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Staging Diva Dispatch

Quote of the Month!

"Chance favors the prepared mind."

~ Louis Pasteur

Are you ready for 'serendipity', 'chance,' 'luck,' 'signs from the universe' (or whatever you want to call those magical moments that support you) to ease your journey towards the life of your dreams?

Get your F/ree copy of the Resource Guide

Are you looking for a quick reference to all the services Staging Diva offers? I've prepared a f/ree resource guide that lists all my f/ree services and other products.

home staging bulletDownload your copy here

Even Obama wouldn't feel "presidential" 24/7

United States President Barack Obama
Source: barackobama.com

Getting out of your comfort zone to do something big in the world takes courage and acting ability, not just know how. Every entrepreneur has those days, weeks or months where confidence drops and fear and insecurity take their place. The challenge is put on a brave face and keep going anyway.

I’m a huge fan of President-elect Obama and totally inspired by his message. Even he must have moments where he thinks, “What have I got myself into? Can I really solve all these problems and do this job?”

Political pundits keep talking about whether he looks and sounds “presidential”.

That’s because he’s not the president and he’s never been the president. But that will be his job soon enough and he won’t get to click on some giant “pause button” to stop the world while he sits around the Oval Office learning his new role.

To keep the rest of us from freaking out, he has to look and sound presidential and keep going even in those moments when he’s not feeling it deep down. If he looks confident and sounds like he knows what he’s talking about, he inspires our confidence in him and his abilities— even though he’s never done this job before.

My best advice to new home stagers is to put on a brave face and go for it.

Don’t be afraid to be on your own for a client project. Congratulate yourself on the fact that you were able to convey a professional enough image to actually get a client! This person saw something in you that you may not be feeling right now, but you have to keep going anyway.

If you don’t feel like a professional stager today, act the part!

The more you do it the more you’ll feel like a home stager. And, unlike Barack, you don’t have to do your job with the whole world watching your every move and every word!

Your clients aren’t looking for signs of incompetence; they’re looking for solutions to their problems.
Give them what they hired you for and keep your focus on the task, not how nervous you are.

For more tips on how to boost your credibility as a home stager, check out course 2 "The Business of Home Staging: What you need to get started and to grow."

Join my network of friends on Facebook

Debra Gould's Facebook profile

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

Do you know enough to promote your own web site?

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.

Is there a guaranteed home staging job?

Today I received another of what has sadly become a typical phone call. “Hi, I’ve taken a home staging course and I was promised a guaranteed job as a home stager, but that’s never materialized. Does your company have any job openings?”

This 27 year old confessed that she had quit her full time job to take this other program expecting that she would be working by now making $31.45 per hour as a home stager. After months of delays, she’s finally realized that it’s time to take her home staging career into her own hands.

I feel badly for her and the fifty others I’ve heard from with the same story. But in every case I’ve had to ask, “did you do any research on this company and its claims before handing over your c@sh?” Like most, she admitted to a certain doubt and realization that it all “sounded too good to be true.” Yet she went ahead anyway.

home staging bulletRead the rest of the story here

Meet Sandy!

Sandy Zuniga

Sandy is the Staging Diva Client Relations Manager, taking care of students, Graduates and anyone else who contacts us. 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 27: December 2008


I've been blown away by the response to my latest ebook, Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide: Home Staging Tips, Tricks and Floor Plans. To my surprise it's not only a big hit with new stagers, many who have been in the business for a couple of years have been ordering it too.

The most common feedback I get from readers is that it's taking away any fear they had about what to do in different staging situations and overall it made them more confident in their role as home stagers.

home staging bulletRead the full table of contents and reviews from stagers who have already finished this new ebook.

Staging Diva Ultimate Design Guide

I hope you caught the story I wrote to celebrate women who had survived breast cancer and went on to reinvent their lives. It's all over the Internet building awareness for disease prevention and research, and promoting the women I wrote about. Here's an example of my "Heroes of Home Staging" story in American Chronicle.

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!

As we end the year I want to thank you for being part of the Staging Diva community and giving me the opportunity to be part of your journey in building your own business based on your creative talents.

I also want to thank all my behind the scenes team members who help me keep this international company humming: Mark, Jaime, Angela, Victoria, Lara, Rick, Becki, Dale, Sarah and of course Sandy who many of you already know.

I hope you find the content of this issue of Staging Diva Dispatch helpful and I wish you all the best for the holiday season.

Debra 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! I talk about the economy and housing market and how they both effect home staging, in addition to answering audience questions.

home staging bulletDownload it as my gift to you here.

Ask Staging Diva Live

In this issue:

Main Section

home staging bulletNew Staging Diva Graduate Badge

home staging bulletBoost Business with Holiday Decorating

home staging bulletFollowing your passion doesn't happen by chance

home staging bulletStaging Diva in the News

home staging bulletStudent/Graduate Success Corner

Left column

home staging bulletQuote of the Month

home staging bulletF/ree Resource Guide

home staging bulletObama isn't presidential 24/7

home staging bulletJoin me on Facebook

home staging bulletKnow enough to promote your own web site?

home staging bulletGuaranteed staging job?

home staging bulletMeet Sandy

New Resource for Staging Diva Graduates

Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program Graduate

Staging Diva Graduates have a new tool to use on their web sites and in their marketing materials. The new Staging Diva Graduate Badge comes in various sizes and in both horizontal and vertical formats.

home staging bulletGraduates, watch your email this month for how to get the f/ree artwork for these.

Boost your Business with Seasonal Decorating

With Christmas almost upon us, I'm starting to get those inevitable "seasonal decorating" questions from new home stagers that run like this:

"Is it normal to be less busy at this time of year? Should I look at seasonal decorating to keep me busy now?"

Home Staging is definitely a seasonal business because it follows real estate cycles. That's why it works well to combine your staging business with things like:

  • interior redesign
  • color consulting
  • professional organizing
  • seasonal decorating
What you choose should also be a function of your interests. I don't believe in starting your own business only to do things you don't like! If you're going to make the effort to be your own boss, make sure you think carefully upfront about what your interests and natural talents are.
home staging at Christmas

The window box in the front of my new home, planted for the winter. Notice it doesn't scream "Christmas" but it's still appropriate for the season. Something to consider for home staging where not everyone visiting the home will be celebrating Christmas.

So, if you love holiday decorating and have a natural talent for it, then why not go for it? There are no rules when you're an entrepreneur. If you see an opportunity that inspires you then why not take advantage of it?

The idea that you should only build a business that you'll REALLY want to work in, is a theme that runs throughout the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program.

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

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

If you only want to focus on home staging you should know that despite the fact that December is a bad month to put a house on the market, there are always homeowners that will do it anyway. And with the slow market there are homes that have been sitting all through the fall real estate market. Their owners are getting desperate now, realizing they may have to wait until spring unless something happens fast. In the last week alone, I've been called for two projects to completely furnish empty homes.

Staging Diva Sales & Marketing Secrets to Boost Your Staging Busines

Following your passion doesn’t happen by chance

During one of my many moves, I found a five-year old newspaper clipping about the home staging industry that I had saved in a “business ideas” file. The irony was I had no memory of seeing the article, much less saving it, a full two years before starting my own home staging business.

choose which direction you will take your home staging business

Here I thought I’d pulled the idea of being a home stager out of the air after I resold my fifth house within 8 weeks of buying and redecorating it. Yet, there was living proof in my ideas file, that somehow I had already planted the seed and my subconscious mind had been thinking about it for five years!

There are so many points in life where we’re at a cross-roads that we don’t even realize. For every choice we make, we are by default choosing not to go with another option. So if we’re unhappy with our careers and we don’t feel we are following our passions, every day we don’t do anything to change our situation is actually a day that we’ve chosen to keep things how they are.

Sometimes it takes an outside jolt or chance conversation to help prepare our minds to see the other opportunities that await us.

When I first saved that newspaper article on home staging, I was living comfortably and feeling absolutely secure in my career. But I always felt like there was something more that I was meant to do. That’s why I was always saving stories in my business ideas file and was hungry for any story about how others had reinvented their lives.

When I read the home staging article, I thought about how house staging would allow me to use my natural decorating talent and the interest I’d always had in real estate. But at the time, I pushed the thought to the back of my mind (in part because I had no interior design training) and kept going with my marketing consulting business. I did have an MBA after all, what could I have been thinking?

The thought of leaving that cocoon of security and credibility was terrifying – especially as a single mother.

While anyone on the outside looking in would have said that I was operating a successful business because I was making lots of m0ney working from a home office. But, can you consider yourself successful if you don’t feel passionate about what you do?

I believe I was meant to get into the field of home staging, but when I first learned of the industry, my mind wasn’t ready to go there yet. I had to reach the point where I had no choice but to follow my dream of fully using my creativity to make a real difference in people’s lives. Teaching others how to have their own home staging businesses evolved from there because of all the aspiring home stagers who came to me looking for help reinventing their own lives.

I heard from a woman who was working in the human resources field. She didn’t feel passionate about it because so much of what she did all day had nothing to do with helping people and she was tired of dealing with office politics. During a random encounter with a colleague, she admitted her restlessness and desire to try something new. For whatever reason, this colleague saw something in her that she hadn’t yet seen in herself and asked if she’d ever thought of getting into home staging.

It was a seemingly random suggestion given that this colleague knew her as a human resources person. Yet, suddenly she found her passion. She was full of excitement and a new found positive energy, realizing that being a home stager would also allow her to help others, which is why she’d chosen a career in human resources in the first place.

So much that happens to us can be attributed to a source we can’t see or really explain. What I know for sure is that timing can play a crucial role in your life.

When it comes to following your heart, listen to that inner voice and pay attention— prepare your mind!

Staging Diva In the News

Debra Gould with Ambrose Price of HGTV
I can't believe it's a full year since this shot of me and Ambrose Price was taken during a shoot for HGTV.

A new show,"The Decorating Adventures of Ambrose Price,” was originally supposed to air last spring and was delayed. They say it will start airing this winter. I did a two day shoot for one of their 13 episodes. I take Ambrose under my wing and teach him all about home staging and then at the end of the episode he does a condo on his own with me coming in at the end to evaluate his work.

What you won't see on camera is me lurking in the hallway for half an hour while he frantically tried to finish the project before The Staging Diva arrived!

I have to say it was pretty weird and amusing having to walk into a tiny condo bathroom, while the camera man, director and sound guy were all huddled at one end of the bathtub, and trying to pretend they weren't there as I talked to the audience. We had to shoot every scene twice so they could film it from different angles to edit together later. This makes the whole magic of TV a bit less glamorous when you're actually doing it, but I still love it!

Student/Graduate Success Corner

Congratulations to Staging Diva Graduate Laura Kakoschke of Hunter Lake Home Staging and Design on her outstanding success in her first 10 months in business! This 39 year old mother of three earned more working part time as a stager building her own business then she used to earn working full time as a Contract Manager.

But it's not just about making m0ney of course.

Laura says, "I can work my own hours, set my schedule, be at home to teach (home school) in the mornings and work my staging business in the afternoons."

She adds, "My three boys get a first-hand look at running a business. I hope that the courage I found to follow my dream will inspire them to follow theirs, and to know that anything is possible."

It's all about making choices about how you want to live your life.

"I’m 39 and if it weren’t for the opportunities available to a stager, I would have had to return for several years of post-secondary training and then work long hours for low pay for a design firm to fulfill my dream of decorating. This would never have happened," says this mom with a degree in literature. "Staging Diva Training gave me the business tools and confidence to follow my lifelong passion for design."

Laura Kakoschke

bedroom after home staging
Room photo by:
Laura Kakoschke

Read the rest of Laura's story here

Congratulations to Leah Fritz of Perfect Place Home Staging (WI), who staged a home for a couple that had already moved to a different state. Their home had been sitting on the market for 9 months but sold within weeks of Leah staging it. This is proof that in today's market, home sellers need our services more than ever before. Leah wrote to share this story:

Leah Fritz

living room after home staging

Room photo by: Leah Fritz

"After touring the home with the Realtor, I had a long phone conversation with the sellers who were initially nervous about hiring someone they had never met before. After our conversation and reviewing my portfolio online, they felt at ease and I was hired on the spot, instead of the other stager they were considering."
Leah adds, "Within days of completing the staging, the couple accepted an offer! The buyer loved my living room set-up so much they asked to buy the furniture. So my clients got a nice offer and a good chunk of their staging expenses back due to the sale of the furnishings! Win, Win, Win!"

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. Visit their Profile Pages and get inspired:

Rose Sekinger of Bella Home Designs

Serving Texas: Collin County, North Dallas, Allen, Carrollton, Garland, Frisco, McKinney, Plano, Richardson and Wylie

Rose Sekinger
Heather Stewart of HS Home Staging

Serving British Columbia: Langley, Cloverdale, Surrey, Aldergrove, Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver
Heather Stewart
Doris Jones of Clueless??

Serving Georgia: Greater Atlanta area, Sandy Springs, Dunwoody, Roswell, Alpharetta, Decatur, Duluth, Cumming, Marietta and East Cobb.

Doris Jones
Sharon Whittington of My Staging Expert

Serving Maryland and Virginia: Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County, Northern Calvert County, Prince Georges County, Fairfax County, Prince William County, Stafford County, Loudoun County, Fauquier County, Culpeper County

Sharon Whittington

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

Staging Diva Directory of Home Stagers
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.

If you have your own full web site, learn about Mini Directory Listings