What a journey it is becoming a home stager! Many of us are born home stagers, we just don’t realize it for many years. What I mean here is that it’s a journey discovering who we are and what we are meant to do. Along the way, we take hundreds of baby steps that take our dream and make it tangible by bringing it into the world where we, and others, can see it.
There is something really empowering about manifesting our dreams into something that exists outside of ourselves.
For years I had wanted to be an artist. I used to spend hours at craft shows hanging around the exhibitors, like a groupie hungry for any piece of information that would help me figure out what their secret was. How had they found the courage to create and to put their work out there for the world to see, judge, and hopefully, buy?
Eventually I gave up my six-figure business to find out and do it myself. Everyone said I was crazy, after all I was a single mom with a mortgage! I just realized one day that life is too short and that our passion doesn’t just show up one day and say “Here I am!,” it’s actually something you CHOOSE!
I built my first website to promote my art in 1999. I knew I needed a photo of myself to put up there so I did my makeup, propped my digital camera up on a bunch of books on a table to get the right height, and used the timer to take a bunch of shots of myself.
It took me hours to get it right— running back and forth between the camera and where I would stand, trying to get the angle right and the lighting! How much easier it would have been to have professional lights or a tripod (I couldn’t afford either one) or even someone around to help, but I was new in town and didn’t know a soul (except my kid who was under 4 feet tall)!
After kindergarten pick up that day, I showed her my live website (a project I’d been working on non-stop for about 3 weeks), complete with artist photo.
She burst into happy tears and said, “I’m so proud of you Mommy!”
That was definitely one of those great “Mommy Moments,” not only because she was proud but because I knew I had taught her an important lesson about following your dreams! She had witnessed the power of taking action rather than sitting around complaining or waiting to be rescued by someone else. This is a critical lesson for everyone, but I feel it’s especially important for girls!
I was reminded of this story recently when one of my Staging Diva Graduates took my advice about setting up a Gravatar so that her photo would appear next to her blog comments all over the Internet and she wrote, “Thanks! It was so fun to see my picture pop up everywhere. I didn’t realize how vain I was until I saw my picture and loved it!”
It’s not vanity though! It’s the thrill of seeing a tangible example of your dreams being out in the world. It’s scary at first, but it’s really gratifying and gets easier with every step you take.
Staging Diva Graduate, Traci Sampsell of The Finer Stage wrote, “I saw the first draft of my business cards today and I haven’t felt this proud since I graduated from nursing school! This is completely different, though, because it’s all my own!”
Yes, another step in the journey made tangible by having an actual business card. They cost under $100 but their value is priceless in the confidence boost they give you, and the money-making clients they can bring you!
Staging Diva Graduate Katherine James of Set Sale and Go Home Staging wrote after her first project, “Debra, I had them eating out of the palm of my hand using your tips. The job went incredibly well and I could not tear the smile off my face after I left. I had to strongly resist the urge to skip back to my car in case the clients might be watching from their doorway.”
Staging Diva Graduate Red Barrinuevo of Redesign4More compares the excitement of starting his staging and redesign business to the day he got his first bike from his dad. Special moments we never forget because even as they’re happening we know they are life affirming and life changing.
Staging Diva Graduate Jodi Whalen of Pear Tree Home Designs shares that she realized how far she’d come when she closed her books on her first 3 years as a home stager and realized she tripled her revenue every year!
Perhaps you’re thinking it’s different for us, that this couldn’t be your story too.
Maybe you believe I don’t understand how hard it can be. I’ve never publicly shared my whole story, but I do not lead a charmed life where everything just “falls into place.” I’ve worked my way back from abuse, serious health challenges, and more.
I do know what it’s like to feel hopeless. I also know life is the adventure you make it and that you are the one to choose your adventures.
So the first step is to choose. The next is to find some (even small) way to make your dreams real each day. Whether it’s:
- Taking your professional picture.
- Going out to a networking event to talk about your business as though it exists (even if you’ve never had a client before).
- Learning from others who have already done what you’re trying to accomplish.
- Or any one of a thousand things you could do today, tomorrow, the next day, next week and on and on.
I promise one day (not so long from now) you will look back in delight and amazement at how far you’ve come!
Home stagers, please comment below and share any action you’ve taken this year towards realizing your dreams, I know you’ll get a kick out of seeing the progress you’ve made while inspiring others just starting out.
If you’re totally new to home staging and just beginning this journey, please share what baby steps you plan to take in the months ahead to take your dream and make it tangible by bringing it into the world where we, and others, can see it. You’ll find your transformation begins just by declaring it!
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Debra Gould has been writing about marketing for small businesses since the early 1990s as a frequent contributor to Profit Magazine. A home stager since 2002, she developed the Staging Diva Training Program to create opportunities for others to grow their own money-making home staging businesses. There are now 4,000 students in more than 20 countries following her formula for business success.