I am SO excited to have my first "Dreamers into Do-ers" interview up today! It with the lovely Jess from Birdhouse Interiors. I don't know how I first came across her blog or company, but I love it's design philosophy and Jess always comes across as so down to earth that I knew she would have some great insight into how she built her interior design business and followed her dreams!
Q. When and how did you make the decision to go on your own with Birdhouse Interiors?
A. I wanted to do it for about six months before I actually did. I was working on design projects and still kept a "day job" for security. Then one day, I had enough of my job and not being in control of my life (plus working in a field I wanted nothing to do with anymore) so I gave my two weeks notice. I was then forced to get my act together and finish all the little details for Birdhouse that I had been putting off. My official launch was in August '09.
Q. What were some of your biggest challenges in that decision?
A. Biggest challenges: Fear! I was scared to death that I would suck (still am)! Not really, but scared that people would look at what I was doing and think there was no way I was up to par with all of the very trained and educated designers. Though I do have a strong design background and quite a bit of design education, I am not an official "designer". I am a decorator and I was afraid that just being a decorator would allow people to not take me seriously. I'm coming to terms with not being so hard on myself as I learn more and more everyday and develop my own personal aesthetic while still guiding my clients to find theirs.
Also, money! I asked my husband if I could quit my other job even though he would be the complete breadwinner and put a lot of pressure on him. He didn't even flinch and we decided to sell our house and downsize in order for me to follow my dreams. What a great guy, right?
Q. What are your biggest thrills in being your own boss?
A. I love being in complete control. I love working when I want to and setting my own hours. Nothing beats working on things in the morning and still being in your pajamas! But I also love that I can develop my business exactly how I want. I can grow and do whatever I see fit for Birdhouse and I can take on as much or as little as I choose.
Q. Sometimes being your own boss can be lonely... who is your support system and what do they mean to you and your growing business?
A. It can be very lonely, especially when you work from home. There are days that I don't leave the house and don't see a real person which can make me a little crazy. It is nice to get out to see clients and go to stores to interact with others. My husband is my number one supporter and seems willing to do whatever it takes to make me succeed. (Even though I think he is very jealous at 7 AM while I'm still snoozing and he is getting up to start his day!) I seriously could not do it without his support and encouragement. My parents have been huge supporters too - my dad with business advice and my mom listening to my ideas for hours on the phone. Plus, my dog, Lisey. I love her bouncing around and snuggling up next to me as I work.
Q. Do you ever pinch yourself with Birdhouse Interiors or did you always know you would be where you are?
A. I didn't know where I would be at all! I stumbled around not finding a real passion for anything until I really got into remodeling and interior design. Then, I knew I had to do this with my life. So yes, I sometimes look up and think "I can't believe I'm here". But, I still have so far to go, which makes it hard for me to take a step back and see where I am at sometimes.
Q. Do you have a mantra that keeps you going on the bad days?
A. Not really, I just feel sorry for myself. I'm kidding (sort of). I just tell myself that nothing worth having, you won't have to work for; and then get back to work trying to gain more exposure, learn more about everything, market myself, network, etc.
Q. Do you come from a long line of entrepreneurs or are you blazing a trail in your family?
A. I actually do come from a line of entrepreneurs. My dad owns his own business (that he started at 27, like me) and also does a lot of real estate development. My brother is part of that real estate development, but took it in his own direction and runs everything for himself. I have never been good at being told what to do and working for someone I didn't believe in. I am certainly a team player, but it sure is easier to be said player when you are the captain of the team.
Q. What new do you have in store for Birdhouse Interiors in the New Year?
A. I am hoping 2010 when be a pretty amazing year for Birdhouse. I am working really hard at opening a storefront to house reworked furniture pieces, original art from local artists, and miscellaneous other housewares. My plan is to have the store and my office for design services in the same place. I want to do consignment for furniture as well. For example, if you bring in a used piece (that is still in good shape and I can see potential in) I would buy it from you or give you store credit. Then I would rework the piece and bring it back to life and add it to my store. Plus, I really want to help more clients and add a great deal more to my portfolio.
Thank you so much Jessica! Sounds like Jess has a ton in store for 2010 - and maybe even a store-front, how fun! Don't forget to check out Jess' website and blog!
Next week we have another phenomenal interviewee with more great practical tips on wisdom on following your dreams! Stay tuned!
ps. know of a dreamer that is putting their dreams to work for them? Nominate them by emailing me at goodlifeforless @ gmail.com!