I am by no means an expert on business, but I have learned a lot from my experience of being a female entrepreneur. These are some of the most important things I have learned on my journey that can apply to starting virtually any new entrepreneurial venture.
Share Your Idea with People
The first step in starting my own floral design company was essentially talking daydreams into existence. The idea had been in the back of my mind for months before I really shared it with anyone. Until I shared it aloud, it was always just a thought in the back of my mind and nothing really came of it. After sharing my idea with a few people I knew would be supportive I thought more realistically about what steps I would need to take to make the idea come to fruition. Then, I shared this idea with more and more people. These people were now holding me accountable to make this idea happen. Every time I saw them they would ask about the floral business and how it’s going. I formed this group of motivators when I didn’t feel motivated or things seemed so far out of reach - and not even on purpose. Not only were these people my motivators, but they also became my advertisers. They spread the word about Twolips and many of the events I booked in the beginning were from friends of friends. I am lucky to have supportive friends and family and realize that others may not, but in this day and age it is the easiest it has ever been to connect with people with shared interests through social media or otherwise.
Find a Mentor
Another thing I did before jumping straight into my flower biz was seek out a person who did what I want to do. I had a good six years under my belt of experience in the floral industry before starting my own company, but none of it was as an owner. I had a huge amount of knowledge, but still was missing some vital information that I felt like I needed before jumping right in. I googled independent floral designers who ran their own small business in my area and reached out to a ton of them. Only one person reached back out to me, which was honestly really surprising. After some emails back and forth, I met the sweet, awesome, badass mom florist from California Petals at her flower stand in Long Beach, CA. I came with a huge list of questions and asked maybe 3 of them because I realized that wow a lot of the things I wrote down were useless. After two hours of talking she gave me a crash course of what her experience as a florist is, but also mentioned that everyone’s experience will be really different. She left me with the words “ know your worth” which still runs through my head constantly not only in the business atmosphere but in life. I met another florist through a mutual friend and we chatted over coffee about her experience with florals and where she wanted to end up. She was also branching out from working for another company like me. I freelanced with her and worked alongside her at a big event company where we made huge, grandiose pieces, but decided that really was not personal enough for me. I learned a ton from these women and still reach out with questions or suggestions from them for floral advice sometimes. It was comforting knowing that these people did and are doing the thing that I wanted to do and which made me believe I could do it too.
Ask For Help
This was a really difficult one for me at first. I hate asking for help and would a million times rather learn the hard way or struggle through something and do it myself. I quickly learned this is not how things will work with my floral business. I’m still the person behind most of the aspects of my business like building and running my website, social media posts and interactions, email, planning, ordering, accounting, and designing but I have people who help with set up and delivery at events and picking up products and rentals that I am so very grateful for. I would not be able to do this business without these people and still stay sane. I do a lot on my own, but cannot do everything and I have realized that. If people volunteer to help you, take them up on it. Even if one or two tasks can be done by someone else, it will be much less stress on you. Your quality of work or product should not go down because you are taking on too much. My helpers started off as volunteers who worked for thanks yous and food, but as the business grew, I was able to pay them well enough to stay. With that being said, always thank the people who help you - a simple thank you means more than you’d think.
These three things will help you get a huge jump start on turning your back burner idea into the business you really dream of. There is obviously much more that goes into running a business as soon as the idea comes together, but these are some great tips for those of you who need a little push to start. I completely disagree with the saying that the first step is the hardest - it is absolutely not - but the first step is arguably the most important. You’re planting a seed that needs a lot of care, but the flower can’t grow without the seed.