What does it really take to start a successful flower business? Do I need a retail space? Or thousands of Instagram followers? Maybe the right certification or training at a famous designer's workshop?
Nope. You don't need any of these things.
In fact, none of those things are nearly as important as the characteristics of the person running the show — that is, how they approach their work, how they conduct themselves and how they manage their thinking.
Which is different to what I thought when I graduated from floristry school. I assumed that, because I now had my fancy diploma, that I was ready to hang out my shingle and start making beautiful designs for grateful customers.
But after doing hundreds of weddings, serving thousands of customers and making millions of dollars, I know that success actually comes from cultivating a set of skills that has nothing to do with flowers or floristry.
And the best news? Anyone can start building theses skills TODAY — you don't need anyone's permission or outside training. The capacity for each of these is within you RIGHT NOW.
What you need to start a flower business
So, let's explore the five must-have skills for anyone looking to start a flower business:
A definition of focus that I like is "the state of having or producing clear visual definition."
In other words, I know where I’m going. I have a clear goal.
It’s all well and good to jump in and start your flower business, but do you really know where you're going? For instance, how much money do you want to make? What kinds of designs do you want to create? What kinds of ingredients do you want to use?
Equally important, what DON'T you want to do? What ingredients, customers, designs and work are out of bounds?
Each of these decisions is completely up to you. However, until you decide, you are not yet focussed.
If you're not sure where to start, begin with the money — set your financial goal now. You're starting a flower business to be 'in business' so pick your number.
"Having or showing a strong desire and determination to succeed."
You’re going to run into challenges. Lots of them. There will be uncomfortable situations, difficult customers, technology woes, rejection, mistakes...
They're all a normal part of starting a flower business, but ambition is the fuel that will keep you going.
You've already set your goals and have focus. Now, use your ambition to be persistent and relentless about staying focussed.
However, ambition often shows up as an uncomfortable feeling: impatience, stubbornness, anger, or aggression. Traits that are often seen as as negatives, particularly in women, who get labelled as standoffish, bullish, bitchy.
But I truly believe your ambition is your superpower. Think of it like the high octane fuel you'll need to bounce back and keep moving forward.
“Having conscious knowledge of one's own character and feelings.”
Self-awareness is the idea of self-reflection, understanding your personal strengths, weaknesses, thoughts, beliefs, motivation, and emotions.
It’s a uniquely human trait to get 'out of yourself', be reflective and to think about your own identity. Being self-aware means knowing how you show up, how you speak to yourself and understanding who you are.
And, self-awareness is an incredibly important skill to develop for anyone looking to start or grow a flower business. Because your identity is always evolving – from when you first start out to when you make your first $100,000 / £50,000.
Likewise, your identity shifts again when you go from making $100,000 to $300,000. You need to change, you need to grow and you need to evolve your identity.
The ‘you’ of today isn’t the same ‘you’ that is going to make $100,000 or $1,000,000 — or achieve any goal you've set for yourself.
So here’s a question to consider: Who do you want to become? Who is your future self, the one who is in charge of this hugely successful business?
When you imagine the version of you that's kicking ass, getting customers, creating the designs you’ve always wanted...who is SHE? And, how is she different to who you are today?
"When you know better, you do better — Maya Angelou.
I've learned how to be a great decision maker. I'm able to objectively evaluate my options and confidently make a decision — without worrying if it's 'right' or not.
So in other words, I'm a great decision maker because I've learned how to detach worrying from the process of making a decision.
Now you may be asking, Kathleen, how on earth can I not worry about results? You just told me to focus relentlessly on my goals? And, yes, you should.
However, focussing on results should not get in the way of you making decisions. Because far too often our fear of making the wrong decision paralyses us into NOT making a decision. And as someone looking to start a flower business, you'll need to make lots and lots of decisions every day.
So I want you to look at decision-making differently. Humans learn from doing, from taking action, from trying things. And this is how you need to think about decisions — it's the process of learning and improving.
In fact, the outcome doesn’t need to mean anything, and it certainly doesn't need to mean failure. When I look back on my business, I realise that everything was the result of making a decision and learning from the results.
Indecision is a waste of energy because you’re losing time and you’re not learning. So take action — the outcome doesn’t mean anything. It's how you learn.
Just decide today that you’re decisive.
5. Willingness to learn
This one's really easy. Be open and curious. Always.
Because starting your flower business will require you to learn about all sorts of things — websites, Instagram, pricing, flower varieties, customer service, mechanics, shop fit outs, negotiating leases, staffing...
Some things you'll expect and be excited to learn about. Other areas may intimidate you and cause you to hesitate. But remember, every business owner before you has faced the same information and knowledge gaps so know that the answers are out there.
You can figure this out.
You have what it takes to start a flower business
When it comes to these five skills, you may be thinking, but Kathleen I don't have these traits. I’m just not that person.
I disagree, however. You're reading this post so already I know you're ambitious, self-aware and willing to learn. So that's 3 of the 5 skills already!
What’s left after that? Be focussed and decisive:
- Focus: define your version of success. Pick your financial target. Anything that doesn't align with these, let it go.
- Decisive: stop wasting time and energy in indecision. Make a decision and evaluate the outcome. Then, if it didn’t work, try something else.
And the best part? You can begin honing these skill TODAY. No formal training needed, just start.
Help with your flower business
And finally, learning about business and marketing doesn't mean you need a university degree or fancy-pants corporate experience. I do have these things and am happy to share everything you need to know.
P.S. I've done a podcast on this topic which you may like. Find it on Spotify here or listen on the player below.