anthony Gibson

“Barn raising is a one- or two-day event. The preparation of barn raising includes making plans, collecting hardware and lumber, and clearing the ground. For proper work supervision, some specialists may be brought in from other communities who may have to be paid. Old people who have participated in many barn raisings are crew chiefs. Women are usually entrusted with the responsibility to provide water and food, men to do the work, and young boys to fetch parts and tools. The main part of barn raising is taking two framed walls, laying them on the ground, and raising them to a vertical position.

Barn raising, being a community activity, strengthens social bonds. It will enhance interdependence and an inter-serving nature. Barn raising became rare by the close of the 19th century. But the tradition of barn raising is still prevalent among some communities especially in Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania.” Cole, Alison “Barn Raising.” Barn Raising. 9 Nov. 2006. EzineArticles.com.

One could write a complete book on Barn Raising and how it applies to building a community of business, but in this case we are simply going to help you pull the principles behind it and apply it for your entrepreneurial spirit and success. In the next section, we discuss the philosophy and its purpose with the spirit of entrepreneurship and future focus of an individuals community and personal economy.


Raising The Spirit Of Entrepreneurs


“The summer tornado that touched down… left a path of destruction cut as cleanly into the landscape as a swath mown through the middle of a hayfield. The wind plucked up giant oaks, tulip poplars, ashes, and maples and laid them down in crisscrossed, splintered chaos through the Amish woodland. With the same nicety for borderline definition, the tornado sliced through Amish farmsteads, capriciously reducing barns to kindling while ignoring buggy sheds, chicken coops, corncribs, and houses close by. In the twenty-minute dance that the tornado performed before exiting into the wings of the sky as abruptly as it had come, it destroyed at least fifteen acres of mature forest a hundred years or more in the growing, and four barns that represented the collected architectural wisdom of several centuries of rural tradition.”


For many, the tornado touched down the moment you began struggling in your business and personal economy with the downfall in stock markets, dissappearance of banking loans or lines of credit, and or simply the effects of ruthless competitors within your industry. The damage occurs like an act of God, it often is common knowledge that these acts can occur, but no one ever expects it to happen to them. Well luckily for this tornadoes tale in Holmes County, they had a community to help them put the barns back together again, and so do you. It is the spirit of community and the spirit of entrepreneurship.


Whether your business has been blown apart or whether you are struggling to get a new business idea off the ground, you are not alone. We are a massive community and economy, and we are locally and internationally connected. As an expert in your field you can give to the community, and as an amateur you can accept the help to plan, prepare, build, and develop your business. Most individuals will preach the need of professional business writers and consultants, but many of the so called “amateurs” and “elders” around you in your community have the knowledge and expertise to help you. The reward in life is the relationship. Remember that the Noah’s Ark was built by amateurs and the Titanic was built by professionals. Not to confuse the matter with references to an entirely different process of construction that can be discussed in its own right later in the book, but your community is there for a reason, because they believe in you and need you.


Raising the Barn


Within the community of entrepreneurs, so often we become self focused like in the story of rebuilding Solomon’s temple, where personal wealth becomes more important that the community temple. Individual businesses are the cornerstone of local and international communities, and we can not forget that helping your neighbor built a new business or supporting their existing one is an essential part. In some cases, it may be spending an hour or 1-2 days with a business person who is new or struggling within your business community, but it is that commitment to do so that makes the difference. What difference would it make to your business if you new a community of followers and helpers were willing to dedicate 2 days to get your business off the ground and running. What if even 8 experts decided to work with you, what difference could it make.

In the Amish community participation is mandatory for community members. These participants are not paid, and all able bodied members of the community are expected to attend. Failure to attend a barn rasining without the best of reasons leads to censure within the community. Some paid specialists did come in from other communities for specific trades and journey expertise. As defined in several articles on the matter, barn raising activity demands humility, trust, accountability, commitment, sacrifice, and having a future focus. To apply these values look at the following:

  1. 1.    Humility: The person who wants a barn is often far outside of town and has no choice but to let the community know that they need help, and for the most part, it just happens as the community comes together. In business, an entrepreneur requires the Humility required to accept the help of their community, the volunteered assitance and patronage offered for the trade of goods and credit often given by their community. The ability to ask and accept the help of those around you is an essential part of the spirit of entrepreneurship and the humility we all understand and respect. Being able to receive from a community is a sign of respect and being a part of something larger. We all need neighbours, community, and customers, and for this, we need to work together and be able to accept each others participation in the diversity of our everyday lives. With humility in business, you need to include the fact that you need to increase the size of your personal reading library, processses and systems to help you prepare, plan and think like those in your community. You may need to accept several mentors to help you prepare for the raising of your business and understanding of “How to.” This may include the hiring and paying for outside specialists to come in for the necessary direction and knowledge.


Follow this advice:


  1. Admit that you need advice with those around you
  2. Accept the help and or training needed to get prepared
  3. Realize that the business can not be built on your own
  4. Understand you can not possibly know everything
  5. Accept mentors
  6. Hire a specialist to act as foreman for a day or two



  1. 2.    Trust: Like the future owner of the Barn, the entrepreneur needs to trust the community around them as they advise on the structure of their business, the activities and preparation necessary, and able bodied elders they need to advise in as Crew Chiefs, having experienced the raising of many businesses or barns. The ability to trust the young people in the community who have seen many businesses built or barns raised, to follow suit and do what they have seen, and put the pieces together that have been prepared by one knowledgeable leader. The knowledge comes from the community, and we need to trust the knowledge, especially if it is being given to us. The spirit of entrepeneurship is to trust those in your community and attract those able bodied elders and youth. Entire books have been written on trust, but this is the stage after humility. As once you have accepted the help, there is the need to be able to trust it.


Follow this advice:


  1. Remove the idea that it only gets done if you do it yourself, and accept and trust the able bodies around you
  2. Accept knowledge when it is given, especially from those who know your business
  3. Trust the process in the books you read, tapes you listen to, and courses to apply proven principles that have existed and worked for 100 years


  1. 3.    Accountability: Everyone in your community needs to be held accountable for what they are able bodied to do in order to participate. You need to know what they are able to do however, but it is essential that all members of the community are ready, willing, and able to build your business, as you need to personally be ready to help them and support them to build theirs. Identify the members of your community who are “able bodies” and let your community know what you are an “able body” in. The spirit of entrepreneurship is not just a philosophy, it is a combination of opening up your spirit to what you are able and capable of doing and holding yourself accountable to it as others would respectfully do with themselves around you. The speed at which the barn was raised was not because of the sheer number of people, or the fact they often worked without being told what to do, as often many of the workers where just standing around talking. Rather, they new exactly what to do next, and worked together seemlessly under the frame work of how to build a barn. Know what your team is “Handy” at. We all know what we are handy at, and we know how to put the pieces together from the endless libraries of how entrepreneurs can build their business.


Follow this advice:


  1. Attract able bodies to your community and identify who they are and what they know
  2. Be an able body in your community
  3. Let people know that you feel its mandatory to help them, as you are part of their community
  4. Everyone in the community needs to take on their part, approach them and get them to buy-in to the principle of Barn Raising. Ask them what they can do to help, and hold them to it.


  1. 4.    Commitment: If you have gone to someone for help, you are commiting yourself to be a part of their community. If they are going to be commited to you, be prepared to be commited to their community and business. Commitment is past the stage of just liking each other, trying a few things out and or kicking each others tires. Commitment is a marriage or bond between people that says we will work together, be pieces of a whole, and walk united and not divided. The very foundation of a commitment is that the time and genuine assistance given is meant to be the development of a real relationship. Business relationships are forged on this long standing community based commitment to trade and work together. My word is my bond, and so is my actions. Be committed. Work from Sun up to Sun Down to help as quickly and efficiently as possible… thats commitment. In your case, wake up earlier, get started, and finish what you start.


Follow this advice:


  1. Commit yourself to the community and ask others to commit to you for the betterment of both of your future
  2. Reward those commited with your help and or a piece of the opportunity you are working on
  3. Once you start on the venture, be prepared to give what you can back and be aware that its mandatory to help other people. If it was mandatory for everyone, the world would be a better place.


  1. 5.    Sacrifice: As mentioned before, entrepreneurs have the assets of time, energy, money, ability, and reputation. In order to be part of a community you need to sacrifice the time, energy, and ability to be apart of it. If you are going to have your business raised like the barn raising that was the foundation of rural farming communities in the US for over 100 years, you need to be able to make the sacrifice. Why? Because if you do not make the sacrifice, you are just working, working, working but sacrifice gives you the future focus that you are not alone, and that we are with you “I am with you.” Sacrifice is part of prooving that “I am with you”, and that is your future and the key to birth and rebirth in the world of business. Embrace this combined with the humility, trust, accountability, and commitment, there is no stopping your future success.


Follow this advice:


  1. Put aside an alotment of time to talk and work with others in the community, don’t be afraid to invite yourself into their business
  2. Buy the lunch, buy the dinner, hold a party, make the time to be with your community
  3. Wake up early or work late and get more hours in with people in the community who can’t help you during regular working hours. Do the same for others.


  1. 6.    A Future Focus: As learned from Haggai and the rebuilding of Solomon’s temple and again in barn raising, if we focus on the structures and foundations that bring us together and our future economy we will gain great satisfaction in what we do daily and in others around us. Many will ask why you put the time in, even yourself, but be careful of its intent, such as the discouragement and disinterest that challenges every entrepreneur. Embrace the pure and open spirit that it is mandatory to be an able body to be alive and in business. Don’t dissable yourself with the nay sayers and focus on the future, focus on a bigger picture. Having neighbours is our future, and being one. Carve out your place in the now and the future.


Follow this advice:


  1. Focus on helping even one business within your community of friends for a day a week, even if its just a phone call
  2. Ask a mentor to come and talk to you about your business, maybe several. As long as you have mentoring coming to your business once a month


There is a saying amongst the Amish and rural farmers that the “Raising brings all the attention.” The reason being is that it is a magnificent achievement for people to work together and build. The great structures of man, the wonders of the world, the engineers who became the driving force of nations, all worked together, and the raising brought all the attention. Raise the entrepreneurial spirit in yourself, raise it around you, and be a part of entrepreneurship.


Celebrating members of the Community

When that work was completed  food was served with a good old fashion rejoicing and or party, well as close to a party like celebration as the Amish could come to.


“On occassion, after a barn or house was raised  there would usually follow, at the next opportune time, a barn dance or gathering of the workers to return with thanks the help from friends and neighbors. It would be a highlight of the summer.”


One on looker once said, “Makes you wonder if some of them folks might not consider praying for a tornado once in a while.”


Follow this advice:


  1. Hold an event to thank mentors, staff, people within the community, and families to thank them for their involvement the next oppotune time that comes up after their help.
  2. Give immediate feedback on the appreciation and your commitment to them as a community and the idea of barn raising and the spirit of entrepreneurship in the community
  3. Open your heart up and spirit up, and let them know “you are there”


 Thoughts on Efficiency:

When it comes to efficiency, Henry Ford may have been the inventor of the assembly line, but the barn raisers of the Amish community had the system a generation before. Eye witnesses recelled that “Crews of older men, away from the barn, marked each board with a chalk line indicating the place where the board crossed the beam it would be nailed to. Then these men started nails along the chalk line. Other men quickly carried away these boards, invariably three at a time, and passed them up to younger men clinging to the beam frames. They, in turn—one above, one below—slapped the boards in place with one hand and drove the preset nails in with a hammer in the other hand, the siding going on in almost a continuous wave, as if it were being slowly unrolled.”

At least 200 years since the birth of Barn Raising, and we have come along way as a community but have also stepped away from the Basics. Imagine if the spirit was raised amongst our business community and peers to worktogether in selfdirected co-operating pieces to build a strong, secure future generation. Imagine the change you could make with just 8 people in your community, or how targetting the right 8 able bodies in your community could help you.



A Note On The Finish Talkoot or Barn Raising

In the Finish culture they have embraced the philosphy similar to that of barn raising called talkoo. If a person wants to build a cottage close to a nice lake, they don’t purchase a ready made home or hire an expensive workforce, but instead they surround themselves with willing and able friends, talkoot. They get their friends and some distant connected individuals through their network and community to build the cottage as a group effort, the talkoo power. When the work is done, the Finish down a few beers together and most likely enjoy the sauna. Some could use the anology that the economy is an enormous barn or cottage, but each individual business is also a barn onto its self. How many times have I sought the advice of peers and mentors in my business and participated in a beer or dinner to digest the advice, help, and success of the day. Lifting someones business is as simple as lifting up their spirit within the community and doesn’t need to be more than a 1 or 2 day event, but it could also be a weekly or monthly gathering.

Lifting up the spirits of those around you will definately lift up your own Spirit

In a book written by Henrik Ingo called Open Life, he explores in a few pages of the book the nature of Open Source code, a philosphy where software developers give their hard work and modules developed away for free to a community of like minds. I have been around the open source community and have watched entire development projects that would take years for an individual developer, where modules and guidance among open source community members accomplish a working masterpiece. Often this is done working sun up, sun down, and inbetween with the fuel of accomplishment and Coca Cola. Different than the closed door conglomerates in the software industry where everything comes with a price, there is a free world that exists out their embracing the free spirit of entrepreneurship and community called Open Source. It definately takes an open spirit to let go of the ownership of your hard work and knowledge to others. However, the community has proven in practical modern terms that once that spirit opens, great things will happen. Your business is unique to you, but in life every business is open source, as it comes down to common foundations, business blocks, community, and giving. Be a part of the business community and be a part of the Open Source spirit of entrepreneurship. Like 8 great developers working on an open source project what would 8 great people helping you in your business do? Open your spirit my friend, “I am with you.”

A Modern Day South African Example

Another example of community was recently explained to me by a friend Lee Surmon, who is an accountant in Sandton South Africa. She volunteered a few days with a team of people organized by the community of the Vodacom Foundation to work with an Orange Farm past Soweto to plant spinach. The two day event helped the farmer supply a crop of spinach he then sold into the local community and profitted from. The farm is healthy and self sufficient thanks to the spirit of entrepreneurship displayed by individuals like Lee Surmon and the community of a good corporate culture. The true spirit of entrepreneurship is in all of us, accept and grow, but don’t forget to plant the seed with those around you.

Thanks for reading my article, lots of love.

Ryan Anthony Gibson

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