Diary of a #BabyDesigner

Diary of a #BabyDesigner

Sometimes I wonder if LuAnn ever thought her presence and energy alone could totally ignite a room of 200 design professionals who flew in from 17 states and 3 Canadian provinces.

I wonder if she knew that her A Well-Designed Business® podcast could inspire this many people to be better, actionable, and even excellent! Maybe this WAS her vision. Knowing her it probably was, but what I do know is this: LuAnn is changing lives, including mine.

I’m Sara Brennan and, like many of us, I’m a #BabyDesigner.

To be honest, I actually think I’m probably LuAnn’s ideal client too. I mean she solves my problems. I know, like and trust her. And I’m buying what she’s selling. See, I told you—ideal!

I’ve been listening to and working with LuAnn for about 18 months now and I am living proof that the advice she gives on her podcast and in her coaching is worth its weight in gold.

Not sure if you trust me? I get it.

You just met me, so let me give you some examples of what I’ve achieved since putting LuAnn’s words into action:

  • Thanks to podcast advice, I’ve been published in national magazines multiple times: 7 print publications, multiple online publications and I also have my own monthly column for a magazine.
  • I started using MyDoma Studios and created detailed Luxury Interior Design Packages using a flat fee structure. Because of this, I doubled my sales and quadrupled my profits in my second year of business
  • I’ve implemented systems and strategies to create an organized and structured team and business that runs smoothly and stress-free
  • I started working with Michele Williams and hired a CFO to understand the financial health of my business, implement the Profit First strategy and earning a six-figure salary (yes, in my first 18 months!)
  • I got really clear about what I WILL do and what I WON’T do with my clients, which has lead to realistic client expectations and amazing projects
  • I made a million mistakes, identified where things went sour, had the tough conversations and grew from these experiences
  • I hired someone to design a website that contained a killer bio, a portfolio displaying my niched design aesthetic and a lead magnet to attract my ideal client
  • I’ve also created a ladder of design services, a recognizable and reputable brand, I’ve attracted and turned away my ideal client (I’ll tell you that story later), I got confident and good at sales, implemented time blocking and Monday meetings, recognized my transferrable skills, and created company core values.

If you’d like to see my hard work in action, I invite you to visit my website and see what I’ve been up to. I promise it’s all there!

Okay, so I hope that helped you to see that I’m not messing around when I say LuAnn’s advice has impacted my life.

You may also be thinking that I must have known something about business or design before I began to be able to have such success in such a short amount of time?

But no, this is not the case at all.

Before becoming (and calling myself) an Interior Designer, I was a Middle and High School Science teacher and a stay-at-home mom. Yep, my design education goes as far as a Biology Major, Neuroscience Minor and Masters in Education will let it.

(Hint: There are no design classes in these programs). So I’m just like you, I didn’t know what I was doing (who am I kidding, I still don’t a lot of the time), I decided I was going to try my best and make something of myself, so I did.

I came up with the idea to write stories of my design journey because I think I’m just like many of you reading this.

It became especially evident to me after attending LuAnn Nigara LIVE, It’s about the conversation, when I had the realization that even those designers who I look up to immensely have made mistakes and have a raw story to tell about how they got to be where they are today.

LuAnn Nigara Live

I loved it. I loved it so much that I felt compelled to share my story because I thought it might inspire others who haven’t “made it” yet, but aspire to.

And I’m sure “making it” is different for everyone, we all have different goals and dreams, but I’m sure the common thread is that we all want to be the best designers and business people that we can be while making a good chunk of change for our hard work!

So I pitched this idea to blog for LuAnn and she agreed with this “crazy pants” idea! I vowed to her and to you to share the good, bad and ugly of my journey through my #babydesigner years.

I promise to share what it’s really like, not what you see on Instagram and social media because I think this backstory, this conversation, this raw emotion is what made LuAnn LIVE so amazing and I want to keep it going.

Many of the things I write about will be things you also encounter, so my log will serve as a building block for you and your business so you can skip the bad parts and fast-forward to the good stuff.

To wrap up this first post, I want to share one final thought with you.

My personal motto is “Showing up is Not Enough” and I think of it like this… A professional athlete doesn’t just show up to practice, they choose to take part in it, try different things, make mistakes, so that when they’re in the big game, they’re ready to succeed.

Sara Lynn Brennan

For us, life is the “big game”, and if showing up is the only action for you, it’s not enough. It’s what happens after you show up that makes all the difference.

Don’t just call yourself an Interior Designer and stop there.

Choose to do work when no one’s watching. Choose to feel uncomfortable and scared. Choose to go outside of your comfort zone because that’s how you grow and become better and THAT is what will make you unique, special and valuable to your clients and peers.

I share this thought with you because I think it’s important to always remind ourselves that we are capable of so much more than we think we are.

So, to combine LuAnn’s motto with one of my own, I’ll sign off from here and look forward to our next chat where we can continue this amazing conversation our lovely LuAnn started. Talk to you soon!

Show Up and Be Excellent, Friends!
—SLB

(2) Comments
  • Virginia
    (11 September 2019)

    Wow!! What an inspiration . . . Sara and Luann, I remember meeting you both last year at High Point and what a great panel it was (also with Claire and Wendy) Mydoma is, I’m sure, an excellent tool for designers. I just finished listening to the podcast, Sara and Luann. AWESOME content! Again, I am inspired . . . and to keep on keeping on as I fine tune my business model and plan.
    With many questions swirling around in my head coupled with the ‘on fire’ passion in my bones to continue to press on, I will continue to work on figuring out all details, structure, etc. as it relates to my Home Staging business. I thank you both for your openness and your professional modeling to me and also to the design community.
    I hope to see you both again at High Point market this year.
    With appeciation,
    Virginia Youngblood
    DO STAGE LLC

  • Verona
    (11 September 2019)

    Sara and Luann,
    Starting from the very beginning is exactly what a #babydesigner like myself needs and wants to hear! We are all different, we have different lives and personal situations, and our circumstances and timelines can look so different to the usual “success stories” we see and hear. And of course, “success” also looks different for different people. That’s what I loved about Sara’s podcast with Luann, and this blog post. Getting “real” about what it’s really like getting started is what we really need to hear. It gives us encouragement, guidance, support and tangible pointers to help us on our journey as a #babydesigner. I am hooked! Thankyou!!

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