My first attempt at being an entrepeneur happened one day when I visited Central Park in Grand Haven, MI. I heard there was an art fair in town and decided to check it out.
I discovered a middle age couple selling dried flowers grown on their farm. Their booth was crowded with women desperate to buy the perfect bouguet or arrangement.
I knew immediately I could do that. I grew up on a produce farm, I was experienced in growing things and working at the farmer’s market. I developed an eye for color working in nature. I was also creative and passionate about beautiful flowers. Knowing this was for me was what some consider a “light bulb” moment.
I poured over my father’s seed catalogs and discovered the flowers called, “Everlastings.” They are grown specifically to be dried and last throughout the winter. I ordered the seeds and started with a small platte of ground.
I never doubted my abilities and new I was on to something big. When I want something bad enough I’ll do almost anything to get it. Anthony Robins says, “People fail because they fail to take action.” I was a mover and a shaker without knowing it. I was determined, focused and what speaker Les Brown calls “hungry.”
That first summer, I sold bouguets at the farmer’s market in a big wicker basket between my fathers tomatoes and green beans. Continuously I went home with my basket empty and my pockets full. I read every book I could find on everlastings.
My garden turned into two acres of land with irrigation pipe. I would weed, water, and harvest during the day with my children and make arrangements into the wee hours of the morning after putting them to bed. I ordered baskets, ribbon, and other supplies from a local wholesale house. Our of a permanent account the name, “Forever Flowers” was born.
As the business grew, I began training and paying my children to help me more. Our weekends were spent at art fairs and summer festivals. It was hard work, profitable, and fun at the same time. We met other artisans, and traded our flowers for jewelry, pottery, and clothing.
Food and entertainment were additional treats.
My husband often helped out with the watering and planting. He eventually traveled with us to help us put up and tear down our booth and load and unload vehicles. We went from hauling
our flowers in a station wagon to a van and finally to a U-Haul truck as our business grew.
Eventually, we moved to the city and I bought flowers wholesale from other farmers. Soon after that the market became flooded, the children grew older and became involved in other things. I wanted to go to graduate school.
For fifteen years we traveled all over Michigan and as far away as Chicago. All due to a young eager mother, who had faith in herself, believed in her dream, gathered support, had a light bulb idea and acted on it. I was H-U-N-G-R-Y!
Get in touch with your heart’s desire. What are you passionate about? If you choose to do something just to make money it becomes a job. Make sure you’re in love with your dream.
Research and educate yourself about the subject you choose. Get a mentor. Learn from others who are doing the same thing. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
Know there will be obstacles and have a plan for them. While growing and selling our flowers we depended upon the weather. Sometimes there was too much rain and other times not enough. A storm or heat wave kept people away from attending art fairs. Learn to perservere.
Begin with small steps. Know where to invest your money. Keep expenses down and sales high. As soon as you can delegate the duties you don’t like and spend time doing what you are best at.
Keep an open mind there are limitless opportunities, have faith and take big bold steps. Your future depends on it.
Be committed. There will be days you won’t want to work and days you feel like giving up. Refuse to lose your focus. Adjust your goals and plans as needed and never look back. Remember you’ll never know how successful you could be if you don’t give it a try.
(Excerpt from “Flying By The Seat Of My Soul”)
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