New Home Stagers Receive Encouragement from Staging Diva
“It’s important to remind yourself why you became a home stager in the first place and consider what else you could be doing to earn money instead,” says Gould, who founded the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program. “Would that other thing bring you more personal satisfaction, meet your various needs AND make you more money? Would you be happier doing something else or running a home staging business?”
In 2002, Gould decided to become a home stager, even though it was a hot real estate market and homes were selling quickly. She knew she loved decorating because she had been doing it as a hobby since she was a child. She loved the buzz of real estate, having bought and sold 7 of her own homes, but she did not want to be a real estate agent on call 24/7. Gould also did not want to work for anyone else and needed to maintain control over her time because she was a single parent of a 7-year old. Finally, she needed a business with low start-up costs.
“The first year was especially tough, and as my Staging Diva Students know, I wanted to give up many times, mostly because I wasn’t making enough money,” says Gould. “I hadn’t figured out the right pricing and marketing strategies to grow as fast as I needed to. I’m glad I didn’t give up because once I figured out my formula, I was making up to $10,000 a month staging homes. I had also been featured on HGTV, CNN, The Wall Street Journal and many decorating magazines. This was something I never would have predicted and if I’d known that was around the corner, I wouldn’t have felt so much like giving up!”
Staging Diva Graduate Imogen Brown of Home Staging Brisbane in Australia shared with Gould’s readers her own reasons for starting a home staging business:
“I’ve always loved real estate and home interiors, and staging is a perfect mix of the two. I’ve also got an advertising and business coaching background and owned my own business before, so when I look back I can see how I have joined the dots to where I am now. I started the Staging Diva program last year, 6 weeks after my Mum died suddenly. It was just the kick I needed. I was in a stop gap and tedious admin role at the time and it really made me evaluate what I was doing. I haven’t been busy enough in my first year and I have thought ‘what am I doing?’ a couple of times but not enough to give up. Next year will be better and I’ll just keep plugging away!”
New York home stager Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal, who has been featured on HGTV’s Selling New York and in publications such as The New York Times, also shared her experiences:
“I became a home stager because I wanted to do something different, something that I was passionate about, for the rest of my working life. I’ve always loved reading about residential real estate, going to museums and seeing exhibits on architectural and industrial design, and loved decorating since I was in high school.
I had a 9-month heads-up that I was being laid off from a financial services firm plus I was getting a 9-month severance package upon termination. I have always said I didn’t want my obituary to read ‘Donna Dazzo spent 35 years in the financial services industry but didn’t really love what she did.’ So I decided to make a change.
I am in my fourth year and it’s really taking off—via word of mouth, reputation, my presence on the first page of Google. Unfortunately, the recession hit in 2009 and 2010 and set my business back less than my first year in business which was 2008, and I didn’t have the momentum and contacts to keep it moving. But you have to really want to be successful at being a home stager and making a living from home staging—it requires lots of hard work and marketing effort, professionalism and organization—and it will all pay off. I want to rise above the other stagers in my area, not be just like them, so it’s a continuous process of improving myself and my business in all areas.”
Before signing off, Gould provides one last tidbit of encouragement: “I know it’s hard to stay motivated when you feel like you’re struggling. I know it’s hard to always find our courage. I battle with these demons myself. We need to keep each other motivated to do our best work and live our best life.”
For additional advice on running a successful home staging business, stagers are encouraged to visit the Home Staging Business Report on the Staging Diva website.
Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
Voice of Possibility Group Inc.
About Staging Diva
The creator of the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program, Debra Gould has staged millions of dollars’ worth of real estate, including 7 of her own homes. She is the president of Voice of Possibility Group Inc., which operates a home staging division, SixElements.com, in addition to StagingDiva.com, which has trained over 7,000 home stagers to start and grow their own businesses.
Debra has gained international recognition through features in major media in the US and Canada including: This Old House, HGTV, CNN Money, CBC National News, CBS Radio, Global TV, City TV, The Wall Street Journal, Women’s Day, Reader’s Digest and more.
Staging Diva/Six Elements
2255B Queen Street East, Suite #364
Toronto, Ontario M4L 3S8 Canada
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