Tag Archives: design

What Does Marketing Mean to the Business Owner?

I do a lot of research on how to market my business. I know a guy who has a paver business. He told me something I never let go of. He said the truth of being in business is that we are all in the service industry, we just happen to be selling pavers. I would take this a step further that you keep the mindset of not just being a designer, but a business owner. You have to constantly be aware of the larger concept of owning a business.

There are the four P’s of marketing. I know this sounds boring, but you have to remember you are a business owner first who just happens to be blessed enough to do what you love. You are the first of the four P’s : Product, Price, Promotion and Placement. You are selling you. This will lead to your branding. What is your brand? What are you selling that about you that is any better than what the other 10 “designers” are selling. I will talk about this a little more, but you want to really take a moment here if haven’t already built one and create a mission statement for yourself. I want you to start this marketing journey and get a spiral notebook, this is going to be your “Marketing Dojo” book. You will make notes and plans and keep them all in one place. I have several of these. I have my daily notebook on my desk for phone calls and lists. I can always flip through and review what I may have missed at the end of a busy day. I have my website notebook, I build all of my own sites, yet another creative outlet. I have my book idea notebook, etc. My system for keeping the right thoughts in the right place. I realize I could do all of the in Evernote, but at some point I had to put the technology down and I feel when writing down my ideas it is more visceral for me to do it with the physical motion of hand writing.

You should already have one of these but I do recommend rewriting it once a year to get a grasp of where you want to go and who you want to be. You can start this by considering others you admire and what qualities they hold. Then think of who you are and what you think as being your ideal self. How do you treat people and what legacy do you want to leave? In business these need to apply as well as your personal life. In business, who so you admire and why? What qualities do they own that you would like to emulate? I don’t mean for you to think of what they have accomplished in a physical manner, like how big the firm is or what car do they drive. You need to think of the traits they exhibit and the principles they live by consistently to have gotten them what they do have. Don’t focus on the stuff, focus on the journey. The stuff will come if you are coming from the right place.

Then consider how you want your clients to remember you and talk about you after their project is done. The design will be wonderful, that goes without saying. Any designer can do that, we are trained for it. What other qualities do you have or service can you offer to your clients to make them thrilled to tell their friends about you and refer you to others? When you are thinking of this consider what your abilities are in and around your previous experience, what your other skills are. Clarify your aptitudes and turn them into your purpose. Then step away for a day, come back and refine your message. Print this out and hang it above your desk. Your mission statement is reminder of what you are really after and what goals need to be accomplished to get to that place of leaving an amazing legacy.

11 perfect ways to recognize your authenticity: Now own that sh*t b*&tch

“Personal authenticity is a daily expression of your core beliefs and your personality. These are the character traits you exhibit every day.” I found this on the web, if you own it, say so….

At times people will judge  and scorn you. I see it, but I make a choice to recognize it peripherally. Then I let it go. This is simply because what others think does not define me. What I actually DO with my life is what defines me, especially when I think of what will be said at my end of life ceremony, get down groove party. Think of that time and you instantly become authentic. Get it right because we are all gonna die.

That is the practice part, to think of what people will say of you and your actions at the end of your life. To get to where you want to be practice these basic actions….

  1. Become self ware, write down what your moral values are, what is your moral compass. I suggest all the things you say about your neighbors and your friends goes here. Ie: “I cant believe she goes out all night without her husband”… equals… I believe time in a relationship should be spent together growing trust and getting to know one another. Think about what is important to you based on what you see happening around you. This is the easiest place to start.
  2. Have an open mind. Greet new things and old things with a smile. Even if you are judging in your mind say out loud, “hey wow, that is so awesome!” My daughter catches me on this on a regular basis. Just yesterday after the little freeze we had here in FL she went outside in the morning and saw everything was covered in white. “Mom, it snowed outside, come out and see!” I go out and simply say thats not snow, its frost. “Mom you are no fun, you are so negative.” I’m thinking snow would be way worse and I was being positive. But I need to practice more to see things with an open mind and a child’s eyes to better appreciate what God has given us in or limited days on this planet.
  3. Have goals. Writ these little boogers down. What are your goals and priorities. What or who are your real actions serving? Are they serving your true goals or are they serving everyone elses goals? Take time to do some self evaluation, figure out what you really want and start taking small steps to go in that direction. What I have found through this practice is if you measure a thing, break down your goal into smaller tasks and set a deadline you will make it happen.
  4. Trust your intuition. I believe true intuition is Gods voice in us. It takes practice to listen calmly and quietly to begin to recognize the difference between that voice and the crazy little voices that pop up in our minds that encourage us in the wrong directions. When you are in a situation you are not sure how to act on, sit in quiet solitude and listen to the different voices that are coming and going. You will start to recognize the calm firm voice that is your intuition, you will sense your own reaction to it with a clear energy like no other. The quiet solitude piece is most important, its easy to make a wrong decision and listen to the wrong voices in our minds when we are too busy.
  5. Don’t Lie. Duh… but it’s harder than you think. We have to first stop lying to ourselves about who we are and what we are capable of. Becoming self aware is a first step. Once we stop lying to ourselves we can stop lying to everyone else. Think before you speak and don’t qualify anything with excuses. Just speak the truth.
  6. Don’t try to be perfect or be someone else. Envy is a hard thing to get away from. Comparing yourself to the Jones’s is never getting you any further in life. We are wasting our energy on trying to mirror something that may not even be true. Usually that person is a total hot mess and we just don’t know it. You are an individual. You are the only you. You are an original, that means there is no else just like you. That idea is so amazing to me. I have this conversation with my kids all the time about not comparing themselves and doing all they can to really live up to their own potential. As adults we should remember the same lesson. Nothing really changes after middle school. We still need to work to live up to Gods potential in us. And it is limitless and abundant.
  7. Be present and pay attention. We all know how to do this, its just whether we choose to do it or not is the question. This means when someone else is speaking you need to put down your phone, get out of your own thoughts and your own agenda and focus on what the other person is saying. Staying present also means focusing on the task at hand and giving it your utmost attention. With all the distractions of technology and the expectations that our phones are constantly on our person, that we should be available immediately, it is a true challenge. Self Discipline is a practice that is not just daily, but a minute to minute practice.
  8. Express your own ideas and opinions. Self expression is key to the health of our creative self. To express our ideas to others takes a great deal of courage and thoughtfulness. writing this piece I realize what a shame it is that so many of us don’t have the courage to speak up in front of others for fear of being judged or shunned. It does take practice to put your own ideas into words, to articulate what you want to say in a meaningful way that isn’t harmful to anyone. What I practice is preparation. Before I go before a client or walk in to a meeting I spend time preparing for that meeting, I gather all the information I possibly can and I have even written down what I want to say so I can edit it and practice before I even walk in the room. I have been shot down before or have been the target of an interrogation unknowingly walking in to a trap. Afterwards I suck it up and shake it off and fix what went wrong. It has usually been a gift that someone was showing me a better way to do things or how to be a better person.
  9. Prioritize what’s important to you and voice it. Finding your voice throughout your life is a journey. So is figuring out what you really want out of your life and setting those priorities. Truth is they change occasionally based on your age and what stage you are in in life. Kids are all about instant gratification, young adults are more about preening and setting goals for college. Then there is marriage and children for a lot of us. And finally retirement and watching your dollars more closely. Setting your goals and deciding how to get to them is immensely important. So is voicing them to others, so their agenda is not yours. If you in a family voicing your priorities is super helpful. You may find that those who care for you will invest in your goals emotionally and try to help you get there faster.
  10. Don’t sell crap. This applies to your job as well as your self image. If you’re in a position where you don’t believe in what you are doing, or you are not happy with your position, you are the only person responsible for making the changes necessary to change the outcome. And if you can’t change your position, find a way to make it better, add value and reality to your situation or change your mind set. And if are in sales, don’t sell crap.  I usually have to argue with at least a couple potential clients about what I charge for my services and the cost of the materials I select for a home. You get what you pay for, you want to pay cheap prices, you get cheap crap. I don’t sell crap. Cant win ’em all.

Personal authenticity is the daily expression of your core beliefs and personality-  its a practice you have to keep at daily.

Own your beliefs and desires and values and you will find that you gain not only respect for your self but respect form others. You will become more of a leader and not a follower. re-read this article occasionally to remind yourself you are important and what make you more important is that you are true to yourself.

3 Things To Say No To: Are you hunting antelope or field mice.



Are you going after big game or are you starving yourself on the easy pickins. “Newt Gingrich was the one that originally came up with this question. A lion is more than capable of killing and eating field mice. The problem with this is the caloric energy required to catch a field mouse is more than the caloric content gained from eating the field mouse. If the lion would eat field mice all day, then it would eventually die of starvation. A lion needs to hunt big animals like antelopes to survive. It takes more time and energy to take down an antelope, but it offers a feast for the entire pride” (http://brandongaille.com/blogging-questions/).

When we start out we want the big game, but not sure how to get it, we go for the field mice every time. from my experience unless you are super blessed and lucky, this is how it has to start. I look at it as practice runs for the real race.

At some point though you have to stop or you will starve.

1: Stop waiting for them to come to you. Go out and find who you need to hunt. start at the top and work your way back. be sure this target is part of what will get you to your goals and serve you best in the long run.

2. Just cant give up the little guys? Hire someone to handle them with you. Just be sure what they bring in will cover the expense of payroll. I hired a draftsman to take on the little additions and remodels that come through, they more than cover his salary and now he can help me with the production work that goes into serving our larger clients more efficiently. And I have to say some of those field mice can become antelope.

3. At some point you will have to let those mice go and say “no, thank you” stick to the idea the those big fish are circling you now and you dont need any catfish muddying the waters.


Gorrilla Marketing For Designers

OK, so I am working on my next book, sheesh this is the hardest thing to do with a business, two kids in sports and a husband with whom I am in love with. What I do believe in though is that we can continue to produce great things even if at little bits at a time.

What I want to give you, my tribe, is an opportunity to learn form what I have accomplished. I will post as much here that I ma working on as possible to give you good content. This is not the edited version, this is strictly the draft version. I would appreciate any and all feed back so I can make changes for the final version.



Life is so busy and being an Interior Designers life gets very hectic once you have passed the mark of running 4 projects at a time. I can only speak from my own experience, but what my experience has led to is a healthy success at being a small design firm. The principles I learned from being a professional artist for 17 years creating, marketing, making and selling pottery made me a diligent marketer and persistent creative. The super busy part comes in when you have a family of your own and now you are also dealing with the families of all of your clients as well. We are in a service industry, I would say anyone and everyone is in the service industry. I say this because no matter what, we all expect our experience to be pleasant and we look for someone to add value to what they are selling, no matter if it’s coffee, gas, a painter, or my lawn guy. Every day I expect to be treated with kindness, respect and have my concerns addressed. I have an amazing experience when those needs are met and then some.

In the vein of being too busy to possibly take the time to even read this little ditty, I would say it will be well worth the meager cost I ask of you in trade. I would tell you from experience the very precise things I did daily in the very beginning and what I continue to do throughout my week will be worth it to you; for me it was $8,000 the first year, $30,000 the second year, $60,000 the third year, $80,000 the fourth year and $116,000 the fifth year. How’s that for a five-year plan.

What I wish I had 20 some years ago starting as a creative building a small pottery business in my garage was someone to say “ok, if you do these 10 things you will see marked results in months, and if you keep doing them you will see marked results by the end of the second year.”

You will have 10 things that you do week in and week out that will grow your business. I can’t promise you that you will have the same results I had. I had a reputation as a creative in my community for years, so I already had credibility as a creative, I had trust from my clients already. If you practice these steps and work on your mindset you will grow your venture swiftly, you will beat your competition and give your clients an amazing experience because you know you are already capable of being a star.

It is important that you have a real grasp on what it takes to be a creative and an entrepreneur. From the time I was an artist I kept the attitude that I was a professional. What I do as a creative is not a hobby. As long as I took myself seriously so does everyone else. As a professional at anything you do you need to take seriously all aspects of your business. This is true from the designs you create to the value you bring  to your clients to your level of bookkeeping skills and especially to your marketing skills and planning. Marketing has to be high on your list of to-do’s daily. The actions I suggest you start taking here will undoubtedly work for you as long as you do them consistently. You may need to tweek them to work for you, your life style and your community.

A Reason to Stop … and Really Think….


“According to an ancient legend, there was a time when ordinary people had access to all the knowledge of the gods. Yet time and again, they ignored this wisdom. One day, the gods grew tired of so freely giving a gift the people didn’t use, so they decided to hide this precious wisdom where only the most committed of seekers would discover it. They believed that if people had to work to find this wisdom, they would use it more carefully. One of the gods suggested that they bury it deep in the earth. No, the others said— too many people could easily dig down and find it. “Let’s put it in the deepest ocean,” suggested one of the gods, but that idea was also rejected. They knew that people would one day learn to dive and thus would find it too easily. One of the gods suggested hiding it on the highest mountaintop, but it was quickly agreed that people could climb mountains. Finally, one of the wisest gods suggested, “Let’s hide it deep inside the people themselves. They’ll never think to look in there.” And so it came to be— and so it continues today.”

And this is why it is part of my morning ritual to sit and think, to pray on what I have to do for the day, to get in touch with what God has put in my mind, and to open up the channel God share with me. I believe I will be transformed by the quieting of my mind

Gratitude: Think of something nice to say…

One of my habits I have cultivated over the last few years in the process of reinventing my work life, I wake up every morning and calibrate my day and my life. I keep a “Success Rhythm Matrix” where I track everything I want to be better at, learn, and grow. I think the one thing that makes the most impact on my life and more importantly, my attitude and ability to bring more into my life is my listing of what I am grateful for. Everyday I try to come up iwth 3 new things. I have filled up books with journaling through my adult life, but since I have started concentrating on only the positive aspects over the last ten years, I feel like I have found the gold at the end of the rainbow.
As we move in to the Holiday Season, I would just remind you of what my Momom always said to me, don’t say anything if you don’t have anything NICE to say. Not only will you think of nicer things to say, but when you are quiet, it will be that much  more evident of the strength of your character and convictions.
And now a challenge, please do one randomly nice thing today. Send a sweet note to anyone you have done business with, or just an old friend. Most of don’t expect anything in return.
Merry Happy hallo-giving-ikah-anzah-istmas