Words of Wisdom

there's Nothing holding you back

When I started in my career search so many years ago, I really didn’t know what I wanted from this life.  Like many young people, I was floating along and searching for the “perfect job” that pays the bills and made me feel good.

As a creative, it’s not a coincidence that I landed in the floral industry right out of college.  I knew someday I would become a floral designer and produce gorgeous weddings featured in all the big magazines.  After two years of answering phones and sending orders, I was anxious to finally design so I asked my employer to move me to the design floor.  To my surprise, he told me to put my design dreams to rest. He said I was better suited taking orders by phone.

I quit that day.  Although I didn’t know what I would do, or how I would do it, I believed in myself and my ability to do more.

In fact, it would take three years, but I eventually opened a beautiful boutique designing weddings in Central Florida. Early on we produced hundreds of weddings in our market and became a leader in beautiful flowers and design.  Yet, I still found myself unfulfilled.  As most owners know, having a business has challenges, and I wasn’t prepared for many of them. I spent hours tinkering with numbers, processes, and procedures.  It was a struggle.

I knew that there had to be a better way.

What I didn’t realize was that all that tinkering was preparing me for me my next step — and my next career, as the creator of a software platform that helps florists and designers streamline proposals, simplify payments and make designs more profitable.

There was a better way, but, first, I had to build it.

I thought about my big idea day and night, but for a long time, I pushed it down. I doubted myself. I waited for a big national company to come up with the idea themselves.  After a few years, I decided it was time for me to act.

I heard no again — a lot.

Even close family tried to deter me: “How can you do that?” “What do you know about technology?” Some people said my dream was too big, but I knew I had to try.

So, I did what I do best. I got to work.

While my floral design company was producing hundreds of events, I quietly planned and created after hours.  I arranged meetings with developers and business experts.  I took university courses, read business books, and even pitched in venture competitions (and won!). When I would introduce myself, I wouldn’t say “I’m a wedding florist.” I’d say, “I’m a software developer for the floral industry.”

One afternoon I was printing presentations and portfolios when I bumped into a former colleague.  “I can’t believe you’re still working on this idea,” they exclaimed.  I could have let the comment defeat me. Instead, it fueled me.  “Yes, I AM!” I exclaimed.  

When you want to achieve something big, you must believe in yourself first.

After years of risk-taking toward this wild idea, I’m so proud to be the CEO of Details Flower Software. Today, we help many of the world’s most talented florists achieve more with software that started with a dream, my dream.  It’s been a long journey filled with ups and downs, yeses and no’s, moments of defeat and feelings of joy and accomplishment.

The floral industry is a challenging industry. Whichever segment you’re working in, when you have a new idea, you’re going to hear “no” a lot. But this is also an industry that’s always changing, and we need those new ideas — your new ideas — to help us all thrive.

I’m proud to be part of this industry and proud to share in its entrepreneurial spirit.  If I can offer any advice to other aspiring entrepreneurs it would be this: Never give up. When your dreams may seem audacious or impossible, and no one believes in them, remember you are enough. You can do it. Dream bigger.

As featured in Viewpoint from Floral Management Magazine, September 2018 edition.

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