Joyce Garner: Turning Passion Into A Full-Time Job

When I graduated from high school, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to study in school. Unfortunately, instead of taking the time to think about what I really enjoy doing, I started looking for jobs that paid well, seemed pretty secure, and had a straight path to getting there.

... hence why I had a midlife crisis at the age of 19 when I realized I did not want to do what I was going to school for.

This week's INSPIRE guest is the perfect example of working a job that you actually love and are passionate about. Yes, it can be difficult at times, especially when you start your own business; however, I think it's so easy to see how much Joyce loves what she does and is willing to do whatever it takes to becomes successful.

Joyce started her own floral design business, Joyce Ann's, right after college. Give her interview a read and check out her amazing work on her social media!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself and what you do.

My name is Joyce Garner, and I grew up on a farm in Covington, Indiana. I recently graduated from Purdue University with a major in Agronomy crop and soil and a minor in Horticulture. In January of 2020, I officially launched “Joyce Ann’s” a floral design business. I do weddings, special events, workshops, and many other things! Basically you name it, I’ll figure out how to do it!

2. What is at the top of your bucket list?

This is a hard question... let me put it in 2 parts!

1. The top of my bucket list in terms of floral design would be to make a floral piece for a sitting President!

2. My personal bucket list would be to travel to Holland to see the famous tulip fields!

3. What are some of your hobbies that aren’t related to your work?

Honestly, flowers have always been a hobby of mine, but I have been blessed with the chance to turn it into a career! I feel really lucky to get to do what I love for a living! Other than flowers, I love to spend time with my best friends, family, and of course my pups (classic and boring)!

4. Explain your journey of starting your own floral design business while still finishing up a semester in college.

Wow, starting a business while finishing college, and having another job as a TA was HARD. However, I got to be a teaching assistant for the floral arranging class at Purdue, which was a blast! I spent probably 60% of my time in that building playing with flowers, it was my escape from school! My boss was an experienced florist so I was lucky enough to have an incredible mentor from the very beginning of my business! I just had to compartmentalize everything. Class during the week, homework in the evenings, and my business was strictly a weekend thing. I didn’t have much of a social life during that time, but I was excited to get a head start on my business, so it didn’t bother me! It was extremely difficult to balance everything, but I think I grew a lot in that time!

5. Did you always know you wanted to start your own business right away, or did you consider working for someone else before starting your own?

I strongly considered getting another job and doing flowers part-time. Honestly, I still struggle with that internal battle. (It’s about to get personal so beware) There were many people that thought I should get another job because “there’s no way you can make it financially without a second job." In some ways, they weren’t wrong, but to me, having to get a second job to compensate felt like I was failing. I wanted to and still want to make it solely off Joyce Ann’s. I don’t want anyone’s help. My mindset is that failure is NOT an option. Since graduating, it has been hard because there has been quite a bit of downtime. So, I wish I knew what I wanted to do, but I don’t. Making the decision to make my business part-time has caused me a lot of sleepless nights and puffy red eyes. However, I will do whatever it takes to make my dream a success even if that means I get a second job.

6. What was the hardest part of getting started and taking the leap of faith to just go for it?

The absolute hardest part has been the people who have doubted me. I would tell someone (usually an adult) about my plans to just go straight into my business, and they would give me a look of complete disgust. That broke my heart. There were so many adults that looked down on me. However, my family, friends, and long time boyfriend (Brendan) were my biggest cheerleaders! If it weren’t for them, I think the negativity would have gotten to me a lot more. I still get looks of disdain when I tell certain people about my chosen career path. What they don’t realize is that I have put so much of my heart, soul, time, money… that I will absolutely not give up.

7. If you could give one piece of advice to girls in their twenties, what would it be?

Don’t let ANYONE talk you out of pursuing your passion! Give it absolutely everything you have and keep your head held high. When people doubt you, just look them in the eyes, smile, and say “you’ll see." There is no better time to start a business than now! We are young, we know most people right now than we will ever again. We have social media for goodness sakes! Most of all trust your gut, pray about your decisions, don’t take anything lightly. At the end of the day, it is up to you to make sure your business is the best it can be.

8. Where can people find you and Joyce Ann’s?

Facebook: Joyce Ann’s

Instagram: @joyce.anns


If you're unsure about what you want to do in life, I encourage you to spend some time looking at what you've enjoyed doing in the past, try out new hobbies, and even shadow different jobs.

You don't have to rush into a decision.

It's crazy to me that we are supposed to pick our careers when we're only 18 years old. This will be what you do for your whole life, people!!

It's time to start actually enjoying what you're spending your life doing. I'm sure most of those people who give Joyce looks of disgust might have a little resentment or jealousy because they know she is actually working towards something she LOVES doing.

Is it going to be easy for her? heck to the no.

Is she doing what she loves doing? heck to the yes.

It's time to start putting back passion in the workforce. Not just something with a good salary, benefits, and a nice retirement. Don't settle for years of doing something that doesn't make you happy.

If you have any special event coming up, check out Joyce Ann's and shop local! Her work is so awesome!