Guys, this spring marks my sixth full year of being a florist as my full time job! Notice how “full” is in that sentence two times. Well these past years have been exactly that- very, very full! Sometimes the full is good and sometimes it’s bad, but I’ve learned more than I could have ever imagined about running a business and even more about running a business that works for me and will be lasting. I know there are a lot of motivational quotes that are like “chase your dreams” or “jump and you will fly” which yes, there is some truth to that. For sure in the beginning you do need to try it all out to see what fits, but to ease the hard times of “chasing your dreams” you might want a solid plan first. That plan should 100% include why you REALLY want to do this. I know it’s kind of trendy / popular right now to be your own boss which is all great and everything, but if I was only in it because it was the popular thing to do… there’s no way I’d be here working my way into year seven. Soooo… if I knew what I knew now this is what I’d tell my wide eyed little self six years ago.
*side note- I do truly believe everything happens for a reason, for us to learn…so even though I would love to know what I know now when I first started, I’m thankful to have gone through it all just to have gained knowledge and experience. If you are going through a challenging time right now, please don’t let it get you down and learn from it!
1. Knowing, learning about your strengths from day one so you don’t burn out. I wanted to do it all, every little thing. Well that’s common in the beginning, but it’s not lasting. There’s no way we should be doing it all on our own. Even if that’s something little we can let go of like website work or financial planning- do it! I recently took the Strengths Finder online test again (highly recommend) and WOW, is it an eye opener. It somehow registers differently in my brain when I’m reading something in black and white on paper. I have a whole post on this because it’s too long to put here, so you can see more of that (HERE). Knowing my strengths helped me to move my business in a better direction for me. I strongly believe if we are not whole and well first, our business will never been whole and well either. And that’s not what we want!
2. I’ve had days (for a while it was a lot of days) where I wanted to run away and never look back. I think what we often forget is that this is a job. Just like any other job it’s going to get tough and there are going to be hard days. It’s even harder when we are the sole owner and it all falls back on us! I haven’t shared this story before, but my very first year (I bought a brick and mortar flower shop in my home town first before I started doing wedding flowers) literally like a few short months after I put it all into this flower business…I experienced a moment that really made me question it all. Not what I was expecting to happen at all, but looking back now it goes back to my strengths that I was able to come out the other side and continue. So here’s the story… the shop had a small wedding which the previous owner had booked before I purchased so she was designing the flowers and I was going to deliver them. I did just that, but much to my surprise a family member (not the bride) had a full on melt down, yelling, crying, making a scene because one of the pieces I delivered wasn’t what she wanted. I’m not a dramatic person at all, so I’m not exaggerating here. I had never experienced behavior like this before and was like “is this what it’s going to be like all the time” because if so – totally not worth it. It was a tough moment and my futuristic strength kicked in and said if you don’t change things this will happen again. That was a bad day, but it was a learning moment and helped me grow my business in the right direction. It took time and struggling through so much, but if this career path is what you really want, you have to push through those bad days and make changes so they won’t happen again.
3. I know, I know… “finding your purpose” is totally over done and there are a million things you can read on it, but I think that’s for good reason. Only as of recently have I been really strict on staying true to my purpose for my business and life. I do think it takes those first few trial and error years to really figure out your purpose and that can totally change over time too. I’m sure in another six years, my purpose for what I’m doing will change. Now that I’ve experienced what burnout feels like and I don’t like it, I’ve really had to make my purpose a top priority. I use it when making pretty much all my decisions. It helps so much with all the issues we all talk about… overwhelm, comparison, profitability, all the things. And why is that?! Because each one of us has our own unique, personal purpose. Sure some of us are working towards similar goals, but I bet if we really dug down deep we would find we are doing this for our own personal reasons. Purpose is key for me and I only hope to get even more deep over the years.
Six years ago I would tell myself and I’m telling you today… you are right where you should be even if it doesn’t feel right at the moment. Don’t be too hard on yourself because you are more than your business, more than the flowers you design, and more than what anyone has to say about you. Don’t worry about timing or pressure to do something in a certain time. Being guilted to do something is not going to get where you really want to be. Always keep pushing forward, keep changing, and keep getting to know your purpose. No one else has to wake up everyday and be you, so do that…just be you, be strong about the decisions you have to make and most importantly create and live a life you can be proud of even if it takes years to get there…you will get there. And I’m still not ‘there’ … I still tell myself a lot of these things to this day. Six years isn’t all that long, but if I want to create something that is lasting I know I have to stay true to these values to one day be able to say I’m there?!
All photos by Claire of @imageclairity