Earn More Profit, Own A Stronger Interior Design Business- Meet Michele Williams of Scarlet Thread C


I first heard Michele on A Well Designed Business Podcast. She was well spoken, well informed and full of great information. Imagine my surprise when she contacted me to ask me more about MY business; it was pretty exciting. Michele agreed to be featured on the MDA blog and share a little about herself and a lot about how designers can benefit from her services. I am sure you will enjoy what she has to say.

Tell a little about yourself. What drives you and what is your favorite part about your business? [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

To start, I am a business profitability coach working primarily with Interior Designers and Window Coverings Professionals to help them understand, own, and make money in their business. I have a rich and varied background of financial software development, owning a creative business in window coverings, school ownership, magazine production, education and now consulting and coaching business owners. I love how nothing in my life has been wasted as my life and business has had a few twists and turns – like everyone’s does.

My favorite part of my business is also what motivates and drives me. It is this: Empowering creative business owners to run their business and make money. Helping others use their creativity, passion, strengths and resources to support themselves and their family rocks my world. I get a huge rush every time a client calls me to tell me they were able to draw a paycheck, or pay taxes, or pay for vacation, or college– or even pay for a great handbag based on the work we have done together. How do you serve interior designers? [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

I serve Interior Designers in multiple ways. First, I have online education that allows business owners to learn at their own pace and also in-person training which offers an experiential approach to the learning process. Online group coaching is available to allow for learning from peers as well as from me as their coach, and individual coaching allows for a deep dive into the business with detailed and concrete strategies for success. I also offer seminars to large groups around the country.

My method of coaching is a little different from others. We always start with a business foundation review. If the foundation of a house is cracked or pieces missing – it is not a good practice to continue building upon that base. So we address any basic foundational issues to ensure they support the current state of the business and also are able to handle any growth on the horizon. Next, we work within the strengths and weaknesses of the owner of the company. There is no such thing as a cookie cutter interior design business. Each business owner is unique, and so is their business. While there are business standards and best practices for sure – we all can implement them in a way that feels natural to us. It is my goal to help each business owner I work with – whether in a group or individually – to seriously OWN their business and to know how to critically think and support the direction they are heading. Again – back to education and empowerment. What do you think is the biggest misconception, if any about, about coaching and consulting services?

Great question. First, think of this, we all are aware and understand the need for a coach in sports. We understand that the coach is to help us improve our skillset and to understand the strategy of the game. It is also a great coach who can shorten a learning curve so that we don’t have to experience the pain and torture of being alone and figuring it all out. We have had so many coaches in our life to help our kids - and if you count tutors as coaches – we have heavily invested in the success of our children.

The corporate business world realized years ago this need. Most top business executives have a coach for multiple aspects of their business – even a board of directors or mastermind group to help them and to see a bigger picture. It is a newer addition to the creative space and for solopreneurs to bring on a coach. But to shorten the learning curve, help with strategy, and point out areas we may not have considered on our own is highly valuable.

Just remember this – a coach does not play the game for you. They are on the sideline cheering you on, helping direct you, wiping tears and picking you back up. It is the owner of the business that is playing the game. We have a different perspective from the sidelines but you are in the game and need to be perfectly equipped.

Because I think coaching is so important to personal and business development, I have invested in my own coaches. I could not run my business nor have grown without them. What question(s) should a new business owner should ask themselves? [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

Every business owner should do a skills evaluation. Ask yourself what you love to do, what you are perfectly equipped to do and be honest about where you struggle or are not equipped for the success you desire. When you review areas for improvement or education – then ask yourself how long will it take you to learn and become expert on your own, if you should hire (internal or outsource), or if you should bring on someone to help you get where you want to go faster. The answer may be a conglomeration of all options.

Remember: No one does business alone. We cannot be expert in everything and it takes a team to make it work. Build your team with care and thought. What is the most important thing you believe an interior designer should do to maintain their business? What is a common mistake you see? [if !supportLineBreakNewLine] [endif]

The most important thing any business owner should do is own the business. By that I mean really own it – review financials, review strategy, set a course, plan and spend time ON the business, not just IN it. Many designers come to me stressed, burned out and with a loss of passion. I tell them there are four areas that usually cause this – and it only takes one to wreak havoc: wrong client, wrong product/service, wrong price, wrong systems/processes. To be the owner, dedicated business development time is needed to each of these areas can be evaluated.

A well owned business has an owner who knows who they are, who they serve (and don’t serve), how they price, and then is able to manage the resources well. How can designers connect with you?

I can be reached at Michele@ScarletThreadConsulting.com or at 678-576-0814.

My website is www.ScarletThreadConsulting.com, and I also have a Facebook group that your readers are welcome to join: Build A Profitable Business for Interior Designers and Workrooms.

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