My previous article “Home Staging Field Rife With Fake Credentials” has stirred up a lot of discussion in the Staging Diva Network (online discussion group for Staging Diva Graduates) as well as lots of emails to me with comment.
Some of my graduates have asked, in the face of competitors who promote fake credentials, why I don’t do the same and create my own letters for students to put after their names.
My position has always been that I object to fake credentials so I don’t want to add to the confusion in the market place by creating my own (even though most everyone else does).
When students complete my program, I could do as many other home staging training companies do and have students pay an annual licensing fee which would grant them permission to put initials like these examples to put after their names:
- SDG (Staging Diva Graduate)
- ASDG (Accredited Staging Diva Graduate)
- SDCGHSP (Staging Diva Certified Graduate Home Staging Professional)
- SDHSE (Staging Diva Home Staging Expert)
- SDGPHS (Staging Diva Graduate Professional Home Stager)
- etc., etc., etc.
And then for even more money, create a “Masters Level Program” for which you’d have to pay a higher yearly licensing fee to maintain your “status”, and give people this designation:
- SDGM (Staging Diva Graduate Master)
- SDCMG (Staging Diva Certified Master Graduate)
- MSDHSP (Master Staging Diva Home Staging Professional)
- etc., etc.,
Does everyone see how silly these fake home staging credentials are?
All these names are just made up by the people marketing programs. They aren’t official credentials granted by some independent third party.
Yes, I lose students because I don’t give out meaningless letters to put after your name, but I think to do otherwise would compromise my integrity.
I also don’t believe in scaring potential students into believing that if they don’t take MY program, they can’t be real stagers (this is another tactic used my many companies).
You can start a business today and call yourself a Professional Home Stager without taking ANY program. The fact that people pay you to be a home stager, makes you a “professional”.
Clients will hire you because you:
- Present yourself in a credible and professional way
- Sound like you know what you’re talking about
- Appear confident in your abilities
- Have a strong portfolio of before and after photos (that are your own, not given to you as part of the course you took)
- Have past clients or agents that speak highly of your abilities
- Have properly explained how you are a solution to their problems
- Are available when they need you
In 99% of the cases, they won’t hire you just because you have initials after your name. Especially since the vast majority of homeowners will never have heard of those initials before.
My mission is to inspire and empower others to follow their dreams and live their best life. I want my students to go through the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program and absorb the lesson that they don’t need to hide behind anyone else and that they can have credibility and power in their own right.
My goals in the Staging Diva Program are to give students the tools they need to go out there confidently, knowing how to take their natural decorating talent and turn it into a successful business.
That’s not about letters after your name, it’s about understanding the business and marketing of home staging.
Regardless of my status as a home stager, I could refer to myself as Debra Gould (DEC, BA, MBA). Those ARE real college and university awarded credentials that I earned over years of study, exams and a graduate-level thesis on marketing. However, you’ll rarely see me put those initials after my name, because I don’t rely on them to give me credibility! 🙂