As an independent, self-made entrepreneur, you’re not looking for big capital investments. You don’t want to go to conferences with business PowerPoints. You’re not looking to have a staff of hundreds or an office in downtown.

You just want to do what you love, as much as you want to do it, when and where you want to do it. You want to grow in a fulfilling, sustained way.

But who are our models? Who can we learn from and connect with who shares the same goals -- who want not just more, but better?

A nation of pioneers

“We live in an age of independence,” say the folks at Pioneer Nation, a new gathering of independents and small business owners happening next week in Portland, OR.

The 2-day event, which headlines entrepreneurs, Etsy shop owners, bestselling authors, app developers, and freelancers from around the world, kicks off its inaugural session on March 26.

“Never before have so many people created their own work and forged their own destinies. Whether through entrepreneurship, freelancing, or some other kind of small business, the world is changing as people embrace creative, independent work,” their website claims.

The event is probably the first of its kind to appeal exclusively to independent workers in the D.I.Y. economy -- people who piece together their own careers and may even have multiple gigs in varying fields to support themselves.

Why this matters

Things like Pioneer Nation demonstrate the power of this new economy.

Freelancing is no longer a fringe career choice. And it’s also no longer the thing that you do alone in your tiny home office with a fax machine.

Freelancing is social. We have the power to inspire one another. We have the power to help each other turn our passions into businesses. We make contacts, we form new networks, new partnerships; we start businesses together.

The role models of the new economy -- just like the speakers at Pioneer Nation -- aren’t millionaires or TV personalities. They’re real people making the gig life work. That’s because they’re Quiet Revolutionaries who value quality over quantity and are looking to create happier, more sustainable lives.

Let’s get on the wagon.