Updated: Nov 22, 2018
I've been at self-motivated, self-employed, self-funded for around 5 months already and it's been a dream. There are peaks and slow times. I'm lucky because I'm not solely dependant on my floral business for income. For now it's supplemental income, but each month I see it growing, which is also encouraging because I know that winter is slow months in this field and growth in a downturn speaks to me that I'll see even greater growth after the new year. I think my aim with this post is to encourage others and catalogue for posterity my thoughts and gratitude. I'm now in my mid thirties and I started arranging at 19 and I'll never stop. I love flowers. I have worked for grocers, funeral homes, florists, FTD partners and independants.
Time and Quality:
I've been around and I've found that I love working for me the most. I have my process, and sometimes it's slow and meticulous. Employers tell me not to worry about details or to hurry to make more - and I sympathise. They are looking at numbers, but I want to make the best arrangement each and every time. I only take enough orders to do my best. I believe my quality will support me. I'm not going to chase volume.
I have a second job and that helps me keep income steady. It's also a better way for me to build into switching to self-employment. I don't have a store front, so I have no business rent. At the end of the year I'll discount the space in my home used for my business, so if anything I'm saving on rent! Today, people are reached on their phones. No one needs to walk into a floral shop to order flowers. Therefore, if flowers are not a walk up business then florists turn to trinkets that collect dust on shelves to legitimize the expense of their storefronts. If I were to have a storefront I would want it to have purposeful inventory that I intend to sell, not doo-dads I buy to fill the void and hope someone is feeling flush and impulsive enough to buy a porcelain bear. So, no rent. The closest I pay in rent is for my website. Business comes to me. People call when looking for flowers. Another cost saver: I live near to the flower market. I have no fridges. Not yet anyway. I have to make special trips to the market, or to a grocer to make arrangements. But I don't need the capital to invest in costly appliances and I don't have a massive energy bill to keep them running. Now that it's getting cold I keep my flowers outdoors to keep. I've used my own food fridge to keep delicate orchids etc. My stove is my main arranging surface. So I've managed to keep my costs low. Each week I buy more non perishable supplies and tools needed to build arrangements. I'm building my empire without hard costs. Inventory costs then get lower each month. I use my cell number as my main business contact number.
Social media is work. It's hard to keep up sometimes but it pays back big. Friends and family as well as customers (which I'm starting to get regulars) like to come and see my arrangements. I know because I can see the number of likes and number of views. It's fun and encouraging to see how many people are stopping in to see what I'm doing. I'm grateful to my customers. I use Google-ad placement heavily at first because my webpage isn't ranked high and you can't google me by searching for flowers. For anyone who has ever had a website understands this. It's something you need to build and it doesn't happen overnight no matter how much you spend. So, I've been building into my website and using the tips and tricks recommended online to get your site onto the first google page. Sammy's is an inspiration because they've done a really great job of this. Google-ad placement has helped me even the playing field - for a price. I'm still fine tuning my technique with this. I have business cards I give with every arrangement on the back side of the "note" that I offer customers. It's a simple little trick to include a little plug for yourself.
I'm looking forward to growing. I dream of owning locations and having coworkers and not being alone in this. I would like to pass on the things I've learned and I would like to conquer the world with people I don't consider as employees but as partners. I envision the workplace as fun and familial. Entrepreneurialism has been good for me. For those looking to do it themselves, find your ways to bootstrap and keep your costs low, then grow in a safe space. Good luck!