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Staging Diva Dispatch

Quote of the Month!

"There are 3 types of people in the world. Those who:

- Make things happen.
- Watch things happen.
- Ask "What happened?"

~ adapted from M. Filsaime

Which type of person have you been so far in your life? Are you happy with the result?

Which type do you want to be going forward?

Burger joint pays more than real estate

comparing home staging salaries

Did you know that the median salary for a real estate agent is only $31,000 and for newbies that can be as low as $13,000 a year?

By contrast, those young mangers you see at McDonalds® make between $30K and $35K and they're not on call 24/7 the way an agent is.

If you're one of the hundreds of thousands of agents realizing that real estate isn't the glamorous road you thought it would be, read on here.

Join my network of friends on Facebook

Debra Gould's Facebook profile

Click on the image above to take you to my Facebook profile.

Staging Diva Dialog

Last month I had a great group coaching call with Staging Diva Graduates about how their staging businesses could thrive in this economy. I also answered a bunch of questions from new and established home stagers alike.

home staging bulletLearn how you can join me each month by phone and get a recording afterwards too.

F/ree SEO Quiz

If you have your own website or you're planning to build one, I found this awesome quiz you can take to test your knowledge about how to get traffic to your site.

This is key because having a site that no one visits is much like hosting a party with no guests. All that wasted food, all those decorations, and no one to see it but you and a few close friends!

home staging bulletLearn more about how to take the quiz and check out my score here.

Heard of $31.45 an hour for staging?

As a professional home stager I've become increasingly concerned about the promotion of the idea that $31.45 an hour is a good income for a home stager. It isn't. In fact it ends up working out to about minimum wage.

home staging bulletLearn why in this article from American Chronicle

15 questions to ask before parting with your c@sh for training

Now that home staging has become such a growth business, all kinds of people are coming out of the woodwork making claims. It's very confusing to anyone thinking of entering the field.

home staging bulletHere are 15 questions to ask before parting with your c@sh.

Meet Sandy!

Sandy Zuniga

Sandy is the Staging Diva Client Relations Manager, taking care of students, Graduates and anyone else who needs help. She answers questions, keeps the Staging Diva Network humming, ensures students receive their course materials, that Graduate Certificates go out in a timely fashion, and many other behind the scenes details. Email Sandy when you need help!

I'm still accessible but with so much email every day, I need help! 

If you ask Sandy something directly that needs my attention, she will forward your message to me.

  Issue 26: November 2008

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.


Thanks everyone for your kind birthday messages, both sent to me and written on my Facebook wall. It was really nice to hear from all of you.

I'm excited about two new products that will be a huge help to you whether you are new to home staging or you've been at it for awhile. One is already available and the other is coming out December 1 and you'll learn more about it in this issue.

It's a challenge filling newsletters, blogs and websites with content. I spend at least 8 hours on writing and editing every week. If that's not your skill, or you don't want to spend so much of your own time writing, you'll love this time- and aggravation-saving product we created for you!  Staging Diva Chronicles: 12 Home Staging Articles You Can Use For Your Own Promotion.

home staging bulletLearn more in the Staging Diva Store

Staging Diva Chronicles

Publicity (getting the media and others to write or talk about you) can really help build your business. It's f/ree and it has way more credibility than advertising. Staging Diva Graduates might recall that I mentioned Joan Stewart in Course 4. She's got a great tutorial called "89 Ways to Write Powerful Press Releases" and you can sign up for it here for f/ree.

I must admit the end of October was an emotional time for me. It was a challenge writing the Heroes of Home Staging, the article I promised to celebrate women who had survived breast cancer and went on to reinvent their lives. I received so many personal stories from my readers about themselves or friends and family members. I was deeply moved by all of them and thank you for sharing your stories and resources so that others might benefit. You can read the article I wrote here.

While I was putting together the story to raise Breast Cancer Awareness, it was also leading up to a service for my own cousin who died. You can read about that and some other things I figured out over the past couple of weeks in Entering my 50th year with gratitude.

I hope you find the content of this issue of Staging Diva Dispatch helpful. I welcome your opinions, success stories and/or new story ideas. If you're wondering how to get me to write about your business, it's really as simple as sending me content along with a photo or two. I love to promote Staging Diva Graduates wherever I can!

Debra Gould, Staging Diva Signature

Debra Gould, President Six Elements Inc.
Creator of The Staging Diva Program

P.S. You can listen to a f/ree 90 minute edition of Ask Staging Diva Live!

home staging bulletDownload it as my gift to you here.

Ask Staging Diva Live 

In this issue:

Main Section

home staging bulletStaging Diva Ultimate Design Guide

home staging bulletBoost Your Staging Business with Real Estate Investors and Landlords

home staging bulletStaging Diva in the News

home staging bulletSlow Real Estate Market: Good News for Stagers

home staging bulletStudent/Graduate Success Corner

home staging bulletStaging Diva Mini Listing

Left column

home staging bulletQuote of the Month

home staging bulletBurger joint pays more than real estate!

home staging bulletJoin me on Facebook

home staging bulletMonthly coaching call 

home staging bulletF/ree SEO Quiz

home staging bullet$31.45 an hour for staging?

home staging bullet15 Questions To Ask Before Parting with Your C@sh for training

home staging bulletMeet Sandy


Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide:
Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans

Are you holding yourself back because deep down you are afraid that you won't always know what changes to make when you're actually staging someone's home?

Have you ever wondered how to optimally stage an unfinished "dumping ground" of a basement?

Do you know exactly how to deal with a severely outdated kitchen that seems like a lost cause?

Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide

Release Date:
December 1, 2008

When you're confident you can stage any room in any home, you will be able to take that time and energy you normally spend worrying about your next home staging project and focus it instead on building your staging business.

I've personally staged hundreds of client homes over the last 6 years. Some were vacant, others were cold and modern and others were filled with inherited mismatched furniture. From inexpensive town homes, to tiny downtown condos and sprawling suburban monster houses, each project presented it's own design challenges.

I'm just putting the finishing touches on my latest book, Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans. In it, I take you through the steps I've used to transform these properties. I also explain more about your role as a home stager, from soothing the nervous client to understanding where a house fits in the market. You'll find tons of before and after shots from my own portfolio plus detailed floor plans to help you know what to do in every room of a home.  Learn how to avoid the most common staging pitfalls and get my top 25 home staging tips.

This new Design Guide will be released December 1, but you can pre-order it now at a third off.

home staging bulletRead the full table of contents and order now at the pre-release price

Boost Your Staging Business With
Real Estate Investors and Landlords

home staging before

If you were a prospective tenant with lots of rental properties to choose from, would this be where you wanted to live?

home staging after

How about this? It's the same house shown after with rental furniture and accessories I brought in. This staging could be used just to attract a tenant and have everything moved out before they move in, or the place could be rented furnished, generating one heck of a nice stream of inc0me for the stager month after month.

(Before and After Photos from one of my staging projects for Six Elements Inc.)

The current state of the economy and real estate market is full of opportunity for home stagers who think creatively about how they can grow their home staging business.

What's happening to house prices and the mortgage crisis aren't just affecting homeowners, home sellers and real estate agents. Real estate investors and landlords are pretty nervous, especially if they're relying on rental income to offset their mortgage costs.

Whether they have investments in multiple apartment buildings, vacation properties or a single bachelor apartment in their home's basement, they can't afford to have vacancies. As a professional home stager you have a lot to offer to enhance the appeal of their rental units.

A vacant room looks sad to anyone and this includes a prospective tenant, which means it will take longer to rent the space and that's money right out of the landlord's pocket.

I once staged a basement apartment in someone's home that normally brought in $1000 per month. It had been sitting vacant for four months with no interest before the owner called me. After the apartment was staged, the next three people who looked at it wanted to rent it! She went from having no interest in four months to having her choice of three tenants within a week of having it staged.

Consider this, she invested far less in staging than the $4,000 she lost in rental inc0me having the space sit vacant.

Many home sellers have decided to take their properties off the market and rent them until real estate prices turn around. As a stager, you can show them how to help prospective tenants fall in love with the property so they can rent it faster than had they left it empty.

They will probably also attract a better type of tenant and be able to rent the place out for more. They may even want to rent it furnished so as a stager you can earn an ongoing passive inc0me stream from all the rental items you put into the home or apartment.

Another area where home staging can make a huge difference is in the vacation rental market.

If you're near a market where there are cottages or vacation homes, you can have a whole other target market for your home staging services. Vacation rentals are advertised online, so how their interior photos look is critical. Your home staging services can make all the difference in whether a site visitor clicks through to make a reservation or not.

Home staging isn't just for the usual home going on the real estate market scenario.

As an entrepreneur you should be thinking creatively about how to increase your business with new target markets. This topic is discussed in detail in course 4:

Staging Diva Sales & Marketing Secrets to Grow Your Home Staging Business
Staging Diva Sales and Marketing Secrets to Boost Your Staging Business 

Staging Diva In the News

Staging Diva in Entrepreneur Magazine
Staging Diva is the only home staging business opportunity recognized by Entrepreneur Magazine, in not one, but ALL of their business start up guides for the last three years running.

The Fall 2008 issue is on news stands now.

Staging Diva in Home Business MagazineExcerpt: "Debra Gould bought, decorated and sold six of her own homes in eight years while she ran her marketing consulting business. This led to a new career as a home stager. It was the perfect way to combine her passions for decorating and real estate without being on call 24/7 the way agents are.

In fact, she was able to earn $10,000 a month staging homes by her second year in business.

During those first two years, Gould heard from so many others who wanted advice on how they could have the same success and recognition she had. That prompted her to create the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program."

Slow Real Estate Market: Good News For Stagers

Staging is an important tool in coping with a slowing real estate market. Use this to your advantage right now to build your business.

If you're just sitting on your hands waiting for good economic news to hit CNN, you are totally missing the ideal environment to make m0ney in!

Slow real esate markets are the perfect environment for stagers to flourish. Because in a slow market, there are more homes on the market which means:

  • buyers can be pickier about what they choose to buy
  • buyers have more room to negotiate price
  • sellers are frustrated because their homes aren't selling as fast as they like
  • agents are closing fewer deals, so they're looking for an edge
These are the perfect conditions for marketing the benefits of staging to homeowners and agents alike (each with their own target-specific marketing message as I discuss in course 4).

How else can a home stand out from the competition when there are several homes for sale at similar prices in the neighborhood, or worse, on the same street? Without staging, what else can an agent do in a slow market but drop the asking price?
Staging Diva Ultimate Portfolio Guide
Just as we tell homeowners that home staging is important to create the right first impression, your own business image needs "staging" too!

If you're not ready to get out there and promote your business with a polished image, now is the perfect time to look at how you can improve your business cards, logo, photos, testimonials and how you write about what you do. These are discussed in detail in Staging Diva Ultimate Guide: Creating The Perfect Portfolio to Sell Your Home Staging Services.

Student/Graduate Success Corner

Congratulations to Francesca Midolo of Staged Elegance (ON), who wrote in to share this story:

"I took your advice about gift certificates and got two jobs because of it plus tons of referrals. I recently staged a vacant property. I really tested everything I learned from the Staging Diva Program, from pricing for my time for sourcing, shopping for the client, dealing with the rental company, to the actual staging and getting before & after shots. 
Francesca Midolo

My client asked for tons of my cards so she can tell her friends what a great job I did. I am so thankful that I was able to practice all I've learned from you and how much of it works like a charm and makes sense. I am getting paid for my time and I love doing this. I have you to thank. My confidence is growing more and more. Thank goodness for you and for your continuous support. It feels so great knowing if I get stuck I can count on your help. You're simply wonderful as a teacher and business woman.

Jodi Whalen
Congratulations to Staging Diva Graduate Jodi Whalen of Pear Tree Home Designs (NJ) who renewed her Staging Diva Directory Profile listing for another year, and enjoyed 25% o.f.f. for doing that.
Jodi recently staged a townhome for a young couple who were expecting their second baby and quite anxious to move. Their home had been on the market for 5 months without a single offer. After Jodi's staging, the house sold in 3 weeks with a 30 day close! We can offer so much hope to home sellers, especially now. This is an incredible time to build a staging business and make a tremendous difference in our clients lives.

The Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers welcomes these recent Graduates. Congratulations on getting your portfolios together and putting yourself out there for homeowners, agents and the media to find. Vist their Profile Pages and get inspired:

Bonnie Guest of Staging To Sell, LLC

Serving Wisconsin: Madison, Sun Prairie, Middleton, Verona, Janesville, Oconomowoc, Milwaukee, Wisconsin Dells, Lake Mills and Fox Valley

Bonnie Guest
Sharon McConnell of Park Ave Home Staging & Redesign

Serving Pennsylvania: Bucks County: Bedminster, Doylestown, Hilltown, Perkasie, Sellersville, Montgomery County: Franconia, Lansdale and Souderton
Sharon McConnell
Joyce Medkeff of Staging With Style by Joyce

Serving Delaware: Wilmington, New Castle, Newark, Hockessin, Bear, Middletown, Pike Creek, Smyrna, Glasgow, Odessa

Joyce Medkeff
Paige Holm and Aron Bailey Bruser of Win-Win Home Staging and Redesign

Serving Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania: Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County, Montgomery County, Philadelphia County, Huntingdon Valley, Doylestown, Jenkintown, Blue Bell and Chestnut Hill

 Paige Holm and Aron Bailey Bruser
Julie Ebarb of Modify by Design

Serving Washington: Everett, Mukilteo, Mill Creek, Lake Stevens, Marysville

Julie Ebarb
Jenna Iannelli of CHARU Design

Serving Ontario: Toronto, Forest Hill, Beaches, Thornhill, Rosedale, Mississauga, Etobicoke, North York, Scarborough and Woodbridge

Jenna Iannelli
Lisa Frost of Show Better Properties

Serving Oklahoma: Tulsa, Broken Arrow, Sand Springs, Bixby, Jenks, Owasso, Coweta, Wagoner, Catoosa and Claremore

Lisa Frost

Directory of Home Stagers Makes It Easy For Clients to Find You

Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers Search
Visitors to the Staging Diva Directory type their location into the handy search box and can find you quickly.
Did you know that you can pick up to 10 locations that you serve, plus up to 4 states or provinces?

Locations can be city, town, county or neighborhood, it's all up to you!

We add "tags" to your listing so that you can be found for all of the locations you include in your list.

home staging bulletLearn how to get your own Profile Page in the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers.

New! Staging Diva Mini Listing
(for members who already have a website)

If you're a Staging Diva Graduate and you already have your own full blown website, you might be interested in this new lower cost option for joining the Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers.

A Mini Listing is far less comprehensive in that it doesn't include 600 words of text about you, or your portfolio photos the way a Profile Page Listing does, but a Mini Listing does give you a way to enjoy many of the benefits of being part of such a high profile site, at a lower cost.

Since these Mini Listings take less time for my team to build, I've knocked $300 off the price, which still includes an all important link back to your main website and f/ree project referrals. 

Note that you can only participate in a Mini Listing if you're a Staging Diva Graduate and you already have a full website with photos of your own work (not stock shots) and it is a stand alone site (not part of another company's website or directory). I only recommend this if you have a professional looking site, since this is all about building your image.

home staging bulletLearn more about Mini Directory Listings

home staging bulletLearn more about Profile Page Directory Listings

I don't have my own site, why can't I get a Mini Listing anyway?

Listing your contact information without samples of your work will not get you any projects. You would be wasting your m0ney so we don't let you do it. The only way a Mini Listing makes marketing and sales sense is if someone can click through to your main website. 

I have my own site, is there still a reason to have a full Profile Page Listing?

Every time you require someone to click through to another website, you lose a significant percentage of visitors. You're always better to show as much as possible to entice them once they find your lisitng. A Profile Page includes sales copy and your portfolio. This will always generate more results than just your contact information and a link to your site.

If Profile Page Listings are so much better for marketing, why does a Mini Listing make sense?

This is a lower cost option, you s.av.e $300 on the cost to build your listing, yet you still benefit from F/ree Project Referrals and the greater likelihood that someone will find you because you're part of the well respected and high traffic Staging Diva Directory. 

We can get you traffic you won't get on your own.