Two people walk into an elevator…
Ah, the good old elevator speech! Well I’m not going to give you the usual drill because if you google “elevator speech” you’ll find dozens of how-to’s and examples (probably both good and bad). But the essence of the elevator speech – how to explain your business or business idea to someone in the time it takes to ride an elevator, well, that I’m keeping.
I’m talking about WHAT DO YOU DO?
For the entrepreneur who can still count the days of freedom on her hands and toes, it’s a scary question. And it’s one that’s been on mind while I’m working on the site redesign.
Because of the layout of the pages, it makes sense for me to re-do my “about me” page and my “services” pages. And it got me thinking about what it is I’m selling to people. And who those people are. As a new business, now is my chance to tell people what I do before they hear it from someone else. And it brings up some really conflicted feelings for me.
When I first started blogging, it was all about inspiration. Gorgeous homes, Vogue-worthy fashion, feats of design that only come with one price tag: a BIG one. At some point I wanted to be creating more original content on my blog (which I still do) – taking photos ofÂ my own design projects at home was the most logical, but I don’t exactly have a BIG budget. This ended up being about the same time as I was taking on my first clients. And when I started thinking about “branding” and “marketing” and “finding my niche” it seemed that “budget design” was right up my alley.
Right away I hit a conflict: In order to price myself fairly in the market (ie: after researching the competition) and to make any kind of decent hourly wage, I priced myself out of the “budget clients” that I was aiming to attract. That’s pretty clear to me now. And yet matching the price expectation of the budget decorating world didn’t value my work as that of a professional. On the flip side, I wonder how many larger projects have been turned off by my low prices because I wasn’t perceived as a professional?
The truth is, I just don’t love doing “budget projects”. Now I’m not going to go all “Million Dollar Decorators” on you (new Bravo TV show), but even though I like a deal as much as the next girl, I love design because I love pretty things – designer furniture, hand-painted fabrics, rugs that aren’t synthetic… and I’m a true believer in spending some money on quality pieces for your home that will stand the test of time. That just hasn’t been meshing with my branding. I’ve had some GREAT clients, but I’ve had projects where I felt extremely limited by the budget (and not in a fun way). And to be honest, I’m not the best budget decorator out there. I can name others who truly LOVE sniffing out a deal, and take pride in their ability to spot a trend and recreate it for half the price. But I don’t have that same passion for it… and isn’t the whole point of quitting my day job to do what I love?
So where does this leave me? Well, I looked through my past client folders. Most of my favorite projects have been working with young(ish) couples and single women who have either purchased their first home, or are finally ready to “take decorating seriously” (in one client’s words). They haven’t been millionaires, but they’ve saved up and are ready to make some investment purchases, like a well-made sofa, a beautiful wool rug, or reupholster a family heirloom. Some of them have been repeat clients. Sure, we’ve had to cut corners here and there (mixing one designer fabric pillow with some from TJ Maxx…) but it’s been about creating a vision for their homes.
So I’m working on my “What do you do” and “About me” and “Welcome to my new fancy site, please hire me” statements and here’s what I have so far:
“Maggie Rose Interiors is a Seattle based interior decorating company with a flair for mixing old and new, bargain and luxury for a home that feels layered, collected, and just like you.”
As far as my pricing goes? Well, I’ll be making some adjustments. But now I know more about who I like working for and the position they’re in. No longer am I basing my pricing off of my competition, but basing it on the clients I want to attract.
P.S. The plan is to upload the new site design over the weekend, so if you visit Maggie Rose and it’s down for maintenance, that’s what we’re up to! You can follow me on Twitter (@MaggieRoseBlog) to get the heads up on Monday when it’s back up… cross your fingers it all goes smoothly!