Quote of the Month!
"Doing something unimportant well doesn't make it important.
Requiring a lot of time does not make a task important. What you do
is infinitely more important than how you do it. Efficiency is still
important, but it is useless unless applied to the right things."
I ask: What's on your "To Do" list that belongs on your "Stop Doing"
list? It's a constant battle that I struggle with
Fall Course Dates
Want to take the Staging Diva
courses live with me?
only take 15 students in the live courses. They're in a conference
call format. All notes are emailed to you in advance and then you
get a phone number and password to join me and your fellow students
in the live calls on the five designated evenings.
fall schedule and register before it's full.
The Staging Diva Network Online Discussion
Group has a new Live Chat feature. This add-on service is included
in the monthly membership fee of only $20.
I'm hosting a live chat August 24, which is
f'ree to all Staging Diva Network Members.
Learn now to join the
Network and get one month f'ree
Manager of Operations is absolutely fabulous. If you have any
questions, please don't hesitate to email
Sandy is my
Executive Assistant who does a great job getting Graduation
Certificates out to you in a timely fashion, keeping the Staging Diva
Network humming and many other behind the scenes details. Feel
free to email her when
you need help!
Peggy and Sandy will
quickly handle your questions about registrations, certificates,
course downloads, memberships and
Don't worry, I'm
still accessible but with over 500 emails a day, I need help! If you
ask Peggy or Sandy something directly that they feel needs my
attention, they always forward your message to
While I don't
agree with their claim that this book tells you everything you need
to know to be a home stager, it does have some great
You'll also find
success stories of leading stagers (I'm one of them) plus quotes
from a variety of others, including Staging Diva Graduate
Lauren Bartell who was discovered by the writer on the Staging Diva
FabJob Guide to Becoming a Home Stager
Don't take home staging training just because
you want "credentials" since there are none (not
official ones at least).
Anyone can call themselves a professional home
stager, there are no requirements or licenses to do
The only real reason to take a course is if you
feel the content will improve your chance of
Consider your own strengths and
Decide exactly what you need to get out of a
program and then find training
that offers that.
Look for a trainer that has a proven
track record of success in whatever they're going to teach
Otherwise, what proof is there that their
methods work in the real world?
Look for evidence that there's a genuine
interest in sharing real information with you and providing ongoing
support for your growth.
If it's all about "selling a course" then don't
expect anything else once you're a paying
I also recommend you check out comments
from real people who have
taken the program.
If student testimonials have no names, no
photos and no way to locate them, how do you know their comments are
No single training program will be right for
everyone! You owe it to yourself to research your options and choose
wisely, based on your specific needs.
the rest of this story
student comments about the Staging Diva
13: August 2007
You are receiving this newsletter because you
expressed interest in learning about the business of Home Staging.
If you don't want to continue, use the "Preferences" link at the
very bottom of this email.
Wow, July flew by and now we're half way through August!
Apologies for not having an issue of Staging Diva Dispatch since
June. This is highly unusual.
I was caught up with the sale of my home and moving to the
new one, plus getting my daughter organized for a month of camp, my
corporate year end, media interviews, coaching Staging Diva
Graduates who are part of the Business
Accelerator Program*, doing an hour long radio call in show
and various projects for clients.
I'm loving my new house. I bought my first real estate in my
late 20s and it seems only fitting that I've finally found my dream
home as I head into my 50s! Well, I'm not there yet. Two more years,
but I plan on living here for that milestone.
I hope you find the content of this issue of Staging Diva
Dispatch helpful. I welcome your feedback and/or new story
Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.
Creator of The Staging Diva Program
* The Business Accelerator Program
is two hours of one-on-one business coaching with me. You get six
months to use your time and you can split it up into shorter
session. It's offered to you for only $300 when you order all five
courses (live or recorded). Business coaching with me normally costs
$300/hour so you s.a.v.e $300 with this
More on Painted Counter Tops
Staging an Unfinished Basement
Student/Graduate Success Corner
Staging Diva in the Media
up Confusion about Referrals
Quote of the Month
Staging Diva Fall Courses
Network Members Chat it Up
The Staging Diva Team
|More on Painted Counter
(top right) from the June issue prompted lots of inquiries. It
was of my kitchen in the house I just sold. The old 1920s
laminate counter tops and backsplash were painted a deep
first painted them because I couldn't stand walking into such
an ugly room every morning and for a magazine spread in Women's
Day Magazine. They really held up over the
All I did was sand them to rough them up a bit, primed
and then rolled on melamine paint. When it was time to put my
house on the market 5 years later, I just rolled on a single
fresh coat (because I'm obsessive about home staging
What you didn't see last time, was what my kitchen
looked like before the paint, hardware, and new floor
makeover. Here it is below right.
It's interesting that the agent told me the new buyer
loved the kitchen, it was part of what sold her on my
This goes against the conventional wisdom that says
"neutralize everything." In fact, none of my house was neutral
and that's part of why it stood out in a sea of beige houses
of similar design, many of which had new kitchens with granite
and stainless steel appliances!
If you've got a
client with an unfinished or partially unfinished basement that
looks like this one above, there is a ton you can do to improve the
situation. First of all, just because it's unfinished, don't assume
it can't look like a room.
to staging a creepy basement:
- Get the
clutter off site.
- Put in better lighting.
- Paint walls if possible.
- Paint floors.
- Install window blinds to hide bad views.
- Prop to show a use for the
Staging Diva Graduate Shiva (Sherry) Gorjianfar,
whose inquiry motivated me to write this story and share a few
long-forgotten photos with you.
to April Graduate Terri Tough of A La Mode Staging
"I finished my
first staging job which more than paid
for my course, as well as my profile page in the Staging Diva
Directory Of Home Stagers! My clients had a
real estate agent say she would list their house for $305,000. After
I staged it for them, they decided to sell it on their
own. They sold 4 days before their first open house for
$330,000--- $35,000 more than the agent's estimate, plus they saved
|What astonishes me more than anything is that one month
after taking your course and joining
the Directory, my staging business is debt free after only
one client! After 5 years of owning a retail business all I
can say is, you canít get much better than that! Thank you for
helping me embark on the incredible journey!!"
||Congratulations to Donna Warwick who
in July became the first Staging Diva Graduate from New
Zealand! It prompted me to do some research and I learned that
New Zealand is actually the most remote country in the world
(4,000 miles from Australia across the Tasman Sea), with a
high per capita income, and real estate values that went up in
the double digits this
|Congratulations to Staging Diva Graduates
Victoria Willits (top) and Sue
Parro (bottom) of Fresh
Look Design on staging a living room of a spec house for
an upcoming show on HGTV.
They had only 48 hours to pull it off and did it
If you want to do anything for the media, be prepared
to drop everything for them, there's almost never any lead
Congratulations to Gary Baugher of An
Eye 4 Change who just completed his first year in his staging
business. Gary always entertains me with stories of his latest
projects. He's really taken Nashville by storm! For his latest
project he beat out a stager who has been in the business for
12 years. Gary writes, "this business is contagious. Somehow I
always manage to find the energy to do what I love. Thanks for
all your support and
| Congratulations to Staging Diva Graduate Debra
Rowley of Debra Rowley Interior Staging on her first
staging project, of a $1.9 million home no less! It earned her
over $5,000 and a portfolio of professional shots of a
magnificent home that will help her attract future
Staging Diva Students and Graduates, send me your successes so we
can celebrate your triumphs and inspire
Diva In the Media
|I did a one hour call-in show for CBC Radio One in
July. The show Ontario Today aired across the province. I was
a bit nervous going in, for two reasons:
First, you never know what homeowners will
Second, while their agenda was to help homeowners do it
themselves, MY agenda was to communicate that professional
stagers have a role and how to find them on the Staging
Diva Directory of Home Stagers.
did manage to work that in while (hopefully) not sounding too
commercial. I also discovered I love doing radio. The
switchboard was lit up for the full hour and I could have kept
going I was so pumped!
It was also a nice diversion from unpacking since I had
Listen to the show online (until August
You can finally read the story I was interviewed for
in Dream Homes and Condos Magazine online.
"Keeping that Brand New Home
In addition to being online, the magazine is
distributed f/ree throughout the GTA area with a distribution
|Watch for a feature story on low-cost kitchen makeovers
in the Back to School issue of Together
Magazine this fall. I haven't seen it yet, but it may
Like many writers, this reporter realized that instead
of contacting kitchen designers, she'd help readers more by
talking to a home stager. In addition to several of my tips
and my own before and after photos, I'm expecting links back
to stagingdiva.com and sixelements.com to provide new project
leads for graduates of the Staging Diva
With a circulation of 350,000 this
magazine is distributed through local public schools and at
Canadian Wal-Mart stores.
||And for both US and Canadian Graduates, I'm really
excited about the home staging story for this fall's
Better Homes and
Gardens.|With a circulation of over 38 million, this
article will send significant traffic to the Staging
Diva Directory of Home Stagers this fall! To buy a tiny ad in
Better Homes and Gardens costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. The
value of being part of the editorial content is even higher because
readers put more faith in editorial than advertising.
writer still doesn't have the publication date, but she'll let me
For less than the cost of an evening out (or a Yellow Pages
ad), you can be part of the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers!
Once I build your profile page for you (you don't need to know
anything about websites), I "host" your information on the Staging
Diva Directory of Home Stagers for only $45/month. You'll be
advertising your business 24 hours a day, 7 days a week on a site
that I work on getting visitors to, so you don't have to! If you're
a Graduate of the Staging Diva Program, I don't know what you're
More information on how
it works and how to get listed in the
A growing number of reporters are grabbing
their stories right off my websites without even interviewing me. If
any of you see me in a local paper or magazine, I'd appreciate you
letting me know! According to a new student, I was apparently
mentioned on HGTV recently. If any of you knows
what show, please let me know! I'd be
happy to send you a thank you gift in exchange for a copy of the
Clearing Up Confusion
About Staging Project
re-running this story because I still get the same inquiries about
how the referral system works.
homeowner or agent contacts me because they want a
direct them first to The Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers and
if they can't find someone there, they're invited to complete a form
at the Staging Diva
Home Stager Locator Service.
client finds a stager on their own through a listing in the Staging
Diva Directory of Home Stagers, there's NO referral fee charged
to the stager.
client fills out the form using the Locator service, I post an
article on The Business
of Home Staging advertising the project.If a stager
wants to apply, they use the link in the story that takes them to
the Home Stager
Project Referral Service.
who apply and complete all the information requested are recommended
to the client after I've seen their website/portfolio.
then up to the client and stager to follow up with each
stager gets work, I collect a referral fee. If they don't
get work, I've invested considerable time and effort and the stager
has gained experience dealing with a potential client at no cost to
Who can participate in the Staging Project Referral
participate in the Referral Service stagers must:
don't apply for projects unless you meet the criteria indicated
above. We will not accept emails of brochures or portfolio photos as
a replacement for having a professional looking website or profile
page on the Staging Diva Directory of Home
Stagers.If I've sent
projects your way and you haven't let Sandy know what happened,
you won't continue to receive referrals.
Reasons not all project
leads turn into paying work
Even though I've been
staging homes for a long time and I'm well known, not everyone who
calls me to discuss their project actually hires me. This is a
reality of the business and one that you can't take personally
(though this is sometimes hard, especially when the prospect sounds
so interested at first).
I've heard from a few
stagers who have had project referrals through the Staging Diva
Project Referral Service and then are frustrated that some leads
don't seem to go anywhere right away. The reality is that not all
leads will turn into projects, regardless of their source. Some of
the reasons for this are:
- homeowners are talked
out of hiring a stager by their agent
house sells before we find them a stager
homeowner decides to take the house off the market instead of
staging (which means they might still contact the stager when they
agents lose the listing they were hoping to have
- like any industry,
there will always be "tire kickers" who ask for information but
never follow through
- some people hire
someone else before I've managed to find someone appropriate for
stagers do inadequate follow-up preferring to wait passively for
the client to contact them. Meanwhile the client assumes the
stager isn't really interested or available.
- some aspiring stagers
make up bogus projects to find out who is in their area (when I
catch them doing this, I keep their names on file)
everyone is impressed with the people I recommend either because
of their portfolios, their demeanor on the phone, their follow up,
or they just simply don't emotionally connect (that's human nature
and happens to everyone including me)
- some "urgent"
projects get delayed because the client's priorities change, they
may fail to tell you this and suddenly you hear from them three
months from now
this clears up some of the misconceptions about this program. If
anyone has suggestions for how it can be improved, I'd love to hear
from you. Learn more about
joining the Staging Diva Directory so clients can find you on their
own and you avoid referral fees!