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$1,500 a gig: Aussie turns pandemic 'hobby' into a thriving side hustle

Laura was feeling "super stressed" in her day job and decided to pick up a floristry as a hobby.

When Covid-19 left us all housebound four years ago, many turned to creative hobbies as a reprieve from watching Tiger King on Netflix. But while your banana bread faux pas and humbling attempts at watercolour painting might be a distant memory, some Aussies are now making bank from their pandemic passion projects.

Laura did a beginners’ floristry course at Matthew Landers Academy in her home state of Perth, and discovered such a love for florals that she did the six month ‘industry ready’ course not long afterwards. She’s been doing paid work as a florist ever since.

Laura florist
Laura didn't think she would make any money from the hobby, but it ended up being a lucrative endeavour. (Source: Supplied)

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“I didn’t initially start floristry thinking it would make me any money,” she told Yahoo Finance, revealing herself as a true hobby-turned-hustle success story. “I was just super stressed in my day job and had no creative outlet or calming hobby.”

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Laura now makes money by doing floristry jobs for weddings or events herself, or by freelancing her skills to other florists who need assistance on bigger jobs.

“I don’t do huge jobs as it’s just me. But I also don’t really have overheads as I work out of my house and drive my own car,” she explains.

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Laura says can bank around $50 per hour when freelancing for other florists. When doing her own floral job as the sole florist, she can bring in $1,500 per wedding – but with all businesses, some of that goes back into supplies, equipment or further training.

“It depends how strict I am with my ordering,” she says, explaining the complexity of ensuring a job is profitable. “A lot of hours do go into the planning, prep and design.”

Laura’s blooming side hustle is a clever use of her nine day fortnight work pattern. This adapted working schedule is reportedly being piloted by some large corporations in Australia. Workers get one extra day off each fortnight, generally working five days one week and four days the next.

“I try to arrange my Fridays off with my weddings, so I have that whole extra day for prep,” she says.

Despite having this flexibility, Laura also heads off to wholesalers at 6am before her day job, or spends time prepping before leaving the house.

Laura florist wedding
Laura now makes money by doing floristry jobs for weddings or events herself, or by freelancing her skills to other florists. (Source: Supplied)

The savvy florist has been able to identify a niche that matches her passions and her schedule perfectly.

“Folks having smaller weddings like that I don’t have a minimum spend, and that I will even just do personal flowers for them, like bouquets and buttonholes for elopements.”

Minimum spends for wedding florals can be upward of around $4,000.

However, Laura notes that being able to work without minimum spends is only possible because she doesn’t rely on this for her sole income.

Despite Laura’s side hustle success, she warns those looking to start to be careful when monetising a hobby.

“Think about how you will feel about your hobby if you turn it into work. I don’t think we should feel the need to monetise every hobby.”

“Having said that, I do think I possibly enjoy the ‘making’ more than someone who has to live on the money,” Laura concludes. “It lets me be more creative than I would be with flowers otherwise and really stretch my skills.”

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