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Modern Furnitures

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Many women approaching their 40's write to me to ask my opinion about whether or not they should go to Interior Design school. It's an issue I struggled with myself many times over a twenty year period.

I interviewed a number of interior design schools at various points in my past career but never followed through on actually applying. I already had a BA, an MBA and years of experience. The thought of being a full time student for two to four more years with a bunch of kids twenty years younger than me was not very appealing. And the cost was huge considering the significant income I would be giving up over that period.

Over the past five years, I have been approached by a surprising number of interior design graduates that asking me to hire them for my home staging company, Six Elements, Inc. Most seem to be working as sales people in furniture stores and are looking for a way out.

Just this week, a woman called me who was working on 100% commission. I couldn't image working retail hours for a furniture store after studying interior design for four years and not even be earning a salary. If you are going to work on a commission-only basis, you should absolutely be in your own business. At least then all the sales come to you instead of a hefty percentage going to your employer.

Here's what I've learned over the past five years about being a Professional Home Stager instead of an "Interior designer":

* As a Home Stager you get many more projects to work on because each project is short-term in nature which translates to much more variety in the job.

* As a Home Stager your clients often give you complete creative control because they understand that they only have to live temporarily with the changes you make to their homes. So, you get to be creative AND make the decisions.

* As a Home Stager you get many referrals for interior redesign and color projects because your staging clients love what you do with the house they are selling and often ask you to work on the new home they are moving into.

* As a Home Stager you have a much larger pool of potential clients to work with because many people who would not normally hire an interior designer or decorator do hire a professional Home Stager when selling their home. As a designer fresh out of interior design school, I know I would not have been able to decorate hundreds of homes in so short a period.

Although I have never attended design school or a design course, the people who hire me never seem to care. They have usually visited my websites, heard about me from their neighbors or real estate agents or have read about Six Elements or Staging Diva in the media. They are not interested in whether or not I can tell them if their chair is Louis the XVI or if I can draw plans to build an addition to their house. They hire me because I'm an expert in decorating a house to sell.

Now that I've staged hundreds of homes, I'm so happy I followed my instincts and stayed out of Interior Design school, and it was a huge relief to finally let go of the stress I had about the decision. Once I had focused my creative energy and talent on my own Home Staging business, I knew I had made the right choice for me.

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