On the Job

Before I understood as much about flowers as I do now, I was not as prepared for freelance jobs.  I didn't understand what they could entail, or what would be readily available to me on site.  I still knew that being 10 minutes early is a great way to feel more prepared.  I feel best when I can really get my bearings in a new location: where is the bathroom, where is the water source for my flowers, what does my workspace look like, where will the flowers be going, etc.  Getting your bearings can make for a more efficient workday.  When you arrive, if you don't see where something is, and you want to know, then ask!  Don't be afraid to ask.

Freelancing for the lovely Amy Young of Leaves of Grass Floral Design.

Freelancing for the lovely Amy Young of Leaves of Grass Floral Design.

Now that I've gained a ton of knowledge from working at Falls Flowers and for freelancing for lots of different people, I've come to learn that a well stocked tool kit and full lunchbox really make a difference in how well a day of freelancing goes for me.  Priorities, you guys.  Cheerios, fruit, a granola bar, and a full canteen of water make a big difference when you're not sure when lunch will be, if there will even be much time for lunch at all.  Coffee is nice to bring sometimes, but I usually don't.  I enjoy taking the time to drink my coffee, so it often just gets cold and sits there.

When you arrive at your freelance job, there may not be supplies that you are ordinarily used to having.  And sometimes the most basic floral tools may not be available to you!  So bringing your own kit is a habit that I now recommend strongly.  (There will be a blog post on this shortly, so stay tuned.  I say that a lot.  But I mean it.  Stay tuned.)

Before you really begin working on site, survey your materials and evaluate your assignment.  How much time on average can you devote to each piece of work?  Will you need to budget your time tightly, or do you feel comfortable with the task at hand?  In terms of flowers, how much product do you have to work with?  You may have to budget out the flowers along with your time.  And for the assignments you must complete, is there a recipe you are having to follow, or do you have a bit more creative license?

A lot of this might sound vague, but freelance jobs can kind of be vague before you really get into getting a lot of them.  Working for the same people is comforting in that way - you begin to really understand what they're looking for, and you get familiar with each other.  

When freelancing, I've gotten big bonus points for being efficient and speedy.  As I've worked longer for a retail florist, I've gotten faster at making arrangements and other floral designs.  This is a huge bonus to the person hiring you to freelance.  I've been lucky enough to work for kindhearted and intelligent folks who have hired me for an entire's day work, I've finished early, and still been paid for the entire day.  They saw the value in giving a good worker a fair payment, and ensured that I would want to continue freelancing for them in the future.

Visiting Jig-Bee Flowers in Kensington.  Their product is just amazing and Cassie and Justin are the sweetest people you'll meet.

Visiting Jig-Bee Flowers in Kensington.  Their product is just amazing and Cassie and Justin are the sweetest people you'll meet.

You won't always be in close proximity during your job with the person who has hired you.  Sometimes you'll be in a greenhouse for the day working on your own, and your employer will be working on a different aspect of the project elsewhere.  But, if you do happen to be near the person who hired you, ask for their feedback once you've completed a bit of the work.  Make sure you're completing the task up to their specifications.  If you're not great at receiving constructive feedback and corrections, you probably aren't ready to freelance.

So the job is done.  What should you do after it's over?