Call Yourself a Designer? Design THIS!

I wrote in a previous post about how I was launching something new out of my existing core business, just to create the positive pressure of a launch date, and to think of something at a larger scale than I normally do. I also mentioned how I was recruiting a team of freelancers to help,

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Launch Something…Anything!

I’m on a tear reading books about big time startups. And even though Designing Profits is not a startup, and would not qualify as “big time” by just about any measure, I’m finding the crazy-hard work these startups did in the months leading up to their launch very inspiring. Which made me think of the

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12 Interior Design Business Software Options

An online magazine called Home Stratosphere recently published an article entitled “12 Interior Design Business Software Options.” I don’t know much about the magazine, and I’m not reviewing these particular products one way or the other. Many of them are familiar, however (Perhaps omitting Studio Designer) but I thought I’d provide the links in case

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Yeah, It’s Time to Become a Networking Fool! (But Discreetly.)

A crucial theme for all Edge members in 2020 is going to be to deepen your network of influencers, not through ads or blog posts or Pinterest…but through good old fashioned networking skills. Here are five tips you can use to get in the right mindset right at the start of the year. (Borrowed from

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When Even Outsourcing Looks Like Work

Enough about you…let’s talk about me! I’m not a great manager of people, nor do I enjoy that aspect of work. That reality has no doubt cost me millions over time as it makes it hard to scale a business. In fact, I long ago started couching goals in terms of what a “one-person” business

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Questions for 2020…and Beyond

On this month’s live coaching call for Edge Members, I told them what I would do if I were them and I were trying to set up a spectacular year in 2020. Among those suggestions was that I would ask myself the following questions. Please don’t limit yourself to these as Einstein said, “If you

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Don’t Worry About Me!

I appreciate your patience next week as our offices will be closed as I host my annual strategic planning retreat in Cancun. (The picture on this post is me working hard at last year’s retreat.) Oh, perhaps I should have added the word “solo.” My annual SOLO strategic planning retreat in Cancun. Just me, myself,

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Mapping Your Future

I start every year the same way—updating my Photomap. (The one shown on this post is not mine, but that of an interior designer I have worked closely with for years.) The Photomap is a tool I created for my original “8 Steps” book that enables one to see, or visualize, exactly where they want

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Managing Your Time in 2020

Need some more resolutions for the new year? I didn’t think so….but I found these in Fast Company Magazine and thought they were pretty good. Certainly the topic of “time management” (not to be confused with “time billing”) was a hot one for Edge members throughout 2019. In fact, I came to believe that adopting

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Edge Member Creates Christmas to Remember!

Congrats to Edge member Jeff Schulz and his terrific team at K. Renee design in West Des Moines, IA. Each year they take nominations from members of the community to find one family that deserves an elaborate makeover of their home. Then Jeff and his team select the furnishings (from their own retail store) and

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A Quick Administrative Note…

Change in Terms and Conditions for The Edge Like many small businesses, the terms and conditions in effect when members agree to join The Edge are modest and flexible. For example, when you joined you agreed to language something like: 1) The benefits of membership are those described online at the time you joined; 2)

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What is Your Job?

The post prior to this one was about two football coaches, Bill Belichick and Nick Saban, who succeed beyond all comparison. One thing they share is the simple message to their players to, “Do you job!” That’s true for you too, but with such a complex business and so many moving parts, you might sometimes

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Do Your Job!

There are few meritocracies more demanding than being the head coach of a football champion at either the college or pro level. Coaches are considered to be outstanding if they coach for thirty years and win one. Some coaches are even considered excellent though they never win one. Win two, and you are headed to

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How to Write a Book in 8 Weeks

The more things change, the more they stay the same. Despite the radical shifts in social media and other forms of “personal branding” over the past decade, there is still nothing that provides the stamp of authority like being an author does. A book can be a way that you’re introduced to the world, can

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Your Virtual Board of Advisors

I have a virtual board of advisors and I “meet” with them every quarter. It’s amazing how profound their advice can be. I feel so strongly about this process that I’m encouraging you to elect your own such board. Here’s how it works. I of course follow the world of business very closely, and there

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See the Wolf; Be the Wolf!

Jordon Belfort is the name of the penny stock trader portrayed by Leonardo DiCaprio in the wild movie, The Wolf of Wall Street. To avoid jail time after being charged with securities fraud, Belfort turned on his co-conspirators and in due course became, what else, an author and sales trainer. To appreciate how good he

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The Difference Between Lifestyle, and Life

Many designers do a fine job, both in written questionnaires and in conversations with clients, of getting to the heart of lifestyle issues. Quite naturally, they want to know how the client will use the space. Some go as far as Edge member Mindy Sunday in insisting that she observe the family as it prepares

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What Time Did the Pencils Go Down?

I’ve written recently about the marketing opportunity that speaking can provide. But there is something more than a speech that might interest you as well—an entire seminar lasting at least one day, and perhaps two. The topic? “How to Design a Fabulous House While Doing it All Yourself!” Am I nuts? Am I telling you

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Speak to Sell – Becoming THE Authority in Your Niche

There are many ways that speaking can be used to supplement or initiate a perceived area of authority that can benefit your business. Many interior designers are familiar with Bunny Williams and after seeing her listed as a speaker on just about every design event I’ve come across for years, I finally did some Googling.

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Next Up for R.I.P.? Havenly!

Those who blog know what joy it is when you can use an image that is already in your media library! It saves a lot of searching, cutting, resizing, etc. And I should have known when I first found the tombstone with RIP on it to use when describing the demise of Home Polish, that

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An Edge Member’s Questions, Answered!

I love getting emails from Edge members and always try to answer them within 24-48 hours, depending on the degree of research and analysis I may have to do. I got one recently that had such detailed questions that I decided to share it with all members. Enjoy and be sure and leave comments below

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Are Architects Welcome in The Edge?

I recently held a webinar to promote membership in The Edge. The topic was, “Building the Right-sized Firm” and at the end of the webinar I made a one-day-only offer to try membership in The Edge for one month for only $1. After the event, I received an email from the managing director of a

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Oh Dear Lord…I David Shepherd Actually Need a Designer!

[Post 1 of a series…] Over the past twenty years, thousands of interior designers have come to my events. Hundreds have joined my coaching networks and scores have hired me as a coach or consultant. I’ve torn apart their financial statements, operating manuals, and LOAs. I’ve built courses to help them develop better strategies and

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Why Even the Wealthy Can’t Stop Working

[Note: I’m currently leading a group of Edge members in a Group relating to “Transitions,” or how they will wrap up their design careers and how they will determine what comes next. As I do research for them, I’ll be sharing a few posts with all Edge members including our younger ones who can file

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The Holidays…and Your Strategic Retreat

As I write this on October 10, I’m reminded that this is basically your last chance to do something special for the holidays. Any thoughts you might have need to be ready to go sooner rather than later. This could include: Gifts as a part of your gifting strategy Events with a holiday theme Holiday

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EDDM Might Work For You

No, not EMDR. EMDR stand for Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, and is a psychotherapy that enables people to heal from the symptoms and emotional distress that are the result of disturbing life experiences. Wait a minute! Now that I think about it maybe you need EMDR more than EDDM! (And Jennifer, my wife, is

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Help Your Clients Spend More…a Whole Lot More!

I’ll be writing in more detail about this in an upcoming Edge Newsletter, so I’ll keep it short here. But have you ever thought about the fact that even your wealthiest client, those who may have just spent millions on a home, are very likely cash poor? That’s right, you don’t get rich by keeping

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What Designers Can Learn From (wait for it…) Lawyers!

In an article in Avvo, an information site about lawyers, I found these seven tips that I believe are also applicable to another type of service firm—interior designers. And, you don’t have to be a startup. See how you rate on this checklist. 1. Administrative tasks matterGiven that you run the most complex business on earth

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A Billionaire’s Guide to Achieving Any Goal You Want

Ray Dalio is the multi-billionaire founder of one of the world’s largest hedge funds, Bridgewater Associates. Having earned more than he could ever spend, he is now trying to pass on the methods that have made him successful, most notably in his book, “Principles.” The concept of “Principles” is that Dalio has studied the decisions

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17 Traits of Millionaires…How Do You Stack Up?

It’s a common theme to telling us how to get rich. An author just studies rich people, discovers their primary habits, find those that many of them share, and then passes that on to us. Norman Vincent Peale did it before writing “The Power of Positive Thinking” in 1952. Napoleon Hill did it for “Think

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How Will You Ever Get Out of This Thing?

With apologies to the younger members of The Edge, this post is for those of a certain age, let’s say 55 and up. Then again, even the youngest member may want to spend a few minutes looking over the shoulder of those who are starting to wonder, “What comes next?” How do they ever transition

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R.I.P. Home Polish (And all the rest…)

It’s not so much that I want to say, “I told you so.” Of course Homeplish, the online design site failed, leaving designers, clients, vendors, and bankers angry and out of cash. That much I’ve been trying to say for over two years. Larry Ellison, founder of Oracle recently called Uber “worthless.” (To add a

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A Recession in 2020? Let’s Hope So!

This is a really strange economy. Some countries around the world are experiencing slowdowns in growth and after a record-long run of stock market highs, some in this country think that it just can’t last forever. Then there’s the political dimension in which pundits and entire networks seem to be rooting for the economy to

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How To Spend $400/mo. on Marketing

This was the question I got from an Edge member in a complimentary call today. Specifically, she was interested in advertising in a magazine called “Top Producer” that is sent to 500 of the top real estate agents in major markets. She was considering a 1/3 page ad for $400/mo on a three-year contract. The

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About Your Amazing, Incredible (Future) Firm!

Your firm has grown 100% in just one year and has created a workflow that is the buzz of affluent clients throughout your market. That cover story in the hot local magazine brought scores of highly-qualified leads, and your new project management team is implementing with unprecedented efficiency. Your cash flow and personal earnings have

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What Are “Retained Earnings?”

And perhaps even more important, “where” are retained earnings? Retained earnings is a term that most every small business owner has heard. And while not every interior designer sees a balance sheet every month, they could probably tell you that “retained earnings” is a line item on the balance sheet. The reason few business owners

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The Ultimate Christmas Gift?

This will be a short post, because I simply want you to visit a previous post, scroll down to the comments and watch the 2-minute video generously contributed by Edge Member Jeff Schulz. His firm, K. Renee, asks for nominations from families of soldiers in their community. Once the winner is selected, K Renee completes

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Time to Do A Little Banking?

Mark Twain said, “A bank was a place from which to get money if you could prove that you absolutely don’t need it!” That’s why the best time to get loans, credit cards, or to extend lines of credit, is absolutely when you don’t need it. And for many designers, that time is now. For

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The Three Critical Cash Flow Phases for Interior Designers

Income v. Wealth One of the reasons over 90% of interior designers retire with no significant savings is that they spend their entire working lives, well, working! In too many cases, they create hard-working, almost minimum wage jobs for themselves instead of focusing on creating wealth. There’s a huge difference between the concepts of income

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The Next Big Thing For Marketing Is…

Wait for it…eMail! So let me tell you who Pat Flynn is. Pat is a former architect who, when he lost his job about a decade ago, started blogging. He discovered that if he blogged a lot, and targeted his markets carefully, he could actually make a little money by selling online courses and running

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Can a Puppy Help Land Your Next Whale?

I’ll be writing a lot over the next few months about the role that purpose can have in your business and your life. The reality is that most people associate the word “purpose” with direct links to their profession, that is to say, the business side of things. Their purpose, for example, is to “bring

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