I am a special-education teacher who has been teaching for approximately 20 years.
I would like a career change and the one thing that attracts me is cultivating plants
and flowers. I would like to know what sort of measures would I be able to take to start a career or business that would allow me to do this. I have often
thought of having a business where I can grow and sell my own plants in a
greenhouse something similar to the nurseries they have alongside towns
and suburbs. However I have no background in this except for growing in
my own (small) garden.
The Career Doctor responds:
One of the first questions I ask people who desire a career change is to list
their hobbies interests and activities — the things they enjoy doing when not
working. It’s often from this list that we discover a career field worth
researching. I think switching from education to horticulture is possible
but before you finalize that decision I would also recommend examining
some of your other interests — just to see if there are any other career
paths worth investigating.
Once you decide on a career field the next step is research. Growing plants
these days is a science so I would recommend talking with an agricultural
agent with your county or state. I would also schedule informational interviews
with the owners/managers of several local nurseries. Once you have
developed these contacts you might consider volunteering or working
part-time on weekends or school holidays to get a taste for the work.
After you’ve completed your research and your trial work the next step is
whether you want to try and find work for an established nursery or horticulture
business or start your own business. Many former job-seekers and workers
have opted out of the workforce to start their own businesses — and some
have been more successful than others. You might see if there is a local
office of the Small Business Administration (or go to its Website) where
you can find critical resources that may help in your decision. And of course
if you are thinking of starting your own business you will need to speak with
your local government about zoning issues and permits/licenses.
Go to the Small Business