Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would find my name and the phrase business owner in the same sentence. Nor did I see a business fueled by passion. A foreign concept surrounded by giant question marks. A concept I knew nothing about, or sought to learn. I wasn't confident nor brave enough to lean into my question marks and see what I would discover. For 20 years my passion for design stirred inside like a quiet love interest. I hadn't yet experienced the fire of curiosity to take the leap...
until April 18, 2019.
This date changed my life in so many ways. April 18th is when I said goodbye to fear and hello to the unknown. An unrecognizable fire ignited within and I haven't looked back. All of my questioning transitioned into one simple, not so simple question... Where do I begin???
I didn't know much, but my one certainty was knowing I could do this, and somehow I would figure it out. We were new to the Charlotte area, so resources were minimal at best. Without a portfolio or website, I knew it was time to put my big girl pants on and get in front of people. I knew our realtor who helped us in our move, and I knew the realtor from whom we purchased our home. My ambition got a head of me as I scheduled meetings with both real estate teams to share my hopes and dreams. I had two weeks to generate a business card and a portfolio.
That same day I designed the ugliest of business cards on Vista Print (did not have a logo), and I contacted my former GC in Naples, FL. where we used to live. Over a four year period, we renovated our home, and through the process we developed a strong relationship. There was a lot of talk around the idea of this business before our move. I'm forever grateful for his wisdom and guidance.
The night before, my sweet husband, a true salesman, coached me through my presentation. He's always taught me when introducing oneself shake hands like you mean it, never show up empty handed, and to embrace the silence. It's easy to let your nerves take over the conversation, but when asking a question, give the listener 8-10 seconds to sit with your question. Well, I obeyed and what felt like the longest 10 seconds of my life changed the trajectory of the entire presentation. I will never forget that day. It was the beginning of this beautiful journey.
Tyler Interiors, our boutique full service interior design firm is three years old! Three unimaginable years of learning, growing, stretching, leaping, praying, hustling, grinding, crying, screaming, celebrating, and of course, questioning; however, the only question these days is "where do we go from here?" This question now hugs every aspect of this business. It's what I ask myself, and our team as we continue to grow and improve. I've learned a lot, but there's still so much to take in. I never want to stop learning.
Building a business from the ground is no easy task, during a pandemic nonetheless. These last three years have forced me to step outside of my comfort zone in more ways than I can count, but I'm so thankful for each and every moment. This journey forces me to face insecurities, has exposed me to sides of myself I didn't know were within. It has introduced me to strengths I didn't know I carried. It gave me a reason to believe in myself again.
The most challenging of all my growing pains has been establishing our design process. It may sound silly, but designing is only 10% of what I do each week. In order to guide our clients to a strong finish line, I had to generate an in-house system to enhance our full-service experience. Webinars, articles, numerous podcast episodes, and, of course, trial and error helped me form a process most natural for me. In order to lead our clients in confidence, it was important our system felt organic to me and my personality. I quickly learned, when leading with confidence, our clients will follow.
The second most challenging area was social media marketing. As an in-betweener, I'm young enough to understand the value of an online presence, but old enough to get lost in the process. I'm very private in my personal life, but within a visual industry, online content is everything. Without a website and minimal portfolio, I had to get creative with what I had access to. Thanks to advanced cell phone technology, and supportive friends and family, I gathered enough staged images to get me through. Prior knowledge of perspective, angles, and editing helped generate images decent enough to use. Although critical, I remained persistent and faithful to both the process and my dream.
I spent the greater part of 2019 absorbing any and all information around social media marketing. I'm so thankful for the time and energy spent in this lane because I've learned more than I ever thought imaginable. And, as wild as it is, 95% of our inquiries now come from Instagram.
There are so many stories I could share around these last three years, but most importantly, I want to share the power in following a dream. "You'll never know until you try." will forever remain true. Turning a dream into a reality requires deep levels of focus, determination, motivation, consistency, and will power. It challenges you in unfamiliar territory, and it forces you to face your fears. It's equal parts empowering, liberating, and scary as hell. There are many moving parts behind the beautiful images, and most days are not glamorous, but achieving our goals and seeing everything come to life is what makes it beautiful.