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Britons are increasingly turning to side hustles to supplement their income and get by during the cost of living crisis. Some are able to take their initial money-making idea and turn it into a career which earns millions of pounds. Steph Douglas, the founder of online gift box company Don’t Buy Her Flowers, has achieved just that.
Ms Douglas began her (now) lucrative online gift box company around a decade ago in her spare bedroom.
At the time, she had no savings and was still working in a communications role but she is now turning over around £2.5million annually.
She started her business after the birth of her first child when she was inundated with flowers from loved ones.
After receiving many bouquets, she soon found herself surrounded by eight bunches of dying flowers.
This made her wish to have another gift instead, such as chocolate or a good book, which would be useful while she cared for her baby.
At this point, Ms Douglas decided to swap her spare bedroom for a warehouse and started a gift box company specialising in gifting anything but flowers.
Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she explained: “We turned profit within a few months, and reinvested everything back in the business continually.
“We’ve followed a pattern where we’ve grown – investing in people, operations and marketing – and then sales increase and then we invest again, and repeat.
“March 2020 to March 2022 saw us really test out the business, taking our turnover to £2.5million and enabling us to rebuild, improve our website and invest in a new stock management system without raising money.”
As well as this, the founder of Don’t Buy Here Flowers outlined some of the difficulties she faced when starting out.
Ms Douglas added: “It’s quite a leap to leave behind the comfort of a salary that is paid by someone else, as well as the infrastructure bigger employers tend to have.
“You start to look back fondly on the IT team as it can be really painful when you don’t have one.
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“Confidence is a big challenge, as well as the financial implications.
“You’re also doing all the roles at the beginning before you can afford to employ anyone, so that includes doing all the things you’re less good at as well as enjoying less.
“There comes a point where you have to make that switch and it will feel a bit painful initially but if you have the passion and belief in your idea, and importantly the numbers work, the leap will be worth it.”
According to Ms Douglas, there are certain things budding business men and women can do to better their chances of becoming successful and taking their side hustle to the next level.
The entrepreneur shared: “Be focused and very clear on what it is you want to do at the start, but don’t be so focused that you miss opportunities that might not be what or when you expected.
“There might be partnerships, hires, a pivot, or it might be customers telling you they want something different.
“It’s a balance to know where you want to get to but be willing to listen to what is going around you as that may well change the route you take.”
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