Selling Cities With Mike McAfee

We all have aspirations.  Whether it’s Elon Musk’s vision of a colonized, tunneled Mars, or a homeless kid sitting in school and trying to seem normal, every one of us dreams of a  better future.  Fortunately, there are as many versions of a better future as there are people who have them.  It goes without saying that everyone’s different.  And although there are some 7 billion sets of human aspirations, none of them are wrong.

Your aspirations might be different than what your parents wanted for you.  And at least 40% of them are misguided for sure.  But your aspirations are yours and yours alone, as long as you have enough faith to stick to your guns.

Aspirations are part of the human fabric– everything from wanting to win your next fantasy football match-up to working towards a balance between your work and your home life.  But when we become entrepreneurs, we test the very essence of these aspirations.  They suddenly become more than ‘just’ hopes and dreams; once we become entrepreneurs, our visions of the future immediately become our bread, our butter, and our mortgage payment.

An entrepreneur’s aspirations are often referred to by another name– your business plan.  And this plan is the ultimate test of your aspirations.

Today’s guest has spent his career testing his aspirations.  But he’s not a business owner in the traditional sense.  Like a few other guests we’ve featured on Scratch Entrepreneur, he’s the director of a non-profit.  For the last 30 years, Mike McAfee has been selling cities.  He’s sometimes sold counties and states as well.  Now, in his role as the director of Visit Bloomington, he sells a very specific community– Bloomington, IN.  In this episode, he shares exactly how he does it.

We hope you enjoy the podcast and we’re glad that you joined us.

Topics discussed in this episode:

  • When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? (3:00)
  • Bring us forward in time to your adult life.  What was going on in your life when you had the opportunity to become the director of Visit Bloomington? (12:30)
  • How does Bloomington compare to other cities with a thriving tourist economy? (16:50)
  • The role of Visit Bloomington (20:30)
  • What weaknesses does Bloomington have when it comes to tourism? (31:10)
  • What are our strengths? (32:50)
  • Paint a picture of the future of tourism in Bloomington or beyond (34:40)
  • What kind of non-profit is Visit Bloomington and why does it matter? (36:40)
  • Hiring the right people for the right seats (38:00)
  • Where do you see your entrepreneurial world in five years? (46:20)

Be sure to catch the after show on Patreon!

Special thanks to Mike Mcafee for taking the time to share the Visit Bloomington story with us. 

Contributors to this episode include:

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