How I quit my job and started flower farming
Updated: Feb 6, 2021
Back in the fall of 2017 my life had stalled. I was blessed in so many ways. My life was easy, comfortable and predictable. My life was no longer fulfilling. I had your traditional corporate job and a steady paycheck. I had a house and a car. I had all of those things I thought I should have to be happy in life. But I wasn't. I had reached a place where the every day of my life was so boring and tedious I couldn't hardly stand it.
One night I was laying in bed scrolling through Pinterest, as you do, when I stumbled across the idea of flower farming. I don't know which of Floret's blog posts caught my eye but if you've ever visited her website every post is beautiful and captivating. I learned so much information about flower farming that night that I began to think maybe this is something I could do. I poured myself into more research and started running numbers and predictions (what do you expect, I used to be an engineer, spreadsheets are our jam).
After running a bunch of numbers and thinking through a million reasons of why this wouldn't work and why keeping my desk job was "safer" I talked myself out of it. The dream lived on in the back of my mind. A few weeks later, Floret announced their first ever online flower farming workshop. Registration was opening soon and would only be open for a few short days. The dream started to flutter. Registration opened and then I saw the price. For something that was just a dream the price seemed a little extreme. Then I thought about all the other things I had spent money on and decided to just go for it.
I was officially signed up to take the Floret course starting in January 2018. I don't remember how many days there were between when I signed up and when the course started but I eagerly awaited the start. Videos for class were released on Mondays. I will tell you with 100% honesty, this was the first time in my entire life I looked forward to a Monday!!! Once we completed the course I knew exactly why the course cost what it cost and it was worth EVERY PENNY! Erin shared everything that she has learned and every student who took that course walked away with a clear path of where to start and how to get going.
I had dreams after completing the course that I would start selling flowers on the side that summer. I started a small cutting garden in the backyard and wedged as many flowers in there as I could (you can fit more than you think). The year of 2018 had other ideas. Some stuff changed at work and I suddenly had twice the responsibility and zero time each day. I was working flat out just to keep up with my day job. There was no energy left over for side hustles.
Near the end of 2018, another job in town opened up. Still in engineering but in a slightly different kind of engineering. I decided to give it a try. I kept hoping that if I found the right job I would be able to do this work happily for years. I threw myself into this new job and it kept me busy! My workload and responsibility level was huge. There wasn't a lot of time for much else. I did grow some more cut flowers that summer and tried some more challenging seed varieties but not much else happened with my "side-hustle" plans. There was just no way to start building a business when I was working non stop to keep up with work. This new job also brought with it more travel which was another challenge.
January of 2020 my sister and brother-in-law decided to buy a house on 3+ acres. They asked me if I wanted to come up there and try flower farming. At this point I wanted to do it but was planning to do it as a side hustle (are we sensing a pattern here?). I set out to start planning the farm, ordering seeds and picking out a few dahlias (it is so hard to just pick a few!).
In walks spring of 2020 and we all know what a challenge this year has been. It was in the midst of all this uncertainty that I realized my "safe" jobs were not safe. None of us are safe. Nothing is certain. We just think it is. Something in me snapped and this girl who has never believed she could live in uncertainty had been forced into it and realized she could do it. A few days later I put in my notice. For once I wanted to focus on my dream!
Now folks at this point it was early May. It was past time to have a lot of things in the ground if I was going to make a go of this. But you know what, I decided instead of trying to do everything perfectly, which is a huge character flaw of mine, to just get in there and get it going! Things were not going to go perfectly no matter how hard I tried and if I wanted them to be perfect before getting started I was never going to start.
So, I did it. I quit my safe, secure job with the steady pay check and health insurance to follow my dreams. To do something I have been dreaming of for years. Something I have been quietly learning about and experimenting with for years. Something that I have hoped and dreamed of. It was this crazy time, this unprecedented time that finally made me realize that nothing in this life is safe and secure. That crazy things can happen and if you aren't excited about each day (and there's something you can do about it) DO IT. I promise you it's better than playing it safe, living for the weekends and dreading every single Monday for the rest of your working life. Now I pretty much work every single day and I love it. I do it because I want to. I try to take days off but find myself drawn back into something business related because I love it.
I do want to add one additional piece of information. Before I quit my job and jumped into starting a business during a pandemic, I had saved money to make this happen. Because I probably don't need to tell you that getting a business off the ground takes time… a lot of time. For me personally, I knew I couldn't juggle a full time job in my chosen field and full time flower farming. That kind of workload is no longer something I am interested in. I instead chose to save money and wait until I could afford to quit and focus on building my business. Just because this is my chosen path, I am not suggesting that others quit if they can't financially afford to. I know of plenty of flower farmers who still have full time gigs while they are building their flower farms on the side. It is doable. I plan to do some part time work during the winter months (and beyond if needed) to help cover my business until it can support itself and me.