Anybody Can Sell a lot of Plants, and I Do Mean Anybody!
Tens of thousands of plants if that’s what your heart desires.
But . . . in order for that to happen you have to get off of the couch, out into the backyard and make it happen. You have to quit talking yourself out of this. It can and will work if you believe that it will.
I know what it’s like to have doubts. I have them right now, today. You need to grab me by the shoulders and say to me; “Mike, you’re good at this, you know what you’re doing, if anybody can make this work it’s you!”
We are embarking on something new in our business and as always it’s scary. I like things how they are, I’m nice and comfortable with the way things are. But I know we have to change. I know that I personally have to stick my neck out to take this business to the next level.
As an entrepreneur I’ve spent my whole life with doubts. Every time I’ve tried something new and different I’ve been plagued by doubts. But I’ve managed to push them aside and trudge ahead to realize another level of success.
Your friends, your neighbors, your family, your co-workers, even your spouse will give you 100 reasons why this won’t work. They’re wrong. They’re just flat out wrong and you have to, if not physically, but at least mentally, pull your self away from “stinkin thinkin” people. (You were the best Zig Ziglar! and you are missed)
We are embarking on the greatest, most productive season of the year, spring! Here in Ohio early June is the time to start making softwood cuttings. Warmer state? You can start around mid May for sure. Don’t miss this grand opportunity.
Quit watching the news! Quit listening to people who are more than happy to tell you how bad it is out there. How there are no jobs to be had. Nonsense! The economy is very much on the up swing, I see it everywhere I look. Commercial building is going crazy! New houses going up. It’s not just here in Ohio. It’s everywhere, but you can’t see if you are predisposed to believe that things are bad.
You have to believe that there is an opportunity like none before in front of you right now!
Around here we have a local company that is so desperate to hire mig and tig welders that they’ve taken to hiring unskilled people to stand on busy intersections holding signs stating what positions they can’t fill.
I couldn’t help but think, if the guy that is holding the sign would go to the welding school right down the road he could land himself a good, skilled job. I know, I know . . . people are going to give me a hundred reasons why that isn’t possible. It isn’t possible because the person holding the sign isn’t trying desperately to find a way to make it happen. If he or she were, they’d be welding right now!
Anyway, I’m jumping up and down on this soap box only to tell you this. I’m excited for the nursery business. When the economy crashed in 2008 it shook out a lot of nurseries, big and small that were hanging by a thread. The strong nurseries, those that were not burdened with debt, hung on and are profiting like crazy right now.
This is creating huge opportunities for small growers like you and I.
You have to trust me on that.
What about those big box stores? What did they do? They came into town and made a big splash, they scared off a lot of small retail plant sellers. Many, many independently owned garden centers have closed up in the last 20 years.
What does that mean for me and you? Opportunity. We have very little overhead, we can compete with anybody in the business. We might not be able to crank out 270,000 Rhododendron liners this year, but we certainly can sell the ones that we do grow.
Landscapers? What’s this mean for them? They will end up paying more for their plants. It’s the good old fashioned rule of supply and demand. A friend of mine that sells for one of the biggest growers around told me a few weeks back; “We are no longer discounting our plants to sell them like we have been in years past. There are shortages, lots of plants in short supply. We are selling at full wholesale price today!”
That’s going to affect the landscapers and garden centers, especially those that are independently owned. They hate being strong armed by their suppliers! They are flat out tired of that!
They want to buy from somebody like you!
Trust me, when the economy is strong and nursery sales are strong, it’s gets really, really difficult for smaller landscapers and plant retailers to buy the plants they need. The big growers that were rolling out the red carpet for them post 2008 suddenly aren’t that interested in their small checks any more.
It’s really a form of discrimination that is not protected by any federal laws. Small check book? We can’t be bothered with you. Don’t believe me? Trust me it’s true. I dealt with it for years as a small landscaper. I sought out people just like you to buy from because of that.
To this day I much prefer to buy from small growers, many who are my customers! I love buying from my customers. The prices are good, the plants are really, really nice and the service is excellent. With them I’m not a number with a really small checkbook.
Alright Mike, Shut Up!
The secret to selling lots and lots of plants is simple.
1. You have to grow them. If you don’t grow them you can’t sell them.
2. You have to make a physical and out right commitment to your cause. You can’t hide in the shadows and invent reasons why right now is not the time for you.
3. You have to tell people what you do. Make that commitment and wear it on your sleeve.
“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it. Begin it now.”
It is my hope this inspires somebody to change their life and take an action that they’ve been reluctant to take.
My “Backyard Cash Machine” quick-start guide is right here!
Questions, comments, post them below.
Hello mike i just joined ur business last month n can’t do anything now cuz im living in the city n an apt…hopeful soon i move upnorth n have some space to grow.
As of now im curious abt the flower called gardenia..ive always love that smell n try to care for it indoor. I failed 2 times cuz it won’t open its bud n fall off the stem? I know its need acidity n sunny spot n might be picky when being move. Help me understand this n would like to uses that in business.
I don’t know a lot about gardenias because they don’t grow here in the north. But I do know that even in the south they are challenging to propagate. Wish I could offer more info.
I so enjoy your very informative newsletters. Your style of writing is informal and comfortable and easy to understand.
My question is about the potentilla. After you have rooted the cuttings, how long before you plant them? Do u plant them singly or a bunch together. Thx.
I am planning on ordering your book, tonight!
Cuttings stuck in June are usually rooted in 4 to 6 weeks, Potentilla is actually much faster than most. Once rooted they can be potted or planted in bed. We only put one cutting per pot.
f nord says
Awesome quote, and no truer words spoken …. but just a heads up: the author is not Goethe, but William Hutchinson Murray, from The Scottish Himalayan Expedition..”
del bouton says
Hi Mike, is it possible (really) to sell small plants in N.B. Canada in a profitable way? Thanks for your input. DEL
What plants or trees do you recommend for region 8b, south texas. I just ordered your book, looking forward to making money with your info. Thanks mike
For the most part look at what the retailers are selling and stocking a lot of. They know what does well and sells well in your area. But there is an extensive list in my “Small Plants, Big Profits” book.
Carol Page says
You make me laugh! Love your honest, down to earth advice!
Moving to this property 37 years ago, the west boundary had little forsythia bushes, almost knee high along 65-75′ before it met the woods. Today, the border of forsythia is about 25′ deep from my yard to the neighbors. Looks like a big yellow wall, ‘a swath of butter’ for two or three weeks. I’ve sold some plants, given away many, many more and stuck branches all around my yard and the park across the road!
What does it take to get people to beautify their yards with so little effort? I’m a Realtor and give plants (also have tons of Rose of Sharon) at all Open Houses and to sellers and buyers! I love sharing my plants, but would like to see some income along the way! My mantra is ‘Take care of the land, and the land will take care of you!’
Take care and keep up the good work! I’ve been enjoying your videos for several years!
My dad would have so enjoyed your company!
Some people strive to make their yards nicer, some don’t. We let people know what we have, they show up and bring others.
Thank you for all of your great information that you share. Every post I have ever read of yours is something I was just wondering about, or as this last one I am going threw it. I am just opening The 4 Elements, in Idaho Falls something that I have wanted but have been to afraid to jump in all the way. In or around 2008 I could order small amounts if house plants and herbs. I have been in the phone all week to every distributor, the one that is only 2 hours from me won’t even talk with me! Finally I found 2 different wholesaler a that are more than 5 hours away that might consider me. I want to propergate! That has always been the plan.You are right! If it’s ment to be it’s up to me. I have land, I know people with land and not power, with 2 greenhouses each 1000 sq ft.I am excited to read your new book. I am sure it is full of great info and ideas. Thank you for making it available it all of us that appreciate how hard you work and what you do for us. Do you have any ideas on how to keep the greenhouse warm now in the cold idaho spring, and cool in are dry hot summers? Also I transplanted maple saplings last summer they all died. Is there a chance they just went dormant early and they might come back this summer? I would hate to plow them up if they have a chance.
the sapplings are probably gonners, they can’t be dug mid season. You can check them now. This is how you test to see if a plant, or a branch on a plant has died. Just scratch the bark of your plants with your finger nail. If the tissue below the bark is green and firm your plants are fine. If the tissue is brown and mushy that part of the plant is dead.
Keep in mind I have no greenhouse, I do everything outside without a greenhouse. If things need a greenhouse I don’t grow them. That’s mostly because they are so difficult and costly to heat. During the summer greenhouses can get really hot so might consider doing more outside. Automated vents and large fans are what most growers use along with shade cloth. Winter heat? You need a good furnace and an insulated greenhouse.
Richard Irish Jr. says
Hello Mike; To start—I enjoy Your Site emensily,and it has helped this 74 year old man with His small garden in our City Yard.. In Me own opinion—-Stick with what is right! I have a Farmer Friend (Who raises Beef Cattle) and as he once said (Quote) A Farmer dosen’t have a fertilizer company come out and fertilize his property until they are well aware of what His needs are acording to what He is going to plant. In other words One (1) size dose not fit all. Thanks for the Good work You do and Keep up the Good Work. Signed Mr. Richard A. Irish Jr.
Thank you Richard, I appreciate your support.
Al Simpkins says
Mike , you mention the big box stores re; plants.
I check our close, nearby Walnart at least once a week and this is what I see.
Many blooming plants in 1 qt. containers ranging from $3.97 and up to 44.95.
Question: How can we compete with their prices that are lower than ours at the suggested $4.97?
We will have our portable trailer nursery in place in May and hope we can make it work!
What do you derive from this? Your take!
We are having a large foreclosure yard sale and it will be part of it as we expect many lookers and hopefully buyers.
The secret is simple growing really nice plants, offer them for $4.97 and let people know that you have them. They’ll buy them. People don’t price shop as much as you think and as backyard growers we often offer plants at $4.97 in a much smaller pot than what they do. For instance, Red Twig Dogwood. My price? $4.97 Big Box price? $22.00 in a 3 gallon. People love the smaller pots.
Chris Starnes says
How do I get the word out to others of my plants..
This is a question for the members area. There are a handful of things that I can’t publicly discuss on this blog, and detailed marketing info is one of those things. However, in the members area, http://backyardgrowers.com/join, we discuss this in great deal on a regular basis. You will learn every secret that not only I use, but those of the other members as well.
And of course I also share a great deal in the university as well, that’s on this page. https://mikesbackyardnursery.com/2015/10/backyard-nursery-tools-of-the-trade-things-to-turn-you-into-a-successful-grower/
Al, one thing I know is that Wal Mart and similar operations don ‘t necessarily sell what grows best in your area. They sell whatever the wholesaler has the most of at the lowest price. Lots of people of my acquaintance here in Albuquerque buy tomato plants at ig box stores, and then complain that they don’t get enough out of the plants they grew. Buy from a REAL local nursery, and you’ll get varieties that will grow best in your climate, with resistance to those diseases most common in your soil…
Taking charge and doing it is so true Mike!
In California 28 years ago, my wife’s parents had a yard full of various fruit trees, from Cheramoya to Avocado, and from Lemon to Walnut. Year after year, they rarely availed themselves of the bounty, but gave away much of it to neighbors. After marrying my wife and seeing what they had, I tried to get them to offer the harvests to their local grocery stores, but they felt they couldn’t compete with the big suppliers.
Well, as they had both Fuente and Hass avocados, I loaded as much as I could fit into the back of my pickup and headed out for markets, restaurants, and every ‘mom-and-pop’ store I could find. Avocados back then were selling at around 3 for a dollar in the stores. I planned to offer them at SIX for a dollar, and these were much bigger and better than anyone had seen before, not just baseball size, but close to GRAPEFRUIT size. I planned on going to at least a dozen places, but it turned out the first place I went was a major chain grocery 5 blocks away. To make a long story short, as I was parked in front near the entrance, people began asking if the avocados were for sale to anyone. Within about 1/2 hour, I was cleaned out! The store’s customers bought around 1/3 of them at 4 for a dollar before the store manager was able to get them all unloaded and moved into the store.
When I got back, my father-in-law was flabbergasted when I handed him $625 cash. Today, with prices at $1.50 and more for ONE, that would have been around $4,000!
Did almost the same in Arizona with Jacaranda and Mimosa tree cuttings. We had dozens of the trees already growing around the house and in a few places on the 3 acres. As I was getting a lot of compliments on how pretty they were when in full bloom, I started taking cuttings and rooting them. Next thing you knew, I was selling first season rooted cuttings at $5.00 which were around 24 to 30 inches tall, and second season 5 foot tall ones for $15.00. Larger ones were actually BID for! One Jacaranda that was around 15 feet tall and in full bloom actually sold for $100! And, that lady paid me another $100 to deliver and plant it for her.
Now, I’m in Oklahoma and doing Hydrangea and Forsythia cuttings, heirloom strawberry, garlic, cilantro, tomato, cucumber, zucchini, bell pepper, and Marigold seedlings, and Coreopsis and Scabiosa 4 inch potted starts.
Just doing it on a small scale for now, but plan to expand it once more people find out about it and where I am. Only made $1,400.00 in about 1/2 hour on one day last spring.
Still can’t get over how easy it is and how little time it takes. Given the right conditions, NATURE WILL DO IT FOR YOU!
Forgot to mention that I also did seedlings of the Jacaranda and Mimosa trees. Even sold the seed pods! Biggest problem I had was getting enough pots in the sizes I needed.
Thank you for your inspiring story or stories! You’re right, it’s all about taking charge and getting it done.
Bill Lyman Sr says
Dear Mike, really love your videos and have learned a lot from them. I’m 77 yrs of age and already have tried a few of your plantings and things are doing good. I’m planning on getting your kit for $47.00 as soon as I can get it together. Being on a fixed income,Social Security, Seems like everytime I get some together whoosh here it goes. Anyway keep up the good work, my family thinks I made a new friend I’m always talking about Mike. Thanks again…..Bill Lyman Sr
Thank you Bill, I appreciate you sticking with me and listening to what I have to say!
Boy Mike I’m impressed!!! My drug induced ramblings never make this much sense. In fact the last I had involved unicorns and angels. Thanks for your continued support!
I did have to fight off the unicorns and angels to get this written.
So what was it that you said that was supposed to be so upsetting ???? Read it twice, couldnt discern that part … Sounded to me that you were just talking about “LIFE” … be it growing plants … or working with HORSES …. which is the area in my life that I have to stand myself back up DAILY after Ive been kicked into the ground by all the naysayers … so I can SEE and HEAR my own HEART speaking …. instead of all the NEGATIVE BALONEY that EVERYONE on the face of the earth (seems like) is trying to shove down my throat, in order to DIS-courage me from achieving my horsey dream. Doctor just prescribed Ativan and Paxil for anxiety attack at Emergency Room, cuz my HEART couldnt deal with the STRESS LEVELS that everyone else keeps shoveling on top of me. So …. there. Carry on, MIKE !!!! Carry on !!!!
Thanks Jandee, I appreciate your support.
I purchased your course a few days ago and I’m really enjoying it.
Here’s my question: I am planning on selling my house and moving away from where I live by late autumn. Do you have any suggestions as to what I could do that would produce quick results and some profit in such a short amount of time? I am in zone 5 right now.
If you are not going to move until fall you can root cuttings this summer and sell them before you move. Or you can take those rooted cuttings with you, pot them up and sell them for a lot more in the fall or the spring. Spend a lot of time going over the “Small Plants, Big Profits” book, there is a wealth of information in that book.
Thanks Mike. Love this stuff.