Rank #1: 169: Amber Lewis- Keynote Speaker at Design Blogger's Conference
The guest on today's show is Amber Lewis, who was a Key Note Speaker at the recent Design Blogger's Conference. LuAnn didn't get to talk to her at the conference, so she's really happy to interview Amber on today's show, as there were parts of her story that LuAnne thought were really fun and interesting. LuAnn finds Amber's body of work and what she's managed to accomplish at such a young age, to be incredible. Listen in now and get some great tips for gaining followers on social media.
Amber spent a couple of years working for Elizabeth Lamont (#17) at her store, Room With A View, in Santa Monica. This is where she first fell in love with pretty things and with design and started to feel a pull in that direction. Listen in and find out how Amber first discovered her niche in the world of design and how her business has evolved and grown, since then.
Today, Amber talks to LuAnn about:
- How she first started out, working for Elizabeth Lamont and where she went, from there.
- How she initially didn't connect being an Interior Designer with making a living.
- How much she gained from working for and being mentored by Kirsten Marie.
- Why she only hires people who have completed school.
- How she learned about design on the job, through making mistakes, rather than going to school.
- That she runs her business as a team effort.
- What it was like for her, speaking at the Design Blogger's Conference.
- Why you shouldn't compare your own business with the appearance of someone else's success.
- How she first started to develop a name for herself through her initial obsessive engagement with her community.
- How she has learned and progressed through her business.
- Creating a formula to her really successful method of engagement with social media.
- Her e-commerce store- how it started through her blog which documented the decoration of her home.
- Her Flash Sales on Instagram- a great way to gain followers.
- Her struggle with sacrificing her family time for the huge amount of time and attention that she poured into developing her business.
- Her milestones, analyzing why her followers were coming back.
- The first time her house was properly published, in Glitter Guide and in HD TV Magazine how she used the pics to her advantage.
- The silly names she uses for her clients' hashtags!
- Her fabulous photographer, Tessa W, who she's used on all her projects.
- The value of using really great photography.
- Being featured in Architectural Digest last October, for her kitchen.
- Working with agencies for blog sponsorship.
- Brand ambassadorship and how it has developed.
- That she does all her own writing for all her social media platforms.
Rank #2: 184: Amber Lewis - Important Business Tips to Run Your Interior Design Firm
Do you sometimes look around and wonder if there could be different, or perhaps better ways to run your business more efficiently? If so, take heart and don't despair. Amber Lewis is back on the show today and she knows where you're at and what you're going through because she's been there. Today, Amber and LuAnn will go a bit deeper into the business side of what Amber does. They talk about how she discovered this podcast last winter and that she signed up for Kimberley Seldon's courses, because of even Amber, with a firm as successful and as large as hers, still wonders if there could be a better way to run things more effectively. Listen in today, as Amber shares her advice and the things she's learned along the way.
Today, Amber talks to LuAnn about:
- Some of the things that she's struggled with and challenges that she's faced, in her business.
- How she had to fake it, to make it, in the beginning, when dealing with people that were way more professional and talented than she was.
- What it was that catapulted her into a level above her own, in the beginning.
- Being comfortable with evolving and knowing that your style could change often.
- Being firm in your convictions, if you trust your own style.
- That clients will tend to focus on your weakness if you let it show.
- Parenting and running a business.
- Figuring out invoicing in a way that makes sense to the client- it's everything!
- The importance of figuring out how to create a good contract.
- Studio Webware- Amber finds this to be an amazingly intuitive program.
- The importance of figuring out your system and the chain of command in your firm.
- How she really works really together with her whole team.
- That she understands and accepts that there will always be variables with the trade.
- That her organization takes overall responsibility for everything in a project.
- How she works very specifically with vendors and contractors.
- That client couldn't care less who's fault it is if there's a problem- It's your responsibility!
- Treating your job as if it's your business and learning as much as possible about all it's aspects if you intend starting out on your own, one day.
- That she's always learning, growing and being humbled.
- That there's always the human factor in business.
Rank #3: 236: Shea McGee of Studio McGee Joins Me Today!!!!
LuAnn is extremely happy to let you know that she has Shea McGee, of Studio McGee, in the house today! It's been a long time coming, as she's a very busy lady, but she's here today, and you are not going to be disappointed, so listen in to find out about the journey that Shea's been on and the challenges she's faced.
If you're one of the few people who are not familiar with Shea, LuAnn assures you that she and her husband, Sid, truly are the real deal! They are the creators of Studio McGee and today you will hear how Shea realized, only after obtaining her degree in Public Relations, that what she really wanted, was to be doing Design, so she went back to school, to learn how to do that. Soon after, Shea found that she was attracting more projects than she'd ever before thought possible. She and Sid realized that with his business experience and her creative vision, they would really make an amazing team. So they decided to sell their home in California and move to Utah, where they put all their life savings on the line and started a business. Shea used the power of Instagram to grow the business and now, just less than three years later, they have over five hundred and forty thousand Instagram followers, a team of thirty, two multi-million dollar businesses (Studio McGee and McGee and Company) and they have projects all over the country. Listen in today and find out how Shea and Sid manage to run their operation and their family and also, the pro's and con's of working with a spouse.
- Shea explains how they have managed to get such great results, in such a short time.
- How Shea and her husband manage their hectic work schedules and still find time to spend together, as a couple and to be parents to their two little girls.
- The growing pains that Shea and Sid experienced, early on in their business, before they found their ideal way of working together.
- The real importance of separating the roles of each spouse, in a business partnership.
- Why you really need to sort out your personal dynamics, as a couple, before entering into a business relationship.
- Some ways to create the necessary balance within your business. You don't have to do everything yourself!
- Ways to divide up the different responsibilities, within a business.
- Shea gives the backstory behind their really successful businesses.
- How Shea stretched her content, to tell her story on Instagram when she first started out.
- Why they made the move from California to Utah.
- Shea talks about the initial dream that she and her husband shared, for their business.
- Shea's advice for Designers wanting to step up above the noise, with Instagram.
- Some tips to take a good and well-styled photo- one that stands out from the rest, in order to create a really great vignette.
- How Shea creates her content for Instagram now, as compared with when she first started out.
- Shea explains her strategic way of growing her Instagram following.
- How Shea manages to keep up with the engagement on Instagram, with their really huge number of followers.
- Where Shea draws her design inspiration from.
Shea's website: www.studio-mcgee.com
Rank #4: 270: Shea & Syd McGee: Building a Design Empire Involves a Lot of Hustle
Welcome to today's show! We really have the most amazing surprise for all of you today- we have Syd and Shea McGee, of Studio McGee on the show with us! Shea was on the show about a month ago, (episode #236) where she talked about how Studio McGee was created in a spare bedroom and then, after many late nights of brainstorming and sharing their dreams, Shea and Syd decided to turn what was a small business for a stay at home mom, into something way beyond that.
Today, you will hear Shea discuss how she always knew that she wanted to do high-end Design. She also talks about two business decisions that Syd was instrumental in making very early on, which allowed them to attract the kind of client that they really wanted to work with and she explains how Syd has also really helped her to approach certain problems in business with the right perspective. Listen in to find out more about this dynamic duo and their approach to running a really successful business.
Studio McGee has been featured in House Beautiful, Domain Home, Design Sponge, Apartment Therapy, SMP Living and One Kings Lane, as well as many others. This show will also appear as a video on LuAnn's Youtube channel. (Go to Youtube for A Well Designed Business.) Listen in today and experience the really tangible love, respect, and admiration that these two have for one another and discover how Shea's dream to build a Design Empire is fast becoming a reality.
- What was going on in Syd's mind when they made the decision to move to Utah.
- Shea explains how Syd got involved bringing his really valuable perspective to the business.
- How Syd managed to figure out a way organize the operations side of their business by assessing the problems and then finding solutions.
- How Syd managed to streamline their systems by building their own internal software.
- Syd's initial focus was really on allowing the Designers to get on with their designing.
- The sacrifices that they made initially to ensure that there was enough content for their business to grow.
- The great pay off they've had from consistently investing the time in putting out really high-quality photos on Instagram.
- How to know when it's the right time to start charging more.
- How Shea and Syd have pushed each other, to create their Design Empire.
- The time it took for them to afford to create their own catalog.
- Attracting the type of clients that they have now.
- The financial risk that they took and what they put on the line to keep going forward to create their dream.
- The kind of support that Shea and Syd give one another.
- How they came to be doing their Webisodes on Youtube.
- Some of the actionable things that they have done, to really grow their business.
- All about McGee and Co, a website that they started about a year ago where you can go online and order from their really great product line.
- It's really demanding to be a very good mom and a great entrepreneur, but it can be done!
Shea and Syd's website: www.studio-mcgee.com
You can do your purchasing from: www.mcgeeandco.com
Shea and Syd on Instagram
Shea and Syd on Facebook
Shea and Syd on YouTube
Follow A Well Designed Business on YouTube
For your free offer, from MyDoma Studio, as a listener to the podcast, go to: www.mydomastudio.com/awelldesignedbusiness.
Rank #5: 159: Power Talk Friday - Nancy Ganzekaufer - How To Get Confident & Clear on What You Offer
We’re back with another power talk Friday on A Well-Designed Business! I have Nancy Ganzekaufer back with me today! If you are new to the podcast Nancy was on the show in the very beginning on episode 15. On that show we talked about her background, business background and “niche is rich”. She has so much she can teach us and you should really go back listen to her episode. She is a life and business coach and the founder of “Your Business Partner”. Through her life and work she empowers women entrepreneurs to create the life and business they have always wanted. She understands the unique challenges that women entrepreneurs face when trying to pursue their dreams and leads by example with her hard work, encouragement and her no BS leadership style.
- How does Nancy use her survey?
- How often should you take a survey?
- How many and what are the categories in a three-year vision?
- What should you be asking yourself and be planning for a one year plan?
- How many marketing outlets should you be looking at one time?
- Why should you write things down instead of just thinking them?
- What should be included in your 90-day strategy?
- In what intervals, should you block out at a time on your calendars to get stuff done?
- Why is it so important to be loud and clear about what you offer?
- When should you walk away from a client?
- How and what are some ways to walk away from a client that wants to hire you but not a good fit for you?
- When should you say yes to everything?
- What does she have coming new this summer?
Rank #6: 354: Dina Holland: Blogging, Instagram, and Business Strategies
Welcome! We have Dina Holland with us on the show today. And she's someone you may already know from her Instagram stories, with her really down-to-earth, likable and engaging approach. On today's show, we talk to Dina about the importance of finding your personal voice and the value of being real and authentic in everything you do- with your blog, your social media, and your website. Listen in today to find out how this can really help you to find clients who are just the right fit for you.
Dina is the founder and principal of Dina Holland Interiors, but you might know her through her blog and Instagram account name, Honey, and Fitz. It all started with a blog about eight years ago when Dina chronicled her own adventures in home decor and DIY projects. What started out as just a personal creative outlet quickly grew into a following of thousands with readers tuning in to see her own projects and those for neighbors and friends. Through word of mouth and the power of social media, Dina has grown her business far beyond the reaches of her blog and turned it into a successful full-service interior design firm with clients all over the country. Listen in today to find out what Dina has to share.
- How Dina's authentic voice on her website is a pre-qualifier to the clients that are reaching out to her.
- The importance of being true to yourself.
- The list of questions that Dina has on her website.
- How Dina's questions help potential clients to find just the kind of help that they're looking for.
- The really clever content to be found on Dina's website.
- Why Dina has put pricing on her website.
- The really great copy on Dina's website.
- How Dina learned all she knows about design.
- How Dina started out as an e-designer.
- Dina's shift towards Instagram.
- How, as a designer, to start charging friends and acquaintances.
- The importance of having really good photos.
- Charging appropriately for the managing, sourcing, ordering, and shipping of products.
- Why charging an hourly rate is simply not enough.
- How Dina managed to figure out the next level of trade sources.
- How Dina managed to do floor plans when she first started out without any training.
- How Dina dealt with her branding- from Honey and Fitz to Dina Holland Interiors.
- Dina is getting ready to launch a small online shop.
Other episodes mentioned on the show:
Website - Dina Holland Interiors
Shop (launching later this summer) - Dina Holland Interiors
Instagram - @HoneyandFitz
Rank #7: 203: Darla Powell - How to Launch an Interior Design Firm
The guest for today's show is the truly remarkable Darla Powell, of Darla Powell Interiors, in Florida. Darla and LuAnn initially became friends through the social media of the podcast and then continued their friendship with conversations on the Designer Facebook Groups that they were both in and also through Instagram. It's not unusual for LuAnn to become friends with the people that she interviews for the podcast, and she and Darla also have a few friends in common (Mark McDonough from Tastefully Inspired and Karina from Superior K Interiors), so she really thought she knew all about her, until she went out and did her research for the interview. Then she was truly surprised to learn a few things about Darla that she didn't know before! Listen in to find out all about these surprising details.
Mark McDonough was actually the person who suggested to LuAnn that she should consider having Darla on the show. He pointed out that this was a second career for her and that she was going to be a truly amazing Interior Designer, as she was really putting her all into it, after having retired from her first career. Listen in now, to find out more about Darla and how she came to be doing what she does now.
- Darla talks to LuAnn about her first career- in Law Enforcement, for eighteen and a half years, as a Detective Sargent with the Miami-Dade Police Department, where she thought about quitting her job and becoming an Interior Designer almost every day!
- Darla talks about her long journey from Law Enforcement to Interior Design.
- How Darla really became really motivated to become an Interior Designer, after listening to one of LuAnn's podcasts, with Mark McDonough.
- Darla's Instagram is only seven or eight months old and it already has way over seven thousand followers!
- The biggest tip that Mark McDonough gave to Darla, about finding brands that align with her work and commenting on their posts straight away.
- The great value in taking the time to be genuine and really engaging with people on social media. This makes you human and really helps your brand- and gets people to stay with you.
- As long as you're putting out great content, your fans will still love you, even if you don't follow them back.
- LuAnn and Darla discuss the portfolio which is up on Darla's website, which is actually her entire own home, done on a limited budget.
- Darla talks about the fabulous blog, which is called Wing-nuts and Wallpaper and really reflects her brand voice.
- How Darla boosts her following with her blog and with her Facebook posts.
- How Nicole Heimer, (Episode #125) a really rockstar brander, has really helped Darla.
- Some areas where Darla has felt a bit overwhelmed with her new career and what she's found helpful at these times.
- How Susan Winterstein really helped Darla with her process, with an organized chart to inform the client about the whole design process.
- Why Darla quit her first career way sooner than she originally intended to do so.
Darla's website: www.darlapowell.com, where you will also find Darla's blog, Wing-nuts and Wallpaper.
Rank #8: 306: Rachel Cannon: Key Steps for Success in Your Interior Design Business
Welcome to today's show! It really looks like our guest for today, Rachel Cannon of Rachel Cannon Limited Interiors, is doing some good things down in Baton Rouge Louisiana! What really gets LuAnn going is Rachel's promise on her website of a structured process and a step-by-step method, when it comes to her design. On today's show, Rachel talks about the fifteen-step the ten-step processes that she uses with her clients and how she came to develop them. She also discusses the way that she changed her marketing in order to attract the right client. Listen in to find out more.
The specialty of Rachel Cannon Limited is designing a space where you'll feel happiest and at peace, that's both practical and uniquely beautiful, and that also tells the story of who you are. Rachel is known for creating classic, fresh, and smart interiors, with details that are both livable and deluxe. As an experienced and licensed interior designer, she leads a team of creative minds who effortlessly mix subtle color and rich architectural features, weaving in the meaningful details of your life. Listen in today to find out about Rachel's design processes and how she markets her business.
- Rachel discusses her systems and the way that she works with her clients.
- Rachel's ideal client profile.
- How Rachel's fifteen-step process
- About Rachel's Ten-Step New Construction package.
- What Rachel's VIP Day and her One Week Room Rescue is all about.
- Why the process keeps refining.
- How Rachel changed her marketing to attract the right client.
- A good way of dealing with difficult clients.
- The value of having a really good contract with your client.
- Teaching your clients how to work with you.
- Rachel's document of 'rules' for her clients-why she uses it and what it has in it.
- The real cost of interruptions when you're working.
- What brought about a turning point for Rachel, regarding the fees she charges.
- Discovering your real value.
- Why it's important to know who your ideal client is.
- How Rachel's VIP Day came about.
- Getting clear on charging the right amount for your services.
- How Rachel vets her potential clients to see if they're a fit for her.
- Why you really need to document everything that happens with your clients.
Links:Her website and social: Rachel Cannon Limited Facebook: RCL Interiors Instagram Twitter Linkedin: Rachel Cannon
Rank #9: 254: Design Biz Live: How to Price Your Interior Design Services
Welcome to part two of Design Biz Live 3, with Corey Klassen. The last episode of Design Biz Live (#246) was the interview with Judith Neary, about the Self Assessment Evaluation, (which you can still find at www.windowworks-nj.com/designbiz2) that Judith and Corey put together for themselves and also for you, so that you can learn to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of yourself, as an Interior Designer and also of your staff. They created this because just like many of you, they battled to structure their fees. Because Judith and Corey really are pretty brilliant, they worked out a way to figure out what you're really good at, what you're not so good at, what you don't like doing, what you're not going to do... the whole thing! In the last episode, LuAnn talked with Judith, who runs a One Man Show, in Vashon Island, off the coast of Seattle, about how she used this evaluation to enable her to work in her particular zone of genius and to structure her projects and fees to best coincide with the things that she does really well and that she really likes to do. Please go back and listen, if you missed that episode.
Today, we have Corey Klassen with us on the show. Corey has his Interior Design firm in Vancouver, Canada and he has a staff, so when he took the evaluation, it was not only for himself, it was for his staff too. Today, Corey will share the results that he learned from his evaluation and also the way that he utilized the information from these results, about himself and also about each of the people on his staff. Then, using that information, he moves into the best way to structure the fees for his Design firm, in order to best serve his clients and also the firm, itself. Listen in to find out more.
- One of the key things that Corey recognized from his evaluation.
- The way that Corey has utilized all the information that he got from the Assessment, without deviation.
- All the work that Corey does, whether it's for a kitchen, bathroom, or anything else, it all follows exactly the same process.
- Looking deeper into the data, to figure out where the biggest strengths and weaknesses of himself and his staff were and to align his fees accordingly.
- Core shares some graphs, demonstrating the conceptual phase of his and his staff's assessment.
- What the graph demonstrating the execution phase of Corey's Assessment says to him.
- The importance of documents being communicated correctly, on time, with the right information and all complete, together.
- A process to ensure that the documents are being communicated correctly, on time, with the right information all complete and together, with MyDoma Studio.
- Flipping over to using Quickbooks to easily manage accounting systems, to save time.
- Some key solutions to invite the vendor into the project.
- Managing punch lists.
- Using tracking sheets for orders, to really work well as a team.
- A formulated process that Corey used, to help him to determine the appropriate fees to charge.
- Addressing, and then utilizing failures to their best advantage.
- The three phases of the evaluation are also the same three phases of a project.
- Corey's formula for structuring flat fees.
- Why Corey charges for each phase, before moving on to the next.
- The difference between General Contractors and Designers.
- The importance of really good communication.
- When product sales come into the picture.
- The importance of having a Termination Clause in your agreement with a client.
- Making use of a Design Retainer, which remains retained until the final invoice is done. (Then the balance is refunded.)
- If you have any questions, either for this section or for the section that Judith covered, please email them to LuAnn, to be answered on the next episode of Design Biz Live. (email@example.com and please put Design Biz Live Question in the subject line.)
Rank #10: 125: Nicole Heymer- How To Brand Your Business. Yes, again! Do not miss this one!!!
On the show today I am so excited to introduce you all to Nicole Heymer! Nicole is the owner of Curio Electro Boutique Web Design Agency that specializes in branding, content strategy and web design and development for interior design firms and other innovative businesses. She has been helping more interior designers bring in more leads and increase their visibility online since 2011! I know we have talked about branding on the show more than a couple times, but this is such an important aspect of your business in this age of social media. I promise there is more to learn about branding.
- Why is branding so important for interior designers?
- How does Nicole divide the ways to look at branding?
- What are the benefits of having a brand?
- How can you let people know what you really want or enjoy to design?
- Can you have too much “language” on your about me page?
- Give the reasons why!
- How does a client determine “your worth” and what to pay an interior designer?
- How should you pick your colors?
- Why are colors and what they mean so important?
- How do you figure out your message?
- What is the bare minimum you can do when starting out?
- Why is font important?
- What should be included in your branding guidelines?
- Is it worth it to hire a photographer if possible?
- What can you do to let people know you can do what they want, even when you have no projects yet?
- How can a designer “beef up” their website when starting out?
- How can a designer use blogging to express their brand?
- When should and shouldn’t a designer use a blog?
- What else could be used for good website content?
- What makes you different?
Rank #11: 352: Shannon Claire: Strategies for Growing Your Instagram Following
Welcome to today's show. We have Shannon Claire, a designer that Luann discovered on Instagram, with us on the show today. Shannon has a really beautiful Instagram feed and on the show today she will be talking about it and she will also share some tips from the perspective of someone whose career is not an Instagram marketer but has utilized the tool in a really effective way.
Shannon Claire is an interior designer and stylist based in Washington, DC, specializing in
creating beautiful spaces so that your home feels uniquely and comfortably you, but elevated. Shannon Claire offers many services that include full-service interior design by the hour, e-design projects for clients who do not live locally but still need design help, and event and space styling. She has been featured in HGTV Magazine, Domino, The Washington Post, Buzzfeed, The Everygirl, Glitter Guide, The Charlotte Observer, CNN, Forbes, Style Me Pretty, House Beautiful Magazine, and Style At Home Magazine. Listen in to find out what she has to share on the show today.
- The first thing to think about, as an interior designer, if you want to really start taking your Instagram seriously.
- It can be hard to switch from using Instagram as a personal, or social tool, to use it as something that can funnel back into your business.
- The importance of identifying what your particular brand looks like on paper, or in a photo.
- Shannon explains why she only shares things on Instagram that fit into the specific aesthetic that she has created there- like pink walls.
- The way that Shannon's before and after pictures really draw you in.
- Shannon discusses her 'wake-up point'.
- The benefits that she has seen from really dedicating herself to her particular style and aesthetic- and the kind of content that she was posting.
- All the pictures on Shannon's feed are from her own home or her own projects.
- The way that Luann's Instagram feed has changed recently.
- The things that will really make your Instagram feed uniquely yours.
- Choosing your Instagram photos intentionally.
- The way that Shannon uses visual landmarks to let people know that she is in DC.
- Some things that you can do to reach out to the people in your area, to let them know where you are.
- Some information about the way that Instagram's algorithms operate.
- The importance of having an engaged following on Instagram and building a community.
- Effectively using captions on your photos.
- Learning to be authentically yourself!
- Ways to get your work featured out there.
- What comment pods are-and how to use them.
Instagram - @shannonclaire
Blog - Shannon Claire Interiors
Pinterest - Shannon Claire Interiors
Shannon's website: Shannon Claire Interiors
Rank #12: 291: Cheryl Luckett - From Side Hustle to Full Time Interior Design
Cheryl Luckett is the principal of Dwell by Cheryl, her interior design company. She has two areas of expertise that I’m interested in sharing with you today. She has taken her side hustle into a full-time profession, leaving the security of her corporate job. She actively engages in the business mentor/mentee relationship. Loyal listeners might remember a few weeks back, in Episode 267, with Rasheeda Gray of Gray Space Interiors. She described then how her mentor has helped her through the challenges of having a corporate job while working hard on the side in interior design. Cheryl is that mentor that Rasheeda spoke about.
Southern Home describes Dwell by Cheryl as “opulence in reach, with vintage treasures and ingenious restyles.” Cheryl believes her clients should dwell in a home they love. She describes her design as “sophisticated but approachable.” She launched in 2012 and continues to grow, with clients raving about her ability to transform a space on a realistic budget. It’s also her professionalism and attention to detail that earns her high praise. She shares with us about her 15-year career at a Fortune 500 company, along with her beginnings as a registered dietician and human resources professional. It was here that she developed her service skills and business acumen. I’ll remind you of Episode 6, where Erika Ward told us to “make sure that you think about and utilize your transferable skills when you open your interior design firm.” Cheryl will tell us how she has accomplished that.
Cheryl’s work has been published in Charlotte Home and Garden, Southern Home, The Charlotte Observer, Queen City Exclusive, and Hoffman Media’s Southern Spaces, to name just a few. She is a five-time recipient of Best of Houzz Award for Design and Customer Satisfaction, and in 2015, she was named one of the 15 best designers in Charlotte by Build Direct. Cheryl also believes in giving back, and she has partnered locally with agencies such as Goodwill of the Southern Piedmont and Metrolina Habitat Restores to promote non-profit retailers and their missions. Join me for this conversation with Cheryl!
What you’ll hear in the episode:
- How I met Cheryl at the Design Bloggers Conference in Los Angeles in 2017
- Insights on running an interior design firm while working a full-time corporate job
- Cheryl’s path as a registered dietician, then in school foodservice, then human resources
- Following her love of design and décor to start a blog and take design classes at the local community college
- “I never treated this design business as merely a side hustle. I wanted to be ALL IN.”
- How a Design Bloggers Conference in 2012 changed everything for Cheryl: “I felt like I was finally with MY PEOPLE.”
- Planning an exit strategy from the corporate world
- How Cheryl’s blog grew and spread to become an effective marketing tool
- Looking for one YES
- Juggling a full-time job while designing for clients and taking design classes
- Why Cheryl had a “waiting list”
- Finding interns through a design program for students
- The criteria for leaving her corporate job, making the decision, and setting a time frame
- The 36-month plan and Cheryl’s financial advisor
- “Preparing for D-day”---building a website and putting systems in place
- Cheryl’s relationship with Rasheeda and why she wanted to be a mentor
- The guidelines and boundaries to the mentor/mentee relationship
- Cheryl’s mentor and friend, Ruthie Staalsen, a designer in Dallas
- Cheryl’s plans for this year’s Design Bloggers Conference
- “Social media: the best money you’ll never spend on marketing.”
Curated Kravet (Use code “ck podcast” for 10% off your first order!)Her website and social: Her website: Dwell by Cheryl Her Blog: Dwell by Cheryl Blog Her Instagram: Dwell by Cheryl/ Her Facebook: Dwell by Cheryl/ Her Twitter: Dwell By Cheryl Her Pinterest: Dwell By Cheryl/ Her Linkedin: Cheryl Luckett/
Rank #13: 112: Kimberley Seldon: We All Know Clients Matter, at Business of Design, Designers Matter Too.
I am so grateful to have Kimberley Seldon on the show today. She has been requested by more than one guest that has been on the show. Kimberley is not only going to further beautiful luxury design, but also help by teaching interior designers how to emulate you and have a fabulous business. Kimberley is a brilliant and talented woman of many trades. She is an interior designer, editor, keynote speaker, broadcast personality and runs her online platform “Business of Design” where she teaches professional development to designers, decorators, stagers and stylists!
- When did Kimberley have her “come to Jesus” moment in her career?
- What caused her to have a “come to Jesus” moment?
- Is it possible that interior designers make mistakes?
- Should you bill the client if a mistake happens outside the company?
- What were some of the challenges working with her own business coach and transitioning with her coach?
- How did she make her paperwork not suck?
- Why is it important to have good paperwork?
- How do you present yourself when you are a brand new interior designer?
- What are some things you should not do when first starting out?
- “The wrong client will never turn into the right client.”
- Should you charge for your consultation?
- How much should you charge for your consultations?
- What is Business of Design and what does it offer?
- Is there a book coming in the near future?
- If there is a book what would it be about?
- What does her business look like on the inside?
- How many courses does Kimberley offer?
- What is the difference between the free membership and paid membership for her courses?
Rank #14: 455: Megan Molten: Another Side Hustle Success Story
Welcome! Today we are really excited to have Megan Molten on the show with us. Megan reached out to LuAnn in an email a while ago, telling her that she learned everything she knows about the business of interior design from this show, and it's changed her life. She went on to explain that after twelve years of being in health-care sales and having listened to the podcast every day for the last year, she finally quit her day job to become an interior designer. Listen in today, to hear Megan's story.
Before quitting her job, Megan managed to have an incredible 29 interior design clients on the side, over six months, while still working full-time, for fifty hours a week! Now, a year later, she has a full-time business manager, a full-time designer, she has leased warehouse space, she has a studio space, she has an e-commerce business, and she has 19 000 followers on Instagram! In her first year, Megan brought in $600 000 in revenue, and she also planned her wedding and got married last May! She has been featured on eighteen different sites, from Serena and Lily to Apartment Therapy and Bungalow. Megan has achieved all of this because she truly understands that to make her dreams a reality, she has to actually do the things that she learned from the different guests on this show. In today's episode, she talks to us about the things she learned and how she's applied them. Tune in now, to find out more!
- Megan talks to us about the moment that she finally decided to quit her day job.
- It all began with social media, with Instagram in particular, for Megan.
- One of the first things that Megan did was to hire a photographer.
- Starting afresh, both professionally and personally.
- Having the support of her entrepreneurial parents really helped Megan a lot.
- Do what you do best, and outsource the rest.
- Making her first hire was one of the best decisions Megan has ever made.
- E-commerce makes so much sense but it really takes a lot of work.
- Using the services of a purchasing agent.
- Having conversations and making connections.
- The importance of finding the blind spots in your processes.
Megan's love for all things interiors has been around for as long as she can remember and soon became a reality after she purchased her first home in Charleston, South Carolina and started the design process herself. She began sharing with the world all of her favorite finds and amazing transformations on social media and the world responded! It was this incredible response to Megan's designs that encouraged her to start helping friends, then friends of friends and eventually clients transform their spaces too. This exciting new "hobby" she devoted every hour to while not working her very full-time job in medical sales quickly turned into a business. She quit her 12-year career in corporate America to chase a dream-a dream that was her true passion in life-helping others achieve beautiful spaces they love. Her passion for light and airy design, go-getter attitude and attention to detail has quickly created a strong following and brand for #designsbymeganmolten and she can't wait to continue to watch her big dream grow!
Megan's email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: Megan Molten
Shop: Megan Molten Shop
Instagram: Megan Molten
Facebook: Megan Molten
Pinterest: Megan Molten
Houzz: Designs By Megan Molten
Previous shows mentioned in this episode:
Rank #15: 109: Ashlina Kaposta - The Decorista - How To Rock Your “Ista"!
Ashlina Kaposta is the design blogger behind The Decorista, a household name in the world of interior design blogging. Ashlina works around-the-clock hours as an interior designer, site technician and writer, and she attends design conferences as either a speaker or a member of the audience. She has recently launched a new self-adhesive wallpaper line with graphic stripes, animal prints, and other fun designs! Here she is on our podcast discussing her inspired designs, motivated moves, energized creations, and life-changing choices and decisions.
- How Ashlina started her career
- Why she created the blog Decorista
- Her tips for building a successful business
- Importance of taking courses to enhance business skills
- Why enhancing speaking and writing skills is necessary
- The role of her blog in her success
- Attending industry events is very helpful
- Attending shows and visiting showrooms had a role in her success
- Continue learning everything you can about the industry and the people in it.
- The importance of publicity and exposure
- Building a successful brand
- Invest in your own stylized photography of your own work
- Be intentional - what it means
- Tips on creating a vision board of your ideal project, the type of project you want to attract and be paid to execute.
- Tips for dreams, goals, and planning
You can find the rest of the show notes here: Window Works
Rank #16: 398: Courtney McLeod: Defined Process = Success in Your Interior Design Business
Welcome to today's episode of A Well Designed Business! We have Courtney McLeod, the principal of Right Meets Left Interior Design in New York City, with us on the show today. Courtney has come to interior design as a second career. So even though she has always been passionate about the decorative arts, she first obtained a business degree from the Warden School at the University of Pennsylvania, and then pursued a successful, fifteen-year career in the financial services industry, where she rose to the role of a leading portfolio manager in real estate private equity before exercising her true passion for designing beautiful interiors. Listen in today to find out how Courtney used both the skills she gained through her experience, and her transferable skills, enhanced with her design-related studies at Parsons Pratt and the New York School of Interior Design, to confidently embark on a new career course.
An avid colorist at heart, Courtney draws from a kaleidoscopic toolbox of texture, pattern, and color to create rooms evocative of one emotion above all others - joy. Her designs express both her client's unique tastes and her vivid, collected aesthetic. Born and raised in New Orleans, Courtney brings a sophisticated view to her rooms, informed by her Creole background and extensive travels throughout Europe and Asia. She resides in the vibrant Harlem neighborhood, a wonderful source of inspiration. She has lived in New York City for two decades but remains a Southerner at heart. Listen in to find out more.
- It takes time to figure out your specific process.
- Your confidence you will gain from having your system in place is really a huge benefit.
- The development of Courtney's process was not a straight line from A to B- it took trial and error to figure out what really worked.
- Working out what worked for her rather than for the client was like a magic moment for Courtney.
- Courtney shares a really important and effective way to gain the trust of your client.
- A softer touch works for Courtney, yet she also has to be firm.
- Courtney also developed a lot of confidence from embracing her style clearly and entirely.
- Happy, joyful color is really Courtney's thing.
- Having confidence in her process allowed Courtney to develop more creative confidence.
- The six steps of Courtney's process.
- Courtney explains her phase one, and how to implement it.
- About Courtney's 'Rules Of The Road' document.
- What's to be found in Courtney's welcome packet.
- The way that having a retainer protects Courtney.
- The way Courtney sets up her spreadsheet.
- It takes a lot of practice to get things right.
- The clear way that Courtney prices her projects.
- How to keep your clients informed and empowered.
- What the closure meeting means to Courtney.
- The goal of the closure meeting is to get a referral.
Previous episodes mentioned in this episode:
Erica Ward #6
Website: Right Meets Left Interior Design
Instagram: Right Meets Left Interior Design
Twitter: Right Meets Left
LinkedIn: Right Meets Left Interior Design
Facebook: Right Meets Left Interior Design
LuAnn's 3rd birthday party for the podcast is coming up and Kravet is hosting the party! It will be on February the 5th at the Kravet Showroom at the D&D Building in New York City. Please RSVP through the Event-Brite link at Luann Nigara.
Rank #17: 137: Michele Williams- Scarlet Thread Consulting- Actionable Tips for Time Management
Today on the show I have yet another fabulous business coach who specializes in our industry! Michele Williams is with me! Michele is the founder of Scarlet Thread and Consulting in Atlanta, Georgia. Today we will learn about Michele’s background which includes the financial software industry as well as a business in soft window treatment fabricator. She also has a BS in business administration, a diploma in Christian life coaching and she is one of the few certified profit first coaches in the United States.
Michele was also the communication director and editor in chief of the Drapery and Designs Professional Magazine from 2009 to 2012. She is a member of The Design Collective in Atlanta, the Designers Work Club Council and the Window Covering Association of America. After talking to Michele I realized that there are so many things I could talk with her about but after we talk about her background a little bit we are going to pull apart work scheduling and chunking our day to have more productivity.
- What is her background in the financial software industry?
- When did she decide to start her window treatment business?
- Did she start with a business plan?
- How did she start to make her business bigger?
- What is the Design Collective in Atlanta?
- What is a round table discussion and how is it helpful?
- How is the Window Coverings Association helpful to Michele and her business?
- What are some of things that you can expect Michele to talk about the expo IWCE in Charlotte?
- Why is it important to listen to different people say the same things?
- Why is important to be able to chunk your time for productivity?
- Is it better to be proactive or reactive?
- How should you plan your calendar?
Rank #18: 136: Ashleigh Esprit - Atlanta Interior Design Student and Blogger
On the show, today it is kind of a departure for the podcast because I am going to be speaking with an interior design student: Ashleigh Esprit. Ashleigh is a student Gwinnett Technical College in Atlanta, Georgia and she is working on her associates degree in interior design. She will complete her associates degree in the spring of 2017 and then attend Brunel University in the fall to get her masters in interior design. She has had great success in her internships and working with a great company, Sherwin Williams. She is very passionate about design and very passionate about her colleagues. She has started a blog, The Life of an Interior Design Student. In the interview, you will learn how Ashleigh and I came to know each other and what I have learned about her to make me respect her.
- Why did Ashleigh start a blog for interior design students?
- What are some of the struggles that she has experienced that other students have as well?
- How does Ashleigh overcome her times when she is having trouble staying inspired?
- What made Ashleigh want to be involved in the interior design business and study more about interior design?
- Are there any classes that Ashleigh thinks are more beneficial than others?
- Does Ashleigh think internships are important?
- Is there anything that she thinks should be included in the interior design curriculum that isn’t explained well enough already?
- Is Ashleigh a part of ASID?
- What are Ashleigh’s goals for her career in interior design?
- What are some other blogs that she has connected with?
- Has Ashleigh learned anything from doing her blog: The Life of an Interior Design Student?
The Life of an Interior Design Student
Rank #19: 282: Blanche Garcia - You Teach Clients How to Treat You
Today's guest is Blanche Garcia, a certified interior designer with more than eighteen years of experience in commercial and residential design. Blanche is one of the principal designers featured in the Travel Channel reality series Hotel Impossible and she was also a contestant in season six of HGTV Design Star. Blanche owns a design business and she also does a lot of speaking at design industry events, where she shares her proven methods for 'surviving' her interior design business. On the show today she will be discussing how she runs the business side of things, so listen in to find out more.
Blanche is the owner of B. Garcia Designs which is based in Montclair New Jersey. She is a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) and she's also a 'Green Design' LEED Accredited Professional through the United States Green Building Commission. Listen in today as Blanche discusses her really focused approach to running a successful design business.
- How Blanche ended up doing so much public speaking for the design industry.
- Where Blanche finds the time to do everything that she does.
- What helped her to learn to figure everything out really quickly.
- A simple way to teach people how to treat you.
- Putting up parameters in order to maintain professional control.
- Taking the pain out of the whole billing structure.
- Having the right kind of agreement with your client.
- Giving yourself the time to be creative.
- How Blanche assesses what the budget of a project should be.
- The importance of clear communication.
- The insane amount of purchases that are going through Blanche's office.
- Blanche's remarkable time management.
- Her disciplined and focused approach to her work.
Her website: B Garcia Designs
Her Book Link: Empowered Design
Instagram Link: Instagram
Twitter Link: Twitter
Facebook Link: Facebook
Photo Credit: Ciara Perrone
Rank #20: 317: Nicole Heymer: 6 Keys to Planning A Website That Makes Things Happen
Welcome to Power Talk Friday! We are very excited to have Nicole Heymer back on the show today! Nicole is the owner of Curio Electro, a boutique creative agency that specializes in branding and websites for interior design firms and other interesting and creative businesses. Nicole is the genius behind my LuAnn Nigara website- and I really love it! There are certain things that we do that really represent who we are and what we do and my website is one of those things for me! And one of the reasons for Nicole coming back on the show is rooted in my own experience of being part of her company and going through the whole discovery process of building my website with her. Listen in today as Nicole takes us through her entire, really organized and actionable process- it's just like therapy for your business!
Nicole's clear and actionable approach to branding has been featured by some of the design industry's favorite resources and organizations. From ASID's Tech Talk series to the New Jersey chapter and also to the Window Coverings Association of America, Nicole is an active ASID partner and she currently serves as the editor of the New Jersey chapter's Blueprint Magazine. Listen in to find out more.
- Stepping back to get an overview of what you're doing.
- Starting out with a very clear plan.
- How Nicole developed her process.
- The whole planning process.
- Looking ahead to the goals that you want to accomplish- then doing things in the correct order.
- Some of the goals that designers could aspire towards.
- Getting to grips with the messaging on your website.
- Clearly showing people who and where you are, and what you do, on your website.
- Being truthful with your messaging when creating your brand.
- Taking your budget into account when planning your website.
- Getting really clear about who you want to take action on your website.
- Getting clear about the kind of action that you would like to be taken on your website.
- Some things to consider when setting up your website.
- Nurturing your clients' needs with lead magnets.
- Telling the story of a project with your portfolio.
- Ways of driving more traffic to your website.
- Coming up with content for a blog.
- About Nicole's Brand Discovery Class that's coming up shortly. Go to brandingdiscovery.com to find out more.
Previous shows mentioned in this episode: