That’s why in my Elevate online training program, we spotlight one of our Premier members during our member Monthly Access Calls.
Elevate Head Coach James Roche and I select and interview one Elevate Premier member who is making great strides with the program.
Some successes are large, some small, but it’s all about taking steps forward and making progress.
Today, you’ll meet Elevate Premier member Karen Davis, an interior decorator and founder of Karen Davis Design (www.KarenDavisDesign.com). She was our spotlight on our April 2012 call.
Enjoy our quick interview with Karen below, and be sure to take notes. There are several golden nuggets you can apply to YOUR business right away!
James: Welcome Karen. Well, you’ve had, I guess—what’s the word? Meteoric? Is that the word? Like a meteor. You’re taking off here in the amount of growth and focus that you’ve been experiencing in your business. I’m really eager for you to share with everybody the biggest results that you’re getting and what you’re doing differently THIS year compared to what you have done in the past, because things are moving so nicely, so quickly for you.
Karen: Yes. The thing that I did the most was I niched “family friendly” to my interior design business. That’s my new niche. It’s all about “family friendly”, the durability factor, but still having beautiful interiors.
Ali: I like that.
Karen: Doing that has totally changed everything. I used to be all over the place and not really be able to explain what I do. That in itself was the biggest thing. Then from what I’ve learned in the Elevate program, I researched keyword titles for my blog, specifically seeing what people really want to hear about and tying it in with the “family friendly” a bit.
Then having a marketing message, which is “Where beautiful interiors and family life do coexist.” It seems to resonate with everyone that I talk to. It’s the reason why I have had such an income change—I’m going to make in May what I made ALL last year. I’m literally going to have doubled. . .
Ali: Oh, my God!
Karen: Yes, doubled my income. That’s how much [defining my niche] has helped me. I was stressing about doing it, and I can’t believe I waited so long.
Another big focus was moving towards charging a flat rate. In the interior design business, we do everything by the hour a lot, and we tend to really focus on resale and commission. Now, I charge a high, flat fee and just give clients a little bit better discount off some of the goods.
With the flat fee, it’s just done. I don’t have to worry about penny pinching, nickel and diming. I get the full out project. Those are big, big jobs for me. I don’t do a lot of those, but I don’t need to.
Another big thing I did, which I took from you guys, is VIP days. I kept thinking, well, being an interior designer, how do I do that? Well, I created a VIP day for clients. There are people out there who just really want a designer to come in their house and just sort of help them. I created a VIP day where I spend four hours in their home, and we shop online, and we create a plan.
I charge $1,000 for that. I get two or three a month, which is great. It’s like a soft little income if I’m maybe having a slow month. It seems to really have taken off as well.
Ali: Oh, I love that. I don’t see the new theme on your site, though. Will you be changing your tagline and some of the language?
Karen: On my site? Yes, that’s what I’m working on now. It’s slowly changing. Imagery is a big deal right now. Pinterest obviously is the biggest changer in that.
I’m in the process of doing some things in my home, and then I’m going to get some professional photographs taken, so that it can really have that look to it on the site more.
Ali: Like a tagline, something like, “Beautiful interiors, family friendly design,” right, because you want people to know it’s still beautiful. In fact, part of one of the reasons I have not had children is I think I’d need to have a…
Karen: You say that, though. I get single clients a lot. I get single clients a lot who have animals. I know you have a pet, so that’s a big thing.
Ali: Oh, I know, that did change everything, too. I had a silk couch, and now I’m like, “Oh, man.”
Karen: That’s what I focus on, too. I have a lot of clients, it’s all about the dogs, because they are empty nesters. The kids are grown now. They want to redo the house, and they’re like, “I have this dog, and it owns my house.” I’m like, “Well, then we get to get outdoor/indoor fabrics.” You can still make it look pretty.
Ali: Totally. Oh, I love it. This could be a great media angle, too. Go on a morning show and talk about how you can have a beautiful home and it still be family friendly. Maybe you do five tips or something. I love the indoor/outdoor fabric idea, especially for pets.
Karen: Yes, exactly. Or you may have a partner or a spouse that is messy, too. Everybody has somebody in their family that they’re like, “Oh, please don’t come over to my house. I need to throw something on my sofa.”
Ali: I didn’t worry about that until I had a nice home. Now, I’m like, “Coaster. Coaster. Use a coaster.”
Karen: It would be nice if you didn’t have to do that, if you had a piece that looked just as good, but you didn’t have to worry about having the coaster on it. That’s what I’m teaching people. I guess I just never knew that there wasn’t anybody really talking about it.
James: Yes. You’ve found a niche that there is a need for and that nobody is properly filling. By you having the blog that’s kind of the ace area where you get known for that one topic, “family friendly” design, and you keep hitting that button over and over again. Soon enough, you experience a natural momentum that starts.
I wouldn’t doubt that within a year there are going to be book publishers knocking on your door, and then after that TV. It can just go from there, because you are positioning yourself now early on as, “Hey, I’m the expert on family friendly design.” It’s showing up now in your offerings. You’ve adjusted your offerings to match, again, where the market is hungry and where there’s a need for it.
Karen: Yes. The other thing I want to mention, which I think is a big deal, is the fact that I didn’t realize previous clients didn’t know how to explain what I did for them. Now they have a way to explain it. That has been helpful, because I’ve all of a sudden gotten more referrals.
Now, my previous clients know exactly how to explain what services I did for them. They used to say, “She does this thing where it’s like kind of comfortable.” And, now they say, “She’s really focused on family friendly,” and people get it. It’s been really great.
The referrers need to know what you do, too. If you’re not niching, obviously they can’t explain what you did for them.
Ali: It changes everything.
James: We can’t tell you how many people we’ve worked with who, once they get that and that level of clarity, and the referral sources get it, then the businesses take off. It would be impossible for it not to, because given that you’re providing great service, if people can clearly communicate it to other people, then there’s no reason why you can’t succeed.
Karen: Yes. I have 2,000 more people viewing my blog in just the past few months than I did before I had this “family friendly” motto up there. That’s a good increase. For just a few months, I think that’s pretty good.
James: We’re so excited to watch your progress here, and I know it’s just going to keep going, going, going.
Karen: Oh, yes. I can’t wait to see what happens for the rest of the year.
James: Yes. This is good. I’m so glad you’re in my Premier group, too. We love having you in that.
Ali: I’m curious. Did this idea come about at the meeting, or did it kind of gestate afterwards?
Karen: James and I talked about it when I interviewed to join Elevate Premier. Then the actual insights of keyword search, my marketing message and some of my services have come about from listening to everything and through Premier as well—talking to the group.
The entrepreneurs in my group have been very helpful in giving me some tips, advice on maybe how to change topics and taglines—things that really have helped.
James: I just have to say this, too. At our first Elevate Premier meeting of the year, there was a universal theme for everybody, and it’s this 15-degree shift I talk about a lot. It’s this refining of ideas—a little shift that makes all the difference. Then I wrote on the paper at the very end of the meeting, “Okay, here’s the theme for this meeting,” and I wrote, “D-u-h.”
Karen: Yes, he did.
James: Usually this stuff is right in front of you, but it’s so hard to see it when you’re immersed in it.
James: Yes. Just having everybody else mirror it back to you. They’re like, “Oh, my God. Totally. This was obvious.”
James: Well, thank you, Karen. I so appreciate it.
Karen: You’re welcome.
To move forward in building your business, you need specialized information, experienced mentors and coaches, and a supportive community. It’s exactly what Ali created her Elevate program to provide!