Inspiration in the Farmers' Market

Do you have a community of people supporting your passion in business?

 Sometimes I meet owners who have lost the passion for their business. What once had them bouncing out of bed in the morning now has them hitting the snooze button and crawling back under the covers. “It’s just not fun anymore. How do I get the spark back?” they ask.

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A new beginning

This past weekend I participated in the opening of the Larimer County Farmers’ Market. Some people were worried about customers not finding the market since this year it moved to the parking lot of the Larimer County Courthouse at Oak and Mason. However it turned out to be a great opening day with many merchants selling out before the closing whistle.

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I know about this because I am an avid supporter of one of the vendors – Sara’s Veggies. “Grown naturally in my backyard” and “Bicycle-powered!” are her slogans, and I’m her supplier, banker, and informal gardening and business advisor. Sara gets to help in our family’s garden and earn plants and vegetables that she then bikes down to the market to sell. (Last year she got her bike trailer for some gourmet zucchini and heirloom tomatoes. Even though in need of new innertubes and bearings, it was a pretty good trade. 

Lessons learned

While she may only appreciate it years from now, at 11, Sara is learning some significant business lessons – a few of which include:

  •  Getting help from your friends can be wonderful, and it can be pretty expensive. Sara thanked a friend who helped by buying her a beautiful hat, a hat that ended up costing all the profits for the day. “Hmmm…” frowned Sara upon tallying up the results.
  • If you get excited and spend all your gross proceeds, you might be hurting when the bank comes to collect the loan. “Now I know what bankruptcy is,” sighs Sara. Luckily she has a benevolent banker who cut her some slack for a couple of weeks. “It wasn’t fun to work for nothing, but now I don’t owe anything,” she reflected, smiling.
  • You have to get there first to get the best opportunities. Until the market went to its current allocation system, it was first-come-first-served. And it didn’t take long for Sara to figure out that getting up at 5am to get a shady spot was better than sleeping in and then broiling under the summer sun all morning.
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As a parent, it’s sometimes tough to let Sara learn some lessons the hard way. Yet when I see the other vendors talking with her and encouraging her, and when I see the smile on her face when someone buys something she put hard work into, I know she’ll do just fine.

Our farmers’ market is a wonderful, supportive community of buyers and sellers that love what they do. While I know Sara probably won’t be part of the Larimer County Farmers’ Market forever, I do hope that she is able to find a vocation and a community that supports her equally well.  

Actions you can take today

  1.  Reflect on what originally inspired you to get into your business. Did you love the way people oohed and aahed over what you made? Did you want to build a better mousetrap? Did you want to create a workplace that you never had? Once you find the ash-covered ember of your passion, blow the ashes off and reignite that burning desire to get going again!
  2. Get connected with other people who share the love of what you do. A lot of business owners out there focus only on their prospective clients. Yet there are professional organizations from nearly every specialty you can imagine that exist to support business owners. Find people who have a passion that mirrors yours – and they’ll usually be happy to share lessons they learned to help a fellow enthusiast succeed.
chris hutchinson, CEO

chris hutchinson, CEO

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Chris Hutchinson

As CEO of Trebuchet Group, Chris Hutchinson thrives working with clients and his team to improve organizational clarity, teamwork, and leadership impact.

After years of building Legos® and tree houses around the world, Chris earned his Mechanical Engineering degree and followed that with an MBA. His experiences in the military and the business world taught him great leadership can be learned, and everyone is in some way a leader.

Clients and peers describe him as an inspirational catalyst for positive change. He is the author of Ripple - A Field Manual for Leadership That Works.

Chris and his wife live, garden, and bike in Fort Collins, Colorado, and have four children. He has an unrequited love affair with brownies.