As a stay-at-home mom, I started a small business in an unexpected way. After buying dry flowers at a craft store, I stopped by a friend's specialty food store to say hi. Little did I realize that this would be the beginning of a business venture.
Starting a Business without Capital
My friend hired me to make dry-flower arrangements for decorating her bare store. "Just give me a quote," she said. So I calculated the cost of the flowers and the time I would need to invest in shopping, flower arranging, and decorating on-site. We shook hands on my first deal, which included $200 to cover costs and $100 for my time. Without capital I took the first step toward starting my own business.
Working from Home
As a young mother, I was thrilled to have found a way to earn money from home. After buying the materials I needed, I created the baskets and wreaths of dry flowers on my kitchen table. Since my business did not cover the cost of the materials, I kept the receipt so my friend could write it off as her own business expense.
Receiving Future Orders
I invested a whole morning in decorating my friend's store and festooning the flower arrangements from the ceiling. My hourly earnings ended up being very low, but I wanted my first decorating job to be a showcase for what I could do. I had pre-ordered business cards for my new business, and I left a bundle in a beautiful stand in my friend's store.
From the start, I decided to reward any referrals to my business. My friend was happy to receive her kickback in the form of dry-flower arrangements for her home. I received two more orders that first month. With the proceeds from my first order I was able to cover the cost of materials and expense the receipts to my own business.
Saving on Materials
Since I was buying dry flowers in larger quantities, I started looking for coupons and bargains that would increase my profit margins. Paying attention to the labels on the flowers I bought at a craft store led me to direct suppliers, which further reduced my costs.
Growing the Business
New clients weren't the only way I grew my business. I offered existing clients a flower care package for $50 a month. I would then visit each location, dust the flowers carefully and replace any damages free of charge. I also created decorative potpourri packages, which I sold to my clients. They would then display these as fragrant decor, which they sold to their own customers for a small profit.
After every job I took pictures for my work portfolio. Soon, I was able to offer clients a visual catalog with accompanying prices. I also offered a free on-site quote, when I felt that the potential order was large enough. Within a few months, what started as a visit to a friend became a steady source of income for me and my family.
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