Setting Your Intentions — Your PRES Top 10!

In your business there are many universal laws at work. One of them is the ‘Law of Intention’ which is based on the fact that…

there is always an infinite amount of energy and information
present to create whatever you want.

What this means for you as a home staging entrepreneur is that first you need to decide ‘what’ you want, take some ‘action steps’ to create it, and ‘believe by feeling’ that you can create it. Spend some time visualizing what you want and ‘acting as if’ you already had achieved what you want. Another little twist on this type of thinking, is that you also have to let your idea of exactly how this has to show up in your life – go.

What might some of your intentions be at this time of year? Take a look at this list for home staging entrepreneurs and feel what resonates with you. Use the following phrase in front of each one below and you will know whether or not it’s something you really ‘intend’ to do or not. If you don’t get a good feeling from it, decide if it is something you don’t need to do at this time or is there some resistance coming up around it that you might want to examine more closely?

I (insert your first name) intend to:

1.     Review my 2013 Revenue Streams to date to determine where my sales came from. Once I do this I can decide what areas I need to focus on more or let go. My main source of revenues is from (fill in the blank) and I plan on increasing this by x%.

2.     Put systems into place that allow my business to flow more easily and free up time for work I need to do. I intend to delegate where it makes sense to pay someone to do things I do not do well and/or no longer want to do because I make more money doing other work I love.

3.     Have more balance in my life – create time for family and friends – my business is part of a healthy life but not my whole life focus. Take good care of myself having ‘me time’ so that I feel refreshed and am happy and productive doing the work I love.

4.     Complete a 90 day marketing plan that I can easily follow so that my ‘sales funnel’ is never empty and I am always attracting more new clients. One of my key tactics will be to (fill in the blank – network more, do more social media, secure some speaking engagements, have more ‘get to know me’ meetings, etc).

5.     Create more strategic alliances this year so that others (my unpaid sales force) can refer me. I will focus on having excellent relations with my alliances so we can both cross promote.

6.     Follow up with past clients to build stronger relationships this year and let go of relationships that drain me energetically and financially. Use more stay-in-touch tactics that are more personal than just emails/blogs/posts.

7.     Revisit my ‘ideal client list’ so that I am totally clear on who my target audience is and how to market and attract them. With new clarity I can find more opportunities and inject some new interest in my work and do some out-of-the-box marketing.

8.     Continue taking professional development courses, reading books, attending trade shows and conferences that help me grow personally and professionally.

9.     Pick up the phone more and meet with more potential clients and clients in person – and limit the number of texts and emails I am a slave to. These actions will allow me to be more engaging and sustain longer term relationships.

10. Determine when the time is right to hire a coach/mentor who can help me take my business to the next level.

If you do not set your intentions someone else will, so try and do this on a daily basis and you will be absolutely amazed at the results. They will change your life.

The Importance of Celebrating Your Success

It is a well-known fact that women are such major multi-taskers that they rarely take time to celebrate what they have accomplished because they are already saying ‘Okay, what’s next on my list?’ We live in a very stress-filled world that focuses on the negative news and rarely on the positive so, you need to be vigilant and focus on the positive achievements in your life. When you feel more positive energy it affects your mind, body and soul in a healthy way.

CELEBRATING is the action of marking one’s pleasure at an important event or occasion by engaging in enjoyable, typically social activity.

And that event can be as small as finally learning how to upload a photo in Facebook or finally getting your business cards printed. For a home stager something larger to celebrate in the beginning is that ‘first client’ – whooooooooo hooooooooo on that one. When you finally land that sale with a realtor who you have been trying to get on board for the last six months – that’s worth celebrating in a big way!

SUCCESS – no one can define this for you except you.
For some people success is about the relationships they have attained over the year, for others knowing that they created a fantastic looking property with not much to work with is a great feeling of success. For some home stagers creating a 90 day marketing plan for 2013 can be very satisfying and rewarding. For most home stagers seeing positive cash flow with more growth expected in 2013 is pretty awesome. Finally using social media to increase brand awareness might just be the marketing tactic that made your year.

I resonate with this one published and written by Bessie Stanley in 1905. (Another adaptation is often and wrongly attributed to Ralph Waldo Emerson).


PRES Staging Students Transformed this Home!

We recently held our last PRES staging and redesign training class for 2013 and the students were absolutely amazing! When you get a group of women together we don’t always agree on where things should go, or what should go in what room – but we all agree that the final changes we made to this ‘family home’ were amazing!

BEFORE a living and dining room that didn’t quite work for lots of reasons…

Chairs blocking fireplace; bland dining room

Chairs blocking fireplace; bland dining room

AFTER a living room and dining room that CAME ALIVE!

Fireplace becomes a focal point and more function; dining room loves her wall art!

Fireplace becomes a focal point and more function; dining room loves her wall art!

BEFORE a red sofa with a rather overpowering book shelf….

Something is missing here!

Something is missing here!

AFTER still a red sofa with treasured family photos overhead and the tall shelf moved by a cosy reading chair with a light!

Family photos where they should be; new curtains add some fun to this family/living room!

Family photos where they should be; new curtains add some fun to this family/living room!

PRES Students taking photos to start their portfolio…while it’s not a ‘gorgeous showhome’ it is a typical family home that was totally transformed.

Building their portfolio the PRES students snap away!

Building their portfolio the PRES students snap away!

Survey focuses on two generations of buyers..interesting reading!

This is a great blog post from REM on line written by Jean Sorensen.

The millennials (known also as the children of baby boomers born between 1972-1992) and the post Second World War baby boomers (born 1946-1965) are making the greatest impact on the real estate industry today.

“Both the boomers and the millennials want move-in ready homes,” says Century 21 Real Estate Canada president Don Lawby. His company, in conjunction with Rona, recently conducted a national home buyers preference survey that looked at the generations’ purchasing preferences and regional differences.

“Time is very important to people…they want to spend time doing what they want to do and not the things have to do,” says Lawby. The survey also showed that 37 per cent of millennials planned to move within two years.

“The message that it sends sellers is that if you are thinking of selling or putting your home on the market and something needs to be done, do it before you put it on the market,” Lawby says, adding it may be something as basic as painting a room. Digital images of the home showing its curb appeal are becoming more important, says Lawby. Sellers should be aware of how the home looks when presented digitally.

(My comment – let the PRES professional real estate stager make the best recommendations for selling and it involves a whole lot more than just painting a room. Over 85% of potential buyers look at the home on the internet first so, yes of course, the digital images are hugely important.)

Lawby says the company made the decision to conduct the survey to see “if it really was about location, location, location.” While the old maxim still applies, it is impacted by lifestyle choices to a greater degree than in the past, he says.

There is a general shift away from long commutes and greater focus on family time and career choices by the millennials. The survey showed a short commute was important to 46 per cent of millennials and only 25 per cent of baby boomers, the demographic group that caused bedroom communities to expand around larger cities a generation ago.

Baby boomers are looking to enjoy leisure time such as pursuing travel or hobbies in their move-in ready homes as they downsize. The survey found that 28 per cent of boomers wanted funds left over when buying a house, compared to 18 per cent of millennials.

Many greying boomers (8.2 million according to Statistics Canada) no longer want to maintain a single-family house or empty nest.

“Baby-boomers don’t need to work,” says Lawby. “They are going into condos because they have the ability to close the door and walk away. They are cashing out to some degree in big cities and moving to the smaller communities.”

That cash-out of traditional single-family homes is needed in cities to supply the base for entry-level condominium homes. “If you don’t have an entry point in the market, there is no first-time buyer. You are seeing in cities that they are wiping out whole blocks of single-family detached housing to build townhouses or row-houses as developers are optimizing the value of the land,” says Lawby.

The millennial generation has a realm of other concerns. Many of the children of boomers (StatsCan figures estimate 9.1 million of them) either can’t afford single-family housing or don’t want to spend time cutting the lawn and renovating as their parents did. They are looking for ways to maximize personal time and limit time spent on traveling to work, services or recreational facilities, Lawby says. There’s also a concern that interest rates, which have remained low for a prolonged period, will rise, infringing upon their ability to renovate a home.

The millennial generation is becoming clustered around work, often in cities, and fuelling the high-rise trend experienced as densification occurs.

The big drivers in how individuals in more rural or remote areas are situating themselves are driven by climate change and geography, says Lawby. Individuals in these communities also want to be near social activities or centres. “They want access to curling or skating indoors (in areas where winters are longer).”

The survey highlighted some regional differences in buyer preferences. In Atlantic Canada “they are looking for a good home in a good area many of the communities are smaller, so they are looking for good access to services and amenities,” Lawby says.

In Ontario, homes with character features are the hot ticket. “There is some prestige in finding a character home in a nice area with trees and it feels like the kind of place that you would like to raise a family,” says Lawby.

Quebec buyers place a high value on their social life and want to be involved in activities. “They want money left over after buying a home…and they want to be close to where they are working. They like the city, but don’t live in high-rises but in older properties.”

Do You Know Why You Need Strategic Alliances?

As you start to think about growing your business you will soon realize that you need good Strategic Alliances that you can refer to your clients to do the necessary work needed to prepare a property for selling. It is critical that you have great relationships with anyone that you recommend to your clients. You may find that many of your strategic alliances will offer you referrals and/or commissions which can be another revenue income stream for your home staging business.

According to Wikipedia the definition for a Strategic Alliance is:

A formal relationship between two or more parties to pursue a set of agreed upon goals or to meet a critical business need while remaining independent organizations.

Since most home stagers are solopreneurs who hire contractors it would make sense that you have a ready and reliable source of strategic alliances to call upon and refer to your clients as needed. It is critical that you build great relationships with your alliances so that you can communicate when things are going well, and especially when things are not. Most home stagers will agree that certain trades people can have great intentions but they do not always deliver the required results in the time frame stated and often go over budget. It will be up to you to follow up and check on the quality of work your strategic alliance is delivering during the project, and when completed.

Many new home stagers say they do not have any strategic alliances and are at a loss as to where to find them. Have no fear, because they are everywhere and you probably already have some you were not aware of! For example think about who you or a family member has hired as a painter, contractor, gardener, handyman, electrician, etc. Ask them if they liked working with them and if they delivered what they promised on time and on budget. Over time you will be able to build up your strategic alliances so you can confidently refer them to your clients.

Another great way to build your strategic alliance list is by finding out who your clients have used in the past that they were happy with. Every time you meet someone new either at networking or seeing a potential alliance’s truck parked outside a home, introduce yourself and see if you have a connection with them. If yes, then take their card and follow up with them so you can decide if the two of you can work together. You refer them, they refer you. Ask them if they pay referral fees if you find business for them. You might also consider giving referral fees to some of your best strategic alliances.

Many trades people leave their business cards in coffee shops or hardware stores. Take down the information and follow up and see if you want to work with them. You can also check out the classifieds in local newspapers as they often advertise in newspapers.

Before you make that final decision of who you want to have on your list of strategic alliances, meet with them for coffee and provide them with some of your marketing materials.

Take the time to really explain to them what it is you do and, find out what they really do. Request some of their literature or at the least their business card.

A word of caution: I don’t recommend that you ask a strategic alliance to quote your rates. Ask them to leave that to you, and do the same for them. There are many nuances to the home staging business and only you can make the call for the service charges.

It is best to have at least 3 strategic alliances for each category where you think you may be referring someone to your clients. You will need to have more painters and handymen or women who do small jobs as alliances as they are often booked up especially in summer months.

It’s good to have ‘low- to no-tolerance’ for any strategic alliance that you have referred who does not deliver what they have promised to your referral. You can decide if they ‘messed up’ once if that is acceptable to you or not. Any referral of an alliance that you give reflects on you and your business so the better the relationship is the better communication you will have between you, should you need to have ‘that chat’.

4. Many new home stagers say they do not have any strategic alliances and are at a loss as to where LIST OF STRATEGIC ALLIANCES Following is a list of many of the Strategic Alliances that you will need to help build your business.

  • Realtors
  • Mortgage Brokers
  • Appraisers
  • Inspectors Builders
  • Painters
  • Handy Wo/Men
  • Renovators
  • Electricians
  • Contractors
  • Closet Maker Companies
  • House Cleaners
  • Window Cleaners
  • Carpet Cleaners
  • Flooring Companies
  • Window Treatment Suppliers
  • Glass/Door Companies
  • Equipment Rental stores for pressure washers, etc.
  • Kitchen & Bath Stores
  • Boutique Home D&eactue;cor Stores
  • Lighting Stores
  • Gardeners and Landscapers
  • Moving Companies
  • Storage Companies
It’s best to put a disclaimer in your list of strategic alliances stating something to this effect:

Our company has either personally used the services of our referred strategic alliances, or our clients have referred them to us stating they were reliable and provided a quality service to them. Each strategic alliance has his/her own business and is responsible for their own insurance, quotes and services provided to you. 

Most of the suppliers that you source from should give you a discount starting at 10%. The more you purchase from them, or refer business to them, the higher the discount can become. Typically you just need to show that you have an established business and fill out an application form with them. Many small companies such as yours starting out, will be asked to pay by credit card at the time of purchase. Once you become more established and if you operate with very large purchases then you would be invited to set up an account with your supplier so they would bill you monthly.

Always ask your supplier if they give discounts to stagers – they almost always will but only if you ask!

You may also find that some of your strategic alliances will not give you a monetary option but would rather work out an arrangement whereby you refer them to your clients and they refer you to their clients. The better relationship you have and the more referrals you can give a strategic alliance the more likely both business will grow and prosper.



Is Time Managing You or Are You Managing Time?

Without a doubt home stagers and other industry-related professionals are busy entrepreneurs. Many are solopreneurs wearing many different hats in their business and trying desperately to find the time to get everything done that needs to get done sometimes just surviving – never mind thriving!

We all have the same amount of time as another busy entrepreneur so how do they find the time to get it all done? I’d like to share some of the ways that I have learned from others and in my decade as an entrepreneur. And as I have already mentioned I’m not perfect at it but I am more mindful that I am using it wisely and not just letting it slip away. . .

  • If you really don’t know where you are ‘losing time’ then I recommend you use a chart to track your time (see the Assignment section to get started on this)
  • Decide on what days and what percentage of time you will dedicate to sales, marketing, operations and production (keeping in mind that marketing needs to be 60% or more of your time)
  • Really look at your week ahead and set a daily intention so that you can accomplish what needs to be done versus what will keep you busy at your computer (you know you need to be in front of people to make the sale)
  • Block off time or days that you know are your ‘lower energy’ and choose an activity in your business that does not require as high energy as it would for your sales calls
  • Determine what time of the day you are going to respond to your emails and try and avoid opening them as soon as you see them coming in
  • When you do look at your emails decide which ones are priority and which ones can go to ‘junk mail’ and label them that way for future – creating ‘Rules’ works well to keep you organized so you can look at ones later in a more systematic way
  • The same is true for your phone calls – you don’t have to answer your phone every single time it rings if you are doing something productive – you do though want to respond in a timely manner to calls that you have labeled ‘priority’
  • If you signed up for a lot of enewsletters/ezines or group discussions now might be a good time to revisit them to see which ones you can ‘unsubscribe’ to now
  • When you choose which networking groups you are going to belong to or attend, chose the ones that energize you the most and benefit your business
  • When you are able to afford to ‘delegate’ some of your workload find people with the right skill sets so you can free up more of your time to focus on what you do best
  • Block off personal time for you, your friends and your family – make it dedicated special time and not just a few minutes here or there – it will take its toll down the road and you will feel resentful of allowing time to manage you . . .

You might want to go back to October 17th’s blog and read about the amount of time it’s recommended to spend on Social Media.

If you can learn to change your scarcity mindset from thinking you do have enough time to get everything done then you are on the road to your abundance mindset!

Thinking of giving up? Think about using the Law of Attraction to attract clients!

Using the Law of Attraction has increased my staging and realtor coaching business exponentially! I’ve been using this universal law to attract more clients on a consistent basis and it is amazing how simple the process is. I said ‘simple’ not easy because we all have many bad habits and negative beliefs that actually hold us back from achieving the results we want.

Everyone in business wants to attract more clients – this is a fact but how you are going about doing it may not be attracting a)your ideal client or b) any clients at all.

As a Law of Attraction Success Coach I use a simple’ 3 step Law of Attraction approach to help my coaching clients get MORE OF WHAT THEY WANT and LESS OF WHAT THEY DON’T WANT.

It goes like this:

1. IDENTIFY WHAT you want. Be specific. Create a ‘Clarity through Contrast’ worksheet and write down on the CONTRAST side WHAT YOU DON’T WANT and on the right hand side under CLARITY WHAT YOU DO WANT.

2. Give your DESIRE ATTENTION. Create a vision board, notice where it is showing up in your life even when it is not 100% perfect, express gratitude, act ‘as if’ you already had it, look for the evidence of where this is possible for you, feel it happening in your body, get excited.

3. ALLOW IT TO MANIFEST. Remove as much doubt as you can and belief that the clients you want to attract are also seeking you. Reframe your old beliefs into positive, high serving thoughts and feeligs. Then let what you desire ‘go’ send it out to the Universe and expect this or something better to manifest in your life.

If you would like a Complimentary Law of Attraction coaching call complete our About You online form and we’ll get back with you to set up a 30 minute complimentary coaching call!

Expect the best and allow it to manifest!