University of Maryland Extension

The Reluctant Entrepreneur

Author: 
Ginger S. Myers
Entrepreneur thinking, image by pixabay.com

Mastering Marketing - December 2020

In November, I had the opportunity to give a presentation through the University of Maryland College of Agriculture and Natural Resources’ (AGNR) new Agricultural Careers and Entrepreneurship (ACE) Virtual Center webinar series. The presentation was titled, Entrepreneurs-Born or Made?

There are endless opportunities in agriculture because consumers demand diversity in their products. This diversity can be through production methods, marketing outlets, delivery systems, or services offered by entrepreneurs with a wide variety of experiences.

YOU MIGHT BE AN ENTREPRENEUR IF:

► You are a self-starter. Taking the initiative is crucial in entrepreneurship.

► Passion is prevalent. …

► You possess people skills. …

► You are not willing to take no for an answer. …

► You are a creative thinker. …

► You are competitive by nature. ...

► You are hardworking.

These are innate traits (born). But, entrepreneurs are also people who create something out of nothing to fill a void or resolve an encountered problem. They look for a solution to these challenges rather than merely griping about them. These challenges require mastering business skills, working up a proto-type and possibly recruiting production or financial partners, and channeling their ideas from conception to reality (made).

While I did not have time to address it in the ACE presentation, I have also seen another type of entrepreneur emerging to address food production and distribution challenges spotlighted during the COVID-19 crisis. These have been grassroots actions taken by individuals and groups to propose and enact solutions to clean up a mess they did not make. Examples include making the farmers market work for both vendors and customers, distributing food boxes and gallons upon gallons of milk, and making farm visits safe but still enjoyable.

These efforts have surfaced with another type of entrepreneur. They are someone who takes on a problem and finds others agreeing to their solution and joining in their efforts. These individuals are called “reluctant entrepreneurs!” Randy Otterbridge book, Reluctant Entrepreneur-Going from Feat to First Steps in Starting an Enterprise, defines a reluctant entrepreneur as someone who moves past their fears to take the first steps toward creating an enterprise.

Despite the current challenges, this may be the best time for any entrepreneur to begin their enterprise. It will take both innate characteristics plus business development support to succeed. The University of Maryland Extension Entrepreneurial Coaching program can provide a sounding board for your ideas and dreams. An Entrepreneurial Coach is someone that provides a trustworthy “reality check” during the business planning process. They can also share a broader network of support agencies and service providers. Click HERE for more information and to schedule your one-on-one virtual coaching session.

Being an entrepreneur means being willing to create something out of nothing. And, being a reluctant entrepreneur means moving in that direction despite your fears and anxieties. Is 2021 the year you launch your dream or take on that vexing problem? University of Maryland Extension programs and educators are here to help.

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