“Fake it til you make it” I have come to love and hate this term. On one hand you need to dive right in and take calculated risks but on the other you need to be the best at what you do in order to be of value to your consumers. Would you hire a realtor or designer without any formal training or experience? A client may as well pay themselves for the work if they are hiring someone who does not have any more skill than the average joe shmo off the street. In the design and renovation business , hiring yourself out as a professional is an easy claim to make. With the web being one of the main sources for advertisement and finding help, it is easy to find yourself with someone who was not completely honest about their experience. Not everything that is online is true.
“Silence is Better than Bullshit”
The best way to start on a new venture is to be clear about your skill set. Think about helping your client not about making money at the beginning. If you aren’t fully knowledgable about what they need you to do then refer them to someone who is, its about ethics as well as your reputation! I focus on residential real estate. If a client were to ask me to sell a commercial property and I did not disclose that I do not have experience in that area then I could get into hot water with commerce and find myself with some very unhappy clients. This type of thing is regulated in real estate but not for everything. This is regulated because people can be blinded by dollar signs rather than thinking about providing the best service for the client, the idea of a big paycheck can make you forget what is important. People appreciate honesty when you don’t have the answer rather than bs. I worked quietly for years towards finishing my schooling and gaining experience, waiting to venture out on my own only when I felt I had value to give to my clients.
The other important factor in a new business is surrounding yourself with a group of professionals who have the same ethics as you. Make a list of people who you will often need to refer clients to. If you are putting your clients in the hands of these people then you should be sure that they know what they are doing. Interview them, talk to them about their processes and background. The kind of service you deliver will get around and you don’t want to hurt your reputation by claiming to do more than you can and not doing the job the best. The top businesses have pros in each sector, no single person can claim to “do it all”.
“DDIY, don’t do it yourself”, sometimes its best to leave it to the professionals
If I hadn’t waited until I felt fully confident in what I had to offer my clients then I would have surely hurt my reputation and quite possibly have failed at running my own business. Be true to what you want to do and don’t take jobs that aren’t what you are aiming for. Its ok to turn down a project that you are not interested in or not experienced in doing. The renovation show and having features in magazine articles on my work has proven to me that working towards being the best has been the way to do it. I don’t think anyone ever gets the being “the best”, there is always room of improving yourself but the world is filled with professionals just working for the paycheck but fail to be the best at what they do. You should have the answers and expertise for your clients. So go on and strive to be the best!
“The quality of work is phenomenal, but you can tell there’s thought, time, and passion put into it.” ~Laura Niles on Katie’s work, for Spaces Magazine