Taking the Leap: LL floral

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Hi friends! My name is Lauren Lea Manhein, and I’m currently pursuing my own floral design business. A little over a year ago I was pushing this dream away because I was afraid that I wasn’t ready and that it wasn’t the right time. I was dreaming and talking about LL floral all of the time, but there was no execution happening. How do we know when it is the right time to pursue something? I have no idea, but over the past couple of years I have come to realize that this is not the right question to be asking. I’ve learned that there is no formula we have to determine when “the right time” is, and this phrase is often used as an excuse to not go after something because we’re afraid. That’s how I was using it at least. I haven’t always known that I wanted to start my own business, but it wasn’t until I stopped making excuses and started actually doing things that I realized not only that I wanted to do this but also that I totally could.

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I have always loved flowers, but even three years ago I would have never imagined pursuing starting my own business in the floral industry. I discovered that I wanted to pursue floral design as a career in one of my entrepreneurship classes in college. It took a lot of convincing from my professor and my peers to even play the “pretend entrepreneur” in my class, but I fell in love with it pretty quickly. I started writing business plans, making financial spreadsheets, and researching the floral industry like crazy, but I also was pushed to make arrangements and try to sell them. This was the scariest thing for me. I remember thinking of so many excuses not to. There’s the classic “I’m so busy”, or the natural thoughts of insecurity like “what if I don’t sell anything?” or “what if they hate my arrangements?” I made a bunch of arrangements and set up a table at a small boutique hoping I could maybe sell a few and get an idea of the reactions of my customers. I ended up selling out in about two hours and actually made a really great profit. This was such a great feeling and the moment when I realized that the only way that I will be able to move forward with my dream of running my own floral design business is if I stop making excuses and start doing. 

Before I started to actually make steps towards creating my own business, I was a victim  of the “it’s not the right time” mindset. I think we use this excuse a lot of times in life. Sometimes it’s about a relationship, a conversation we’re afraid to have, or a change we need to make. I could be the president of the “I’ll do it tomorrow” club (my roommates would confirm that). However, over the past couple of years as I’ve dreamed about floral design and what that could look like as a career I have had to learn how to grow out of this mindset. 

Looking back now I can see how afraid I was. Putting yourself out there is scary, and when you start to invest money and time into something it becomes even scarier. I once had a friend suggest to me that maybe on the other side of the things that we fear the most is something really awesome, and this has stuck with me everyday since. Amidst lots of encouragement from friends and family along with lots of prayers and Pinterest boards, I decided I really wanted to take some steps forward with LL floral. 

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I don’t even know if I can pick out a specific day or time, but at some point a little over a year ago I decided that I was tired of making up excuses. I spent a lot of time dreaming up ideas and talking to friends and family about wanting to start my own flower business, but I wasn’t doing anything about it. I think a huge part of my delay was not really knowing where to start. 

I decided an instagram account would be an easy first step. I had been posting random flower arrangements I had done on my personal account, but knew that I needed something separate for LL floral. Even though this seems small, having a separate business Instagram account felt like a big step for me. This account pushed me to start arranging more and to put my work out there. 

Things really started to pick up after this. I started booking weddings, participating in markets around Nashville, and spending more and more time working and focusing towards goals for LL floral. I really think that taking that first step (even though it was small) gave me so much confidence. I started reaching out to other florists asking if I could help with their weddings, I would message friends and family members just asking them to put my name out there, and all of these little steps led me to more opportunities. 

Since I made the decision to stop letting fear get in my way of moving forward with LL floral, I have had so many amazing opportunities, met so many great people, and have learned so much about the flower industry and starting my own business. I will not pretend like I have totally shaken the fear. There is so much more I want to do with LL floral! I still dream about growth and progress all of the time, but I still catch myself caught up in the fear of not being able to succeed, which can still hold me back from moving forward. However, since I have seen what moving beyond the fear and excuses can do, I always remind myself of how much I have learned and grown because I decided to just go for it! 

I have written down many thoughts and prayers about jumping into starting my own business and wanting to grow, and looking back over the past two years it is amazing how much the Lord has answered these prayers. I have done arrangements for six weddings over the past nine months and have booked seven already for the next season! I would have never thought I would be where I am today a year ago, and I still have so much more I want to achieve and learn.

I want to encourage anyone who is reading to think about what is holding you back. A lot of times, on the other side of our fear is so much growth and opportunity. I have spent a lot of time praying for confidence in and excitement for LL floral, and I have felt my perspective shift and grow so much. Some days are awesome and I’m like “Heck ya I’m good at this and I can do it!”, and some days are scary and defeating, but I always try to encourage myself to just go for it. Sure, failure is a possibility, but so is success. I’ve learned that it’s totally worth the risk either way!

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Check out Lauren Lea’s website and follow her journey on Instagram.

Jocelyn Youngdahl