The feeling of being “creative” can be a fragile thing. But I don’t think “creativity” itself is fragile at all. Creativity is simply something we’re born with, so the question becomes whether or not we choose to nurture that gift. More often than not, we tend to bury our talents because we’re afraid or because it seems inconvenient to let them out into the sun.
Perhaps we’ve been told that it’s impossible to make a living from our creativity (totally untrue), or that we should stop dreaming and be practical.
One of the things I love about being an entrepreneur is that I can be whatever I want to be rather than letting others— especially employers— define me. Sometimes I introduce myself as a home stager; at other times I focus on interior redesign, color consulting or being a teacher and mentor to other home stagers.
Staging Diva students come from all kinds of backgrounds:
- Fran Matsumoto of Pristine Staging in Beverly Hills was an office manager for world-famous comedian Rodney Dangerfield.
- Gary Baugher of An Eye 4 Change (TN) was a manager at a car rental company.
- Donna Dazzo of Designed to Appeal (NY) worked in financial services.
- Holly Battaglia of Holly’s Home Matters (MD) is one of many registered nurses who are now home stagers.
- Marcia Levitz of Design Doctor (FL) was an insurance agent.
- Jody Whalen of Pear Tree Home Designs (NJ) worked at the Food Network.
I know from speaking with every single one of them that they believed it was impossible to make a living from their decorating talents before they found home staging. They had made career path decisions many years ago, and along they went—until something forced them to take stock of where their lives were going. For some, it’s a corporate restructuring. For others, it’s that nagging midlife question: “Is this all there is?” Sometimes it’s a health scare, divorce, or simply a desire to have more independence and time with the kids.
Years ago, I was a corporate executive and even an ad agency account person—like “Peter” on Mad Men. Secretly, I wanted to be part of the creative department, but at the time I didn’t believe I was creative enough. Besides, having a master’s degree in marketing put me firmly in the “account service” side of things as far as anyone else was concerned. The creative department called us “The Suits” to make sure we understood our place and that we weren’t them.
I bought into everyone else’s definition of me for a long time, and I know so many of you fall into that trap too.