I’ve been writing about the business of home staging and coaching and mentoring home stagers since 2002.
That was even before I launched Staging Diva as an education and training company in 2005. I was getting overwhelmed by the number of creative and struggling home stagers who were reaching out to me for advice.
One of the most common subjects to come up (when people are being really honest) is fear.
- Success (will I have enough time for my kids?) and fear of failure (what if it doesn’t work?)
- What others may think
- Not being creative enough
- Leaving the familiarity of what they’ve been doing (even if they don’t like it).
Beneath the fears they mention, there is also the deep longing we all have to use our creative gifts and do work we love. Perhaps you can relate to this? I know I can.
Here is one of my favorite quotes, I wish I knew who first said it:
“Let your dreams be bigger than your fears, your actions louder than your words, and your faith stronger than your feelings.” ~ Unknown
That’s why it breaks my heart when aspiring home stagers contact me and say things like:
“Everyday I dream of decorating and arranging the perfect house. My friends tell me I should be a real estate agent.” (Andrea)
“I eat, sleep and breathe creativity and I work as a server at Olive Garden.” (Denise)
Life is too short to let the decades fly by living someone else’s life!
There’s nothing wrong with being a real estate agent, if you love sales and don’t mind working weekends and evenings (often without pay for months).
But being a Realtor won’t fulfill a dream of decorating and arranging the perfect house.
Being a real estate agents means putting your energies and time to chasing listings and/or working with buyers and touring them through dozens of properties in the hopes that they’ll buy one. Your time isn’t spent decorating, because that’s not where you make your money when your focus is earning real estate commissions.
Plus, most real estate agents don’t make as much as home stagers who are following the right business formula.
There’s nothing wrong with being a restaurant server at Olive Garden, or anywhere else, if that’s what you want to do. But for someone who “eats, sleeps and breathes creativity” as Denise does, I imagine it would feel soul crushing to spend your days waiting on tables.
Not to mention being a restaurant server pays less than home staging.
These two examples show how often people follow a conventional path for reasons that have nothing to do with their deepest desires for how they’ll spend their days.
Often, they’ve assumed that their conventional choice is less of a financial risk. Plus, without realizing it, they’ve made faulty assumptions about the potential of home staging and interior redesign – a career they’d rather have.
Faulty assumptions like:
- Being a home stager means I will have to invest thousands of dollars in inventory (you don’t need to buy anything).
- I will have to quit my job if I start a home staging business (you don’t, you can easily do staging on the side).
- I should have interior design training (this hasn’t stopped me or thousands of successful Staging Diva students).
- I won’t be in control of my schedule (you’ll actually have way more control than working for an employer or being a real estate agent).
My mission is helping creative people earn a living doing what they love. That’s why I focus on the business side of home staging and interior redesign.
Perhaps you’re insecure about your natural talent. Who isn’t? I still get nervous before I go to a new client’s home, even though I’ve been doing it since 2002.
I still have that little voice in my head that says, “What if you don’t know what to do when you get there?” The fact that this hasn’t happened in hundreds of homes doesn’t stop that critical voice in my head that would shut down my dreams if I let it.
Here’s what helps me and I hope you can use it too. Everyday I ask myself:
“Am I going to be more loyal to my dreams or my fears?”
Wishing you every success in your staging business, and this bigger thing called life.
What do you think?
Please share in the comments what your biggest fears are, or how you’ve dealt with them. Or share what assumptions you’ve made about home staging that are stopping you from getting started. Then I can address these in future articles!
Karen Pinkerton says
Such an inspiring and uplifting piece, as always, Debra!!! You always manage to hit the nail on the head with your articles ….. and motivate me all over again 🙂
Debra Gould says
That’s awesome Karen, I appreciate the feedback! Wishing you every success in your staging business!
Karena Wallace says
I’m intrigued by this article. I’ve always had a passion for interior design and feel that I’m pretty creative. If this could work for me…i would be willing to make a career change. Thank you so much for sharing any advice.
Debra Gould says
So glad Karena! You’ve totally come to the right place for all the preparation you need to make a career change! You can read all the details of the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program at:
You are an inspiration. Thank you. My fear is not having formal training in design or home staging.
Debra Gould says
Thanks Christine, so glad I could inspire you. As for worrying about not having formal home staging training, you’ve totally come to the right place! You can read all the details of my training program at:
What I hear in my head is “You’re to old to do anything new!” I’m 61.
Debra Gould says
Sheri, imagine 20 years from now, when you’re 80. You’ll look back at photos of yourself at 61 and think, “Look how young I was!”
Not that this is about how young/old you look. My point is, you are “61 years young” or “61 years old” — it all depends which perspective you choose.
I have an aunt who is 93 and she takes college courses just out of interest and to keep her mind active. If she had given up doing anything new at 61, she would have missed out on 32 years of adventures (and she probably would have died years ago).
I have tons of students in their 60s and even several in their 70s. If you still are blessed with relatively good health and some energy, why would you give up on new experiences now?
You might find this article inspiring.
Thanks for commenting, you’ve given voice to what I know many others may be worried about too. I hope my answer has helped you look at this
“I’m too old” idea in a new light. By the way, I’m not too far behind you age wise and I’m still cooking up new creative projects. It’s what keeps me inspired and feeling energized.
P Neighbors says
The overwhelming fear of just taking that first step , and following through .
Debra Gould says
What you’ll find is after you take the first step, the next one reveals itself and then you follow that, etc. The point is to get started because nothing happens from the sidelines. And your confidence grows with each step.
I hope you’ll let me help you on your journey, I have all the resources you’ll need 🙂 Please check out the Staging Diva Store during my sale and make sure you’ve subscribed to one of my free reports so I can also send you free information to help you on your journey.
Michele Scoggins says
My biggest concern is the monetary outlay of buying all the furniture and accessories. I have the resources, but I worry about not having enough energy or where with all to see it thru. I worry about not being successf
Debra Gould says
Michele, I’m so glad you commented to share this concern. You’ve assumed that you need to buy furniture and accessories and that’s absolutely NOT the case! I built my entire home staging business without doing that and I’ve taught thousands of Staging Diva students how to do the same thing. I encourage you to read about the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program in detail and to realize that what I provide is an entire business model for you to follow. That’s something no one else offers.
Nadine Glassman says
I have wondered why I didn’t start this years ago, I am 68 years old, working a job I hate but need due to struggling from payday to payday, if this course doesn’t break me, it is kind of scary. I look around at how I have decorated my bedroom and bath, real cute I was told, love watching design stuff on HGTV, been dreaming of this!!!
Debra Gould says
Hi Nadine, It’s sad that at 68 you are living payday to payday at a job you hate. On the other hand, you have the opportunity to change that by making a choice to do things differently. I really hope you’ll let me help you. How cool would it be to earn money doing what you love, even if it’s only a side business? You’d probably find yourself totally energized after your first project because you’d be excited about what you’re doing. You’ll also be surprised to discover you can earn more in a Saturday afternoon doing a home staging consultation (where all you have to do is give advice) than most people earn in a week. Please watch your email for a special invitation to a special event I’m hosting next week. It will be a real eye opener for you!
Khalilah mensah says
The biggest thing that holds me back is not knowing how to get started and thinking that I don’t have all the technical skills to succeed in the Staging field.
Debra Gould says
Thanks for commenting Khalilah! You’ve come to the right place because that’s what I can teach you!
As a first step, I’d like to recommend you take my FREE Home Staging Quiz to see if you have the eye of a home stager. You can get it here.
You’ll get 10 before shots from my client’s homes and you can compare your recommendations with my own. That will start to give you a better sense of whether you have the eye for this. I also have a best selling guide that might help you: Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide which you can see here.
What I’ve found from being in this field since 2002 and teaching others since 2005 (!) is that people with creative talent typically under appreciate how much they know instinctively compared to the average population and that the real challenge isn’t the creative ideas, but how to make money from them. That’s why this is such an emphasis in the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, where I teach you everything you need to know to turn this into a real business. Pay special attention to the description of Course 3 – that’s the one where I tell you everything you’ll need to know as you go through a client’s home.
Thank you for all of the info! My fear is that o live in a depressed area and homes are actually selling quickly. I’m concerned there is no need for this service, therefore, people here just won’t want to spend the money.
Debra Gould says
Hi Renee, thanks for commenting and sharing your fears.
I launched my own home staging business in a very hot real estate market where homes were already selling quickly. I explain why home staging works in both fast and slow real estate markets and how to figure out if a home staging business will work in your area in this FREE report: “Ask Staging Diva: Will Home Staging Work in My Area?” I hope you’ll download it as it will really help you a lot. Enjoy!
I have a great eye for Decor and when people enter my home the first thing I hear is it’s Beautiful in here. The second is I don’t know why you don’t do interior decorating for others. I already have a Buisness name my son gifted me for my 50th Birthday and have been sitting on it going on 2 years. My problem is I don’t know where to start and how to get motivated. I love decorating my home I’m just not sure how I feel about decorating other people’s home. I still have a difficult time finding things for my home so I’m worried that I won’t be successful in fulfilling someone else’s dreams for theirs.
Debra Gould says
I love that you commented and shared what has you stuck. I know many readers will relate!
I also want to tell you that I sat on the idea of home staging for 4 (!) years. Now looking back, I know this means I *lost* the roughly $300,000 in sales I would have made during that period. If that sounds like a lot, I’m basing that number on even less than what I earned in my second year (once I’d figured out the business formula I teach my students in the Staging Diva Program).
Now, to your points . . .
1. Other people recognize your talent and tell you that you should be doing this for a living.
2. Your son believes in and loves you so much, he gifted you with a business name (probably one of the best mom gifts I’ve ever heard of).
3. You “don’t know where to start.” Actually that’s not true, because you found me and already know that I can give you a complete roadmap to follow.
4. You’re worried that because you sometimes have trouble finding the right thing for your home, you won’t be successful decorating someone else’s. Do you know that I can choose paint colors for an entire client’s home in under an hour and yet, I’ll spend 8 hours just choosing the right color for my own bedroom?! I kid you not. Seriously, I relate to that fear of not having “enough talent” and it’s one I’ve heard from thousands of women over the years. So much so that I wrote a few articles that I know will help you:
Expert Home Stager Shares 3 Dirty Little Secrets
What If I Don’t Have Home Staging Talent?
Home Staging Business Fears Are Part of the Process
Home Staging Consultation Begins With an Idea
Tracy, the only way to find out for sure if you’ll love this as much as you think you will, is to take a leap of faith. You’ve already seen from the time you’ve been getting my emails, free reports and reading my articles, that I have your back when you haven’t even bought anything from me. Imagine what it’s like when you’re part of my inner circle getting all my insider secrets that I ONLY share with Staging Diva students and grads?
It sounds like pretty much everyone in your life believes in you and your talent. Now it’s time to get out of your own way, stand in your power and stop sitting on your dreams! You really have absolutely nothing to lose. Your clients won’t know as much as you do (or they wouldn’t call you in the first place). As long as you can improve their home (whether it’s to sell or to live in), you’ve provided value. And they’ll pay you well for it, when you follow the approach I’ll teach you.
Even if you only do one or two home staging consultations to try this out, you’ll make back your investment in the Staging Diva Program. Plus, you don’t have to buy anything else to start your business. No furniture and no accessories! So what have you got to lose? What’s the worst thing that can happen from trying? Now compare that to a lifetime of wondering “what if?”
Learn More About My Home Staging Program Here