What Level is Your Design Business?

How 3 Designers Boosted Their Business After Attending LuAnn Live in 2019…and Why They Are Attending Again

How 3 Designers Boosted Their Business After Attending LuAnn Live in 2019…and Why They Are Attending Again

You probably recognize Sara Lynn Brennen, Natasa Jones, and Wendy Woloshchuk as guests on the podcast.

Sara is also a contributor to this blog and the instructor of Process Leads to Profits at LuAnn University.

Another thing they have in common is that they all attended LuAnn Live in 2019. At that time, they were all students of the podcast but sought more than one-sided messages.

They wanted to get in the same room as other designers. They craved interactive conversations. They were motivated to grow, both personally and professionally.

In the four years since, all three of these #smartladies have taken their design businesses to new levels with the immediate and lasting lessons garnered from LuAnn Live.

And they just keep going, which is why they have all committed to investing in themselves and their businesses once again by attending LuAnn Live in 2023. 

We caught up with Sara, Natasa, and Wendy to find out what changed after the first LuAnn Live, and why it is important to them to attend again. Here are their stories.

Sara Brennan

Sara was a brand new designer when she first met LuAnn at High Point Market in 2017. “I literally started from nothing and didn’t know how to do a single thing then,” she says.

As she followed LuAnn and listened to the podcast, she knew attending LuAnn Live would be a step in the right direction, but remembers calling LuAnn before registering, just to be sure she was making the right decision.

“I knew the ROI would be huge for me, personally and professionally,” Sara recalls, adding.“When you’re live and in person, you get so many more opportunities to learn.”

Being in the same room with so many like-minded people was powerful for Sara, who says making just one small adjustment from something you learn at LuAnn Live will not only pay back the investment but bring exponential growth.

“And if you’re looking for huge, big pie-in-the-sky goals—you’re going to be able to accomplish those because you went there,” she says, and believes that, “This kind of learning—all in one place and in this way—is absolutely something you can only access at LuAnn Live events.”

Since then, Sara has been a guest on the podcast several times (Episode 463, Episode 514, Episode 524, and Episode 607).

She co-authored A Well-Designed Business®: The Power Talk Friday Experts Vol. 2., and was a panelist at the virtual LuAnn Live event in 2021.

Sara credits her success as a true testament to what LuAnn has built. Today, she runs a multimillion-dollar design firm, Sara Lynn Brennan Interiors, leading a team of six and opening a second location this month.

Natasa Jones

Growth was coming for Natasa on her first trip to LuAnn Live. She had been working by herself for just a few years and knew change was needed, but didn’t know what those changes needed to be.

“I felt like attending an event, especially a LuAnn event, would catapult that,” she says. It was a big investment, and Natasa took it seriously, with a detailed approach she brings to every conference and industry event.  

Pen and notebook in hand, Natasa created five tabs: do now, do later, buy or download, mindset, and follow up. Under “do now” she added things like “make an appointment with a CPA” and “change email signature.” In “do later” she added “update contract.”

Natasa had several aha moments over the three-day event, but one of the big ones came from Corey Damen Jenkins, who said, “Never apologize for your talent.” This stuck with Natasa, who later worked with Corey, Sandra Funk, and Rachel Cannon to give up hourly fees and start charging her worth.

Another aha centered on client expectations. After hearing Claire Jefford speak and chatting with her afterward, Natasa knew she needed to update her contract.

Once home, she got to work adding language around scope of work and hired a contract lawyer to review the document. In addition, she created a welcome packet detailing her design process and client-designer expectations that all of her clients must agree to.

Mindset matters to Natasa, who says that meeting peers, being in solidarity with them, and bouncing ideas off of them at the event was invaluable.

“I’ve kept in touch with everybody that I met at Luann Live and built friendships with them—we are each other’s mentors almost,” she says. 

Everything Natasa took action on made a difference. In 2020, she joined LuAnn on the podcast (Episode 576) to share the notetaking strategy she uses to maximize her ROI after any event, citing specific insights from LuAnn Live.

Earlier this year, she was on the show again (Episode 876) going into more detail about how she has grown her business, Natasa Jones Interiors, from opening a studio to hiring a team to working towards opening a second design firm in Colorado.

“Describing the LuAnn Live experience is very hard,” says Natasa, adding, “It’s almost like you have to be there because the energy that’s in the room is just unmatched by any other event I’ve been in.”

This year, she is bringing her business partner, who doesn’t come from a design background. Natasa says, “It’s going to be very important for her to attend an event like this—to understand the nuances of the design industry,” and encourages others to bring their teams, especially administrators or integrators.

Wendy Woloshchuk

Opening her design firm, Details Interiors, in 2007, Wendy was already an established designer when she was a guest on the podcast (Episode 316) in 2017, where she discussed using Facebook as a marketing tool.

“At that time, I was a Solopreneur working with mid-level and mid-budget clients,” says Wendy. But after the show, she made some big changes—hiring coaches, joining a Power Talk Friday, and attending LuAnn Live in 2019. 

“I had so many specific takeaways and tools for growing and improving my business after LuAnn Live that I had to go through my notes and break them down by speaker,” says Wendy, explaining how she systematically went through her notes, implementing one thing at a time until she got through the list.

She took what she learned from Fred Berns and Nicole Heymer and rewrote her website copy to attract more potential clients.

She did as Michele Williams advised and dug into her financials, learning how to understand her numbers. She even hired Nancy Ganzekaufer as her business coach. “I work with high-level clients now,” says Wendy, adding that she charges more and works less. 

In the following months, Wendy went on to hire her first employee, an assistant, and together they systemized the business, documenting every process in what she calls the Standards of Excellence Manual.

Today, she also has a bookkeeper and a list of preferred contractors. She joined the podcast again (Episode 527) to discuss her implementation plan and the success it brought here. 

“After the first LuAnn Live, I told LuAnn that I would never miss one again.” —Wendy Woloshchuk

Wendy believes that attending industry events and getting inspired is only part of the process, but taking action on what you learn to grow your business to the next level is where the real impact is found.

“Other events give you a lot of what to do, but not the how,” she says, emphasizing, “LuAnn is great at diving in and getting the specifics—the how—so that we can actually go home and implement the information and ideas.”

Are you ready to take action in your business?

Corey Damen Jenkins, Claire Jefford, Nancy Ganzekaufer, and many more will be with us once again at LuAnn Live 2023, along with more amazing aha moments.


Susan Salaz is a writer and content strategist helping purpose-driven Design Professionals grow profitably. Follow @cloudtopcreative on Instagram and connect at susan@cloudtopcreative.com.

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