Home staging groups on sites like Facebook and LinkedIn let you hang out with fellow stagers and get home staging business advice, share ideas, etc.
There is lots of well-meaning and free home staging business advice on the Internet. And, it’s not always coming from people who know what they’re talking about.
Almost everyone has an opinion, not necessarily an educated opinion.
Your online “friends” may have no business experience and/or they could be going broke as home stagers.
So if you’re hoping to make money as a home stager, do you really want to follow the home staging business advice of people who aren’t qualified to give it?
Bad home staging business advice appears “free” and costs a bundle
When you get bits and pieces of advice without the whole picture of how it fits together, you waste time stumbling around in the dark. You don’t know what pieces of the puzzle you’re missing!
Or worse, if it’s actually bad business advice you’ll be headed in the wrong direction entirely.
That can turn “free” advice into really expensive advice— costing you tens of thousands of dollars in costs and lost income.
Not to mention the months and years you can waste going in the wrong direction! And the risk that you’ll give up in frustration because of it.
Plus, you might not realize what this bad home staging business advice is costing you until it’s too late.
Many well-meaning home stagers say the best way to build a staging business is to focus all your attention on real estate agents. In fact, several home staging courses (taught by people who have never themselves had successful staging businesses), tell you to chase after Realtors and that this is the only way to get staging jobs.
This is simply not true.
In fact it’s a path to great frustration which is why I’ve written so many articles about this topic. For example:
Stagers, Don’t Let Real Estate Agents Discourage You
5 Secrets Real Estate Agents Need to Hear From Home Stagers
Home Stagers, Realize Your Power in Real Estate
Bad Advertising Advice
Other home stagers confidently advise doing lots of magazine advertising to make it look like you’re established.
This is completely erroneous advice and based on zero knowledge of how paid advertising actually works.
It’s also really costly because no small business owner will have enough budget to get the “reach”and “frequency” needed.
These are advertising terms I learned working in the field in the 1980s.
“Reach” refers to how many people see the ad. Clearly you’d want a lot of reach, but the more people a publication goes out to the higher the rates.
(The same is true for online advertising like on Facebook or Google Ads which can be hugely expensive if you don’t know what you’re doing.)
“Frequency” refers to how often someone sees your ad. Did you know your audience needs to see your ad 7 to 10 times before they’ll notice it? Don’t advertise if you can’t afford to run your ad at least this often!
I saw a discussion about marketing strategies in an online group that could put most stagers out of business, but they don’t know any better.
One home staging trainer actually gave this advice about building a database or email list:
“Make sure you take a picture of all the real estate agent cards on the counters when you de-stage or check on a home you’ve staged while it’s on the real estate market. Enter their information into your email list of potential clients.”
You could use this idea to contact real estate agents one by one. But that’s pretty time-consuming and who wants to cold-call REALTORs?
I know I would hate doing that and I also know you’d get very few of them to actually talk to you.
But if you use her advice to grab their contact information and then subscribe the real estate agents to your email list, you’ll be violating the CAN-SPAM Act.
This is grounds to have your account closed by email providers like iContact, Constant Contact, aWeber, MailChimp, etc., not to mention the trouble you can get into with the Federal Trade Commission.
Unless someone specifically gives you permission to email them on an ongoing basis, you aren’t allowed to do it.
That’s considered spam, and none of us want to be in the same category as scammers and “you know what” enhancement.
The knowledge I share is NOT based on a best guess of what works in the real world.
I explain why these free ideas you’ll find in online discussion groups don’t work, and replace them with powerful business building strategies, inside the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program and in coaching thousands of stagers.
I’d love to hear your examples of bad home staging business advice you’ve seen online. Or advice you’re not sure about and want me to elaborate on.
Please share in the comment section and I’ll answer your questions there and address the best ones in future posts.
Birgitte Vosper says
Hi, I totally agree with the advice re advertisements in magazines/newspapers etc. My main source of clients comes solely from networking. I have been trudging through REA, but the reap has been somewhat limited and it is very time consuming. I have never cold called REAs, but I have ‘dropped’ in to loads – and some are getting irritated, as they are being inundated with stagers.
Network, network, network is the way forward – and although some of the networks can be considered pricy, it is still a better investment.
Thank you for highlighting this subject, Debra.
Lori Fischer says
I haven’t spent too much time on those sites but I do know this. when I first started my business and didn’t follow your advice because I was uncomfortable–usually around asking to be paid or something like that–it didn’t take me long to realize the wisdom of your advice. you have not steered me wrong yet and because of your mentoring and advice I have a busy and lucrative staging business just two short years after finding you and doing your training program.
Joanie Cooper says
Very valid advice regarding CAN-SPAM Act. Did not realize the violation, even though I wouldn’t be inclined to spend time forming a real estate agent client list.
Your valuable advice acts as a safety net for new homestagers, Debra. Always appreciated.
Leah Fritz, Perfect Place Home Staging says
You’re right on point here Debra, and I hope all who read this remember your words. I myself certainly don’t claim to know it all, but some of the advice I’ve seen out there troubles me. The truth of the matter is one poorly calculated misstep can cripple a new start-up before it even gets on its feet.
Catherine Nicole Howland says
I so wish I could afford your training materials, Debra. Saving up! I’d especially love to get my hands on the checklist for Consultations, as that’s the bulk of my business nowadays since a recent diagnosis of asthma has curtailed my Staging abilities.
Debra Gould says
Catherine, thanks for commenting. If you’re getting home staging jobs and cash flow is an issue, then it sounds like your problem might be in your pricing strategy. I would recommend starting with Course 2 for that reason. Once you get your pricing right, you’ll make enough on your very next client to pay for the entire training program. You can learn more about what’s covered in individual courses at the Staging Diva Store.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva says
Just joined a new home staging group on LinkedIn and they were actually debating whether to charge for home staging consultations or not. Well I guess you can do it for free if all you want is a home staging hobby and not an actual business, that pays you MONEY!