How to Make Your Passion Project a Full-time Gig

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Could your blog become your business?

Beauty on a stick ☄️

A post shared by Lime Tree Bower by Helen Hung (@limetreebower) on

Helen Hung was always into crafts, so like a lot of hobbyists, she created a DIY blog in her spare time. A balcony garden and a trip to the Sydney Flower Markets triggered a true love for the floral world. When her best friend asked her to do the flowers for her wedding, Helen had the chance to test out this hobby as a serious gig and quickly realised how much she loved it. After completing a second friend’s wedding, Helen got the courage to take her hobby to the next level and started Lime Tree Bower, a floral design business. Besides creating beautiful floral arrangements, she also hosts workshops and is working on creating courses to teach others how they too can turn their floral passion into a business.

Here are Helen’s top tips for turning a passion into a professional gig:

Just start
I realised that my first hurdle in turning my hobby into a business was fear. It’s something that I only overcame when a friend asked me to do her wedding flowers and I pulled it off successfully. First wedding, first wedding arch – there’s always going to be a “first” for everything. Winging it in those scenarios is believing in your own skills and capabilities, and being confident enough to say, “Yes, I can do that”, and not letting fear or insecurities get in the way. I had to let go of the notion that everything had to be perfect. Just put it out there and get started. For me, this meant running my business out of my two-bedroom apartment while also working a full-time job.

I had to let go of the notion that everything had to be perfect. For me, this meant running my business out of my two-bedroom apartment while also working a full-time job.

Make the time
To take my hobby seriously as a business, the biggest investment I had to make was time. People always say to me that they don’t have the time. There’s never enough time. So you have to make the time to do what you love. For me, this meant sacrificing time spent on other things and re-prioritising parts of my life, so I could commit 100 per cent of my free time to the business. I said no to social outings unless it was super importantly, I had to stop my DIY blog and also spend less time on my gardening and crochet.

Fake it ’til you make it
With no previous work to display for potential clients, I found it challenging to make an impression in the wedding business in the beginning. So how do you show experience without experience? You fake it ’til you make it. I was winging it as a new business owner, but knew I had to be confident in my skills to show clients I was the real deal. When I started and didn’t have a portfolio, I would go to the flower markets and create that content myself – I’d design a bouquet, ribbon it up and take photos of it to share on social. Once I started to get bookings, I’d be sure to contact the client and photographer to ask for their imagery of my work, so I could start sharing that as well.

Get your name out there
Clients can be hesitant to work with new businesses. It takes doing what you can to experiment with new ways of getting exposure and work opportunities. I connected and collaborated with other creatives on social media and I did markets on weekends for some inexpensive marketing, and to create a professional presence before booking anyone. I also started with lower pricing in order to get my foot in the door with my first few weddings.

Happy New Year! Let’s do this thing 👊👊 #newyear #2017goals #2017

A post shared by Lime Tree Bower by Helen Hung (@limetreebower) on

Work smarter, not harder
As much as I love having complete control of my business, I know that it’s impossible for me to do everything alone as the business grows. For starters, unless you’re an accountant, getting one for tax and to save valuable time is vital. As soon as I took my business seriously, I decided to find an accountant. I also take advantage of mobile technology with apps designed specifically for small businesses. For sending professional invoices and accepting card payments, I use Invoice2go. Confluence is helpful for documenting and planning areas of my business like keeping track of clients’ wedding requirements, etc. My newsletters go out via Convertkit, while Instagram and Facebook have been monumental in promoting my work.

Lime Tree Bower continues to grow and flourish because of my total commitment to pursuing my passion and sticking true to my business’s philosophy, which is to help floral lovers cultivate their creativity and inspire them to follow their dreams.

Jenny’s bridal bouquet – congrats lovely! 👰🎉✌️😊 #tonyjen2017

A post shared by Lime Tree Bower by Helen Hung (@limetreebower) on

Emily

Absolutely love this advice! Really resonating with me and where I am at the moment with my creative ventures. Always love hearing people’s stories of how they turned their passions into a career.

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Tamie

So inspiring reading this. Right now I feel as Helen did n the beginning – fear! I’ve just got to take the leap.

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Kirsten Palmer-Jeffery

Completely agree with previous comments, this advice is great … especially about ‘just doing it and getting started’. Fear and perfectionism have got to be the biggest barriers to getting some great business ideas out there!!

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