Design business is still coming in the door for some design studios. It’s really a lovely thing, and it makes me very happy. Of course, it’s not a hundred percent of what it used to be, but that’s okay because we’re in the middle of a pandemic.
I’m amazed that it’s there, and it’s happening. But we want to ask the question, what are those designers doing that’s causing it to happen? Since we all would like a few new jobs coming in, and something new to do.
What they’re doing that’s making a difference is giving a lot of service and value with a lot of heart. Let me tell you a little story about what happened to me in relation to this.
What I Learned During the Last Recession
Back in 2009, which was the last recession, the circumstances landed on my head in one month. I had a studio that was doing all the model homes for all the home builders in southern Arizona, which was quite a lot. We were doing about $2 million a year, and then we went to zero in 30 days. All my subdivisions were shut down; all my builders closed. There were no contracts in the funnel; there was nothing to chase. It was over, just completely gone. I had to take my staff of 13 and cut it down to three, only a skeleton crew to keep it running, and then figure out what to do.
I sat at my desk, dazed and confused for about two weeks when a past client called. She wanted to know if one of my “fancy plumbers” might be able to fix the sink faucet in her powder room. It had been shut off for at least a year and was wondering if they could come work on it. The other plumbers knew what was wrong, but they didn’t know where to get the part. And I said, “Oh, you mean the Cheryl Wagner faucet? I know what that is.”
I went over there, took a picture of it, and sent it to my plumbing rep, who connected me to the Cheryl Wagner tech support people. They figured out what the part was and then sent it to me. I sold it to the client and made 40 bucks on it or something like that. Not a design job, not at all. It was just to help my client get their sink fixed.
The interesting thing about that story was about a month later, they called back and invited me to remodel their master bath and bedroom. It was a bit over a hundred thousand, and that put us back on the map again.
It also gave me the impetus and connection to remarket my business into a design-build. I realized going after remodels would be a great place to go where the contracts would be significantly larger. If people can’t sell their houses, they’re certainly going to remodel them because they’re not happy with them; they don’t stay happy very long. So that put my business back on the map again. That’s a great story, and you can see how something little that doesn’t look like an opportunity can easily turn into something big that re-starts your business.
Give to Your Clients & Create Relationships
Being able to give to your clients, reach out, and connect is what creates the relationships that create the business. My students here at IDBA have been reaching out and making new friends. They’re building bigger followings, connecting with potential clients, talking about jobs, and, more importantly, they’re getting jobs. It’s happening because they’re reaching out with heart.
Now on the other side of that, somebody else said to me, well, wait a minute.
“I’ve called every one of my clients and talked to them. Nobody stepped up at all; nobody wants anything. Why? What’s the matter with them? Why isn’t this working?” Well, first of all, there’s nothing the matter with them. There are a couple of things you need to know about this.
One is that when you give a gift, and you have an express intention in that gift that you’re going to get something back out of it, people can feel it. It feels needy, and we don’t ever want to be there. People can smell that from a mile away, so it doesn’t work.
Number two is the Law of Circulation. That’s one of the Universal Laws, and you can look it up online and read about them because they’re pretty much what drives things energetically. The Law of Circulation says energetically, the place where you give a gift, where you put your heart, and reach out is not the place where it’ll come back at. I will also add that not only is it not where it comes back at, but it doesn’t look like what you think it should look like. It’s going to look weird.
It’s going to be some kind of oddball thing that you notice out of the corner of your eye. It’s an opportunity. I’ve been doing a lot of this kind of work lately. To me, this is the time to be doing this.
Now is not the time to let off the gas. Instead, this is the time to drop in and start connecting with people, really put your heart in it, and put it out there.
Free Resources for You at IDBA
We’ve been doing a double down on the number of calls and support we’re giving our students here at IDBA. I feel like that is not enough, so I have opened up a free live Thursday morning Q&A call at 9 am that is open to everyone. You don’t have to sign up, just show up. Click here to access this week’s free call on Thursday, May 7th.
Anyone can jump in and get some help, support, inspiration, or strategy. Whatever it is you’re looking for, you may find it there, because there’s a lot of interesting information coming out of our live calls. We have a good time, and it’s available to you for free. I’ve also posted a new video called Design Triage 2020: Pivot Your Business for Today’s Challenges, which is full of positive energy and actionable steps for what is going on right now. You can access the free training by clicking here.
And I’ve also been partnering with showrooms across the country doing live zoom events with a new FREE CEU and having a blast with helping people and connecting in that way. If your group or Chapter would like to do a live virtual meeting with a very positive focus and actionable items to do now CEU, let me know.
For me, it’s a lovely thing to be doing at this time. I’m planting the seeds for growth later, and you can do it for your business too. The best interior design advice I can give you right now is to give freely. Give with an open heart. Don’t be afraid of it, just step in and give, because it’ll come back to you in spades.
Design something beautiful, get paid what you’re worth and be well.