One of the great things about my Mastermind Consulting Program is that the members are from many different backgrounds and careers – but they are all passionate about design! Laura Lee began her St. Louis-based design business, Laura Lee Home, in 2012 as a second career and never looked back! She joined my Mastermind Program in 2014 after attending Design A-to-Z and Designer MBA the previous year.
Laura’s niche is helping to direct her clients’ resources, both time and money, to help them get the very most for their investment. “Tobi really helped me see that my financial background is a unique benefit to my clients, and I love that I get to do what I love every day,” Laura says.
“Decorating and renovating are expensive and I help my clients achieve their goals without the stress of an open-ended cost structure,” Laura says. “We are vigilant about communicating every step of the way. When I approach design projects, we get very clear about budgets and timelines. I help direct clients on where to splurge and where to save.”
Laura also specializes in bringing fresh, classic, edited interiors to older homes. From the first 1920s bungalow Laura and her husband John painstakingly renovated, to the 1930s colonial and two 1920s Tudor homes she’s also worked on, Laura knew she loved historic architecture and design.
“My expertise helps to make the most of the wasted space found in many older homes and to support 21st century living,” she says.
Laura says that 2014 was a big year of transition for her business with the launch of her first website in June and evaluating everything about running her business.
“I worked to streamline my design process, documented my systems, renovated my office-to-house samples as well as paperwork, and addressed my financials,” Laura says. “Design is the fun part and getting really serious about the business side of running the design business took discipline.”
Elevating her business and her transition year was not without its challenges.
“The biggest challenge I have faced was realizing that not every client that calls our office is right for my firm,” Laura says. “We do a lot of work in Mastermind on identifying our ideal clients and what differentiates us as designers. Educating people on the design process and what I am able to do, as well as not able to do, sets the tone for a successful partnership.”
Laura’s goals for this year are to continue to grow her business and to hire an assistant to allow her to spend more time on the design work. She is also investigating options to work on a show house as well as developing a focused social media strategy.
“I am looking forward to some exciting new design projects, including a first-floor renovation and a mid-century modern home,” Laura says.
When Laura isn’t working, she loves to cook, spend time with her friends and family, read, walk and garden. “My favorite place to spend time away from home is the beach, especially Sanibel Island in Florida,” she says.
Laura says it has been a challenge to strike the right balance between work and personal commitments since starting her business, especially with two teens at home, Audrey and Jack, and their oldest son Eric in college.
“My husband and I start each morning having coffee together and playing with our dogs Charlie the Golden Retriever and Lucy the Shih-Tzu,” Laura says. “That time is sacred and keeps us connected. I have learned that exercise has to happen very early in the morning and that I have to be more structured about appointments, errands, and commitments. John and my kids have been so supportive – pitching in and taking on more responsibility, especially when I need to be out of town.”
Laura says her biggest takeaway from the Mastermind program is to be 100% authentic in everything she does. “Tobi really helped me lean in to my niche and the unique perspective that my financial background brings to my clients and business,” she says.
Laura is an amazing designer, and a fantastic businesswoman! She does have the discipline and drive to really succeed in this tough business – and I look forward to seeing what she achieves in 2015!
PS – If you are interested in seeing how my Mastermind Consulting Program can help you transform your business for success, just click here to learn more! Or contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!