Do you imagine yourself scrimping, saving and starving during your first and second year in business as a home stager?
While it’s true that you may have to make some adjustments in your lifestyle when you set out to be your own boss, it’s important to remember that it’s all relative to what you were earning before.
When I started my home staging business in 2002, I was living in a very expensive city and I had just come from a career where I was making more than $100,000 per year. In a situation like that, with those variables, it is almost impossible to maintain your previous lifestyle and income level in year one – whether you’re talking about staging or any other new business.
In that first year (2002/2003), I made about $40,000 as a home stager.
Since that was about the same as the median household income in the US, and I was earning that in my first year of a new business on my own, it was pretty good. I also hadn’t yet figured out how to properly charge for my home staging services, something I teach my students in the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, so they can have a better first year than I did.
Given that the average minimum wage in the US is about $7/hour, most people who earn $20 an hour figure they’re doing pretty well. If you’re used to making about $20 an hour, you’ll probably make as much in a single day of home staging as you currently earn working full time for an entire week (likely doing something less enjoyable).
If you’ll be leaving a full time job where you make $50 an hour (or $100,000 a year), sure it will take awhile to get back to that level but then again, you won’t have all of the typical costs of being an employee in that salary range.
After all, you won’t have to worry about many expenses including:
- Buying lunch everyday
- Dry cleaning
- Maintaining an expensive wardrobe
- Hiring a nanny, gardener, house cleaner, etc. (As an exec you don’t have time for these things but your schedule is more flexible as a home stager.)
- Takeout dinners
- Expensive morning coffees
But of course there’s more to “lifestyle” than how much money you earn. Many people earn less, but are way happier because they have a more balanced lifestyle working in their own business. Many find, like I do, that their actual cost of living goes down because they don’t have to buy all the things that are required of a high-paying career in an office tower.
Above all else, remember that the more you invest in your learning about the proper set up and pricing of a home staging business, and in marketing your services, the more you will get out of it!
You’ll find lots of financial advice in the free downloadable report Ask Staging Diva: Should I Start a Home Staging Business in this Economy?
Home stagers, how has your lifestyle changed now that you’re working for yourself? Please share by leaving a comment below.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Home Staging
Debra Gould knows how to make money as a home stager and she developed the Staging Diva Training Program to teach others how to earn a living doing something they love.