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Starting a business in your 30's

Updated: Jun 23, 2023

As circumstances find themselves here, and let's face it life has some fun ways of throwing up curve balls! I find myself in my mid 30's (36 is still mid 30's right?) starting my own business. Unfortunately, a year ago I became ill with a chronic illness. After being sick off work and unable to return to my post my employer and I decided for me to take a career break. So what do I do? Lie in bed crying about how life is unfair?- believe me I had many a day of those, but no I couldn't keep letting this illness win. So what did I decide to do...start my own business, because that will be really stress free, lol. I've always loved arranging flowers and making things look beautiful and using creative methods to make them so. I remember working in retail and loving merchandising the accessories, often hanging necklaces and scarves over bags and shoes etc. A few years ago I completed a floristry course at college, loved it and wanted to work in the field. I remember printing off my portfolio as well as other photos of creations I'd done and sending them round to florists in the appeal for a job. Did I hear back? - no, not from one single one. Was I upset - hell yes. Did I let it defeat me, well actually yes. I continued over the years to do flowers for friends and family members, and friends of friends etc whilst working full-time in other jobs. When May 2022 came along my world came crashing down as I experienced a lot of physical pain which impacted on my mental health. I did a lot of soul searching during this time and tried to write a journal - most of it filled with the words "when am I going to get better" and "what did I do wrong". Now in treatment I am beginning to have good days - the pain is always there but I can manage it and function. This sounds like a pity party, doh, but I have an uplifting part to it all. Whilst I have been poorly I have been able to create some flower displays again, and this has really helped with my mental health and probably my physical health too. Therefore in my moment of wisdom, I have decided to start my own flower business. Inspired by my little boy Hector, yes the name was due to mine and my husbands love of Greek or should I say Trojan mythology. The idea of the Floral Trojan was born. I knew I wanted to create something different. Having worked in the mental health and care field in the past, I knew I wanted something that was bespoke and person-centred based on what the individual or persons wanted. I love doing quirky designs- some of my sister's wedding flowers were created in old chimney pots that I sprayed silver. I also planted loads of plants in an old roll top bath I found in the bottom of the garden after we moved in. Anyways moving forward- (I have such a habit of digressing and making a short story long- cheers mum!) I wanted to start my business, so where did I go to get advice and help? Well, I emailed so many funding grant places to see if I could get help setting up, well some of them practically laughed at me in the face! There's no funding for starting a business for that sort of thing was pretty much what came back. I even looked at the Prince's Trust but quickly realised I was too old for any help. I also seemed to have too many qualifications to get any other types of funding support too. Great, so have tried to better myself and have gotten 'old', so probably best I just crawl into a corner and give up. But no I have ploughed on, and actually been lucky that an organisation called NWES had an adviser speak to me for 90 minutes about starting a business, which was really helpful. I also went to my local floristry wholesalers who even helped give me some advice. I have searched to try and access a business mentor, but the link I was given for this service charges- boooooooooooo! I was lucky that my sister previously ran her own business and my brother in-law still does and he has been great at answering my silly questions "what does putting things through the books mean?" etc. I have also been incredibly fortunate that my husbands ex-work colleague (Hi Rob), has the most beautiful inside and outside wife (Hi Lily) who also runs a floristry business, who has so kindly assisted me with my own business. She literally answered two A4 pages of questions and was so patient and kind at sharing her knowledge. Kindness like that stays with you. So what have I found out about starting a business in your 30's? I realise this is the title of my blog and I have banged on about so much other gumph! But I hope it's provided a picture of the start of all this. You will all have your own stories of how you come to be thinking of this too. But I digress again, lol. So, What have I learnt about starting a business in your 30's...

  1. Financial grants for start-up's pretty much don't exist, unless you're lucky enough to have a local authority which will help you. Definitely worth an ask, the worst they can say is no.

  2. Getting any support for free is hard! There are websites such as the turn2us pages where you can search for grant and benefit information

  3. The Gov site has some handy information about business plans and tax returns

  4. You can get a free website at WIX providing you have their promotional logo's on your site.

  5. Canva is a website where you can turn your images to fit into social media- it's great, but I am still trying to work bits out!

  6. People may think you're 'too old' to help or bet on, well there's plenty I would like to say to that, but Rome wasn't built in a day and look how beautiful it is there! You are definitely not too old to start up a business. A retired man down the road from me fixes up toys and sells them on, he enjoys doing it and is great at it.

  7. Do you have friends and family or other connections that can help give you advice and share their knowledge? I have certainly been lucky with this. If not can you approach a business doing a similar thing to you and ask for some advice or even volunteer some time with them?

  8. People are willing to help and there's some really good eggs out there. I was speaking to a lovely lady the other day in a supermarket about how to cook chicken in a bag. I'm vegetarian and had family coming round for a roast (a nut roast wasn't gonna cut it). And she was so lovely and we ended up getting talking about different dietary needs for ages. Sometimes just putting yourself out there and talking to people helps you learn things, although I still don't know what basting means!

  9. Research, Research, Research - Get to know what other people are doing, what prices things are selling for and what is your, I really hate the term, but USP (unique selling point).

  10. Try not to be afraid of technology- I'm one to talk! I've never blogged before and actually I love it, you're thinking "hmmm we can tell you've not done it before". I know some library's give support for things like internet and social media help, so might be worth an ask. I Dr Google everything as well as watch Youtube video's to help me work things out.

  11. Family and friends are really important. I have to give a huge shout out to my Husband Iain and my family who have encouraged me, and seen me literally on the floor, have helped pick me up to start making me whole again.

  12. Lastly, confidence. There will always probably be someone, something or some gem in the journey that is life that will rain on your parade and try and push you down. Whether it's not hearing back from loads of job enquires at florists (yes, I'm still a bit bitter, lol), or dealing with break-ups, illness and general sad and raw circumstances where your confidence is knocked, it can feel like you're never going to get back up that hill. But as my Grandad said to me just this morning 'life does have a way of sorting things out'. Lovely advice, but I want to build on that with something- you are not a bystander of your life! You have skills, whether it be creative, technical, emotionally intelligent, book smart, logical, imaginative etc and you just need to give yourself a break. Try and give yourself some self love, but perhaps this should be more self acceptance. You can do it and as the famous Dr Seuss said (I love Dr Seuss) "you have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose."

Edit *** Digital Boost is an amazing free resource where you can access business advice and have support from a 121 mentor. Fabulous resource - definitely check it out!!!!

Thank you for reading - be kind to you and dare to make your dreams a reality. Much love.

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