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5 Essentials to Starting Your Own Business: Case Study of 11 yr. old and Her Flower Shop

Me Ra Koh

Every time I take a trip for work, Lee’s Site starts a new business!  One time it was a car washing business.  The last few months it’s been a dairy free/gluten free cupcake business. Now she’s researching recipes for organic dog treats.   Most recently, she opened her own Flower Shop at the corner of our street. If you want some help on business marketing feel free to visit Peace Glory.

We were hoping for the Flower Shop’s first day of business to have good weather, but the rain was letting up.  So on a windy, overcast, dreary day, I looked out my window and saw her setting up a table, chair, sign, cash box and vase of tulips.   The school around the corner was going to be letting out in the next ten minutes.  Her timing was perfect with all the parents who would be driving by.  As I watched her from a distance, I couldn’t help but think that she was experiencing the main essentials of starting your own business.  She may be eleven, but her process was something I identified with.

The Flower Shop idea popped into her head when I told her we were going to the Tulip Festival.  She took her own money so she could buy her own tulips to open up a Flower Shop.  She had it all worked out in her head.  A bunch of ten tulips cost her $10, she was going to sell a single tulip for $2 to make double the money she spent.

Essential #1:  Create a vision that will not only pay for your costs but make you a profit.

Not only could you buy a single tulip, but you could also buy a bunch of flowers with a tulip included.  And if you didn’t want a tulip, you could buy a bunch of flowers for half the price.  (Those didn’t cost her anything since they came from mama’s garden.)

Essential #2: Set Clear Prices and Give Your Clients Options. 

Pascaline and I have had lots of conversations on why three options is a a great offering to customers (what else do you talk about with your eleven year old?! :)).  No one wants the lowest package, and we often don’t feel like we can spend money on the most expensive option, but the middle option is a sure thing.

Essential 3:  Be Prepared to be Passed By.

This is the making or breaking point for most of the best German translation service. They start the process with tons of excitement, mixed with stress, as they figure out their pricing, their profit margins, what their business cards will look like, etc.  And once everything is set up, they are officially open for business.  Now comes the waiting part.  You can’t escape the waiting part.  And it’s one of the toughest parts.  You’ve got your sign out, you are open for business, and a lot of the people you thought would be your customers are passing you by.  Man, it broke my heart to see Pascaline watch car after car drive by.  She was sure that at least half the cars would stop and buy a tulip.  It was one thing after the first ten cars went by, but after thirty–even forty cars– went by, it was hard not to feel rejected.  Every thing in me wanted to tell her it was okay, and she should come inside where it’s warm.  But I kept my lips sealed because I know first hand that developing a spirit of tenacity, experiencing rejection, putting yourself out there, telling your prices to customers who are interested–only to see them say no, these are all things are part of the process.  The more you experience those things, the less likely you are to quit because you know that this is just part of it.  Growing pains that are unavoidable.

Essential 4:  Find Ways to Entertain Yourself While You Wait

I am so glad I didn’t open my mouth and tempt her to come back in the house because all of a sudden, when I thought she couldn’t handle another car going by, she started singing.

Then she started dancing, rearranging the flowers, singing some more.  She was entertaining herself as she waited for a customer.  And I was jumping up and down inside because she had made it past the toughest part.  She endured all those who said no or drove by without stopping, and she was still finding joy in trying this business out.

In the end, she broke even.  She had three customers in two hours.  Instead of being frustrated that she only had three customers, she ran in the house to tell me all about their conversations, how they liked her sign, how they couldn’t decide on which tulip to buy, how one dad and kids were going to surprise their mom “with MY flower bunch MOM!”…those three customers filled her up.

Whether you are eleven years old and selling flowers or a mom starting a side photography business or a CONFIDENCE Grad applying for our new certification program (last weekend ladies to work on those applications :)), a degree of courage is necessary.

Essential 5:  Take Courage

If you can prepare yourself to expect excitement, mixed with stress, as you figure out what your business will be and offer, and then hunker down for all those that pass you by, but come with ideas of how to keep your tank filled and spirit entertained so you don’t close shop to early while you wait for customers…you may find yourself more satisfied than you ever expected because sticking it out…not giving up to soon…is often 90% of the challenge.

But the reward of feeling proud of yourself, making that sell, is so worth it!

xo,

m

(Today’s post is dedicated to my lovely, courageous daughter who inspires me every day.)

p.s.  Fall Planning Underway for CONFIDENCE Workshops!

We normally do four CONFIDENCE Workshops in the Fall, but it looks like we may only have time for two this year.  If we could do one on the West Coast and another on the East Coast, what would your top cities be?

 

  1. Lynde Alvarez on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:05 am

    N is opening a “rare gems” and crystal shoppe. It’s true.

  2. Kaila Burkett on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:11 am

    Thanks for this encouragement MeRa Koh! So uplifting!

  3. ThisLife on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:16 am

    I love this story! To touching. I’d like a follow up in about 20 years 🙂

  4. Neyssa

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:27 am

    Seattle! At the end of September/Early October and my family (new baby and all) will be family/mama-baby models!

  5. Suzanne Hamels

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:29 am

    I love this! Like mother, like daughter! I’ve now been inspired by Me Ra and Pascaline!

  6. Sara Arrigoni

    May 24th, 2012 at 9:04 am

    Thank you so much for this post, MeRa! It really hit me where I am at right now… in the waiting and wondering and praying place. I can’t wait to see where my photography dreams take me…and even though this August isn’t feasible for me financially, I hope to pursue your confidence teaching certification in the future, so I’m rooting you and all the other women on as you go forward!

  7. Jennifer Leigh Tacbas

    May 24th, 2012 at 9:24 am

    LOVE THIS on so many levels! Awesome job, Pascaline & proud mama! 🙂

  8. Jess Robertson

    May 24th, 2012 at 9:24 am

    This is the sweetest thing ever!! My dad always encouraged me to make my own money as a kid so I was trying new businesses all of the time as well 😉 haha!

  9. Me Ra Koh

    May 24th, 2012 at 10:00 am

    Timing is everything Sara! I know it will unfold perfectly!

    And to all the ladies who are sending in your applications, they are beautiful. I love reading your answers and process.

    xo,
    m

  10. Carrie Yuan

    May 24th, 2012 at 10:32 am

    Loved this post. What a great reminder to be patient and persistent.

  11. Olivia Burella Hinden on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 10:52 am

    I love this! Wish we had an enterprising 11 year old nearby to bake dairy free cupcakes, I have to bake them myself! PS you should come to Pittsburgh for a workshop.

  12. Michelle

    May 24th, 2012 at 10:54 am

    SUUUUCCCHHH Perfect timing!!! This week, I have been feeling stressed about what to do to get my feet off the ground here in San Diego. To go from having a steady flow of bookings and working for a magazine to not having the phone ring sure takes a blow to your confidence level. I am going to print this post and keep it on my desk for whenever I feel discouraged!!!!!

    THANK YOU PASCALINE (and Me Ra for sharing!!!)!

  13. Joan benn

    May 24th, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Good job PASCALINE . You really are doing good with your projects. You have so

    many great ideas. When your Gramie was 11 years old ,she had a Blackberry business. She picked wild blackberries & sold them. She always had some money coming in. Love u , Gigi

  14. Addie

    May 24th, 2012 at 1:38 pm

    Oh my goodness! What a beautiful post! Makes me wish I was in Washington so that I could have bought a bunch of Pascaline’s flowers! A strong spirit, positive outlook, and a generous heart will take her far in her life, just like her Mama! 🙂

  15. Jill Chycinski Melton on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:03 pm

    What an inspiring girl u got there, beautifully written! Btw, fort worth,

  16. Jill Chycinski Melton on Facebook

    May 24th, 2012 at 8:05 pm

    Oops I meant so say, COME TO FORT WORTH/Dallas area!!!!! Just saying!!:-)

  17. Denise Karis

    May 24th, 2012 at 11:41 pm

    awwwww I LOVE this!! How FUN! Well done, Pascaline!

  18. Jill Velazquez

    May 27th, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I LOVE this post. In the past few months I have been fully (as full as a mother of 2 boys under 3 can be) emerged learning how to make my business successful. I tend to worry that I am not doing it right and then something like this comes along to remind me that I AM doing it this right! It is just going to take time.
    Thanks for this! I needed it. 🙂
    Way to be a thoughtful and supportive mama MeRa! P is so lucky to have you.

    I can’t wait for a confidence workshop. I have been waiting and wanting to go for so long. I am in the Chicago area, but will travel to where ever you are MeRa!
    I can’t wait to see what all the grads are applying for too!?

  19. Blessedfin

    May 28th, 2012 at 1:42 am

    oh my! I’m so blessed by this post 🙂
    and it makes me smile !