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6 Months of The Floral Trojan

It's been 6 months since I started the business in June 2023. In some ways it feels like yesterday and other ways it feels like it's been years, lol. I have learnt so many things along the way and I know I have a great many things still to learn! So how did I get hear and what have I learnt so far...

For those that know me will know my story and how I found myself here. I suppose I need to go back to my early 20's. I was working full time working for a tenancy support service and I applied to do an evening City and Guilds Course at Easton College in Floristry, and boy did I love it. I got the floristry bug and wanted to make it a career. I didn't have the confidence to start my own business then, so I decided to apply to local florists to see if they would consider taking me on. I didn't hear back from a single one, so rather than facing any more rejection I decided to walk away from a floristry career. I still of course kept doing arrangements for family, friends and firends of friends etc.

Fast forward some years and I found myself working for the Emergency Services. Plodding along in a job I didn't mind, but wasn't necessarily my passion. Then bang May 2022 came along and I started to get sharp stabbing pains in my lower tummy. After a lot of confusion and disappointment with hospital services, I began my own research and found a private clinic who investigated and diagnosed me with a chronic bladder infection (treatment I am still receiving today). This of course impacted my mental health and I became a shell of who I was. To cut a long story short I couldn't really get much lower, and it was during this time that I began to reflect on what I wanted from life. I was also told by my organisation that I was 'unfit' for my employed role. I hit an all time low and thought "what's the worst that can happen if I start my florist business passion?" I luckily had full support from my husband and family and thus The Floral Trojan was born. I enrolled in a refresher florist course and have loved learning florist skills along the way.

But what did I expect from running a business, what have I learnt and what are some falls I can tell you about to help if you do or wanted to run a business. BTW I am not a guru, i'm just someone whose made many mistakes along the way, lol, so here are some things I hope will help...

  1. Website domain. I started wanting to do things cheap so I got a free wixsite website address. I didn't mind particularly that it had a long URL although a little annoying, but it was a couple of months later on a Marketing Course that I was told that it doesn't look professional or that I was taking the business seriously! I ended up buying the domain in the end, but had to re-do and re-buy promotional materials - doh!!! Bit of a costly mistake! Therefore morale of the story is your website is like a shopfront, therefore invest in the domain!

  2. Logo design. I was so pleased that I created and designed my own logo. I put this together on Canva and was so proud of myself and of the design. However fast forward a couple of months and I wanted to put my design on the van. I was then asked for the Vector version, as everytime they tired to blow up the image I had made it went blurry! I was told by multiple people that my logo would have to be scrapped. I nearly cried, maybe I even did, but I refused to change it. A family member recommended to me an app called Fiver, and after speaking to someone they said they could re-draw my logo into a Vector file. I have to say they did an amazing job and I absoloutely loved it- the best £45 I've spent in a long time. But to save yourself some worry and stress, look at either getting someone to design your logo for you or choose a really simple logo that can be easily replicated and drawn into Vector. Also check out Fiver- I personally wanted someone in the UK to do it for me, more so I knew that I was paying in £'s rather than a different currency.

  3. Access free learning tools. It's hard to find anything for free these days but there are organisations such as Natwest that put money into business support initiatives. I was able to access these for free and learnt loads. I also found an organisation called Enterprise nation and attended a free Google workshop. I understand that they run across the UK and even offer lunchtime mini workshops on a number of topics.

  4. Business Banking. If you need a business bank account look and see if your current bank will let you open up a free business bank account with them. Or look to see if there are any providers offering a free account. I managed to go with a provider who allowed me to open a free account, so definitely look around. Websites like Martin Lewis can be really useful for this.

  5. Ghosting. This is a hard one, as personally I find it hard not to take rejection personally, lol. When I started I expected to be ghosted from potential customers. What I didn't expect was to get ghosted from professionals and business that showed such a positive interest in my work. There's not a huge amount of advice I can give on this one. Customer wise I don't think people genuienly know how much work goes into quotations etc. Professionals and other Businesses, well they should know better than getting another businesses hopes up, lol!

  6. Meeting others. Networking can be really daunting, but being a business owner can feel really isolating, therefore do get out and meet people if you can. I'm really lucky that I have met some amazing people on this journey and look forward to meeting more.

  7. Starting a business. My final point I wanted to make is about starting a new business in general. I think I was naive when I first set the business up thinking that I would have customers staright away and that I would be doing x yand z in my first year. I definitely didn't appreciate how much time I would need to put into the business, often getting zilcho money for it, and sometimes if lucky enough to get paid for something that it would equal about £4 per hour after costs- face palm! You need to really love your business and doing it, as the financial reward is not always there at the beginning. However, you do get some over night sucesses and if you have a product that is in demand than you will probably find the journey a slightly easier one. You do also get people that are very lucky either they are right place at the right time or they know the right people. Try not to compare yourself to the individual's in this category as they're in the minority and it's not an even race.

  8. Lastly, be kind to yourself. There have been times that I've gone to a fair to sell arrangements and it's been a total disaster and I have felt like the biggest failure. Most successful people get set backs and it's totally normal to experience this particularly in the early days. Whilst I need to take a bit of my own medicine here! Breathe, say oh well that was ****, have a moan/cry etc, then get back up and say tomorrow is a new day! I know easier said than done sometimes, but please do be kind to yourself and give yoursef a pat on the back for actually getting in the ring!

So there is a brief summary of my first 6 months, I'm not sure what the next 6 months will bring, probably many more up's and downs, tears, rant's and "I can't do this" moments, but hopefully lots of laughter and fun along the way and most importantly; happiness at doing something I love!

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