Designer Stories

Stories of Success From Our Clients

Meeting with Terri was a major turning point. I don’t do anything less than a $10,000 design fee, and I pick and choose my clients.
Janet Patterson


I have always worked for big design firms. I decided to go on my own because I had opportunities coming my way. I built my business while I had another full-time job, so I really had two full-time jobs. 

For about a year and a half, I was going crazy because I was working seven days a week. Plus, it took me twice as long to do something because I was afraid to make a mistake and unsure of how to do things. I was constantly double-checking myself.


Working with Interior Design Business Academy

I finally left my regular, full-time job, and then a big design project fell in my lap. I worked on the job for two and a half years, and I only really made $6,000. Something told me that I didn’t charge enough, and I was afraid to make that same mistake again. I needed advice on how to build a solid contract and price out the whole thing.

Coincidentally, while this was happening, I was receiving Terri’s newsletters. It was serendipity because one of those emails asked about scheduling a four-hour, one-on-one training session with her. I was really excited, but it worried about the cost. 

I did meet with her, and we did a breakdown of a project I was working on from beginning to end. After I got home, I finished the contract, put my letter of agreement together, and I signed a $35,000 design fee!

JPID Studio – Janet Patterson
Miami, FL


Meeting with Terri was a major turning point. It taught me this is what you’re worth, this is how it should be, this is what you should be making, and this is what you deserve. And it’s only gone up from there. I don’t do anything less than a $10,000 design fee, and I pick and choose my clients.

Now, I get to travel, enjoy myself, and take some time out when I need it, which is great!

Website: https://jpidstudio.com/

Now, I’m consistently signing on projects with flat fees of a minimum of $10,000, and this year, I’m just under the $200k mark.
Megan Siason


I started my business back in 2015, and back then, I charged an hourly rate of $75, which I thought was top dollar. I worked out of my home and learned the ropes of what it was like to be a business owner.

Fast forward to 2017, and nothing had really changed. I had some great clients and wonderful projects under my belt, but my income wasn’t where it should have been.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

When I joined Terri’s program, I realized the hourly rate wasn’t working. So, the first thing I did was switch from charging hourly to a flat fee. It allowed me to gain greater control in charging my clients. It also saved me time and helped me to better manage my cash flow.

I also implemented internal processes that I learned from IDBA. I put a structure in place that details my process from start to finish, especially how I create my design proposals. 

M Studio Interior Design – Megan Siason
San Diego, CA


My personal life has shifted. I don’t feel guilty if I don’t answer emails or text messages in the middle of the night, and I’ve been able to create greater boundaries between my work and personal life. 

My freedom is a result of going through the mindset and strategic workshops with Terri. I learned how to cultivate a dedicated team that supports my business, and I’ve moved from working from home and into a dedicated office space. 

When I joined IDBA, I was making about $80-$90k. Now, I’m consistently signing on projects with flat fees of a minimum of $10,000, and this year, I’m just under the $200k mark. 

I recommend working with Terri as she’s inspired, impacted, and motivated a lot of other designers to be the best versions of themselves. Everybody has the ability and capacity to do so. It’s just a matter of breaking through certain obstacles and getting through those hurdles to find it. 

Website: https://www.mstudiointeriordesign.com/

My salary has gone up about 200% since I started working with Terri!
Wendy Appleby


I started out just creating pretty rooms with what I thought was a strong business behind me. I told myself I was doing perfectly fine. I was working hourly, and I didn’t have contracts for clients. Once I started working with Terri, my eyes were opened to a whole new level of success that I hadn’t even imagined was possible for me!

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

When I started working with Terri, she recommended that I create bundles of time for clients when a contract might be too much for their budget. That started me down the path to no longer work hourly, and to have minimums, and now every project gets a contract.

Terri also taught me the concept of fake it ‘til you make it. If a project I like presents itself, and it’s talking to me, whether I’ve done it before or not, I just go in headfirst. I find a way to get it done! That level of confidence has overhauled both me and my business 100%.

This has also helped me in dealing with prospective clients. Before, if a client did not hire me, I took that personally. Now, if I quote for an initial consult, and they say it’s too much – they’re just not my client! Instead of demoting myself and trying to make something work, I move on to clients that are a better fit. 

Your Home By Wendy – Wendy Appleby
Baltimore, MD


My salary has gone up about 200% since I started working with Terri. I need a dry erase board now to list all my current projects because it’s too many to keep in my head. Also, there are definite boundaries now where I don’t respond to client inquiries beyond normal office hours anymore, which has helped me make my family a priority.

Terri has made a lasting impression on me as well as on others. Because of her program, I’ve developed confidence and found empowerment through designers I’ve met from all over the country! What I learned from Terri has changed my business and will continue to do so for a lifetime. 

Website: https://yourhomebywendy.com/

Working with Terri opened my business up for new opportunities!
Richard Rabel


Back in November 2013, I decided to take a leap in business. I attended the Design Business Summit and joined the IDBA Coaching Program (then known as GCGM) to help with my newly established interior design practice.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

I learned the importance of valuing my skills and presenting with confidence even though I didn’t have a 4-year degree in Interior Design (although I do have an Engineering degree, a Master’s in Business, and other invaluable experience in the art and design world).

I also learned about practical ways of looking at the nuts and bolts of my business, and the importance of getting my mindset in the right place.

Richard Rabel Interiors + Art, Ltd.
New York, NY


Working with Terri opened my business up for new opportunities!

I still use the mindset shift of “this is who I am and this is what I can for you”, rather than being pushed around (or bullied) by the client who thinks they know better and that I’m just one of their hired assistants.

I’m also one of the designers selected for the venerable Kips Bay 2019 Showhouse in NYC. I’ve received rave reviews and am enjoying the fruits of my labor!

This was in part possible because of what I learned from Terri – thank you.

Website: http://richardrabel.com/

The very first time I quoted $20K for a job, the client said yes! It was INCREDIBLE!
Barbara Bell


I’d spent decades building a successful business but I was stuck in the old business practice of charging very little for my time on a job and expecting the product sales to create enough income to keep my business going. I didn’t like feeling like I had to sell furniture to make a profit.

It wasn’t until I completed 2 jobs that ended in “disaster” (clients bought everything from the internet and I earned nothing!) that I knew I couldn’t wait any longer – I had to do something to save my business.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

I joined the program and immediately began applying the flat design fee strategies right away. The very first time I quoted $20K for a job, the client said yes! It was INCREDIBLE! I then quoted $25K on the next job, and they said yes too! The best part was I started getting paid whether or not the client buys product.

So now I get all the joy of being a designer and none of the (unwanted) stress of being a ‘sales person’.

Barbara Bell Interiors
Tarrytown, NY


My design practice has changed considerably, $25K, $35K and $40K design fees have become the “new normal.”

Westchester Magazine contacted me about being the lead designer in a show home in the Ritz Carlton, NYC. I told the magazine I was interested but that my services were not free. I gave them a quote for my services and they accepted! Not too long ago I would have done it for free, but now I know my worth and it’s paid off tenfold!

Working with Terri and IDBA changed my business forever. I went from preparing to end my business to having the business I always wanted!

Website: http://barbarabellinteriors.com

Right now I have 2 dream clients with whole houses that I am designing. $300K budgets and $40K design fees is a whole world away from where I was 5 years ago.
Anne Buresh


My interior design career started in 2011 after having a variety of friends, family, and friends of friends ask me to “do” their house. Creating spaces comes naturally and I love interior design, but I struggled making a business out of it. The thought of putting myself “out there” with a website and newsletter magazine was frightening and I was wondering if I really needed to do it in order to have the business of my dreams!

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

You cannot imagine the relief I felt when I joined IDBA and discovered that I wasn’t the only one freaked out about being in the spotlight! I don’t know where I would be with out this program and Terri. Yes, I have the talent and yes, I would muddle through, but why? And how long? Terri showed me the strategies, solutions, scripts, and templates to easily sign up clients for larger and larger fees.

IDBA is a great community. It is unbelievably great to have the designers to talk to. The support I receive is tremendous. Terri has given me the blueprint to be successful and have fun, to live out my purpose, get out of my own way, and to understand that this is bigger than a career. It is a life changing process. I’m grateful for Terri for giving me the freedom to live my passion!

Anne Buresh Interior Design
Charlotte, NC



Charlotte Home and Garden just ran a 7-page article on one of my projects, plus a Q&A article, and I’m also writing a feature blog for North Carolina Interior Design.

Right now I have 2 dream clients with whole houses that I am designing. $300K budgets and $40K design fees is a whole world away from where I was 5 years ago. I am living the dream!

And I was recently at the airport with my daughter to check out a potential college for the fall. It was 5:30 am, I was wearing no makeup, and waiting in line at security when a TSA agent says to me, “Don’t I know you? Yes, you’re the designer from that huge article in Charlotte Home and Garden. Your work is beautiful! Can I have your card? Will you sign it for me?” I couldn’t believe it! All my work had truly made me a design celebrity – even half asleep at the airport!

Website: http://www.anneburesh.com

I’m now established as a design expert, work with my ideal clients, and am more confident in explaining my advantage as a designer to clients.
Kristy Sherill


By the end of 2011, I was a year into my business, a single Mom, and in survival mode! I had a different set of beliefs about how to run my business, which included lots of fear about what the next job would be or if there really was going to be a next job. My expectations were so low about how much I could charge that I’d ask for a very small consultation fee. I just didn’t know how to charge for my talent and expertise. And the truth is, I didn’t think it was possible to charge more, nor did I know how to sell myself in a way that warranted more money.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

I started with IDBA Gold and spent 18 months going through the basics. I coached with Terri about my money beliefs and when I sold my first fee based project (adining room for $2500) I was amazed! Budget on the Fly is now a cornerstone of my business!

I moved into Platinum Tier coaching last year. Being in this community of designers has had a huge impact on up-leveling my business. It’s a tremendous advantage to watch and model myself after them and their higher level businesses. There is so much to absorb, so much to focus and learn about marketing, so much to implement …it’s awesome!

Chambless Hall Interiors – Kristy Sherrill
Grayson, GA


Running my business is now a lot of fun! I’m now established as a design expert, work with my ideal clients, and am more confident in explaining my advantage as a designer to clients. I just had a previous client buy a $1.5m condo in downtown Atlanta and am doing furnishings for all 2700sf. The letter of agreement is $32,640. I just finished the design phase and am working on completing purchasing and implementation. I still can hardly believe that it happened, and that I was confident enough to charge her that much money for this project. It’s only going up from here!

Website: http://www.chamblesshallinteriors.com

I highly recommend IDBA coaching to any designer ready to step out on their own and want the easy button for being successful and living the life they want.
Tina Marie


I was successfully working as a furniture store designer but wanted to set out and be my own boss. I was working with some good clients but wasn’t sure how to structure my jobs for profitability. I was also working a ton of hours, doing everything myself and wasn’t making the income that I knew I could and should be making.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

IDBA was the big game changer for me!

In my first year of IDBA coaching with Terri, I tripled my income! In my second year IDBA I triple my income again. Now I am on track for another multiple 7 figure year!

Just having someone to answer my questions and tell me how I am supposed to do it made all the difference in the world. IDBA GOLD Mastermind provided the template for me to be totally fee based and substantially increase my design and purchasing fees.

Tina Marie Interior Design – Christina Marie McCombs
Altamonte Springs, FL


In IDBA PLATINUM Mastermind, I continued to build my design business by investing in an extraordinary photographer and a well trained creative and administrative team to back me up. This resulted in attracting many high budget residential design build projects, hospitality opportunities and model homes for national and local home builders.

I highly recommend IDBA coaching to any designer ready to step out on their own and want the easy button for being successful and living the life they want.

Website: www.tinamarieinteriordesign.com

I’ve been published been published numerous times, won 7 ASID Chapter Design Awards, and moved into designing multi- family housing for my target market.
Bonnie J. Lewis


After a successful marketing management career in the corporate world, I went back to school for an interior design degree. I loved interior design and knew it was time to make a change in my life. My professors were great and talked about all the different ways designers could be paid, but I was baffled as to which way would be most effective while making the most business sense.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

Having had a previous career in business, I know how important systems are for running a successful business and wanted to know how to create the systems and standards needed to have my own interior design business.

So while I was still in design college, I’d listen to Terri’s free training webinars and decided to investigate the Interior Design Business Academy trainings and programs.

After graduating and acquiring an advanced, highly-specialized design skill set for senior living, I joined Good Clients Great Money GOLD Mastermind and began implementing Terri’s systems for signing up clients and running jobs.

Copper Star Interiors
Bonnie J. Lewis, Allied ASID, Associate IIDA, CAPS
Scottsdale, AZ


I set a financial goal for my first year that seemed impossible at the time but turned out to be easy to reach, and by the end of the year I had doubled my income goal!

Moving into IDBA PREMIER has continued to help me grow my business as I focus my marketing on a very specific niche.

I’ve been published been published numerous times, won 7 ASID Chapter Design Awards, a NAHB national award for aging-in-place and universal design remodeling excellence, and moved into designing multi- family housing for my target market.

Oh, and I almost forget… I doubled my income goal, again!

IDBA Coaching is perfect for those who want the short cuts to success! Having Terri’s expertise, support, and experience on your side is like strapping a jetpack to your business on its way to the moon. The systems for having the design business of your dreams already exist – you just need to apply them to see the results for yourself!

Website: http://copperstarinteriors.com

I now have a design business that’s more professional, and with my increased confidence in pricing … my fees have increased as well!
Ashley Pate


My business structure felt haphazard, and I was looking for a repeatable way to bring clients into my business and to be more profitable. I knew it was important to have systems in place for my business – from first phone call to getting payment, pricing products to scheduling out the job.

Working with Interior Design Business Academy

I joined Good Clients Great Money GOLD Mastermind after attending one of Terri’s live CEU events at the Robert Allen Showroom in Dallas, and investing in the Designing for Dollars Home Study training Program.

I quickly realized that charging hourly was contributing greatly to my business problems and once I started charging fees, I had so much more confidence for pricing and presenting it to a client.

Ashley Pate Interior Design, LLC
McKinney, TX


IDBA helped me grow my self-assurance by showing me how to present a very clear picture of a design job – it’s made the processes easier for me and my clients are impressed with my presentations and systems too.

I now have a design business that’s more professional, and with my increased confidence in pricing … my fees have increased as well.

Investing in IDBA was one of the best decisions I’ve made for my business and I plan to continue into IDBA PREMIER Mastermind to up level my clients and business even more!

Website: http://www.ashleypate.com/

Other notable success:

Kirsten U.

Kristen U.

THANK YOU TERRI! I am starting a project with my "dream" client. Without your time estimating schedule, the LOA template and all your valuable coaching advice and support I would not have been where I am now!

Catherine G.

Many thanks for a wonderful Good Clients Great Money retreat weekend to top off the many weeks of educational phone calls. I really appreciate all of your good advice for the interior design business and life in general!

Mimi F.

I want to thank you so very much for the wonderful advice you had given me. We tackled so many issues during our very intense day, it wasn’t until I transcribed your outlines into the notebook [that] I was able to absorb the issues and our solutions

Sue-Anne W.

The Good Clients, Great Money program helped me realize that the potential and possibility for real success is right here. The weekend at the retreat, I didn’t know what to expect, but I would say that Terri has over delivered. The group is so talented and it was a pleasure to share and receive from them. I now have some great action steps to take away and put into place, and know I can accelerate my growth. Being a business owner can be quite isolating, but this program helps and supports me so I can focus more clearly on the things that matter.

Marcia M.

This was an incredibly helpful seminar. I now have a much better handle on running my business, what to charge a client, and closing potential projects ... As I was talking with the first potential client who called after I returned home I decided I should raise my fee. After explaining what I provide during the initial consult I quoted (them my new fee) and they said "fine, when can we book a time?

Vanessa S

Vanessa S.

Yesterday I got another job... I'm on a roll! This time I will be getting paid what I am worth... Your LOA, Client Expectations forms, PO, etc. are a lifesaver. THANK YOU!!!!

Mimi R.

I presented the letters in person, as you have stressed we do. My clients and I read them together, they signed them and gave me a check. It was the most stress-free experience ever. I now have a new client for whom I must write an LOA to select and purchase a house full of furniture. I am finding this letter much more difficult to do. Because I cannot project how long it is going to take me to create the furniture plans and to find the furnishings I want to specify, or to determine how many client meetings will be required. I will keep plugging away at it. The courses I have taken from you have been invaluable.

Nicki W.

This program has a lot of benefits, but my one big take-away at the retreat was that I learned that I have real issues with money. I was leaving money on the table and not charging what I was worth. Terri’s Money Archetypes module helped me get a handle on these issues. It taught me how to develop boundaries and ask for owed money so I have more control over my income. Interior Designers often work alone, so I really enjoyed meeting other designers in one location. We are all the same, dealing with the same issues and challenges. I made some lifelong friends in the program, and it’s got me thinking about what I have to do.

Donna A P.

Since starting this program I have learned the skills to rebuild my confidence, and I have watched myself turn the corner. Terri has given me the tools I needed to help me build my company up again to where it once was and I want it to be. If it were not for Terri, I do not think I could have done it. I was ready to retire, and although I have been in the program a short time, I have been able to change many of the things that were holding me back. First and foremost, Terri has given me the my confidence back I needed to move forward and not remain stagnant. I now have tools and assignments so I can move forward. Listening to the other designers at the retreat, I learned I was not all by myself. There were so many that felt the same way and Terri has helped us all. I am so glad I found Terri.

Jacqui L.

The Project Time Estimate is a great tool in my business arsenal - with this document, I confidently calculate the time it takes for a project, large or small. Through her vast business experience, Terri has thoughtfully laid out the prospective aspects of every design job. Because of this, I am assured that nothing is missed with I calculate the house it takes. I know I can complete the job for a fair price and stay efficient with my hours. Most importantly, I am confident in presenting my Letter of Agreement. This tool takes the guess work out of the fixed fee, and in my opinion, also increases the professional optics when presentation my LOA ... it's not a dart-board guess. I don't think my competition could say the same.

Cecilia P.

This project estimating system worksheet is helping me to give a price to a client easier and quickly. A lot to learn, but I'm already using it. I have a guide system now that will help me to quote in a very professional and accurate way any small, medium, or large job.

Diana W.

I had tailored my business to scale down and up so many times, but didn't have the structure in place. This showed me the power to capitalize on other business for the team, and myself, and for the first time determine a course of work with serious production magnified by having the right team. This was a very powerful workshop for me. This brought together for me a system that is proven, workable and manageable.

Amy S.

I listen to every webinar that you offer and I purchased your Designing for Dollars Home Study Series and have listened to it 3 times … I wanted to make sure you knew that you are helping more people than you realize. Thank you for sharing your wisdom.

Leslie S.

I found the GCGM retreat very energizing and empowering. I now have specific goals in place with a timeline to achieve them, and I made some great new friends in the process. It was reassuring to know we were all experiencing the same challenges and Terri walked each of us through the process of believing in ourselves as well as the practical steps of running a business.

Rhea M.

My experience at the Good Clients Great Money retreat was AMAZING. [It]...far exceeded the time and expense that I would have endured over years trying to learn from another designer. I get to run my business the way I want and have the opportunity to learn from a great mentor