Growing THROUGH Adversity

Several of my coaching clients have been experiencing ‘adversity’ this month or aka ‘lessons’ and wanted some advice and support as to how to handle certain situations. I decided to reuse this Feature Article that I wrote some time ago because it captures what I shared with them…

The Merriam-Webster dictionary says that adversity is a state, condition or instance of serious or continued difficulty. All of us solopreneurs in the home staging business have certainly faced situations that were full of adversity. In the beginning of your business you may not have learned the secrets to learning and growing from all the adverse business situations that come into your life. I am going to share some of those with you.

But first, let me tell you some stories about me that I have not shared with very many people because I was a bit embarrassed by them. When I first took my training I actually set the house on fire! When I did my very first redesign (home makeover for living) my client was horrified and put everything back that night! When I staged my first vacant my client refused to pay me the next month’s rent on the furnishings! I could go on but you get the picture. I was just starting out and all this adversity was staring me right in the face!


So how did I go from all these ‘first’ horrors to becoming as successful as I am today? Here are my secrets you can learn from:

  1. What if… you had an accident – when small accidents happen in my training course I have always just asked the group to stop, breathe and ask ‘Did anyone die?’ If not, then we decide how we can solve the problem. There is a solution to everything – focus on what the solution is. If you cannot fix what has been done, then let the client know and pay for the damages. It is usually less than your deduction anyway.
  2. What if… your client thinks you have charged too much – the best way to avoid this situation is to make sure you have provided a written estimate or quote that they have signed. That way everyone understands what the terms are, and when payment is expected i.e. upon completion or a deposit. You would have the terms on your quote. Every good home stager is worth her/his weight in gold. We do amazing work for very little money compared to the overall amounts of money that the home seller and Realtor will make!
  3. What if… your client does not want to pay you – in Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich he describes a little girl who was sent to her mother’s employer to collect her pay cheque. The employer did not want to pay it. The little girl did not budge; she just kept saying I am waiting for payment. At one point it seemed that the employer was going to throw the little girl out, but still she did not budge. Finally the employer gave her the money and she went home. The moral of this story is stay the course – keep sending the emails, or making the phone calls to get what is rightfully yours. Whenever possible ask for your retainer before you start work!
  4. What if… the home seller does not take your suggestions – this situation happens very rarely because we all do fantastic work – right? Well it should be the case but it isn’t always. You know that you are an expert (or getting there) at what you do. Sometimes the home sellers and/or Realtors think they know better than us. Or worse yet, they only do part of what we have suggested and the rest of the house looks like a disaster even though they think they have staged it. Always do your BEST WORK and let it go. Focus on working with your ideal client who does exactly what you say and totally respects your work.
  5. What if… you forgot to charge for something – I know I am not the only one who has faced this adverse situation! In the beginning I didn’t really realize just how much work there was to staging a house! Training is one thing but actually doing the job on your own and being responsible for it, well that’s a whole other story. Just know that at times you are going to undercharge and there will also be those times where a staging job didn’t take you nearly as long as you thought it would and yet you were paid for it just the same. It all works out over time and it is great learning so that you do not make that mistake again!

Do not take these things personally – whenever we face adversity often the first thing we think of is to blame ourselves and call ourselves unpleasant names. Life happens to everyone and the best way to get on and walk on through is by knowing that you do not need to take these things personally. Remember that we all see situations through our own personal filters, just the way our clients do. Learn, grow and move on to attract the things you want to in your life.

Colleen McClure
Colleen McClure Administrator & Proud owner of PRES Staging® - Expert Home Stager. When I was very young I began drawing interiors, it just came naturally. When I work with a client now, I see the finished project completed in my minds-eye as they explain how they would love to see their space created. I am able to provide sketches on the spot of their vision so this invokes client confidence and excitement for the project from the inception through to the brilliant manifestation – How Fun! When the economy did not support the luxury of home improvements, other passions led me to full-time work as a career counsellor. I very much enjoyed assisting people one-on-one to discover their own talents but this was an arena where I would develop effective techniques in workshop design and group facilitation as well. This would lead to a ‘happy marriage’ as I would apply these skills and passions when I purchased PRES Staging® - The Professional Real Estate Staging Centre. It’s truly the greatest joy to inspire others to discover and hone their innate talents – To witness their emerging confidence while coaching them on design principals and providing them the tools to start and run their own Home Décor businesses for Redesign and Staging. If you’ve ever thought you might enjoy this line of work, or even to do it for yourself and friends, get in touch – Let’s chat!