Seven Steps to Start a Floral Side Hustle
So you are thinking of starting a side hustle but not sure if you are ready, how to get started or whether or not you can balance it with the rest of your life. As someone whose side hustle is arranging flowers, I would love to share some tips that have worked for me!
Assess Your Capacity
As a working mom, I am learning to balance my floral design business among the many other roles I have as a wife, mother, friend, and coworker. I am lucky in that my day job is flexible and I only come into the office 30 hours per week. Since weddings are planned months ahead, I can schedule my work calendar accordingly. If I have a wedding on a Saturday, I purchase and prep the flowers on Wednesday morning, go to work and spend Thursday and Friday arranging. At this point, three to six weddings and events per year is a perfect balance for my life. As you are thinking about your capacity, keep in mind that you do not have to take on a wedding every weekend to legitimize your craft. It is okay to suggest other florists when certain opportunities conflict with priorities you have with work, family, and even rest. While turning away clients at the beginning seems counterintuitive, it will prevent quick burn out and allow you to continue performing quality work. Estimate how much you can take on and let it be enough!
Find your "Why"
Write down a vision for why you are stepping out in your new venture and where you want to go. This is vital in determining how much time and money you are going to invest in making the pursuit happen. While plans often change over time, be intentional in reflecting and talking over where you see your creative life going with a friend and write down achievable goals for yourself. For example, over the next three months, plan and budget to make six arrangements, photograph them for your portfolio and bring them to local businesses. Casting vision for yourself will ensure that your new pursuit is life-giving both to yourself and your clients.
Make A Move
Recently I was speaking with a designer who has a full-time job and freelances on the side. She said the hardest part of a side hustle is often merely starting. Begin arranging flowers for a few smaller events on the weekends and then offer to do a friend’s wedding at the cost of the flowers. After you have a couple of weddings under your belt, you will begin to see how feasible your side hustle is! Sometimes the right time is when you make it. Decide you are going to put yourself out there and book that first wedding with confidence!
See Potential In Every Celebration
Building a client base and developing your portfolio is difficult when you are working and trying to grow your business. A good place to start is with the celebrations of those you know. Whether it is a holiday, a friend’s wedding shower, or a birthday, offer to make arrangements for these occasions. See if there is a budget for decorations and volunteer to take charge of buying and arranging the flowers. So many of the arrangements in my portfolio are flowers I made for a friend or family member’s event! Since they care about you and your passion, I have found that friends and family are happy to not only cover the cost of flowers but to pay you for your work as well.
Set Aside A Budget
While it might seem risky at the beginning, it is okay to make little investments in your business. If you are able, take a small percentage of your current income and dedicate it to your side business until you begin to make that money back. Create a line item in your budget called, “side hustle.” This will allow you to purchase tools, build your portfolio and ensure you are practicing your trade even before clients start reaching out to you.
Hone Your Practice
Why would a client choose you over someone who does floral arranging full-time? Your clients will feel more confident about their decision to go with someone who does flowers on the side if they trust that you know what you are doing, produce quality work and fit within their aesthetic. If you are able, volunteer for a florist on a Saturday or take an online class like those offered by Kelly at Team Flower. Taking classes, watching videos, and reading books will help you develop your skill-set and propel you towards challenging arrangements that will make you more competitive. You do not have to break the bank to educate yourself! There are plenty of free and low-cost online resources that can help you reach new heights in your floral design business.
Market Yourself According To The Direction You Want To Go
Depending on whether you want to make your side hustle a business or keep it as a freelance gig will help you determine the type of tools you need to market yourself. If you are a freelance florist then just sticking to Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest under your name can serve your purposes well. However, if your side hustle is a side business, you will want to purchase a domain name and a website, file an EIN and eventually obtain your resale license. Regardless, Instagram is one of the most reliable tools for marketing yourself. If you have not already read the Team Flower article on hashtags, I highly recommend it.
Aside from these seven tips, I will also add one last thing. Don’t get caught up in comparison! While social media is a great tool, it can also make you feel like you are not enough or not okay right where you are. When you have a side hustle, sometimes things move slowly, and that is okay! Do not measure yourself by how many Instagram likes you get, measure yourself by the amount of purpose you feel in doing your work and how much joy you experience as a result of creating.