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Issue 71: August 2012
On stage this month

To Set the Stage

Backstage with Debra

Home Stager Wins Over Skeptical Husband

How to Take a Break From Your Staging Business

This Home Staging Marketing Tactic Costs Nothing

Save the Date


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To Set the Stage

"Never give up, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn." - Harriett Beecher Stowe

Backstage with Debra

If you're one of the 350 new members of the Staging Diva community, welcome! We're now 20,000 strong and I love reading your emails, tweets, Facebook and blog comments.

That story I wrote asking how you feel about gray walls really struck a chord. At last count there were over 40 comments!

Thank you all for sharing your experiences, questions, challenges and insights. I'm especially grateful when you jump in and support each other as you did when I shared the story of one home staging mother of 6 who had to start over in a new town in her 50s.

July has been a busy month. I redesigned the Home Staging Business Report. If you're not a subscriber yet, you should check it out. I post one to two new articles or home staging job postings every week. Plus I'd love your thoughts on the new look!

In this month's newsletter you'll discover: how one home stager won over a doubting husband with a speedy sale, how to take a vacation from your business without worrying that it will fall apart while you're gone, and a no-cost marketing strategy that you can use in your home staging business right away.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Staging Diva Dispatch. Please hit reply to this email and send me your questions or story ideas so that I can cover them in future issues of this newsletter or in the Home Staging Business Report.

Enjoy the rest of your summer!


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva®
President, Voice of Possibility™ Group Inc.

Home Stager Wins Over Skeptical Husband

The idea to hire a home stager generally comes from the wife, if you're dealing with a couple in my experience.

Sometimes the husband will call me first to discuss the business rationale for investing in home staging and then turn the whole thing over to his wife when he's satisfied that this isn't some crazy idea.

Other times, the husband has nothing to do with it or may even object, but decides to go along with his wife's wish to have the house staged before it goes on the real estate market.

That's what happened with Staging Diva Graduate Donna Richter who shares this story:

"I worked with a client to stage their home because they needed to move out of state. During the meeting the husband could not join us. After the husband saw the list of staging suggestions he said it was ridiculous. There was nothing on that list that was going to help them sell. So the wife did most of the work on the list by herself.

After moving a love seat out of the living room and replacing it with a recliner and the other changes to the house, the husband admitted he could not believe how great the house looked and how much larger it seemed. The wife felt great about all her work.

Their house then went on the market and sold on Day One for full asking price. She is a believer and I think he is now as well."

living room after staging
Living room staged with advice from Donna Richter, Designs by Donna LLC, Colorado.
home stager
"The Staging Diva Training Program taught me what to focus on and how to explain how staging could help sell the home." (Donna Richter)

I don't know abou you, but I just LOVE real life stories like this with proof home staging works! Please share your staging story so I can write about you too.

By the way, have you ever wondered if it's OK to use photos of a home you "only" gave staging advice on? If so, read this free article: Using Home Staging Photos in Your Portoflio When You Just Give Advice.

How To Take A Break From Your Staging Business

I'm pretty obsessive about my business, don't easily trust others to do things the way I would, and I love my work (no wonder I'm single, but that's another story!). These are clearly 3 reasons you'd think I couldn't take a vacation without believing my business would fall apart without me.

When you run your own home staging business it's easy to fall into the trap of thinking you can't take a vacation. I felt like that until I realized that I didn't become an entrepreneur to become a slave to my business.

It's also important not to miss vacation time with your loved ones. After all, who knows if they'll have the time or interest in travelling with you later?

Believe me, if I can successfully walk away from my business for a week or two, you can too! Here's how to do it:

Hire someone to answer phone calls and check email.

Now this doesn't mean you have to hire an employee. Perhaps a friend or relative can pinch hit for you. If not, consider hiring a virtual assistant. The key is providing a script for how they should handle things in your absence.

Realize that there really isn't a home staging "emergency" that can't wait until you're back.

Let's face it we're not surgeons. No one will die and no young children will be harmed if we take a few days off. Your lack of availability can actually make your services more in demand. Learn why here.

Taking your first real vacation from your own business is scary. At some point you just have to give yourself permission to step into your future and create the lifestyle you desire.

> Read all 5 tips to taking a vacation from your staging business and share your feedback.

taking a vacation from business

A treasured memory of a day on an Oregon beach with my teen.

Now that she's heading off to college, how many more opportunities like this are there?

This Home Staging Marketing Tactic Costs Nothing

One of the great things about owning your own business is that you can take it in any direction you choose. If you have a marketing idea, you can try it out and see if it works, then adapt what you learn for future efforts.

Marketing can be expensive, but it shouldn't be.

I've spent almost nothing to market my home staging business and I've been at it since 2002! I share the ways I "burst on the scene" and got attention as a home staging expert in detail in Course 4 Staging Diva Sales and Marketing Secrets to Boost Your Home Staging Business.

One approach is to give talks to small groups. If you're like me and you tremble at the idea of public speaking, start really small.

You might talk to 10 people, for example at a local mom's group or even at the local library. It's not the size of the group that makes this an effective strategy, it's the fact that you're getting out there at all.

Actually, I recommend starting small just for the practice. You'll feel your confidence grow each and every time you do this.

When I first started my home staging business I kept procrastinating about organizing my home staging portfolio. That is, until I needed before and after shots for a talk I was doing in a real estate office. Boy, did that ever get me focused on digging up my best photos and thinking about what I would say about them!

Speaking at even small events helps you become known in a community and establishes you as a home staging expert.

It also gives you an "excuse" to reach out and contact people by phone or email. You have something to invite people to through Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, your newsletter and your blog too.

You'll also build your "database" or list of potential clients and their contact information.

> Click here to learn all 10 ways this home staging marketing tactic will work.

informal public speaking

Speaking to small informal groups builds your confidence and credibility as a home stager. It's a great way to get your business name out there at no cost to you!

Save the date for Staging Diva Dialog

Mark your calendar!
Aug. 16, 7PM (eastern)

I'd love to answer your business questions and teach you about home staging. You can be a total beginner or an experienced stager, and you don't have to be one of my students to join Staging Diva Dialog. This is a small group coaching call and mastermind session, check it out!

> Learn how to be part of the next Staging Diva Dialog conference call.

> If you're looking for some quick marketing ideas to try, you'll love this short guide, 14 Marketing Ideas to Rev Up Your Home Staging Business.

About Staging Diva

Debra Gould has been a serial entrepreneur since 1989. She is president of Voice of Possibility Group Inc. with a mission of helping entrepreneurs create their ideal businesses and lifestyles.

An internationally recognized home staging expert, Debra created the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program with 7,000 students in the U.S., Canada and 20 other countries. She is the author of 5 guides, offers a Directory of Home Stagers to help home sellers and agents locate stagers in their area and is frequently profiled in the media.

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