What Level is Your Design Business?

Nicole Cole: The Mindset Shift to CEO

Episode 509 of A Well-Designed Business®

Welcome to this episode of Power Talk Friday! Nicole Cole joins LuAnn today for a chat about a-ha moments and the ensuing mindset shifts.

Nicole will be sharing five takeaways she’s learned from both Power Talk Friday and her time with business coach, Nancy Ganzekaufer.

You’ll want to listen in to hear her tips on how she accomplished her mindset shift to being a CEO so that you can implement these ideas for your business, too!

Nicole Cole is the CEO and Principal Designer at vestige HOME, a Philadelphia based residential interior designer firm focused on creating spaces that are interesting, engaging, and that encourage people to live well. As a young adult, Nicole served in the Navy as a Surface Warfare Officer before leaving to pursue work in the corporate world. With her new-found freedom outside the military, she realized that she missed the curiosity and creativity she enjoyed as a child, and decided it was time to build a creative business. Thus, vestige HOME was born!

Nicole and her team provide turnkey design services, which include trade resource coordination, sourcing expertise, creation of detailed plans, and open communication with her clients. With her many years of project management experience, she consistently delivers her projects in the most streamlined fashion with clear goals and expectations and a plan that provides the least amount of disruption possible to her client’s lives.  

Nicole studied interior design at Monterey Peninsula College and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration and Information Systems from the University of Kansas. She believes in creating beauty and exercising a little creativity wherever possible, whether designing a room in a client’s house, picking the perfect pairing of plants for the garden, or just setting the table for breakfast on a Wednesday morning.  Nicole’s greatest joy is helping clients to create homes that reflect their lives and personalities while honoring the buildings that contain them.

Show Highlights:

  • Systems and processes are fundamental to the way you run a business.
  • Confidence is the reward when systems and processes are used consistently.
  • This confidence spills over to the client and they become confident in you.
  • When you know what you will and will not do, and the why, you will be more selective about who you work with.
  • When you refer a job because you know someone else can do it better than you can, it makes saying ‘no’ so much easier.
  • Nicole’s Five Takeaways:
  1. She realized she was no longer “just” a designer, but the CEO. As CEO, she had responsibilities to herself, her team, and her clients.
  2. It’s important to build a team.
  3. Create the systems and processes, and teach them to your staff.
  4. Focus on the details of the client experience.
  5. Focus on profit, and don’t feel guilty!
  • Lu Ann covers some additional obstacles that she has observed in speaking with designers.
  • How there’s power in using the phrase, “In my experience”.
  • LuAnn provides a designer perspective on how much work gets packed into each billing hour.
  • When you truly explain what details go into what you do, that’s when the client can buy in to your charges.
  • When you understand your own value for the work you do, you can then feel confident in either what you charge or raising what you charge.


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Links to other shows mentioned:

Nancy Ganzekaufer #389

Michele Williams #180

Ashley Uhl #412

Bethany Mabee #450

Sarah Durnez #418

Brittanie Elms #149

Taylor Dieterich & Yashlie Negron #346

Kimberly Merlitti #442

Sara Lynn Brennan #463

Wendy Wolshchuk #316

Mikel Welch #297



What Level is Your Design Business?