Garden Designer, Anna is sowing the seeds of success
Anna Butterfield’s garden has always been her sanctuary and is now the inspiration behind her new career. Here, Anna talks about her flourishing garden design business and explains how Successful Mums helped her tend the buds of her new venture.
Gardens have always been important to me and one of my earliest memories is the smell of cherry tomatoes in my grandfather’s greenhouse. I didn’t think about going into the landscaping sector when I was younger because it was never really presented as a career option, although that’s something the industry is trying to change now.
For years, I had a really stressful job in sales and marketing for a house builder. It’s a tough industry and I’d work long hours and often leave with a stinking headache. I remember getting home one evening and going straight into the garden to do a few jobs. I was tying up a clematis when I suddenly realised my headache had disappeared. It dawned on me then that this was what I ought to be doing.
My new career evolved gradually after I was made redundant. I totally redesigned my own garden following an extension and started doing a bit of gardening for my mum, as well as some design and planting for friends. I then did a couple of garden design courses and it grew from there. With my youngest about to start school last year, I wanted to hit the ground running, so I signed up for the Successful Mums Business Start-up course.
The course taught me to set realistic goals. When you start a business, you have all these ideas in your head and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much there is to do. Jane was very good at getting me to rationalise my ideas and pin down my business plan, which was something I’d never done before.
The best piece of advice Jane gave me was: don’t try to be everything to everyone. It can be very tempting to say yes to every job, which I’ve done in the past, but now I need to focus on what I want my business to be. That means sometimes saying no, so that I have the time to take on the more meaty design projects that I love, and Jane gave me the confidence to do that.
I have eight design projects on the go now and am looking to grow a little team! I don’t just want to design a garden, plant it and then disappear. I want to be able to offer after-care and make sure it reaches its full potential and I can’t do that on my own.
I’m really passionate about what I do and it’s been great being able to show my daughters that you can do a job you love. They’re eight and five and it’s important to me to be a role model for them. It’s hard to go back to work and juggle all that you want to do as a mum as well and I’m proud that I’m making it work.
I’m working hard but I love it. Last year I volunteered to work on a garden at the Hampton Court Flower Show, which won three awards. It was an amazing experience and really spurred me on. Gardens are so important to people’s wellbeing and, if I can help give someone a lovely space that they like going out into and can relax in, then that’s my ultimate goal.
You can find out more about Anna’s garden design business here.
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We love to showcase our fantastic mums, who continually create their own paths to success. Read some success stories and hear about their inspirational new careers and business ventures.