My short bio: One fateful Friday morning, I saw a photo of a little flowerpot made with fired and retrieved hollow point bullets posted to /r/woahdude. I have a background in shooting, tinkering, and artistic stuff, and I knew immediately that I could start a business off of the hollow point flower concept. The a amazing power of the internet, Reddit, and social networking in general, allowed me to build this website in no more than 3 hours and create a business in 4 weeks that rivals my engineering day job!

So after 4 weeks, I've made the biggest decision of my life, and I'm taking the big plunge into the entrepreneurial abyss. No more job security! No more steady paychecks! This is scary!

My Proof

Edit: Wow, this totally blew up! I'm seeing this post near the top of /r/all! I'm having a tough time typing because my hands are shaking. Here's coupon code for you Redditors: REDDITROCKS It'll get you a free bullet flower magnet with each order. I've been working on the magnet prototypes, and I wasn't planning on selling them for a while, but I'll do something a little crazy and give you the first "shot" at them. If you've already placed an order with me this morning, but didn't have the coupon code, use the contact form on my site to email me and I'll upgrade your order. Finally, there's no way I can fill all these orders right away (especially with Mother's Day coming up), so please understand that it may take me up to 1 month to ship your items. Thanks everyone!!!

Comments: 3463 • Responses: 31  • Date: 

TheXanatosGambit2106 karma

Why didn't you decide to ease into it? I.e. hold onto your steady job until you got a ballpark idea of how much money you'll be bringing in.

(And as a fellow software developer and entrepreneur, I truly wish you all the best!)

Less_Govt_Please1370 karma

Great question! I've always been that kind of person that rides the fine line between being bold and being stupid. I could definitely ease into it a bit more, but I have this constant pain in my gut that if I don't get on this thing right away and make it as big as I can as fast as I can, someone else out there will beat me to it.

On top of that, I'm pretty burnt out at my day job. Being an entrepreneurial type, you might be able to understand my longing to be my own boss, instead of making money for someone else. I've tried to make myself be happy writing code, but it's just gotten harder and harder over the last 5 years. Maybe getting a quick taste of success from my own business has been such a breath of fresh air that I'm more prone to make rash decisions.

Finally, I have 3 part-time employees at Bullet Bouquets right now, and I'm running it out of my house/garage. In order to move the employees to full-time, I really need to be home most of the time. Bullet Bouquets might not make me the same money in my first year that I'm accustomed to in my day job, but when I get my 8 hours each day back, I can grow the business much faster.

kyanwan1170 karma

Former Entrepreneur here. I worked for myself for 15 years. I work for someone else right now. ... ... ... while carefully planning my next moves.

I wouldn't have done what you did.

You should have given it at least a year.


Not planning your taxes can kill your business in its 1st year.

You're going to have a very rude awakening in the form of self-Employment tax, if you've never paid it before. Save about 20% of your income - and don't touch it. That stuff - kiss it all goodbye come next April 15th. You should also consider making 1040ES payments as well - just so you don't get bit by really big & ugly surprises. You'll still probably owe more tax on top of that.

The USA has very punishing taxes for business owners. You'd think the Gov't would go easier on those of us who create jobs. :(


A clarification ; this Schedule C "SE" tax is an additional amount on TOP of your regular personal income tax. People who haven't run a business, don't expect it. So - if you were thinking "I'm only paying 35% tax this year" - you'll have a shock of a Schedule C SE Tax which is another 20%+ added to that 35% - bringing it up to 55% overnight.

You can make as little as $40K-50K and end up paying nearly half of your income out in taxes if you're not careful. So, careful planning is something to do.

Less_Govt_Please836 karma

My wife's a CPA who already owns her own business. She says she agrees with your "BEWARE SCHEDULE C". She's got my back come tax season.

devkitt469 karma

His wife is a CPA. Nothing to worry about then. haha

Less_Govt_Please498 karma

Seriously, it's a huge weight off my shoulders to be able to run all business decisions past a CPA and understand the ramifications before acting. How many small business owners get the same luxury?

iEuphoria884 karma

Is your wife single?

Less_Govt_Please214 karma

I'm not sure. I'll ask!

windershinwishes93 karma

That's a relief. How are you structuring the business? Sole proprietorship, LLC?

Less_Govt_Please110 karma


goatamousprice347 karma

From a business standpoint: are you already at the point where you need 3 full time employees? If so, that's impressive growth.

s3b_465 karma

I'm imagining 3 dudes firing hollow point bullets into a steel wall the whole day. :D

Less_Govt_Please433 karma

So I did shoot 3000 rounds over the weekend. Blisters and cuts all over my right hand. ...but I have flowers to last a while now!

zwiebi599 karma

So I guess there actually is a legitimate business reason to get a gatling...

Lynchie24663 karma

Best tax write-off of all time.

Less_Govt_Please467 karma

My business does own two Glocks. If I decide to go suppressed, my business will own suppressors (silencers)! When that thought first occurred to me, I smiled for about half a day.

brandontb925 karma

Where a decent pair of gloves. Always helps me. Especially with larger caliber handgun rounds (.45, .44, .357 etc..)

Less_Govt_Please2 karma

The problem is that everything gets wet, so your hand gets all pruny after 2 hours of mag dumps. My hope is that callouses will start to build. That or I figure out how to stay completely dry...

Metalheadzaid245 karma

The employees are his children and wife.

It's obvious!

Less_Govt_Please552 karma

Haha, nope, they're legitimate other people! Technically there are 5 employees if you include me and my wife. My newborn daughter is not too useful yet. Soon...

blueblob11101 karma

No, he wrote employees, not indentured servants.

Less_Govt_Please90 karma


iron_eater4 karma

Why has writing code over the past years gotten harder for you?

MoserLabs31 karma

I can respect this statement: Doing the same repetitive job year after year. The work doesn't get harder, the motivation to do it does

Less_Govt_Please16 karma

This. So this. Also being a bit of a risk taker means you need that adrenaline rush periodically. There's zero adrenaline after 13 years of programming.

aussie_jason13 karma

It isn't the writing the code that wears you down but a combination of 8 hours a day in the office, all the HR nonsense like performance reviews/plans, unreasonable requirements, unreasonable timelines, last minute changes and the list goes on.

Less_Govt_Please13 karma

I'm actually an embedded programmer, which was awesome initially. I soon realized that being an embedded guy means you're the LAST person to touch the hardware, so everyone who's taken their sweet time to get the hardware on your desk has only eroded the amount of time you have to get the job done. It's stressful.

Then there's the fact that the product managers are always trying to add functionality. So I'm still working on projects I started 10+ years ago and they continually compete for my time to start new, exciting projects.

Fuck_Links72 karma

This is what I would suggest. I'm glad you're taking the plunge and that it's exciting, OP, that you're finally realizing your dream job, but a little security wouldn't be horrible.

Less_Govt_Please120 karma

You're absolutely right. This decision might very well be closer to "stupid" than "bold". It's hard to describe, but this decision just feels right. I come from a family of entrepreneurs (check out my mom, for instance! I'm so proud of her!), and they're very supportive of this endeavor. At some point you just have to take that leap and prove to yourself what you're made of.

eJaGne118 karma

You should help her out with her site. Yours looks much cleaner!

kingshav58 karma

He didn't code his own site. It's a plug-and-play theme from GoDaddy's Online Store service.

Sincitysir15 karma

Yeah HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jquery all time time if you're new. He can probably learn on his free time and build his own website from scratch

Less_Govt_Please29 karma

You bet I can build my own website from scratch! ...but could I build the website I have in 3 days while at the same time building prototypes and getting photos done, etc? Yes, GoDaddy's Online Store is a canned website, but it looks pretty darned good, and it enables entrepreneurs all over to focus on what they do best, not on the website.

GuinnessBeer733 karma

Probably an unpopular subject, but have you found the source (as I understand it you found a picture on reddit) and asked if it's cool that you use the idea? If so would there be any copyright/patent problems down the line? Also your pots are real cool.

Less_Govt_Please611 karma

Yep, Josh and I have spoken through emails. He's a legitimately awesome guy. I cannot speak highly enough of him. He gave me his permission to build these.

ensign_paris141 karma

In all honesty, are you scared? Or are the numbers already promising?

Very clean looking website btw

Less_Govt_Please157 karma

Scared as shit! I've been a software engineer ever since leaving college 13 years ago. Steady paychecks (with plenty of money in them) are great, but you get addicted to the security.

I've known for 25+ years that I wanted to own my own business. I saw the dream slipping further away as life's little decisions made it harder for me to become an entrepreneur. I've always done my best to stay debt free and live below my means, so I'm not in the absolute worst position if the business fails, but it's still terrifying! My wife and I just had our first child 7 weeks ago. I want to be the hard-working father who loves what he does. I also don't want to plunge my family into poverty!

Yes, the business is doing well enough that I don't think I'll have to make serious cuts in my lifestyle. The nature of this business is that it's going to be really seasonal, though (Valentine's Day, Christmas, Mother's Day, etc.), so I'll have to weather some serious storms where sales are weak.

About the website, GoDaddy's Online Store functionality is absolutely amazing! It's everything someone with a hare-brained idea like mine could want. It's super clean, has lots of themes to choose from, is easy to tweak, and has a killer back-end that helps keep track of the business.

Island_Universe124 karma

I guess if you won't be needing it anymore....can have your old job?

Less_Govt_Please61 karma

Do you live in Denver?

BearcatChemist2 karma

This is absolutely amazing. Best of luck to you! Oh, so I don't get removed by the dreaded bots (Reddit bots work for skynet) - What's your profit margin on each bloom? I know ammo costs some money, but I would be interested in rough numbers as far as material cost, labor, etc and how much you ultimately earn off of each sale. Is your profit margin better on the large or small sizes?

Again, nice work!

Less_Govt_Please5 karma

Am I in danger of getting removed? This is my first AMA, so I don't know all the rules and may have broken some out of ignorance. Your help is appreciated!

The margin isn't as great as you'd think. I have to buy the ammo in huge volume to get real breaks on price, and I'm not at that volume yet. The margin is better on the small pieces, because my pricing structure give customers a reduction in price-per-bloom when they buy the 4, 6, dozen, and 20-bloom pots. I'm considering raising my price on the larger items because I end up taking such a hit on them. My concern is that nobody will buy a dozen bloom flowerpot if it costs $100.

My real question for the future is how I'm going to be able to afford to sell wholesale to gun stores. I'm pretty sure the answer is in high volume and lots of employees. I may only make a few dollars on each pot at that point, but if I'm churning them out at the rate of several hundred per day, I will end up making more than my current business model.

stereowhiz1 karma

Good luck! There is no looking back, your only regret will be not starting sooner. Are you going to look into selling to resellers through distributors?

Less_Govt_Please1 karma

Yes, this might be the number 2 thing that drives me: knowing that if I don't take this opportunity and make the best of it, I'll regret it forever. You sound like you speak from experience. What's your story?