2013 Goal: Running like a well-oiled Machine

WARNING:  all-business post!!
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I'm not normally a big one for New Year's resolutions...  I find I make little resolutions all year long & either do or don't do them but I've never really felt that a certain date had any more importance to start something than any other...  But a friend & colleague of mine sent me an email saying she felt inspired by some amazing business advice for the new year she'd seen online.  I've been feeling pretty uninspired about going back to work after vacation (holding my tiny one so much was a-mazing!!) so I followed her link and started checking out some others and making notes.

I ended up finding the blog for Malloy Management Group and if you haven't been there already and you're a designer, you need to take some time to explore it.  I haven't been to any of the Business of Design conferences or anything like that, so I'm guessing this is just a tiny taste of what you might get there, but Julia's words have me thinking and have helped spur a major 'to do' list for our company.  I've got a ton on the new "goals" list but today I'm thinking about making the design process -from start to finish- run more smoothly.

{photo by Myra Hoffman for Piccola Magazine:  my old system for client projects}


As you might remember, my husband -Dave- came on to work for our company at the end of the Summer which was right around when we unexpectedly moved.  He's hit the ground running  (am so lucky he picks things up quickly!!) but now that he's really got a handle on the process and our goals, we're ready to start improving.

We're always striving to better our business.  To make the process more special for clients & to streamline the process for them.  To be better ourselves.  In every project, there are new challenges so each person & job teaches you more, and if you want to be better, you need to constantly evaluate & assess and be hard on yourself and know that you can always be better.

Now that we've had this little break over the holidays, I've mentally smacked myself around some, and we've got some new goals, I'm feeling pretty ready to rock.

When I think about my very first job ever, I cringe at the design process I'd implemented for my client.  This is when I was first thinking about doing staging and part-time decorating (I was 23) and I literally would talk with my client about what he needed generally and then go out and buy stuff to bring over to his house to see if he liked it.  (I was very lucky that he was so laid back and liked everything but if he'd been any normal client, I would have spent most of my time making returns.) I'd put all of the items in the house and then tell him how many hours I'd spent shopping (not much planning here, just shopping ;) and he'd pay me for my time and for the goods with no mark-up.  At the time, I had no idea what my career path would one day be...  I just thought it was something fun to do for a little extra on the side. 

{My first client's daughter's bedroom...  when I did a blog post on the old project a while back, the Washington Post picked it for the blog of the week because we did the room makeover for a total of $500!}

I ended up really liking it and enrolled in a distance-learning program (Sheffield School of Interior Design) and learned more about the presentation process and the basics of design...  but it's taken years for me to get day to day operations and the entire design process from first meeting to installation running smoothly.  Even with it as it is now, I'm still learning and I'm always thinking about ways to improve it. (To those clients who've been with me from the beginning- and you know who you are-  I am more thankful than you can ever imagine for you for bearing with me on my learning curve!! ;)

{A very early project where I selected only the furnishings but not the lighting/art...   I didn't make a profit on any of the goods and didn't oversee the installation of the furnishings. This pic was taken before window treatments but you can see what a difference completing a project from start to finish makes...  This was a very early project of mine where I didn't have a strong enough handle on the implementation process (or even how to make a profit and stay in business! ;) ;) and I wasn't ready for the clients' strong personalities .  I know if I worked with them today, they'd receive a very different experience.}

I've found that projects that run the smoothest are the projects in which our company remains in control...  (And I'm not talking about creative control here, I'm talking about control of the process itself.)  We do so many projects a year and most of our projects run like clockwork, so I've been trying to re-evaluate those that haven't.  I've found that the smoothest projects are the ones in which we remain in complete control of the timing, the contractors and the goods, and of course, the projects in which the clients are willing to make decisions.    Things run best when you are doing things according to design process you've carefully created.

So here are the variables I've been thinking about taking better control of from now on:
1)Project Timing
2) Contractor Work
3) Goods
4) Decision-making

Issues & problems can (and usually do!!) arrive in any one of these areas which can throw you off of your game.  I thought'd I'd share the thoughts I've been having about how to ensure that everything runs as smoothly as possible. 


1)TIMING:

{Photo by Tim L. Walker here}



The most difficult projects for me are the ones in which a client has a holiday or party deadline that has already been scheduled (too close) to our first meeting about the project.  Nothing makes me happier (or more relieved! ;) than getting the project done for a client's event, but shaving off a couple of weeks from the normal timeline of the project for an event can really make things crazy on our end.   You're asking the entire team of people you normally work with- from the workrooms to the manufacturers to the contractors to do things faster than normal and it places more pressure on everyone.  The stress is heightened.  It's easier to make mistakes when you're rushed and there are usually some items- typically custom- that just cannot be rushed and you run the risk of them not arriving in time when you have a pushed-up installation date. 

And here's where the "crazy" comes in:  When things are rushed, I lay awake at night thinking of all of the balls up in the air and worrying that one will drop.  My fear of disappointing clients who are rushing a project lliterallly makes me feel sick because I feel like it's out of my control but will be my fault anyway.  This is when my work negatively affects my personal life.

Why stress you ask?  What happens of only a few things aren't there in time?

Timing is everything in the implementation a project and if just one item doesn't arrive as planned on time, it will need a separate delivery on its own, which takes more time that hasn't been planned for(taking valuable time away from something else important which costs your company money in hourly fees and opportunity costs) and it also costs more money to be delivered because its being delivered on its own instead of with the rest of the goods.  (That one item being late can cost an additional $150-$250 in delivery  plus your employee's hourly fee and opportunity costs just because it arrived late.  If you add in a few separate deliveries, it can cost in the thousands!!)  And who pays that?  I don't want my clients to have to spend more and not get as good of a value but it doesn't make sense for us to pay it either.  It's money that no one likes to spend.

In our company, we move as quickly as possible to ensure that our clients will have their home finished as soon as possible, but finished properly & so that the process is done correctly and smoothly. Our typical lead time from when we receive a client's deposit to when his or her furnishings are installed is around 12 weeks, but is more or less depending upon who makes their goods and what construction is going on in the home.  (For example, a custom hand block-printed fabric takes a lot longer than a ready made curtain.)  We have put so many plans into action and while we always try to beat our mark and get homes ready ahead of schedule, we know that we have an average 12 week lead time for an installed project.

I know it can be difficult to have patience when waiting for something to arrive, and even though I'm one of the most impatient people I know, I've developed hardcore patience for a well-designed home...  Over the years I've really learned that the waiting is just part of the process and that doing things carefully and properly yields the best results.  Yes, there are a ton of things you can get ASAP and you could create a "room in a day" but the results wouldn't be the best ones.  (These are some of the thoughts that kept me going in my under-construction-boy-and-baby-filled house for months.)

..However...  I love pleasing my clients and I love it when they're excited to have family or friends enjoy their home too and so I always want to say yes to my clients when they have short deadlines.  It's so satisfying to make them so happy...

...But- for better service and processes and for the sanity of everyone who works on a project-  it is my goal this year to remain in as much control as possible of the timing of design projects.  I've been trying harder to temper my clients' expectations who have events or parties and to be as realistic as possible.  (And to any clients who might be reading this whose holiday or party we rushed for -you're in good company- I'm glad we could do it for you & make you happy!! your happiness is really what keeps me loving this business and so no regrets!!  Just new goals for me. ;)



2)CONTRACTOR WORK

This is one I struggle with and haven't quite figured out yet.  On some projects we refer our clients to our contractors for work, but on other projects, our clients are already working with a contractor. 

Often they decide to manage a certain aspect of the project themselves  to save money (we give clients the option of handling certain contractors on their own or of working with the contractors for them and charging a project management fee for work we oversee so that we're compensated for our time.  When the clients are working with our contractors, because we know how to work with them and do it all the time, not as much time is required of us and we often forgo this fee, but when we're working with someone we've never worked with before, things take much longer and we spend a lot more time managing.)  In the case where clients want to manage work and use their own contractors, we hand the plans to the client and contractor, and the client is in contact with the contractor himself or herself, which is really great most of the time, but sometimes things can go wrong.

  If something goes wrong in this
part of the project that we haven't been involved in, I still feel resposible for it and spend time working to fix it for no compensation.  I'm learning that even if I and the clients think something doesn't need any involvement from me once the plans are handed over, I might be more needed than we think.  Questions we could never anticipate often arise and sometimes issues pop up that can change plans.  I'm not sure what my plans are for smoothing over this part of my business is yet but I know it's a place where we need some work.  Currently we give clients control all the time in this aspect of the project.  Is this a good or a bad thing?

(Btw... the picture is not of our contractors...  Just more of a 'Happy Friday' picture to lighten up my ramblign post!! ;) ;)

I know many designers handle all subcontracting and when they present contractor prices to clients, their fee for handling the project is included (some contractors will do a kick-back or designers may add on a percentage.) but I haven't really found out what will work best for us and our clients yet.  I want my clients to get the best prices possible for work they're having done but I also want the jobs to look right in the end.  We can't afford to properly oversee work if we're not being compensated for it, but I want everything to be perfect.

Any thoughts?  What do you do?



3) GOODS

{The Boys' Bedroom at my Dad's lake cottage}

We provide the goods & furnishings for our clients and when we order through companies, we need to make sure they're companies who make quality products and who stand by their products.  Our clients are buying their items from us and ultimately, we are the customer service for our clients.  We have to trust the companies we're buying for because we want our clients to love their things & to be taken care of and our own reputation and quality of service is on the line. 

There are times when clients may pick an item because it's less expensive than another item.  I myself do this all the time but I've learned (with new items) that you get what you pay for.  We do a pretty good job in our company of preparing clients for quality levels when they make decisions on products.  It's really important that they know what they're getting for what they're paying.  We always present things that are a good value for what they are and from there, clients can decide what level of quality they're comfortable with for any given item. 

There are other times when a client decides to "shop around" us.  In decorator-speak, this is when a client buys something you've shown them on their own or takes your plans and starts trying to find items that are similar to the ones you presented, but maybe cost less.  The client starts to run the process.  (Let me be clear here that I have MANY clients who search for things on their own & who introduce me to cool new products all the time, and clients who have found amazing things for themselves and this isn't what I'm talking about...   I'm talking about when the the client begins to say, "look at this, look at that" and the overall vision for the project starts to dissolve and go A.D.D.)  I don't blame the client for this, I blame myself.  It means I haven't communicated the vision for the project well enough and given my client enough confidence in my and my ability to create something for them.   It means I need to do a better job of showing them why what I've put together for them is right for them and when we need to make changes, I need to show them why the new selections are exactly what they were asking for.  When they buy things on their own, I can't help them when things go wrong and I don't feel as comfortable being critical of the item they way I am when it's something they've purchased through us because I don't want to hurt their feelings.  In the end, the results might not be as good.

There are some personality types that naturally have  trouble hiring designers and letting go a little bit and trusting.  My goal is do do better with these personality types in making them feel comfortable with me and in helping them let go the way they wanted to when they first called.


4) DECISION-MAKING
{This guy makes all the decisions at our house}


The way a client makes decisions (or doesn't) completely affects the speed and smoothness of a design project.  There are key points in a design project when clients are required to make decisions in order for the job to move forward.  It's my job to help my clients make decisions when they need to.  I have clients who know right away when they love or hate something and I have others who need to sit and think and simmer a while.  Both types are great and can yield amazing results, but naturally, the clients who decide things more quickly will have a finished project much sooner than the clients who take forever to decide.  One's not better than the other, just right or wrong for certain clients. 

I can't change my clients' personalities, but I can make them more aware of how their personalities and decision-making styles are affecting their project and its timeline. 

Every now and then, here are times when clients can reach an impasse and seem to really have trouble moving forward with a plan.  Some are afraid to "pull the trigger" on the project and write a check to get it going (It's SCARY to spend money, I don't blame them!!! ;) and others go in circles and seem to make decisions and then change their minds over and over. 

My goal from now on is to make my clients aware if this is going on and to present things are clearly and as specifically as possible.  If it's baby steps my client needs, then baby steps I'm taking.  But I want to figure out what it is that might be keeping my client from moving forward and to help them overcome it.  I want to make them more aware of what point in the process they're at and show them what their paralysis is doing to their overall project and timeline.
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So...  from now on, I'm really going to try to focus on remaining in control of the timing, contractors, goods and decision-making in all of  our design projects because I think the results will yield a better experience for my clients.  I want them to feel more taken care of, more loved, and more special to us than ever & I think working like clockwork is one more step on the way there.

{Wahoo to 2013!!}


Sorry for the long in-depth business post (on a Friday no less!!)

Have a great weekend & I'd love to hear some of your business and personal goals!!



(a client's kitchen...  will share details next week :)
 


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

40 comments:

Tawna said...

Oh, the contractor one. I haven't figured that one out at all...I am in this so much later than you and I need to work on ALL of them. To get a well-oiled machine is quite overwhelming sometimes. Thanks for this post. I don't feel so alone anymore :).

Tiffany Leigh Interior Design said...

I really enjoyed reading this post! My ultimate dream is to one day operate my own design firm, and most of these are issues I hadn't really thought of! Thanks for taking the time to write such a detailed post! Good luck with your goals and Happy New Year!

Sally Hammond said...

Lauren, I've been a designer for almost 15 years, and I continually work on all those areas too. This last year, I've begun charging for my time rather than upselling, and I can tell you that it has made a world of difference in my attitude and my bottom line. We certainly continue to do mostly custom work, but it's nice to know that I can go pick up a rug from West Elm and still be compensated for my time and expertise. I would love to have a round table with you and maybe a couple other designers to talk through some of these issues. It would be great for us and for the industry as a whole if we could all learn from one another. Thanks for a thoughtful post.....I'm taking notes!

Kerry Steele- Design du Monde said...

Years ago I had an indescisive client who would take so long to decide that she forgot about my involvement and did a "shop around". It made me cry with frustration. I enjoyed hearing how you handle that.

Danielle said...

This is such a great post! I love how objectively you handle situations and are able to bring the focus back to the main goal of the project. Happy new year :)

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

amazing post!! More and more I am realizing this business is ALL about communication- with clients, vendors, subs, but especially clients. I think I'll re-read this one about 3 times. I know I still have so much to learn in terms job management.

Liz Cordeiro said...

Fabulous fabulous post! Thx for sharing ;) -- Liz

Heather Peterson said...

I love when you post your thoughts on the business side of things. As a less experienced designer sort of making it up as I go along, it is always, always helpful. Sometimes just to know what is "normal," and sometimes for specific ideas and processes. It can feel tricky to expose the inside of this thinking, but you do it with a clear sense of professionalism and respect for your clients. Thanks!

Heather
loveyourspace.blogspot.com

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Lauren-

In the case where clients want to manage work and use their own contractors, we hand the plans to the client and contractor, and the client is in contact with the contractor himself or herself...

Can you see an hourly consulting fee here? If your time is needed.

Thanks for a very thoughtful post.

Loretta

Beth of designPOST Interiors said...

Thank you thank you thank you for al this good info and advice! You have shared some seriously good tips for us beginners!

Laurie Jones said...

This is a great post. I don't think anyone truly grasps what it takes to pull a room together. The stages of design in college taught me very quickly this wasn't going to be about picking pretty pillows. Unfortunately I'm not sure how to get clients to understand this or making them understand I cannot work for free. I hope you'll continue to post on this and how you find ways to work on your resolution!! Happy New Year!!

Jenni Leasia said...

I have been a designer for 10+ years and it is such a struggle to control the process and not drown in the job minutia. So like you I have been searching the internet for design management resources and found Malloy Management. Just yesterday I decided to go sign up and put their systems in place. My dream is to regain more control over my time and get back to enjoying this wonderful job I have. I will let you know how it goes! Sally, I have been experimenting with hourly rate only this last year too. If you do organize a round table I would love to be a part of it. I have always thought we should share our best business practices with each other.
Thanks for the post!

Jenni
jennileasiadesign.com

Anne Golliher said...

This is so good to hear being on the client side. I have much to learn too!

You were spot on when you said it's about letting go and trusting. Letting go of preconceived agendas (being open to new ideas/styles/options) and trusting the work of the person you have hired.

Monetarily affirming a designer for their giftedness, talents, and expertise in creating a lovely space is a joy! I hope to continue to improve in this area and be more helpful in the process!

Windlost said...

Lauren, I have not read it all but wanted to say that it is always comforting when people talk about the reality of their learning curves and are generous enough to share their experiences and learnings. It is so giving and generous and helpful to reflect and share what you know.

You are always so open and it is refreshing! I am an over-sharer so I do even more. haha. I am trying to curb it a bit. Still, I heard a great quote about sharing and giving. It said "Be generous. There is enough for everyone." I love that and use it as daily inspiration and it reaps many more benefits than it does negatives. You are living that...!

Hugs, Terri xo

Lisa said...

Thank you for posting this. It is very helpful guidance for being a respectful client. I had always wanted to be an interior designer; after reading this I realize I would NEVER last. I just do not have the patience with people that it requires!

Liz said...

Thanks, Lauren- this was so interesting! I'm a hobbiest decorator (as in I love color/texture/design and can't get enough of it), but also a full-time stay at home mom. I've considered Sheffield, would love to know your thoughts on the process/results.

Dayka said...

In the past I've had clients who have their own contractors and/or workrooms and my general policy is that I only work with my tradespeople to ensure quality control. I know the vendors that I work with produce high-quality products and know my systems, how I work with my clients, and can meet my condensed time frames, if need-be. I am VERY picky about my textile fabrication & I've had clients say their seamstress/mom/aunt/tailor knows how to do box cushions/inverted pleats/mitered corners (etc) only to find out that they don't, or don't do it to the same standard as my team. It then creates a bit of a sticky situation because you don't want to offend the client by telling them their vendors' work wasn't as good, but I also can't accept responsibility for something that was beyond my control! If you'd still like to work with your clients' tradespeople, I'd suggest an up charge in addition to your standard project management fees and that extra $ can cover the additional time spent clarifying issues your process/specifications.

Great post, Lauren!

Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns said...

Hello Lauren, happy new year!

I loved this post, although I am not a decorator I do work in leather product design. We continually have to reign in our customers and let them know what will work and what will not and what is safe. Always a challenge.

Thank you for the tips!

Take care, Elizabeth

DecRenew Interiors Blog said...

After 10 years in business, I'm learning the ropes too. We have to be paid what we are worth. The struggle for me is my passion to help others make their homes beautiful. My client's hire my contractors independantly and then they hire me to work along side the contractor. I give them an estimated cost of my hours with the contractors bid. It works really well for me.

Andrea Jennison said...

Thank you, Lauren, for this post! I am in the process of starting a decorating business and your honesty and openness is so helpful. I'm still in the beginning stages of the start up but am leaning towards slowly easing my way into the business so that I can learn as I go (offer design boards first and add more services as I feel more confident/comfortable). After reading this post, definitely feeling like this is a good decision. So much to learn! Like Liz, I'd love to hear your thoughts on Sheffied. Thanks again!!

Andrea
www.andreajennisoninteriors.com

Lemon Macaron said...

Great, great post. I am in the same boat as a lot of the commenters--starting my own biz, going to design school--and ALL of your points are things that have nearly derailed me from pursuing this career. I am learning to be patient with myself through this process, and I'm so pleased that you shared your thoughts with us. Please continue the great writing!

Jenn

www.lemonmacaron.blogspot.com

Jill said...

Thank you for writing this post. I am a self-taught interior decorator in about to enter my fourth year of business. I struggle with the business issues as well as some of the client presentations. As my projects get larger I realize I need to improve these areas in order to keep up.

If you ever want to start a business round table for sharing ideas I would be very interested. I have an education in marketing and public relations to offer to my fellow professionals.

Unknown said...

Thanks for such an amazing post! I'm not a designer or decorator, so I really appreciate the insight into the process. I can see why interpersonal skills {therapy?} is one of the most important elements of this business. Your work is incredible; if I could afford to hire you, I totally would. :-)

Tayyub Khakan said...

I love everything about Des's home!! Awesome tour!This is so good to hear being on the client side. I have much to learn too!
http://stylopoint.com/

barbara@hodge:podge said...

I LOVE this post Lauren. SO honest and true. As much as I love design and the process, it is for the reasons and issues you have listed that I feel I am NOT ready to take it on as a business but more like a hobby {my house only, and family} I am terrified of having it all on my shoulders, and the business aspect of it. I heard Kimberly Seldon {a Canadian designer} say that design is 80% business 20% creativity!

You seem to have a great head on your shoulders and looks like a great vision! Good luck with everything. I can't wait to follow along!

Ginger said...

Fun to read. Based on all the comments, maybe you should look into a future in business support services as well! You could expand into conducting round tables for designers.

Ellen @Color Calling said...

Lauren, I am a first time commenter, and want to thank you for an excellent post! Very good food for thought.
Best, Ellen

Sarah Michaels said...

Thank you so much for this post! It is super helpful to hear your thoughts on and experiences with the design process.

AB HOME Interiors said...

Great post. I have operated my business for ten years and have done every single aspect of client/designer relationships. Have also used every method of charging. No one way seems to work. As in there is no one size fits all. I have found that each client and project is different and each project needs to be approached differently. I have recently downsized significantly due to a divorce and feel like my business and operations has gone full circle. Would definitely be interested in a round table.

Barbara Eads said...

I prefer to do my own decorating, but the fact is---designers have access to really cool things that the every day person does not. I have a friend who is a designer. We work well together. I'm very decisive. Before I even call her in, I have an idea of what I want in the way of color and feel. I'll even purchase things I love. Then it's up to her to find fabrics and accent pieces and pull it all together. She knows that I don't like to piecemeal anything. I want the "WOW" factor. When she's ready to put it all together I leave for the day. Having said all that, I can certainly see by your post how things can easily go awry. It sounds like you have a good plan for clear communication that can only enhance your business and make your clients happy!

pve design said...

Lauren,
Surely your honesty and dedication to your craft and to your family and those around you benefit from your attention.
I think "attention to details" goes a long way.
So sorry to hear about the sudden loss of your friend.
pve

Leah Moss said...

Lauren, your posts are the best! This one came at a much needed time.

Blessings for you in the new year!!!! xoxoox

Erika Ward said...

I enjoyed reading this post much like the other comprehensive posts you write. I'm a self taught designer with a degree in Finance and Real Estate. Prior to starting by own design business I worked on the project management/construction side for large design/build firms.

I definitely feel like you are on the right track regarding the changes you are making in the area of timing, contractor work, and decision making. The area I experienced challenges in was with the GOODS side. I disagree with your idea of needed to reassure your clients of the ability to source quality goods for them. They know you are completely capable or else they wouldn't have called you.

I think no matter how comfortable the client is with the designer, if they have some time on their hands they will dabble (sometimes impede) the process in an effort to save money. What they don't realize is that they have cost themselves more money in the long run by having you do double the work (time spent making original selection, then time spent convincing them the initial selection you made was the best decision based on their budget, the design, etc.). This part of the process can be extremely frustrating. What I started to do was have clients sign off of the selections and make them aware that certain changes could throw off the time table and cost them more on the administrative side. I, by no means, try to nickel and dime anyone but it is important for everyone to realize that time and money are one in the same.

Michelle Price said...

Hi Lauren,
Thanks so much for your helpful post. I recently started my own design business and think I'm in exactly the phase you were in the beginning. I find myself to be more creative than business minded and I have a hard time maneuvering through the process as well. I am also currently taking classes through Sheffield and was actually inspired to try it out when I read that you did the course as well. If people do create a round table or master mind group, I would love to be a part of it. I am always inspired by your blog and wish you continued success.
Btw, I'm not sure if you have the time or interest in helping newbies in the business, but if so I would love to borrow from your expertise. My email is michellejprice@gmail.com if you have any time to chat. Thanks.

upcycledhomeblog.com said...

Such a great post--when these things don't go smoothly, I tend to start doubting myself and my abilities as a designer....even though I know deep down that I know what I'm doing! But seeing you frame it as breakdowns in the PROCESS were very enlightening. I can work to make the PROCESS better, so that the design results can shine and meet the ultimate goal, which is giving the client what they want/need/love. I, too would LOVE to be part of a roundtable or mastermind group. melissa (at) upcycledhome dot com

Julia Molloy said...

Wow! Thanks so much,Lauren for mentioning my blog. It was so nice to hear you enjoyed it and found it helpful! This is a great post and I hear these challenges all the time. You are doing great and your clients are very fortunate to have you. (and YOU are very fortunate to have your husband!) ;) You two sound like a great team and if you need help or have any questions you'd like me to address on my blog, just let me know. Thanks again! - Julia Molloy

Julia Molloy said...

Wow! Thanks so much,Lauren for mentioning my blog. It was so nice to hear you enjoyed it and found it helpful! This is a great post and I hear these challenges all the time. You are doing great and your clients are very fortunate to have you. (and YOU are very fortunate to have your husband!) ;) You two sound like a great team and if you need help or have any questions you'd like me to address on my blog, just let me know. Thanks again! - Julia Molloy

Amy @ Five Kinds of Happy said...

I'm just in the process of taking on my FIRST real client and I'm loving the business posts you are doing! Really insightful and it's great to think deeper about these things. You are a huge inspiration for me :)
Amy

Kim L. said...

Great post! I love what you did with your first client's daughter bedroom. Can't believe you did all of that for only $500! The hanging lamp is very pretty and I love the way you combine the white bedding with pops of aqua.

Beech Haus said...

How did you feel about the Sheffield Interior Design Program? I have been looking into online programs and really don't have any advice on which ones are better than others!

your blog is really inspiring me now more than ever to pursue interior design and it has been something i have been thinking about for YEARS!

-Jill