At The Root Of The Force (74%)

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I’m returning to the Star Wars universe one more time, a final hurrah of May The 4thBe With You. I’m here again for a very good reason:  the theme of Heroism. 

The Star Wars movies are about heroes who risk everything to save the galaxy, and they had to be brave, battle, and sacrifice everything for their efforts. Those qualities of heroes are admirable, but they are relatable because YOU do those things, too, every day since you decided to start an interior design business.

When Fear Stops You

Luke Skywalker battled steep fears (HIS *FATHER* IS DARTH VADER!) with a hidden weapon—not the Force, but his mentor, Yoda, who showed him its ways. 

Fear is omnipresent when you own a business. The most common source of fear is money, from making it to managing it. 

Fear takes many forms, and if you are avoiding facts about your interior design profit margin because it scares you or ignoring problems facing you and your business, then you need a dose of bravery. 

You’ll need to be brave and face the fact that you may need help understanding your financials or managing your interior design business plan. From my vantage point as a strategic business coach, your Yoda, I’m here to teach you ways to navigate through the fear. 

Struggling To Prioritize

During a battle, you can’t control the onslaught of the forces against you. And that’s how it feels when you’re struggling to prioritize; it feels like everything is happening at once and all is equally important. It’s an onslaught, and you are sinking. 

And into the fray comes Yoda, light saber blazing, to get you through. As the title implies, a strategic business coach helps you figure out ways to prioritize your business tasks so that you can make an interior design salary that supports you. There are steps to take that will zap the tasks in a prescribed order to make things crystal clear and organized.

Analysis Paralysis

In the end, Luke couldn’t run from the knowledge that his father was an evil Sith Lord. He had to decide if he would join with or fight against him. Luckily, he didn’t vacillate too long.

But when you chose to start an interior design business, you accepted a difficult truth, too: Every decision is yours, and consequences for each choice fall squarely on your shoulders. 

Sometimes, in the face of such decisions, we weigh and analyze instead of act; we freeze, rendered incapable of committing. In those moments, Luke heard the Jedi Knights’ voices (“Use the force, Luke!”), and you can hear mine. You don’t have to carry the weight alone. 

Finding Your Force

It may not be against a Dark Side or an Evil Empire, but there are things that cause you to stall and falter, struggle, and lose hope as an entrepreneur. It could even be your To Do list! Or, it could be a bigger issue with a client or your interior design financial statements. 

You, too, must rise and be a Hero. But you, too, have a Yoda to guide you. 

Review Your Course Roadmap to see what the next step in your journey might be.


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The Power Of Resources To Overcome Obstacles (72%)

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Right now, I bet there’s something on a To-Do list that is not getting done. You’re just outta gas—no desire to put effort toward it. Maybe you’re out of time and need 25 hours in a day to get everything accomplished. Unfortunately, it could be a money thing and you can’t afford it.

EHHHH! *Obnoxious buzzer sound* I’m reaching for my Yoda robes. Now, I’m igniting my light saber and –slashing –each –reason –away! Imagine if Luke told Yoda, “I don’t have time to use the force!” 

The name of the movie is Star Wars because the Rebels fought back and trust me—they didn’t have the luxury of time, money, or choice - DARTH VADER HAD A LASER WEAPON CAPABLE OF DESTROYING ENTIRE PLANETS! They had to find any means necessary to hold back the Dark Side and Imperial Forces, sometimes with just rocks like the Ewoks did against the Storm Troopers.

The key word here is Resourcefulness. Han Solo wasn’t an expert fighter pilot—he was a smuggler! He wasn’t trained to fly against the Imperial Troops, but he and his ship, the Millennium Falcon, still saved the day. Luke was a farmer’s son, but he quickly learned to shake off preconceived ideas, embrace the new role of Jedi, and jump into the fray.

You must, too. When you can’t accomplish something because you feel that it takes too long, it’s too expensive, or it’s not enticing enough, then you need to try something else. Maybe just believe who you can be instead of who you have been.  

Use Tech To Battle Against Time Constraints 

Lucky for us, the Internet Age offers many ways to be resourceful. If you don’t have time to sit at a computer for a webinar, then listen to an interior design podcast while you’re driving or exercising. If you can’t find time to print and review your interior design financial statements, upload the files to the Cloud and look at them from your phone, tablet, computer, or device du jour.

Tackle False Financial Assumptions

I created the series Understanding Your Financials and Master Your Profit because too often, I saw businesses allocating or accounting improperly. I realized the underlying problem was the lack of knowledge about managing interior design financial statements. So, before you assume you can’t afford it, double check your knowledge about financial management practices. Are you really lacking the funds, or do you just lack an accurate and realistic picture of your interior design finances?

Fight Low Morale With Inspiration

When you feel “Done,” then you’re lacking intrinsic inspiration, so seek external resources that inspire: listen to an interior design podcast, talk to your interior design coach, or look at images that remind you of the reasons you chose to start an interior design business.

When you need to overcome common obstacles like time, money, or desire, seek and use resources. The Jedi didn’t act alone—they helped each other and sought counsel. I’m your Yoda, and counsel, I do. When you push things off, it’s a sign that you need help. It’s time to use your resources.

Interested in where to start, review the Your Course Roadmap and let me guide you to your next best step.


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Taxes Paid – But Who Will Pay You? 

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Hurrah! You made it through Tax Season! Let’s take a big inhale…hold…and exhale, letting go of all the remaining angst from taxes. We’re ready to begin planning again, but this time for something that will excite you:  your salary.

Just Like Taxes, You Can Plan For Salary

Hey, you are not doing this for free! Yes, you want money for the business to run, but you need income, too. Whether you need money for a serious purpose or a frivolous buy, you still deserve to have an income. Let’s work on your interior design business plan to include Salary.

How To Set Your Salary

Just like planning for taxes, your plan for paying yourself will include the following:

  • First, decide to pay yourself consistently. Knowing that you and your family can depend on the income you earn is a motivator and a stress reliever. 

  • Next, assess your interior design financial statements. Have an idea of the net profit you are making at all times. That is where your salary will come from. 

  • Now, designate an amount that you will budget toward salary and start paying yourself. If you are not running your salary through payroll, be sure to leave enough to cover your income taxes. Even if you start low, like $500 a month, start somewhere. If you are unsure about how to read the financial statements or how to manage the money – check out the online courses I offer.  I will put the links below in case you need them.

  • Lastly, continue to monitor your interior design gross and net profit margins and adjust at quarterly reviews as needed.

See? Same method as for taxes, only now you are setting aside cash for yourselfto enjoy.

Why You Should Plan For Salary

I mean it:  set aside cash to enjoy.None of us work for the sheer joy of expending effort. Really, we work to enjoy life with the income we earn—vacations, shopping, classes, investments, etc. are the fruits of our labors. Eat some fruit!

Truly, being paid regularly (no matter the amount) is crucial to long term success. Money is a great motivator, and if you feel like all your efforts come without anything left for yourself, then you can easily lose motivation. And that would make sense – most of us work for the paycheck, and if you deprive yourself of a salary, then you lose the biggest form of motivation to work that drives just about everyone.

Of course, you chose to start an interior design business because you feel passion for the work, but there are many forms of motivation and all are vital to succeeding. Salary is a big one.

But there’s more. Physically, you enjoy the feeling of getting paid. Endorphins, those little biochemicals that fire off when we feel sensations that we like, release when you get paid. It’s a cycle—the better you feel about getting paid, the more you wantto do in order to get paid. Rather than drudgery of the daily grind, you look forward to putting your nose to the grindstone! 

Finally, most importantly, being paid legitimizes your efforts. You really are good, and you really deserve the money earned from your efforts. This eliminates any risk of the imposter syndrome, a false feeling that tricks you into believing you don’t belong in the entrepreneurs’ arena. You’re not a fake; this is your business, you’re running it, and you’re making money from it. 

You should get paid for it. 

To get assistance with financials, check out the Understanding Your Financials course.

For assistance with implementing a money management system like Profit First, check out the Master Your Profit course.


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Two Steps To A Stress-Free Tax Season

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Were you chugging along through March, busy and working, keeping things afloat, enjoying the fact that Spring arrived and another winter is over, when suddenly it hit you like a ton of bricks:  April is coming, taxes are coming! I can almost hear the squealing of brakes as your feet hit the floor, pushing against the inevitable turn of the calendar page to April and the dreaded tax season. Do you have the money to pay for your taxes?

It doesn’t have to be dreadful or stressful! 

You can have the money to pay your taxes without stress. Yes, you can—it doesn’t have to be a payment that breaks you, scares you, or drains you dry. When you chose to start an interior design business, it was not easy, but you managed the difficulty of pricing interior design services and setting up your interior design business plan. Now, you’ll conquer taxes the same way: with a plan.

First Step: Create A Payment Plan

Business 101 will talk about dividing the year into quarters, so three months for each quarter. Once you organize your interior design financial statements to provide you a picture of the business each quarter, you’ll be able to plan accordingly quarter by quarter.

Now, you’ll be able to manage your tax payments. It works like this old parable: 

A wise woman was once asked a silly question, How do you eat an elephant? to which she answered very succinctly, “One bite at a time.” 

Same concept—small chunks at regular intervals that will break down the large amount into manageable portions. It won’t break or drain your business this way. For each quarter, you’ll determine an amount that will go toward taxes. Then, check the amount against your financial statements and set it aside in a bank account that is just for tax payments.

Second Step: Budget For Payments

Once you have the amount established that you’ll pay to taxes each quarter, budget for it. You’ll know your interior design pricing and interior design salary expectations, so you can monitor your accounting and keep that tax money fluid and ready. At the end of the quarter, you’ll be ready to take that amount designated for taxes from the appropriate bank account and pay Uncle Sam.

Remove Stress Around This Payment

There’s a bit of a national hysteria every April because we all dread doing our taxes. The paperwork, the money, the debt, all heighten our anxiety. And anxiety is contagious—one person’s worry wears onto the next and soon, tax season is a scary month feared by all. 

Don’t buy into the hype! You have carefully worked on pricing interior design services to create your interior design salary and business, and you will keep your cool in April, too, by doing the same careful work. Taxes will not be a payment that catches you by surprise, and let me reassure you, this is a payment you can handle. 

Be calm, and pay taxes!

If you need assistance creating a strategy to feel worry free at tax time, check out the Master Your Profit course.


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What Do Fitness and Business Practices Have In Common?

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My first time exercising in a long time felt great! So great, in fact, that I felt accomplished, and I began to look for results in the mirror—wait a second! That’s not how it works! Too soon?? – but I get excited and want to jump forward even though I KNOW I can’t just get back in shape after one round of exercise—and you can’t snap your fingers to make your business successful, either! . . . No matter how muchwe wish it so, these things are not that fast and easy.

Ohhh, no, no, no…the reality is true. Change must be constant, consistent, and long-term. Truths we know but forget all the time, which is why my fitness coach, Kolleen, has been a lifeline. When I get excited and want to jump forward, she reminds me of the best way to accomplish my goals: “Slow and steady, do it right, and keep going.”

She’s right; I know this, because I offer the same words of wisdom to my clients. It took applying these experiences in a new situation to really reinforce the practices in business. I saw the ways in which my habits changed across the board with Kolleen’s voice in my head. Now that I am working with a trainer on my body, the lessons have rolled over into other healthy decision making in my life. I am working on getting more sleep, watching each thing I eat, and just feeling better. And I see the long term goals a bit more clearly – they are now seeming possible whereas before they felt far away.

In your business, you’ll benefit from these practices, too. 

  • Developing Muscle Memory

    My fitness goals can’t solely focus on waking up my core muscles; that only flexes them. Instead, my goal is to get them fully engaged to the point where it becomes second-nature to use them; this is muscle memory. Do something enough, and it begins to settle into a routine, take shape, and become the new pattern of behavior. Butthis takes time

    In your business, it is not enough to write out your vision, mission, WHY, etc. but to sit with it, turn it over, commit to it – OWN it. Only when you spend time with these tools will they become a part of you and second nature to how you work and think.

  •  The Importance Of Scaffolding 

    My purpose for working with Kolleen is to reduce my back and shoulder pain, so I was pretty ready to start building my arm strength right away. However, she delayed this in favor of strengthening my core. First thing’s first; other building will come in time, but I can’t start working on my arm muscles if it will cause me to pull my back out. There is a process. I did not create this pain and lack of muscle engagement overnight, and I won’t change it overnight. Each day counts, even if I don’t see immediate results. That’s because there is a multiplying effect that comes from building to each level—I become the sum of the parts.

    In your business, make sure to make your foundation the strongest piece and then scaffold from there. Build over time and add pieces once you are strong enough to handle them.

  •  Good Form Matters

    My fitness goals are about strength, and an injury would be a major setback. It’s a delicate balance to push the body in order to grow stronger while avoiding injuries. Luckily, there is a formula to follow that makes it possible to avoid getting hurt: to grow stronger and not cause injury, follow good form. There is a Right Way to perform strengthening exercises that will build muscle without suffering an injury. Form matters.

    As it does with your business. Business practices that follow a good form will be more successful. There are established methods and means to a successful end. Therefore, a good actionable plan matters and will support us for years to come.

Putting It All Together 

Like Kolleen helped me see and understand, following good form, building my foundation, and allocating appropriate time to the process created changes in my fitness and is helping me to achieve my goals. The same can happen in your business when we work together. The Solid Foundation Builder program will help you create a strong ‘core’ for your business. And you will hear me in your head when you are done cheering you on to the business of your dreams.


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