Developing a creative career is something that has always been of interest to me. Society has changed a lot in a way that people can build a sustainable career or business by doing something they feel passionate about. It excites me to know there are so many people out there taking this approach with their working lives and proving it can be done.
(In the beginning it was me, hand tools and nice volcanic soil - I learnt very quickly that using hand tools to create planting beds is very time consuming and back breaking!)
Ever since I started thinking about a career in earlier years, there was never one that I had my mind set on. I learnt early on that I did not want to hold down one black and white career or job for my entire working life, and I accepted this early on. To date I've tried numerous roles in various industries but I've recognised over the years a constant in my life - that is my love for flowers, gardens, creativity and design. The desire to combine work with these passions has grown strongly over the years, particularly while working a corporate role in an office environment for the last three years. Maybe your in the same boat or feel yourself drawn to one particular thing that excites you like nothing else - focus on it.
Creating an income from doing something that you love.
Since June 2018, I've been actively working on developing a business that would supplement my passion but also pay for itself and more - otherwise it's simply an expensive hobby.
During the first season of growing cut flowers, I obviously had to invest my own finances to gather the resources needed to start out. I was also able to use land owned by my parents to start my small venture, so I got stuck in and chose a growing plot with nutritious soil. I started out by marking out plant beds, removing grass, laid irrigation and sewed seeds. In that first season it really was trial and error. I grew small quantities of multiple flower varieties, which commercially was not viable. Greater volume of fewer varieties would be much more sustainable. I adopted this approach in 2019 by growing only Anemones and Ranunculus but I had sufficient volumes to actually sell commercially. I was also able to market foliages from established plants on the property.
- Simple beginnings
Market & Sales
Deciding on the correct market to target has been the hardest task yet. Trying to sell flowers directly to the public is very difficult particularly when I have chosen not to have a point of sale location i.e. a farmers market. As an introvert, sales has never been a forte of mine, and it is my preference to sell my cut flowers through a third party member like a wholesaler.
In my second year of growing I decided to disregard the fears that I had and approach flower wholesalers that would sell my product directly to florists and businesses. I'll be honest and say that I was really proud of myself the day I formed a relationship and started supplying to a Brisbane wholesaler - It felt like my first real solid business milestone. As a small operator this was a big task for me - scary in fact, but you only grow during these times in life and business. During the season I was able to make back what I put in plus some additional income to re-invest back into the business for future growth.
At the peak of harvest in 2019, I was also very pregnant and decided to end my growing season early as it was getting so uncomfortable and hard on my body. Our baby son has arrived now and we couldn't be happier. This has obviously paused my growing operation, though it gives me time to refine this business so that I can plan and grow the best quality cut flowers in 2020 and brainstorm further services I can provide to grow.
This is something I'm really excited to get stuck into.
I'm a great believer that success doesn't happen overnight - I don't even particularly like to use the word 'success' as life and work is forever evolving. I hope that by me sharing the beginnings of my small business story you may either relate or find some kind of inspiration or motivation to start developing a career from whatever it is you are passionate about. The truth is it will take time, perseverance and investment, and at times you will ask yourself what the hell are you doing. Alas, one's passion brings many moments of joy and self pride - it will keep fuelling you on.
I'll leave you with one of my favourite life mantras, "You can if you think you can" - Norman Vincent Peale.
I'd love to hear from you if this has struck a chord or generated any questions you may have, leave a comment below or email me firstname.lastname@example.org