Tag Archives: interior design business

TET: A Lesson in Hiring and Retaining Great Employees

I am a very small business owner but I have amazing vision for our future. I’m just not always sure how to get there. So I read a ton of business development books, go to seminars and workshops and mine as much information from my loosely knit circle of mentors as possible

The economy in Florida is staying steady on a nice slow rise. I feel confident that when the slowdown does occur it won’t kill business like it did in 2009. We are positioned to offer enough service and product that we will continue to be ok.

I have hired a Design Assistant and taken a new route or adopted a new culture similar to what I am reading about currently. After the last 2 years of hiring and either firing or people leaving after a short period of time I felt I had to take a new approach.

“Small Giants” by Bo Burlingham, is about small companies, who had the opportunity to go wild, deciding to stay small and really perfect their product, client experience and improve the lives of their employees.

All of the companies in this book are far bigger than mine but the theories stand.

It is simply this: Teach- Equip- Trust (TET)

Invest in training employees so they can rise to their potential. Give them the tools they need to do the job. Check in with them quarterly to be sure these first two objectives are met. Finally simply trust they will use their knowledge, training, resources and tools to not only get the job done but also provide and exceptional experience for our clients.

That is the end goal.

This is the practice I have been working in for a year. It feels taxing at times because of the field we are in and there is so much to learn on my assistants part. But it is my responsibility to try this method vs the previous of just showing a few things and making them figure out the rest. That did not work out well at all. 😳 it was strictly trial by fire. It had worked previously in my pottery business but not here.

We are 6 months in and it’s going well. She has even mentioned she is learning more here at the school of Mangrove Bay that at her college.

We are currently in the look out for our next victim and we are ready with training protocol and procedure manuals to streamline the process of getting the next assistant up and rolling much faster.

It is a true challenge to be a business owner, on your own, winging it at times. In the end it is well worth the effort for the flexibility and ability to create and live to our potential.

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.