Name: Autumn Reid
Location: Scotts Valley, CA, USA
Business Name: Autumn’s Blossoms
WHAT IS YOUR BUSINESS?
We are a husband-and-wife run company servicing weddings all over California and beyond! We are known for our attention to detail, quick responses, clear communication, and flexibility. Our designs have been featured in multiple publications and we take the time to thoroughly understand our client’s vision and work tirelessly to make it come to life!
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR OWN BUSINESS?
I wouldn’t say I was necessarily inspired to start my business. Creating and running a successful business requires an abundance of time and attention to do it right, which I hadn’t yet had. It ultimately came down to me being able to dedicate all my time to grow it, and when we were finally in a financially sound position, I took the leap of faith I had been clinging to and quit my 9-5!
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR INDUSTRY OR NICHE?
Being a floral designer wasn’t something I dreamed of since I was a little girl. In fact, aside from a few classes I took arranging flowers as a kid, I never really considered it. I was determined to leave my 9-5, my health was going by the wayside and I was just generally depressed.
My life (aside from my marriage) was nothing like I had ever envisioned it- I had no degree, and didn’t really want one; I was struggling to find some direction- a path to freedom, balance, and peace. I was searching for professional programs, something I could build a business around.
After having landscaped our entire front and back yards, I was considering pursuing that, but it still didn’t feel right. I finally came across the Floral Design Institute in Portland, Oregon, and researched what it took to be a designer.
The mental fog that had been bogging me down dissipated and cleared- THIS was it! I was always great working with my hands, technical skills always came easy to me, I would have the ability to build a business with little overhead, and there were opportunities GALORE.
DO YOU DO THIS FULL TIME? IF YES, WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE THIS? IF NO, WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
Yes, I have been operating my business on a full-time basis for two years! I skipped around in several different industries: I started working at fifteen, running a farmer’s market booth for two different farms and stayed there for three years. From there I moved on to a local coffee shop chain as a Barista, then left to another coffee shop later on.
My boyfriend (now my husband) and I moved to San Jose, CA after I got a position at a painting contractor as a Marketing Administrator. We later came back to Scotts Valley and I started working as a Client Service Representative and supervisor for a national bank. I eventually left the bank and took a position in childcare. From there I took the leap into my own venture!
DID YOU GO TO COLLEGE? IF SO, WHAT DID YOU STUDY?
I did go to college for a few years but dropped out at 19. I had finished up high school early and started going to college at 16- jumped around from major to major, while loving some various aspects of what I was learning- nothing ever felt right and I couldn’t commit to something I wasn’t really in love with.
HAVE YOU ALWAYS WANTED TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR? WHY OR WHY NOT?
By the time I graduated high school, having already been in college full-time for two years- I had no idea what I wanted to do. I had been pressured for years to get a college degree, convinced that I NEEDED it to be successful. I was brainwashed into thinking that if I didn’t have a piece of paper qualifying me for any career I ever wanted, I would never get it. That doesn’t mean that this is the right path for everyone, I certainly agree that degrees are powerful tools that CAN help you get where you want to go- it just wasn’t for me. I dropped out of college. I was done- I no longer saw a point to it- I had already wasted a lot of my time skipping around in different majors. At that point, I saw a future for myself as an entrepreneur.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST LESSONS YOU’VE LEARNED SINCE STARTING YOUR BUSINESS?
- For starters- don’t underestimate anyone. People can be clever and take advantage without you even realizing it.
- Springboarding off of that, protect your plans and business ideas with YOUR LIFE. It is all too easy for someone to take your idea and run with it- and poof, it’s gone.
- WORK ON YOUR WORKFLOW. Your time is money. Literally. Make sure your workflow is as efficient as possible. This not only benefits you but your client as well and they will have a generally better experience.
WHAT HAS SURPRISED YOU THE MOST ABOUT ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
I was prepared for most things business-related and always carried the right mentality. What definitely surprised me the most is how alone I felt at first. I felt like most of my family and friends were just waiting for me to fail, and despite how easy it is to support entrepreneurs in today’s social climate- it wasn’t happening. I felt that people wouldn’t understand the struggles I was facing. Everyone seemed indifferent or generally unimpressed with something I was SO passionate about.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING ENTREPRENEURS?
This lifestyle is not for the faint of heart. You will reach some very high and low places.
1) Find yourself a support system- people that believe in you, people that believe in your aspirations, people that build you up.
2) Get to know others in the industry you are trying to break into. You will find most are almost too happy to help you and see you succeed!
3) Don’t get lost in the social media following trap. Numbers don’t equal revenue. You want quality over quantity. A strong following will take time to build, and the best thing you can do is be transparent, honest, and passionate- that needs to be seen by your audience and your following WILL grow.
4) I said this before and I’ll say it again- PROTECT YOUR IDEAS. Do not share details of business ideas with others- it is all too easy for someone to steal your idea and run with it. I’ve seen it happen too many times.
5) Never stop working on personal development and growing as an individual! Attend those workshops, sign up for those retreats, and buy that Self Help book!
HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH SETBACKS AND IMPOSTER SYNDROME?
I don’t really look at setbacks like major problems, because truthfully when facing setbacks or hiccups, we tend to become our most creative selves. I view it as an opportunity to grow, to find creative solutions, and to learn more about myself.
WHAT DO YOU LOVE THE MOST ABOUT BEING A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR AND DOING WHAT YOU DO?
I love the community- I have crossed paths with so many wonderful and inspiring individuals. There is such a bright and constant energy that being an entrepreneur brings to my life. I ultimately love the feeling of cultivating ideas, of being a multi-passionate, success-driven entrepreneur!
IF YOU WEREN’T A CREATIVE ENTREPRENEUR, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?
Digging my grave.
WHAT DOES SUCCESS MEAN TO YOU?
Success isn’t what or how you achieve- it’s what you do with the feeling achievement gives you!
Success is continuing to grow a flourishing business. Success is that moment where I realized I had made it- that it is finally REAL. Success is the day I broke down balling my eyes out because it finally hit me that I DID IT- I built a business from and with NOTHING. Success is being able to sleep in if I want. Success is booking trips around the world. Success is forming lasting relationships with equally passionate and dedicated people. Success is creating something beautiful. Success is helping others reach their goals. Success is the journey.
WHAT IS YOUR WHY?
I truly love being an entrepreneur. I don’t just do it for the money, or the recognition- I do it because I have a message. I have knowledge to share, feelings to instill in others, empowerment to spread within our community, and the promise to the younger generation that it is possible to achieve whatever they desire no matter their background, circumstance, personal history or struggles.
IMAGINE IT’S A YEAR FROM NOW AND YOU’RE CELEBRATING WHAT A GREAT YEAR IT WAS FOR YOUR BUSINESS. WHAT WOULD YOU HAVE ACHIEVED?
I would have:
- Booked two high-end weddings per month for the entire year.
- Launched the new brand I am developing for female entrepreneurs.
- Been published by a major publication like Forbes or HuffPost.
- Started writing my book.
WHO IS YOUR ROLE MODEL/WHO DO YOU LOOK TO FOR INSPIRATION AND WHY?
I have always been a fiercely independent person so I wouldn’t say I have a role model. I draw inspiration from the world around me- from other entrepreneurs, from nature, from books. There is so much in this world to be inspired by, you just have to be patient, quiet, and let it all soak in!
WHO HAVE BEEN THREE OF THE BIGGEST SUPPORTERS ON YOUR BUSINESS JOURNEY?
- My husband. He is my best friend and life partner. He has stuck with me through it all- the highs AND the lows, and continues to inspire me, rally behind me, and motivate me!
- My dad. As the person who has known me the longest, he has given me powerful insight and guidance. He is a steadfast supporter of everything I have fought for, and I cherish him greatly!
- My few close friends. I have always had difficulty finding real friends, but through my life, I have found some wonderful people that lift me up!
WHEN YOU’RE NOT WORKING, WHAT DO YOU LIKE TO DO?
I love traveling, even if it’s just a day trip- changing up your scenery is so important for your mental health. My husband and I go on coffee dates regularly- it’s our “thing.” When I am alone and have some free time, I tend to just wander around. There is something magical about moving through time with no real purpose or direction. I generally find a nice quiet spot, plop myself down with my notebook I always carry with me and jot down ideas or thoughts. I also enjoy reading, writing, gardening, and hanging out in bookstores!
WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS AN INTROVERT OR AN EXTROVERT? HOW DO YOU THINK THAT IMPACTS YOUR BUSINESS?
I would say I am a little of both. Being introverted affects me when I go to group functions or networking events. It is more difficult for me to start a conversation with someone I have never met. Being extroverted definitely helps me land clients, it is much easier to turn on the charm when you are passionate about and interested in the conversation!
WHEN DO YOU FEEL THE MOST PRODUCTIVE? ARE YOU AN EARLY BIRD OR A NIGHT OWL?
Generally, at night, which is difficult to roll with sometimes because I also like getting up early, I am just less creative and thoughtful in the morning. There is a balance you have to strike.
DO YOU HAVE TIPS FOR STAYING PRODUCTIVE WHILE WORKING FROM HOME?
There are days when being at home will NOT inspire you– and generally, you will know it the second you roll out of bed. It is really important to break up your day and get out of the house for a bit: go for a run, check out that yoga class you keep telling yourself to make time for, take a walk in nature, or get lunch with some friends!
It is also important to create an environment that stimulates thought. My office is painted bright colors, I have lots of houseplants, and I keep it clean- decide what helps you work and make your space your own!
WHAT IS A BUSINESS TOOL YOU CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT?
Canva is my absolute favorite. I can do just about anything with it! From creating style boards to marketing graphics- it is an amazing, multifunctional design platform (and it’s FREE!).
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE OR AFFIRMATION?
“Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.” – C.S. Lewis
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE PODCAST?
At the moment, I love listening to the Goal Digger Podcast by Jenna Kutcher!
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE BUSINESS OR PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT BOOK?
DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BLOG?
She Owns It is a great one!
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Katie Jenison is a freelance writer offering copywriting, blogging, and ghostwriting services. She works closely with home builders, remodelers, interior designers, real estate and property management professionals to help them create content marketing strategies, improve their digital presence, generate leads, and engage with their target audience. Katie also helps freelance writers and creative entrepreneurs pursue their dreams of working from home by providing tips and advice, business strategies, and writing tips on her blog, The Quiet Type. Download her free workbook, A Freelancer’s Guide to Setting Rates, here.