Posts Tagged ‘Designer MBA’

The Joy of Learning

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mandela

Are you a learner? A seeker? Well everyone who knows me knows that I would rather be learning and studying above almost everything else. I have even been known to stay home from a fun event including a broadway play in the big apple, to watch a webinar in my PJ’s with a glass of wine. Yes, it’s just my 4th week of my 52 weeks of Joy and learning has already been a big part of my 2017.

You also may remember that I went to college for 9 years and got 3 degrees–accounting, interior design and an MBA. My parents thought I would never get out of school. And though I didn’t really plan to get all these degrees originally, in hindsight the combination has turned out to be a pretty good plan for my design and consulting career.

I am always reading–I have about 3 business, self-help or parenting books going at all times on my kindle app with about 10 (or 30) others purchased and waiting for me. And at any given time I am working through one or two webinars or online courses and have a laundry list of classes, courses, webinars and live seminars that I want to attend.

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I have a lot of interests but I typically focus my learning and education on things that benefit me personally or that I can use for clients or both. Over the last 7 months I have been part of the Institute of Integrative Nutrition’s program to become a Certified Health and Wellness Coach. This is as much for myself and my family as for clients. But I love the way it integrates into my design and consulting businesses because wellness and balance is a huge need for the design clients I work for as well as the entrepreneurs, CEO’s and small business owners that I coach and mentor in my consulting business. So this knowledge plays right into my work and you will be seeing more and more of this wellness focus in both my design and consulting businesses in the future.

If you read my blog about the Joy of Whitespace, you know I want more free time in my life. And it’s not all so I can lay around and do nothing. A lot of that space would be filled with learning, because it’s something that really fills me up. It feeds my soul. And it helps me help others, which is one of my favorite things to do.

FullSizeRender.jpgI even have another topic or two that I could see myself studying through an online college curriculum once my daughter is in college in a few years, or maybe I’ll enroll in a local college again. She and I could be students at the same time.

I think learning keeps you young and at the rate I am learning, I’m going to be around for a long time.

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So how about you…are you a learner? What do you want to read or study and if you aren’t, what is holding you back from that? If you enrolled in courses, would you use it to change your life or your career? And for those of you who study like me, what are your favorite books, teachers, webinars and sources of information. I’d love to know.

Happy Learning, friends! May we all become smarter and wiser together this year.

Joyfully yours,

Tobi Signature

 

 

 

 

 

5 Reasons to Look Ahead to 2017

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I am a major planner – I love to make lists and set steps to help me reach my goals. And there’s nothing I like to do more than to start thinking about what I want to accomplish next. If you’re the type of person who thinks that’s crazy, or you don’t know why in the world you should start thinking about 2017 right now, I have 5 good reasons for you to start your planning for the new year!

1. The payoff. What you set in motion now will start making money for you in 2017! It’s like that quote that says that the future depends on what you do today – it’s so true. Marketing and PR that you start now can garner press for you in the spring. Business outreach that you put into motion today can pay off with customers in 2017. But it won’t happen if you don’t start the process as soon as possible.

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2. Set a new course. Where are your weak spots right now in your business? Where do you need help? You may want to retool your brand, or add services to your menu, or expand your revenue streams. Think of the top 3 things that you want to change or add, and start organizing a new strategy to get you to those goals. Just writing that down will help you define your path to more success and a better business in 2017.

3. Saving for a big idea. For those new ideas you’ve defined for your business, will you need money to invest to make them happen? Now is the time to start setting aside funds for any money you’ll need next year! Having these next few months to put aside some cash will really come in handy for next year’s plans.

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4. Organize your calendar. I know you’re probably super-busy just trying to get through each day right now, much less the rest of this year. But I promise that if you pull out a 2017 calendar and take the time to map out a few things, you’re going to have a better and more organized year than ever before! I plan any business trips that I want to take – like to markets or events – so I can figure them into my budgeting process. I also like to set aside my vacation now, so it’s locked in and can’t be moved! And I start really defining a marketing and promotions calendar for the blog, social media, and other marketing. It makes creating all that content so much easier and quicker when we do that. Be sure to include any holidays and special events that you want to hook onto for promotions. Like World Interiors Day on May 27 in 2017!

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5. Set the tone for inspiration. Make 2017 your most inspired and creative year ever! I do this in several ways, but the most important is to set my theme for the year through a word or phrase. This is a great way to remind yourself through the year of what you want to accomplish. This year my word was FOCUS, and I have kept that in the back of my mind through the last 9 months. What will your word or theme be? And remember to set aside time (see the calendar above) to refresh your skills – to read, create, and learn!

Use these 5 ideas to prepare for your best year ever in 2017! Let me know what you think in the comments section below, and tell me how you’re getting ready for the new year!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

PS: Need help setting goals or getting your finances in order for a fabulous 2017? Come join me at my Designer MBA event in Dallas Nov. 2-3 and we can work together to transform your business! You will learn how to charge what you’re worth, how to attract the ideal client for your company, how to schedule your time, and the best way to market your business. Learn more by clicking here!

On the Road Again!

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chicago

I can’t believe it’s almost July! The last couple of months have been a whirlwind of travel for me, which has made the time really fly by. And as much as I want to be home working on my interiors, I do find lots of inspiration from my travels and fabulous finds for client projects! And aside from the amazing inspiration in the cities I visit (like Chicago last week), the events I’ve held and attended have introduced me to incredible people and let me visit with longtime friends.

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In May, I held my Designer MBA class at ADAC in Atlanta, where the Duralee team (above) hosted a fun cocktail reception for my attendees and my new fabric launch. Atlanta is so much fun, and the ADAC group was fantastic to work with, too!

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Then I got to meet up with my great friend Barry Dixon in Dallas and Houston as we hosted a presentation on the business of design, and also talked about his new line with Fabricut and mine with Duralee. I always love catching up with Barry!

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In Chicago, my Mastermind group met at the Eastern Accents headquarters, which are amazing! The Eastern Accents team also gave us an incredible tour of their factory where we were able to see their stunning designs under construction, like the pillow above with its pattern template. So cool!

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The group also heard from successful designers about how they do business, and I’m so thankful to Denise McGaha and Tiffany Brooks for being so open and sharing so much with the members. We also had fun doing a little shopping in Eastern Accents from their samples. And designer Rachel Cannon Lewis even spotted her client’s order, waiting to be shipped!

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And while I was in the Chicago area, I also hosted consumer and designer presentations at two Toms-Price retail locations in Lincolnshire and Wheaton. It was so much fun to meet everyone who came out to hear me talk about color and the business of design- and to see my CR Laine designs on the retail floor and get a glimpse at my Woodbridge collection hitting Toms-Price locations this summer.

Whew! It’s a good thing I’m heading to the beach this weekend. Yes, it’s more travel, but this time with family and friends so there’s a lot of relaxation waiting for me at the other end of this trip! And just for a week I am leaving work, my house and dog, plant watering, my home renovation and punch list and all my daily responsibilities to my fabulous team, sub-contractors, house-sitters and friends back home.

Happy Summer!

xo,

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PS – If you’re interested in becoming a member of my Mastermind group, just click here! This amazing group of designers is serious about elevating their businesses with me, and I’d love to do the same for you! Click through this link, or email me at info@tobifairley.com to get started today!

5 Tips for Dealing with the ‘Messy Middle’

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messy

When you start a project, there’s that magical feeling of excitement and possibility. You feel super-creative and full of ideas and energy – it’s amazing and so much fun! And at the end of a project, you have a sense of accomplishment, and you can’t wait to unveil your fabulous design or solution to your clients and to the world. But then there’s the middle of a project

That’s the tough and messy part of our business – that middle part where you’re dealing with headaches and issues. You’re slogging through what seems like a mountain of problems, and feeling completely chicken-pecked by your staff, subcontractors or collaborators, and your 5-mile-long To Do list. Ugh.

The middle is tough. It’s hard to keep up your excitement level, or to be motivated to tackle everything with enthusiasm. It’s like the shiny part wore off your favorite toy. But that is exactly the time when you need to kick things into high gear. In the middle, you have to communicate even more so your clients don’t wonder what’s going on. You have to keep your momentum going so your staff doesn’t lose their motivation, too. And you have to keep juggling everything so it doesn’t all come crashing down on you. The middle is messy, but so very important!

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The middle is also a key part of your career as a creative professional. When you start out, you are starry eyed with the possibility of amazing clients and incredible projects, ready to show the world how amazingly creative you are. At the end of your career, you hope to look back on a fulfilling and long creative path, full of happy clients and dazzled editors. But the middle is where you can lose focus, or worse, lose all your motivation. Have you been there? Or are you there now?

Call it burnout, call it a mid-life crisis, or call it stress – the result is the same. You are exhausted from running your business, you feel like you wouldn’t recognize anything creative if it hit you in the head, and you struggle just to have your head down slogging through your To Dos. We all hit this wall in the middle of our careers, and we have to recognize it and deal with it, otherwise it could be the end of our businesses instead of the middle.

So how do we “deal” with it? Here are 5 tips for dealing with that “messy middle”:

1. You have to take care of yourself. This isn’t me being all “woo woo,” it’s a simple fact. Entrepreneur magazine has hundreds of articles that talk about how self care is absolutely critical for small business owners – and that’s you! You need to slow it down, get your rest, exercise, and eat the right things. Stress is literally a killer, and you need to make yourself healthy enough to deal with the stress that comes with the job. After all, you are the most important thing in your company.

2. Deal with your emotions. Are you scared that your company might fail? Are you angry at a vendor (or two)? Are you nervous that clients aren’t coming your way? This is all normal – every CEO from the biggest company to the smallest has these feelings. The key is to recognize them and address them instead of shoving the emotions down where you don’t have to look at them. Facing your worst fears and saying “what is the worst that can happen” is the best thing you can do. You’ll find that even if the worst case scenario comes true, you can deal with it. Doing that takes a lot of the sting out of the fear and allows you to stop blaming yourself. You can also then come up with a plan to help you keep those fears from becoming reality.

3. Ask for help. We ALL have to to do this at some point – and sometimes more than once. No single person on earth can do every single thing all alone. Whether it’s moral support, financial support, coaching, or additional employees or contractors, ask for the help you need. Don’t let your pride get in the way of your future success. Even if it’s as simple as hiring someone to help with your financial paperwork, or getting advice on how to handle time management, do it today.

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4. Rediscover your passion. Too often it’s the business of doing business that wears us down. I ask my consulting clients this a lot, and I want you to really think about it now: Why did you get into this business in the first place? Whatever it was – creativity, wanting to help others, creating gorgeous interiors – how can you get back to focusing on that more? There is no reason at all to be in this business if you aren’t enjoying any part of it – and trust me, everyone from your clients to potential partners can tell when you’re burned out and lacking excitement. Here’s a big secret about being a small business owner: You are in control. So find a way to put the passion back into your company. Stop doing the things that drain you and start doing the things that ignite you!

5. Smile, laugh, and have fun! This isn’t brain surgery – it’s a creative business that’s supposed to be enjoyable. You need to have fun, to laugh, and to create joy for yourself and others. That is what life is all about! Smile more – it’s infectious and will be contagious. Have a laugh with your clients! Spread joy in your office! Think I’m off my rocker? Well would YOU rather do business with a stressed-out grump or with someone who makes you smile? Exactly. Even if you have to fake a smile for a bit, I promise you it will become genuine in no time. Life is meant to be enjoyed!

Try these tips to help get you out of that messy middle rut that we all fall into. Give yourself permission to take steps to reduce the stress that comes with our jobs. If you’re happier, I promise your clients, your team and your family will be happier, too!

xo,

Tobi-Signature

 

 

 

 

PS – If you need help dealing with any part of your business, then my Business for Creatives: Designer MBA course is for you! From financials to time management to client outreach, I’ll show you how to transform your business into a lean, mean, money making machine! You can learn more here, or you can join me for a FREE telecall at 3pm EST on March 15. On that live call, I’ll tell you why Designer MBA is a can’t-miss event for creative business owners not just interior designers. Click here to register for that call right now!

Designers: Transform Your Business, and Earn CEUs!

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Too many interior designers are struggling with the business of running their companies – it’s a common issue for people who are creatives! We have the design vision and the skills to create stunning rooms, but too often we don’t understand, or want to keep up with, the financial and strategic planning side of our businesses. Does that describe YOU?

Let me help you! My Designer MBA course is the deep-dive business education that has completely transformed design companies across the country! Taking place Nov. 10-11 in Dallas at the historic Stoneleigh Hotel, this two-day live event will give interior designers like you the tools and confidence you need to professionalize your processes and to sell your services with rock-solid confidence. And for the first time, I’m now able to offer .8 CEUs for completing the course. That’s almost all you need for a full two-year recertification!

I have an accounting degree and an MBA, in addition to my interior design degree, and I have years of experience in coaching and teaching other designers how to improve and refine their businesses for maximum success! There are hundreds and hundreds of designers who have turned their businesses around with me – and I want that same success for you!

Screen Shot 2015-09-27 at 4.01.54 PMWhat separates Designer MBA from any other business course or event is that I am also in the interior design trenches every single day. I know how hard it can be – and I have developed Designer MBA to answer all of the pain points you can have as a designer. I’ll teach you to:

  • Charge what you’re worth
  • Get your financial house in order
  • Attract your ideal client
  • Market your business like a pro

Here’s what a few of our Designer MBA customers have to say about the course:

“Since attending Tobi’s event, I had a 500% increase in profits! What Tobi will spoon-feed you is a roadmap to making money.” Mara Malcolm

“Tobi is so generous with her time and her knowledge. I walked in frightened about the future of my business. I walked out a confident designer! I have the tools to restructure, and I am rebuilding for success.” Alison Johnston

“I would have paid twice as much for the results I have already reaped!” Suzy Watkins

“After returning from Designer MBA, everything has changed in my business for the better. I have been sprinting just to keep up with everything happening. Now my time is not wasted running around, but in meeting new, quality clients and closing the largest contracts ever!” Kim Layne Gonzalez

Let me give YOU the same results! Join me at Designer MBA! Learn more by clicking here.

Stop leaving money on the table, and start feeling empowered!

xo,

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