There are many factors that determine whether or not you're ready for the doors of opportunity to open. But for me, it was all about confidence. Or shall I say lack of confidence.
Image: via Eye Prefer Paris
Before our shop, Fly Me To The Moon Florists, opened I knew I had an eye for floral design. I soon developed my own style, but I wasn't confident about it.
Months before the shop even opened, 2 friends asked us to do the flowers for their weddings. Though they had never seen me do flowers, they trusted my design instincts from event decor work they had seen me do.
One had a tropical themed wedding with exotic flowers and the other had a Hollywood glam wedding with tall floral centerpieces at every table. I'm eternally grateful to those women for having faith in me when I didn't quite have it myself.
Image: via Just Call Me Grace
Over the years, I've honed my skills and become more confident.
Here are the 5 lessons I've learned that I hope will help you:
1) Be the expert - I stopped doing exactly what customers told me they wanted and began listening to what their hearts really desired. If someone says they want an elegant look, but what they ask for is actually tacky, my job is to steer them toward what would look best.
2) Trust your instincts. - There was a time when people were coming in insisting that we make these horrible flower arrangements for weddings. I mean ugly! And we did the best we could with what they told us. When I couldn't take it anymore, I began praying for customers who wanted our style. We put a gallery of our work on our website and began asking customers to write reviews. From that moment on, everything changed.
Image: via Just Call Me Grace
3) Accept the applause. - People often call to thank us for the flower arrangements we design. Some even call us before they call the people who actually sent them the flowers. One call might be a fluke. But once the calls started coming in more regularly I knew we were onto something.
4) Count your blessings. - One of our regular customers asked us to do all the flowers for her wedding. She came in for a consult with a huge binder and selected only her ceremony flowers. She told me she trusted me completely to select the color and style of her centerpieces. She laid her eyes on those flower arrangements for the first time when she walked into the reception.
5) Defend your work. - Our goal at Fly Me To The Moon Florist is to delight our customers with flowers. But if we blow it, we make every effort to make it right.
A customer came into our shop last week and told me he did not feel the floral design I made was worth what I charged. He and his wife loved the flower arrangement by the way. But, when he added up the price of each flower, he wondered if he had been ripped off. He said that online, he'd seen arrangements that had many more flowers for the same price.
Image: via pxleyes
I didn't feel offended. I thanked him for letting me know. I didn't say the price included my ability to make a bunch of flowers look like something other than just a bunch of flowers. I didn't even suggest that the arrangements he'd seen on other websites probably used cheaper flowers.
I merely said that the arrangement I made was worth what it cost. But if he really wanted more flowers, I would be glad to give him some. He said, "I guess what I'm actually paying for is your creative ability to make the flowers look great!." He happily declined any additional flowers and drove off in his $60,000 car.
Image: via Whisical Raindrop Cottage Tumblr
There comes a time when you have to take a sober estimate of who you are and what you can do. There's still a lot more for me to learn. But I can now confidently say, I am ready for the doors of opportunity to open.
How about you?