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About Today’s Show & About Michele

For the final episode of season 9, we’re talking about the business side of home staging and why it’s so important to focus not just on your revenue, but on your profit margins. I speak to a lot of new stagers with questions about how much profit they should be making, whether they should buy or rent furniture, and other important business considerations. To talk all about profit and building a sustainable, healthy business, we’re joined by the brilliant Michele Williams!

Michele Williams is sought after for her ability to easily explain complex business principles and processes in a simple, straightforward way. With a varied background in working in small, medium and large businesses, Michele has a great grasp on the scalability factors that are essential to growing a business.

As a certified Profit First professional, Michele strives to help creative business owners focus on the financial health and profitability of their companies. Pricing, profits, process and procedures are important – but can be difficult for the creative entrepreneur to implement. Michele has proven strategies and mindsets to overcome these obstacles, and she can give every business owner a healthy dose of confidence along the way.

Michele offers up so much great advice in this episode. She shares her background in business and explains how the Profit First model works and why she thinks it’s such an effective way to manage the cash flow of your business. She also talks about several common of cash flow problems, net versus gross profit, and why many business owners choose to keep their companies small and nimble rather than scale them up. We also discuss whether new stagers should buy their own inventory and why you should classify your inventory as an asset. And we get into some super useful stuff about mindset, things that hold us back in business, and how you can increase your net profit.

Just a quick reminder that back by popular demand, I am going to do an encore free online training on how to step up your home staging game! I took the most commonly asked questions about home staging and interior styling and broke them down into 4 strategies. I am going to be sharing these 4 strategies on the free online training, which is going to be on July 30th, so you can improve your home staging skills and win more clients. We are going to talk about:

  1. The number 1 mindset block that sets you back and knocks down your confidence as a home stager

  2. How to develop that trained eye to keep your staging looking sharp, on point and on trend

  3. How to refine you staging work so you can do the next level fun thing, like using bold colors or going after the luxury market

  4. How to figure out furniture, art, accessories placement in the room every time

When you sign up, I will also send you a FREE TIP SHEET on my top 10 favorite home staging accessories and some sourcing tips. I will also be giving away something huge on the free training. So be sure to check that out.

You can also go to CashInTheCushions.com to sign up right now.  About 300 people have gone through the training!

On today’s show, we discussed:
  • Why you should focus on profit margins over total revenue.

  • How the Profit First model works to simplify and set aside your cash flow for clear purposes.

  • Why cash flow is so important and some common misconceptions about it.

  • Common causes for cash flow problems.

  • What new stagers should keep in mind when building their inventory.

  • How our pricing can be an expression of our mindset about money and business.

  • How to determine how much profit you need and how to determine a profit margin for a job.

  • How business owners can increase their net profit.

Real Estate Photography with Photographer Kristina Kandel - YouTube
Connect with Michele

Michele Williams | Scarlet Thread Consulting | Profit is a Choice Podcast | Instagram | Pinterest | LinkedIn | Understanding Your Financials Course | Master Your Profits Course

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in Apple Podcasts

  2. Share the show on social media!

  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on Apple Podcasts, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on Apple Podcasts! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE PODCASTS, SPOTIFY & STITCHER GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW 👇
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About Today’s Show & About Kristina

Today’s show is all about real estate photography! We talked a lot about the technical side of photography, like white balance, exposure, ISO, etc. We also talked about the styling side of things, especially how differently the camera sees the room vs. the human eyes and how that impact the way we place things in the room.

On today’s show, I am interviewing Kris Kandel, a photographer in the Fargo area, specializing in weddings and real estate photography since 2001. She has always been drawn to architecture in her photography work, so it was a natural step to include home photography in her business. A few years ago she bought a little 1948 fixer up and loved getting her hands dirty with DIY projects to make this old house an adorable home. In her free time she enjoys volunteering at her local AKC dog club teaching the Canine Good Citizen classes with her beautiful dog Bokeh. She also runs a podcast on courage and curiosity with her sister. It's her passion to create, bringing light and joy into the world in any way she can. 

Just a quick reminder that back by popular demand, I am going to do an encore free online training on how to step up your home staging game! I took the most commonly asked questions about home staging and interior styling and broke them down into 4 strategies. I am going to be sharing these 4 strategies on the free online training, which is going to be on July 30th, so you can improve your home staging skills and win more clients. We are going to talk about:

  1. The number 1 mindset block that sets you back and knocks down your confidence as a home stager

  2. How to develop that trained eye to keep your staging looking sharp, on point and on trend

  3. How to refine you staging work so you can do the next level fun thing, like using bold colors or going after the luxury market

  4. How to figure out furniture, art, accessories placement in the room every time

When you sign up, I will also send you a FREE TIP SHEET on my top 10 favorite home staging accessories and some sourcing tips. I will also be giving away something huge on the free training. So be sure to check that out. I will put all this information in our show notes. You can also go to CashInTheCushions.com to sign up right now.  About 300 people have gone through the training. 

On today’s show, we discussed:
  • Fargo’s real estate market

  • Kristina’s process from getting an assignment to photograph a home for listing photos

  • Specific things Kristina is looking for when she is photographing a home

  • Common mistakes people make when they take listing photos themselves

  • Kristina’s advice for people who are photographing the listings themselves

  • Current real estate photography trend

  • What a real estate photographer does

  • A typical real estate photo shoot for Kristina

  • Kristina’s process for post-production

  • The common angles and important elements Kristina is looking for when she is photographing a home

  • There are many real estate photographers on the market, how can consumers or real estate agents know if they are hiring a good one?

  • Kristina’s number one for home sellers or real estate agents when it comes to real estate listing photos

Connect with Kristina

Kristina’s website | Kristina’s podcast | Instagram |

If you want to help & support the show, there are 3 ways:
  1. Leave a review and ratings in Apple Podcasts

  2. Share the show on social media!

  3. Donate to support the hosting costs for the website and the podcast. You can make a donation through the show notes or on the sidebar of our site.

LISTEN TO TODAY'S SHOW

If you want to support the show and keep it going, you can do so by leaving a review and rating on Apple Podcasts, that will help other people to find our show. If you find the podcast helpful to your home sale and would like to donate a few bucks to help with the hosting of the show, there’s now a donation button on the blog sidebar to your right, you can donate $5 or more to help with costs associated with the show.

If you enjoy the show, please leave a review & rating on Apple Podcasts! <3LISTEN, REVIEW & SUBSCRIBE ON APPLE PODCASTS, SPOTIFY & STITCHER GOT QS OR COMMENTS? LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW 👇
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This question kept coming up recently, so I thought I will write a post on this, especially when a lot of stagers are doing design work as well. A blog reader recently asked this:

“How to you handle clients (realtor or homeowner) who don’t like the staging you do? Especially the ones who have very personalized taste and don’t go according to designer’s point of view.”First, are you designing or staging?

There is a clear difference between staging and designing. When you asked the question, you used the word “designer.”

When you are staging, you are not staging for the existing homeowners, you are staging for the buyers. We make design decisions based on the target buyers' ideal lifestyles. Staging is short-term work and you make the decision on what to put into the home, not your clients.

When you are doing design work, this work is usually on a long-term timeline. Your project make take several months, even years. You have to keep meticulous records of client receipts, communications, etc. to make sure you and the clients are on the same page.

In this scenario, you have to take clients’ opinions into account. Ultimately, the client has to live with your design decisions day in and day out. So if you are doing design work, it is important for you to make sure that your clients are happy with the design decisions.

Also see: Avoid the #1 Mistake When Staging Your Home for Sale

How to respond to sellers when they don’t like the staging

First, take a deep breath and bring yourself back to the mindset that you are running a business. Don’t take the comments personally, but really take into the account why the client may be unhappy.

Reach out to your client and find out what they don’t like about the staging.

Sometimes the clients are unhappy because they don’t understand the difference between living in the home vs. staging to appeal to today’s buyers. Like what you had mentioned in your question, the seller had very specific and personalized taste.

If that’s the scenario, calmly explain and defend your decisions in a professional manner. Explain that you made the decision to do X, Y, and Z because based on your research of the potential buyers of this home, this type of styling will appeal to the buyers the most.

You can respond with something like:

“Hello [Seller],

Thank you so much for taking the time to give me feedback on our staging for your property. I understand that there are a few things that you don’t like and may have questions about.

Before I staged your property, I had visited your neighborhood, did some research, and discussed with your realtor on who the potential buyers would be for your property. Based on my research, the key demographic that would buy your home is a young couple in their early 30s with young children. I made the decision to [do X, Y, Z] because I felt that they will be best suited for this buyer’s demographic. I also looked at comparable properties that your listing would be competing against, and I felt that this was the best presentation to target the buyers.

In my experiences staging properties similar like yours, this is the best way to stage the home to appeal to your potential buyers. My track record proves this as well. [Insert your stat here]

I understand that since you have lived in the home for awhile, and this may be an adjustment for you. I would be happy to discuss this further over the phone with you.

Have a great day,

[your name]”

Sometimes the clients have legitimate reasons and perhaps you had missed your mark on this particular staging. If it is indeed your fault, apologize and fix it immediately. If you own up to your mistakes and fix it quickly, the clients usually are forgiving.

Sometimes you may encounter clients who are having a difficult time in their lives and are taking it out on you. Again, don’t take it personally. This is business. Calmly respond to your clients and listen to them. In the meanwhile, keep meticulous records of your correspondence just in case the situation escalate. (Yes, some clients can be completely irrational and crazy! In this case, keep being professional and keeping records of everything will be the best thing to do.)

Lastly, say it with confidence!

One of the key lessons I learned from teaching and podcasting is that how you deliver the words make a huge impact on how well it goes with your audience. In a way, it’s an energy exchange.

If I don’t believe in what I am saying, I lack confidence and it shows up unconsciously in my voice. Then people will not be very open to what I am saying. Or they will reject it without knowing why they feel a bit defensive or uneasy about it.

If I deliver my content with confidence, my voice will naturally show excitement and passion. Then it is infectious. Most of the time, people will naturally respond to what I am saying positively.

You have done the work in the home, you had made the decisions because you believed they were the best thing to sell that house. Stand behind your decision. If the clients come to you and question your choice of the rug, or whatever it is, you need to be able to have a rationale and reason behind it.

There were times where the clients questioned my choice of inventory, I simply explained why I did that calmly with a smile. Most of the times, clients accepted my explanation because I showed that I had expertise in this area and this was my professional opinion in helping them sell.

You are here to help the clients to sell the house. Believe in yourself! And deliver your reasoning with confidence.

Does this help? What do you think about my response? What would you do if the client doesn’t like your staging? Tell me in the comment section below.
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