What Level is Your Design Business?

John McClain: Turn Failure into Success

Episode 844 of A Well-Designed Business®

Today With John McClain:

Welcome to A Well-Designed Business. Today I am joined for the second time by John McClain. John is an accomplished interior designer, business coach, and author of The Designer Within. In this episode, he shares a bit about his back story with us—from crisis to conquest.

John is here to help you understand that you can learn and grow from your mistakes, and success can be born out of failure. John shares his dark night of the soul story with us, but it didn’t end there. He turned that rough patch into a catalyst to organize his business for the better. Since then he has implemented a “How We Work” document, detailed client contracts, flat fees, and non-negotiables because his business is worth it. He is worth it. And you are worth it.

Pick It Apart

[6:38] John shares his dark night of the soul story involving client credit cards, attorneys, a factory fire, and armed guards.

[20:35] John discusses the importance of knowing your company policies and non-negotiables, for example, he does not take credit card payments. 

[31:40] John and LuAnn discuss the importance of formal agreements and transparency with clients.

[35:41] LuAnn and John pick apart his pricing structure and flat fees, including his creative fee and project fulfillment fees.[57:29] John talks about the online courses for designers he offers, as well as his new book The Designer Within and the online course for homeowners that goes along with it.

LuAnn Nigara and John McClain’s Ah-Ha Moments

“Until you’ve been through a serious business crisis, it’s hard to know how it really cuts you in your gut.” – LuAnn Nigara 

“I don’t care if you’re a solopreneur or if you have 25 people working for you. Your company policy is your company policy. And that is what you have to stand by.” – John McClain

“A lot of people don’t take the time to sit down and come up with the rules [of their business]. ” – John McClain

“You do have to take time—really getting clear with who you are, what you do, how you do it, why you do it, and your non-negotiables.” – LuAnn Nigara

“I want to be an advocate for other designers and out in the world, to really stand up for themselves. And to have a company philosophy, have a company vision have a company backbone that they can stand behind.” – John McClain

More About John McClain:

John McClain is an accomplished interior designer, business coach, speaker, on-air contributor, and writer who has turned his lifetime passion for interior design into an opportunity to do the same for others through his book, The Designer Within (available now at thedesignerwithin.co). John McClain Design has offices in Central Florida and Los Angeles, CA. His projects have received numerous awards and have appeared in many publications including Traditional Home and Elle Décor. John’s design advice can also be seen regularly in print, television appearances, and online in publications such as The Wall Street Journal, Us Weekly, and many more.

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Other Shows Mentioned:

#472: John McClain: Running His Firm from Two Coasts Makes Systems and Tools Critical

#145: Sandra Funk of House of Funk: Why and How She Re-Branded her 10 Year old Firm

#801: Power Talk Friday: Sandra Funk: How Mistakes and Obstacles Led to Growth & Transformation

#842: Joshua Smith: Sell the Experiences, Not the Commodity

What Level is Your Design Business?