Saturday, November 13, 2010
I decided to evaluate my business model again and try to get rid of this social cloud tweeting around my head. (pun intended.) I realized that although it is great to develop myself as a brand, my time is better spent and my sanity is better saved if I choose a select 2 or 3 mediums to develop instead of spreading myself and my time too thin by developing too many networks that go nowhere.
What I have chosen to focus on at this time is:
1.) My blog, of course. It is a great medium to discuss relevant business topics, and give design advice to my readers.
2.) Twitter - At first I didn't really get Twitter, but now that I have a blog, what a great way to promote it along with be able to connect with my readers in a brief and succinct manor.
3.) Linked In - I do have a linked in profile but until recently have not really gotten involved with groups or discussions. I think it may be a great way to network with other business professionals.
I had also previously mentioned that I have tried paid advertising on a site called Interior Design Directory.
So far, I have not received any calls or leads that I know of from that site. I will let it play out of the year and see if anything comes of it.
I also started a Facebook page for Conceptual Interiors Inc., but haven't been able to keep up with the updates (fortunately because I have a lot of work at the moment.)
This will remain on the back burner until the other 3 can be developed and managed more regularly.
Although I am working on those media outlets above, I don't believe that they will bring me any direct business for awhile. It is more about building a name and a brand, which I do think pays off in the long run if handled correctly. What I do think will work and what I plan on working on next will be Google Ad Words. This way, I can manage my own advertising campaign and hopefully reach a targeted and specific client looking for my services as an interior designer.
Now that I have decided on a select few outlets for the time being, I hope to be able to strongly develop my brand while having time to actually do real business.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
Another great use for this artwork are their headboard size images which are great over your bed. They come about 60"x18" and again, they can be altered in size to accommodate your room.
I love the rich, saturated colors that really come to life on the wall. They have a great way to mount them on acrylic boards so that you don't need a frame which gives the artwork its more modern look. If you do want a frame, you can look through their selection of wood frames in order to add a more traditional or transitional touch to your space.
Monday, October 18, 2010
Monday is here and surprisingly I always look forward to it. It is a great day to get my week organized, make some plans for the business and get my projects in order. This Monday is no different. I start the week with an overview of what I need to do for the entire week as well as for this specific day. It may be cliché, but when I have a task list and I can cross each item off as I accomplish them, I find I am 100% more productive than when I just jump right into work without planning. I even put a star next to the few items that I must do that day even if nothing else gets done. That way, I am my own boss and assign myself tasks to keep me on track.
Once I make my list, I find it is best to start with the items that are nagging at me the most. Usually the ones that have been rolling around in my head all weekend like a fly buzzing around that just won't go away. That way, if I can take care of those first, I find the rest of the day is much smoother sailing!
Being a designer there are two mindsets I need to get in to. The creative mindset and the business mindset. The creative usually includes starting out a design for a client like a furniture layout, apartment or home layout, or selecting decorative fixtures like tiles or lighting. The business mindset deals more with the organization of the business, billing, taxes and finances, and even project coordination and administration. Being your own boss in a small business means wearing all of the hats!
Mondays are usually better for wearing the business hat. It keeps me focused for the rest of the week and get's a lot of those nagging issues taken care of so I am free to design my heart away on Tuesday! :) Today's list looks something like this:
1.) Review Project 'A' and create punch list of outstanding items that need to be taken care of in order to complete job.
2.) Speak to custom furniture shop about Client 'B' regarding which wood samples we will need to get going in order to finalize selections with client.
3.) Continue selecting plumbing fixtures and vanity along with tile layout for presentation to Client 'C' this week.
4.) Set up any networking meetings for the coming week and next. Time is valuable so who is top on the list to meet and do business with this month?
5.) Quick check of bank account balances and client invoices. Who needs to be invoiced and what payments are still outstanding? Does the bank account match Quick Books? Reconcile!!
Well, that's the start to my day and week... Have a great Monday and check for more business development info next Monday.
Thursday, September 30, 2010
Now we are back in New York and that means back to work as well. Things have been getting steadily busier for me since I went back to work in July after maternity leave. Currently working on a variety of residential projects, it has been a true challenge to balance my new life as a working mom. On top of that, Itamar (my husband for new followers) is out both Tuesday and Thursday nights for work and basketball. That leaves me with a lot to do on those days since I jump right from work into Benji time with no break until he goes to sleep. These past few nights he has decided to move his bedtime from around 7:30pm to 9pm, leaving me with much less evening time for myself.
All in all, busy but in a good way. I will begin writing about some of my new projects, home and design tips and more so please check back for new and regular updates! Happy September. :)
Friday, August 27, 2010
So now that I have some help at home I can work from here more conveniently on a day to day basis, right? So how can I set up my home office space in a 2 bedroom apartment with a nanny and a baby? Currently my desk and computer are set up in my living room, but with the nanny and Benji taking over, it will be a bit distracting to work that way. Normally I'm a staunch opponent of working in your bedroom, however fortunately we have a nice size room with lots of space to set up a desk and lap top. The trick will be to make sure this workspace can "disappear" at the end of the day for relaxation time.
I have decided to use a simple desk from The Container Store. Since this is a temporary solution until Benji starts daycare in January, it was not worth it to invest in anything more luxurious. I began searching for some cute file tote bags that can easily be taken to and from the room depending on where I work from, as well as easily be taken to our office or meetings. I LOVE this one I found on Paperstyle.com It looks great and will be easy for me to carry around.
A couple of these cute letter trays and a pencil cup and I'm in business! I am really looking forward to having the help at home and I would be lying if I said I didn't love having the luxury of taking a 10 minute break here and there to hang out with Benji during the day! Looking forward to a great Fall with lots of friends, family and business!
Monday, August 16, 2010
An entire new section opened up called "Baby and Child". Of course I needed to see this since I not only design rooms for kids, but also am a new mom to a soon to be 5 month old. The theme was organic and non-toxic products for babies and kids. One of the companies that caught my eye was Apple Park out of San Francisco Bay. They have created a plush line of eco-friendly toys for babies inspired by nature. In addition to the toys they have some incredibly plush and soft organic blankets as well. Yum!
Another interesting product in this section was these magnetic wooden building blocks from Tegu. They are stored in either a unique felt pocket pouch or a handy travel tote. The blocks caught my eye immediately since they looked like something I would want to play with as well! Created from responsibly-harvested hardwoods and safe waterbased finishes, the blocks are great for inspiring creative minds in a safe and non-toxic way.
In the textiles and bedding area I fell in love with John Robshaws lines as usual. Rich and exotic patterns adorn luxurious fabrics used for bedding, pillows, ottomans and more!
Chakla Patched Flowers Pillow - 20" x 20" Retail Price $300.00
Finally, I would be remiss if I didn't mention the new Glam Naturale line from Triple C Designs coming out in Fall 2010. (Not up on their website yet, but coming soon). These great products made here in Brooklyn are absolutely adorable! I love the owls on their wallets, bags and even jewelry. The products have a great tactile quality to them and are just plain fun!
All in all the Gift Show this year was a success! For more about the Gift Show and a list of the exhibitors and where to purchase from, check out http://www.nyigf.com/
Monday, August 9, 2010
MARIN BATH ACCESSORIES
SCREECH OWL DESIGNS - 'Dearest' Blank Notecard
This year, there is a new category for Baby and Child which I am of course excited to check out as well. For those unable to make it to the show or curious to check out the vendors beforehand, there is a pretty comprehensive website which lists all of the exhibitors. Most of them list their websites that you can shop from, and if you can't purchase directly through their websites, they will help you find a retailer that sells their products either in a store or online.
Here are some of my favorite sources to check out online if you don't make it to the show:
John Robshaw - Booth 8004 'At Home' section of the show.
Daphne Olive - Booth 9127 'Handmade Designer Maker'
Judy Jackson Stoneware - Booth 9314 'Handmade Designer Maker'
Seedling Kids - Booth 9577 - 'Handmade Designer Maker'
Digs - Booth 3743 'Accent on Design'
Screech Owl Design - Booth 3935 'Accent on Design'
Happy Shopping!! :)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
The first thing that I did when I came back to work, which didn't cost me a cent was to email past and current vendors, clients and associates announcing my return, along with a photo of Benji. A lot of people appreciated the brief but personalized message and some people contacted me right away for work they needed. That was very encouraging and made me feel productive right away. It also was a good excuse to say 'hi' and remind people that I am here if they need anything.
The other place I am listed on now is the Interior Design Directory (check out Conceptual Interiors Inc.)
I haven't received any leads from this yet, but I am going to try it for a year and see what happens. I chose this website for two reasons. The first is that a colleague of mine uses it and said it has gotten him some business. The second is when I Google "New York Interior Designers" and other similar searches, a link to the page where my listing is comes up. I figured this was a good sign that people using Google for this type of search would find me.
Now it's time to move on to other advertising and marketing ideas. I would be interested to know what other small businesses do in order to get their company and message out into the world in a targeted way. There is so much speculation about social media, for example. Does Twitter and Facebook actually bring in business, and if so, for what type of profession? Is getting work the goal or is it more of a branding strategy?
I'm going to start experimenting with Google Ad Words before I get lost in the world of social media (aside from this humble blog and Twitter account - intdesignmom). Fortunately, my husband works in the field of computers and online advertising and will be able to help me (free of charge of course!) set up an account with Google Ad Words and get my advertising dollars working for me! I hope that this form of advertising brings in more direct and immediate business. My plan is to try a few avenues and put more effort into them rather than spreading out too thin both financially and emotionally!
Keep you posted on my progress. Let me know how you get your business!
Friday, July 23, 2010
A good thing to always have on hand is a unique, specialty paper. A good quality art paper can be framed and hung on the wall as an inexpensive and creative way to add to your decor. It is also great to have on hand when wrapping a special present.
Another good tip for filling your space with fun and affordable artwork is to find photos you like such as trips you took or family pictures, and using a photo editing program or Photoshop to alter them into funky and unique art pieces.
If you're not so handy with the computer, then check out sites like Etsy
for altered photos and great frames.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
At first I was skeptical about this arrangement. I was afraid that I would be too distracted and not be able to focus on work. It has turned out to be the opposite. With Benji nearby, I have felt more relaxed and more focused since I know I can pop in to say hi at any time. I also don't get those pangs of guilt for leaving him at home while I am far away. This has made my transition back to work much more comfortable.
I am beginning to dread leaving him at home with a nanny for 8-10 hours a day come September when my mother is no longer available to help me. Finding the right person to care for your child while you are not around is a seemingly impossible task. I have met with a few nannies so far but none that have given me that "feeling" I am looking for. Am I being too overprotective, or are my standards set too high? If you don't set your standards high for your child though, then for what? I will keep looking for that Mary Poppins of a nanny through August and hopefully we can find someone that makes me feel as comfortable as a mother can feel when leaving her child in someone else’s care.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
I used them to write my thank you cards after Benji was born. They were so convenient and I loved the unique and expensive quality they had. They can be purchased online or in the store if you would like to check them out in person.
Target Letterpress Thank You Cards
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Not only were we so touched by the time and thought that went into this gift, but Benji absolutely loves to look at all of the colors and pictures on it. There's even a square with his name and birthday on it for a more personalized touch.
I love how the handmade look offsets our more neutral and modern furnishings. It really adds an eclectic and more personalized touch to our decor. Of course, not everyone can make their own quilts and not everyone receives them as gifts. Get the next best thing at websites like Etsy or Sally Campbell.
Hannah Bella and Jake will make your quilt out of old baby clothes and blankets. Talk about personalization! And what fun for your baby to see familiar patterns and colors in one beautiful blanket.
It adds a warm and personalized touch to any decor.
I had set up some phone meetings with potential clients for this week, only to find out that the day I had planned them, my nanny was unable to come as scheduled. This left me to decide whether to change the calls to another time, or take the chance that Benji would either be sleeping or quiet during the meeting. In the end I managed to get him to sleep about 20 minutes before, so I was able to keep the appointments. Needless to say it was another reminder that life as a working mom will not be the same as before!
On a positive note, I have realized that I am able to get a lot done in less time. I think there is actually room for more efficiency when time is more limited. We spend so much of the day wasted on checking unimportant emails, surfing or researching things that are not top priority. When faced with a more limited schedule, I found that I can actually get a lot more of the important stuff done. Working under pressure seems to be more productive for me in the end.
I read a quote this morning from an article in Entrepreneur.com that said "The only thing that separates those who become entrepreneurs from those who don't is moving forward despite any fear." Entrepreneur Mom
This speaks to me since there is always fear when taking on such challenges as raising a family and nourishing a business. Fear of financial stability, fear of failure and fear of time to name a few. Although there is this fear, there is also an excitement and drive to get to work. To have that independent feeling again and to use your brain cells for things other than singing the ABC's!
All in all, it was good to be back in the professional world and I look forward to the challenges of balancing my personal life with my professional life.
Have a great weekend!
Monday, July 5, 2010
They offer paints with no or low VOC's which are healthy to breathe in, especially for children or people with breathing issues. Their carpets are handknotted and composed of 100% wool, vegetable dyes and natural latex backing which are beneficial for health and sustainability. On top of having these more environmentally friendly products, they can help you put together a well designed look for your children's nursery or room. Check out their online store for more products and information at www.greendepot.com
Friday, July 2, 2010
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
I love the unique patterns offered and the accessories that go with the bags. My favorite feature is the Activfold accessory that attaches to the diaper changing pad to keep kids busy during changes. When you don't need it on the changing pad, you can use it on your stroller! Great idea and lots of fun.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
Everyone knows it is a challenge being a working mom, but isn't until you go through it that you realize just how challenging it is. My professional life and personal life have always been intertwined since I am in business with my father. We run an interior design company and have been in business together for the past 6 years which has posed many challenges on its own. I have now been fortunate enough to add "mom" to my job criteria. Meet my 3 month old son Benji...
He has been the greatest gift in our lives so far, but figuring out how to balance our new family life with my professional life poses some questions. For the past 3 months, I have been fortunate to be able to be home with Benji and watch him grow. This time has been as chaotic as it has been amazing. I have taken time to focus on Benji, myself and my husband, and adjust to our new life as a family. The time has come however to get back to work, a seemingly impossible task at this point. So many questions remain unanswered and I am excited as well as nervous to meet these challenges head on.
-Will I be able to make it to meetings, be creative and impress clients all on 3 hours of sleep a night?
-When I'm at work will I always miss home and when I'm home, will I always be thinking about work?
-Will there be enough business and finances to justify paying full time day care to support my career?
These are just a few of the many questions that I am going to find answers to as I head back to work after the Fourth of July weekend. I am filled with excitement as I watch my DS on the baby monitor right now (he has begun sleeping on his tummy!) I am excited for the person he is slowly becoming, I am excited for our future with him and all of the fun that awaits, and I am excited to be a positive role model for him in my professional career as an interior designer and business owner. Next week is sure to start a series of interesting challenges, and I am looking forward to trying to have it all! :)