Without clients you can’t get references or build a portfolio. But, you need a portfolio full of before and after photos and great references to get clients.
This classic ‘Catch-22’ exists for every individual that sets out to start a home staging business.
Yes, it might seem like a frustrating and impossible situation but put on your creative thinking cap and think up some ways to get around it!
Don’t let this weaken your strong resolve to make a success of your business.
Now is the time to start building your home staging portfolio and obtaining references, before you’re overwhelmed with project requests from potential clients. When a homeowner contacts you for information about your home staging services and asks for references or to see a portfolio, all they want is an idea of how capable you are and whether or not you have a good reputation.
Want to make your friends and family members very happy? Start volunteering to redesign their homes and take tons of photos. Do the same thing in your own home; arrange and rearrange several rooms to demonstrate that you have what your potential clients are looking for.
Nobody reviewing your portfolio will know if the before and after photos were from paying clients or your friends and neighbors, nor will they care. They are only interested in seeing that you can stage their home to appeal to buyers.
Whatever you do, please don’t give in to the temptation to buy stock photos on the Internet to fluff up your portfolio. Worse than that, though is to take other stagers’ photos and pass them off as your own. There’s no need to cheat!
Some home staging training companies will provide their graduates with sets of before and after photos to use as their own. I always wonder what a homeowner thinks if they see the same picture in more than one place. One thing’s for certain – it will really tarnish your reputation and you don’t want that.
Take your own pictures!
After staging your loved ones’ homes, ask for written recommendations and see if they would be willing to provide you with a reference for potential clients looking to speak with someone about what you did for them and their homes.
You have to start somewhere, but try to remove any element of doubt from your potential clients’ minds right from the get-go. Be sure you have a sharp looking website (or portfolio listing on a home staging directory) and attractive business cards, a professional sounding greeting recorded on your business line, a confident tone in your voice when speaking to potential clients on the phone and a ‘knock-em-dead’ wardrobe so you feel great about yourself when you’re out there networking or meeting with a client for the first time. If you look the part, not many people are going to question your experience.
This classic ‘Catch-22′ isn’t as impossible as it seems. Start gathering some before and after photos and testimonials now from those who know you’re capable and continue to forge ahead!
If you want more tips on how to approach them, or tricks to shooting the best portfolio photos, check out the Staging Diva Ultimate Portfolio Guide: Winning Clients with the Perfect Home Staging Portfolio.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging
Home Staging expert Debra Gould also known as The Staging Diva has taught over 900 men and women how to make money as a home stager. She is president of Six Elements Inc., an internationally recognized home staging company that is frequently profiled in the media in both the US and Canada. Debra Gould developed the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program to create opportunities for others to grow their own profitable home staging, real estate enhancement businesses.[tags] home stager, home staging, home stager marketing, home staging business, house fluffing, real estate staging, house staging, property styling, real estate market, real estate enhancement, Staging Diva, Debra Gould, home staging Catch 22, home staging references, home staging portfolio [/tags]