Today I speak with POP Alumni and ambassador extraordinaire Betty Simtikidis who has decades of experience in the corporate arena and took the leap to launch her own design business during the pandemic.

Through the episode, we talk about what pushed her towards this huge career pivot, the worries she had at first and the eventual help she found as a self-professed “life long learner”. She shares her mindset of “you don’t know what you don’t know” and how that inspired her to invest into a cultivating community as a solopreneur. She speaks about her attitude towards conquering imposter syndrome, collaboration over competition and her perfect nugget of wisdom that will remind you that its all about how you make people feel.

If you’re looking for your sign to take the leap into your business or taking POP this inspiring episode is for you!


Simply Designed by Bett


This episode is sponsored by Devix Kitchens

Read the full transcript ⬇️

[00:00:04] Today I interview Betty Simtikidis, who’s an OG pop alumni. She is an ambassador. She comes back almost every time. And helps the other designers. She guides new designers, and students through the course with us in our zoom calls. She is just an incredible woman. Today’s conversation is about how Betty went from 30 years working in corporate to launching her interior design firm.

[00:00:30] She talks about how from a young age, she always loved helping family and friends design their spaces, but then she pursued a full-time career in learning and development and project and change management. It wasn’t until the pandemic, when she was given the opportunity to work on a couple of full home renovations, that she decided to leave.

[00:00:50] Her career and become a passionate entrepreneur. She now offers full-service interior design. Her company is called Simply Designed by Bette, and [00:01:00] she helps busy professionals create their ideal living space. Her motto, designing spaces for you, with you. Simply. How lovely is that? Betty draws inspiration for her designs from her passion for travel, fashion, shopping, and discovering new dining experiences.

[00:01:16] I love that. Betty Symtikidis is a gold-star human who has the best nugget of wisdom for you at the very end. I hope you enjoy this episode with Betty. I’m so excited to have you on the podcast. Um, for those listening, we were just chatting offline and I’m like, so is this like your third time on the podcast?

[00:01:39] And you were like, uh, nope, this is my first time, which goes to show. I just feel like I already know you so well. It was shocking to me that I haven’t interviewed on the podcast before because you’re just such a natural fit. Uh, so welcome. Thank you very much for having me. Why don’t you, maybe just in your own words, let everyone know who you are and what you’re all about

[00:01:57] Betty Simtikidis: I am the founder of Simply Designed by [00:02:00] Bette, which is a boutique interior design studio in Toronto. I started the company, it’s been a few years now, during the pandemic, and here I am. What was going to be a couple of years has, touch wood, moved on to a few more, and I’m very excited

[00:02:16] Rebecca Hay: that I’m here. So if you started your business during the pandemic, tell us a little bit about what you were doing before that.

[00:02:21] Betty Simtikidis: So my background is in learning and development. I worked in the corporate world for almost 30 years. I dated myself. I was learning in development. I did project management, and change management in different law firms. And the whole time from a young child, I’ve always been interested in design and I’ve always helped family and friends with design.

[00:02:45] I’ve done obviously my own home, but I’ve always helped others. And I had that little bit of a creative outlet from that perspective, but it was more of a hobby and not paid, but I was in corporate, doing my thing, [00:03:00] liking, not necessarily loving. My passion has always been design, but I found some joy in learning and development, definitely project management. I like that part of it as well.

[00:03:08] Rebecca Hay: I love that. Thank you for sharing that. You, may have dated yourself, but I do think it’s really important to share that because so many designers, I feel like I’m a bit of a broken record these days. I talk about this almost on every episode that most design firm owners that I get to talk to.

[00:03:25] And that’s a lot. Are coming at this as a second, third, or fourth career, and I love hearing that you not only came at it as like a second career, but your first career spans three decades. So, like, that must have been a big change and we don’t have to go too far down that rabbit hole, but I would love to hear, like, how does someone go from 30 years?

[00:03:46] in the corporate world to running an interior design business? Like what, what was that transformation like? And what sort of pushed you to make that call? You know,

[00:03:56] Betty Simtikidis: people always ask me like, Why don’t you start your own business? Why don’t you [00:04:00] do design full-time? Well, actually, before I even started my career in learning and development, I always wanted to go to design school.

[00:04:07] And there’s a long story behind that, but essentially, I just didn’t have the right information and the right support. I didn’t know anyone who was in the industry, so I totally chickened out and went. to do something completely different. And within that time in the corporate industry, I changed my career within there a couple of times.

[00:04:28] So I started off as a legal assistant in a law firm, I did some HR, and then ultimately landed in learning and development. I’m the type of person that I like to be challenged, I like to grow, I love new things, I love trying like I love working on projects, I love that sort of thing. And I got to a point where I knew that I needed to make a change, but I wasn’t sure what that change was.

[00:04:49] And I, and I thought that sometimes you don’t know what you don’t know. So I enlisted the help of a coach and just really navigated, like, where can I take my experience and what else can I [00:05:00] do that exists that I’m not necessarily aware of? And she kept saying to me, like, why aren’t you considering design?

[00:05:06] And I’m like, come on, I can’t, I’m not leaving this job, like to, to do that and start from scratch at this age. This is ridiculous. Like why? You know, you love it. If you want to do something and like, nope, totally not doing that. Then a series of events occurred. I was not happy. I knew I needed to make a change.

[00:05:26] And I got a call from a friend. It was during the pandemic. We are working 18-hour days to 7 days a week. It’s chaos. Trying to get everyone sort of up and running on the tech world. I get a call from a friend who says, We want to renovate our house and we want to hire you to be the designer. And I was like, let me think about it.

[00:05:47] Um, it was, it was a rough time for me. I was really trying to figure some stuff out. So long story short, I said yes. So still working full time, evenings and weekends, I was doing the design. Things were shut down. I was actually [00:06:00] like FaceTiming stores like Seat. They were walking me through the stores and I was picking tiles that were, they were delivering to my house.

[00:06:06] It was chaos. But while I was doing that, still working full time, I got a call from another friend who said, I heard you’re helping so and so. I’m in a similar situation, can you help me out? In the meantime, I’m still working with a coach who’s saying, I don’t know, maybe there’s some momentum here. Maybe you want to see how that kind of, you know, where that leads you.

[00:06:25] Rebecca Hay: You were in denial.

[00:06:26] Betty Simtikidis: You were in denial. Oh, totally. And I’m like, no, no, no, this is not, you know, I’m still not walking away. And ultimately it got to a point where. You know, we had a serious conversation in our household. Is this something that I could do? And it felt like it was the right fit. And out of complete and utter fear, I left my full time job to keep the momentum going for two years to see how things were gonna go.

[00:06:52] Um, and we decided that as a family that was something that was possible. That’s kind of how it got started. Like, I was, I literally [00:07:00] had just put out an Instagram account just trying to get myself out there to do a side hustle. Just to get that creativity out. But the universe, it was just so weird the way everything happened.

[00:07:10] I believe in the universe was sending me a message and I, I finally heard. Yes,

[00:07:15] Rebecca Hay: yes, yes to the universe. Okay. Yes to the universe. First of all, you’re such an inspiration. Like, I can’t even imagine when you’ve been, not necessarily that you were doing the same thing because you said you changed, you know, you had different positions over those 30 years.

[00:07:29] But to be in. an atmosphere to be in a world where your identity is so tied up in what you do and the people around you. Like that is a big leap of faith. And I just want like pat yourself on the back for me, for trusting in yourself to do that. And for those listening, I hope this is inspiration to you.

[00:07:49] If you’ve been sort of on the fence, I know people listening to this podcast who are like, I kind of think like, like you were. You know, I don’t know is, is designed for me. I’m going to listen to this or like, I’m doing a few jobs on [00:08:00] the side, but I’m not quite ready to like leave my full time gig. I just think this is such an inspiration.

[00:08:05] So 2020 we’re in the pandemic. Things are starting to pick up as we all know. So, well, that was like the boomingest busiest time for our industry. It was just at the, on the heels of the pandemic. When did you find me and the power of process? So before

[00:08:22] Betty Simtikidis: I got the call from, from my first client. I knew that I wanted to do that little side hustle and not have a hobby a few years before I had started reaching out to some, like, looked at different schools, saw some designers that were former students of some of these schools and thought, let me reach out because what I was worried about was I really didn’t understand.

[00:08:43] The business side of design, like creativity wise design wise. I felt like I had enough information to get started, but I really didn’t feel comfortable in the business side. And after reaching out to a few, some of them didn’t return my calls and others were just not kind and sharing information. And I thought, wow, like, I [00:09:00] don’t feel comfortable kind of left that a bit.

[00:09:02] And then again, when I started getting a little bit more serious about it. I found your podcast coming from learning. I’m a lifelong learner. So I was seeking out ways in which to find information that was going to be helpful. And I came across your podcast at that point. You had just done your 1st P. O. P.

[00:09:20] Your 1st power process. But I totally like was excited to find. Somebody that was going to share information about this industry from the back side, like the back end where you see the business. And that was really exciting for me from there. I picked up, like, really started following. You actually attended 1 of your zoom calls.

[00:09:41] It was very enlightening to me, because in that zoom call, you had a group of people. That were like minded that were sharing information and I just sat and listened. I was so happy to be around people that wanted to share information.

[00:09:55] Rebecca Hay: Yeah, yeah, totally. I mean, that’s sort of what I feel the most proud of having created [00:10:00] is is a community where.

[00:10:02] People feel comfortable to share where they’re at, what they’re going through. And that kind of, I think, runs through all of my offerings, all my courses, designers room, like you name it, the podcast, obviously, because that’s how we learn, right? We don’t learn by being guarded and holding things close to it.

[00:10:18] Like if we’re not going to, willing to share with someone else, why are they going to be willing to share with us? And so. It’s so much about that. And that’s so amazing. So you knew you needed to learn about business. And so you were just like, yep. Like, did you have any hesitation taking the course? Were you like, Oh, I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Or were you like, okay, when is she doing this again? I need to get in it. 

[00:10:38] Betty Simtikidis: I was, when is she doing this again? You had just finished it. So the next course was marketing.

[00:10:43] Rebecca Hay: I had a momentum marketing course. Yeah. That was my first course actually. Yeah.

[00:10:48] Betty Simtikidis: That was extremely helpful to me too, because. I knew now, like, what do I want to put out there?

[00:10:54] And how do I want to communicate that? And what’s the message I want to send? So that really helped me [00:11:00] in ways, and I still use the knowledge that I gained from that particular program. So that was the very first thing that I did. Then I became a member of Designers Room. And then once POP came up again.

[00:11:11] I was on that. Like, yeah, I wasn’t going to miss it. Amazing. And I’ve been back a

[00:11:15] Rebecca Hay: couple of times. Yeah, you’re always back. And actually I should have mentioned this earlier, but Betty has been an incredible ambassador. So you, thank you so much. You’ve always not, maybe not always, but I think almost always volunteered to, to be an ambassador inside power of process, which essentially is alumni who’ve gone through the course who.

[00:11:33] Are comfortable and willing and confident to share and help the other designers who are just taking the course for the first time and and help to lead those study hall sessions. We have these weekly zoom calls that are study hall sessions and they’re not necessarily run by me. In fact, they’re run by other designers who’ve taken the program and it’s an opportunity for people to ask questions, but then share with each other.

[00:11:55] Thank you so much. You’ve been so invaluable and Also, what I love about your involvement [00:12:00] beyond having been a student of the course is that you come from that background of education and learning. And so like you and I’ve had conversations, we’ve gone for lunch, like in Toronto, we’ve had conversations where I’m like, give me feedback on my teaching style.

[00:12:14] Where can I improve? And how can I, you know, what do I do? Well, and you’ve been so helpful to me. And so thank you for that. But along those veins, like Let’s talk about that aspect. Like, there’s lots of courses out there. What makes our process and maybe just the way I teach different, in your very qualified opinion, having been a student and someone who comes from that world?

[00:12:34] Betty Simtikidis: I told you you’re like, fantastic from a learning and development standpoint, like 100 percent like great, great program. I mean, anytime you put something out from a learning perspective, you want to make sure that you’ve given people an example. Um, let them put into practice what you’ve taught them and then sort of check to see how they’re, how they’ve done with it.

[00:12:54] And what I like about POP is, is exactly that. There’s a little bit of asynchronous learning. There’s a [00:13:00] lot of time to, to speak with others and get their experience, get their input, and then put into practice what you’ve just learned. And for me, the reason I’ve done POP a few times. Sorry, I’m calling it P. O. P. and pop

[00:13:12] Rebecca Hay: I know that’s okay. Everyone calls it pop. I should just start.

[00:13:16] Betty Simtikidis: So I think with me what what was the most beneficial with it is that and I think the timing of when I took it Also was helpful for me because I had done a couple of projects and now here I am really reflecting what do I like and what do I not like what worked and what didn’t work and When you’re learning sort of makes you take the time to think through that specifically for yourself and how it works for you.

[00:13:42] That’s fantastic. And I think for anybody that does do the course, you know, thinking about what your experience has been and how you want to hone your business. That I think is the most invaluable part. So there’s, there’s a lot like I still haven’t completed. It a hundred percent [00:14:00] in the sense that I have all the pieces, I keep tweaking them at the end of this, this last year, I looked back and said, what was missing from my process based on what I had learned from when I first did it to my experience of using it, how can I improve it again?

[00:14:17] I think I will always do that. And I think I get the vibe from other designers in the program that are part of the group that are in the same boat, right? Your needs change, your, your

[00:14:25] Rebecca Hay: business changes. Absolutely. And I always say that, you know, your, your business, your process is going to continually evolve.

[00:14:32] And I think that’s true of any business. And there really is no one size fits all. When I went out to create this course, and thank you very much for saying such lovely words about my style of teaching, but, you know, I almost went to teacher’s college because I always. Thought that that would be a good calling for me.

[00:14:46] I really enjoyed teaching, obviously. And I like curriculum development. I get excited about like, let’s do this first. No, we can’t do that. They need to learn this foundational piece first. Anyway, so there’s a lot of thought that goes behind the creation of the course. But, um, you know, when we [00:15:00] started to develop this course, obviously people were asking students from our momentum course, like you were saying, tell me about this process that you keep talking about.

[00:15:06] What is this? And I realized, oh my gosh, shoot, this is something that. Is even more integral than your marketing, because if you don’t have your shit together, you can bring in all the best clients in the world, and they’re not gonna enjoy working with you. They’re not gonna refer you and your business is not gonna grow.

[00:15:21] You need to have the systems to scale and just to have confidence and not have a life of chaos. And so when I set out to create the program, it was really important to me that I was creating it with the designer in mind who’s it. Whether or not they’ve even started the design firm, they could take it so you could be at any stage of the game and still get something out of this course.

[00:15:44] And you are like proof is in the pudding, like you come back and you’re still learning, which goes to show there’s always something you can tweak and improve even when you’re several years into your business. Like, you know, we’ve had people take our course who’ve 20-30 years and they just want to see how others are doing it.[00:16:00]

[00:16:00] They just kind of want to see, okay, is, is my industry best practice still the best practice? Like. How is this new cohort running their design firm? Right. And it’s really, really helpful for that. So I’m really glad that that’s been your experience. And you’re right. We’re always tweaking just the other day.

[00:16:16] I was sitting down with my senior designer and we’re like, huh, you know what? I think we’re going to start doing the budget before trade day, like in detail. And then we can review with the client. Cause typically if you guys know my process, the concept and budget reviews, when we review the budget and I’m like, you know, I’m starting to feel like the types of clients, like we want to kind of get that out of the way early.

[00:16:35] And so it’s always going to evolve, but it doesn’t mean that you don’t need to have a set way of doing things. Right. So tell me a little bit more. What other takeaways did you get from Power Process? And maybe from some of the other courses, because I think you’ve done like all the things with me. Right.

[00:16:52] Betty Simtikidis: So from Power Process specifically, I would say really nailing down my ideal client. I’ve had the joy, the [00:17:00] benefit of, of working with friends and family and then that sort of, you know, moving out to, to other people and I’ve, I’ve been very fortunate. I’ve had some calls that have come up, uh, from discovery calls, so that’s like the first step, right?

[00:17:13] Just really, you know, learning more about someone’s interest and then vetting whether or not we would be a good fit to work together. So I’ve learned a lot about asking the right questions. But also preparing the client for what to expect throughout the entire process, because a lot of them have not necessarily, in my experience, my clients have not necessarily worked with designers in the past.

[00:17:36] So what’s that process look like? What’s involved? You know, really helping them to set up their expectations at each point. And also like just learning from others as part of those discussions, like while taking the course, what they’ve done and how that’s worked for them, because I think it always goes back to, and I use this in my learning world too, that you just don’t know what you don’t know.

[00:17:57] So being present and listening to others [00:18:00] experience, you don’t know when you’re going to need that in your future. So there’s a lot of things that. That came up for me that I was like, Oh my gosh, I didn’t even know that. And then, you know, fast forward a few weeks, months, years later, and you’re like, I now know what I can do in that scenario.

[00:18:13] So there’s, there’s a little bit of that. And to be honest with you, and I’m kind of going off here, but the one thing that surprised me that I was pleasantly surprised to see was seeing that there were a lot of designers that have had a lot of years of experience that have taken the program. I’m like, Oh my gosh, like, why would you be taking this program?

[00:18:31] But I totally understand that in design school. They don’t teach that. They don’t give you that business side. And that’s crazy to me. And I did some learning. I did go to design school. I didn’t end up completing design school because of some circumstances that did occur for me. But, you know, the programs that I did take, there was really nothing much.

[00:18:51] Very, like, scratching the surface on

[00:18:54] Rebecca Hay: Running a business. I know it’s such a, I mean, not to knock the schools like I, you know, Hey, if [00:19:00] you’re listening and you teach one of these schools, like let’s partner together. Like, how can I help teach this to designers? But it is something that. You do start to see that a lot of designers reach out to me on Instagram and they’re like, what should I do first?

[00:19:12] Should I go to school or and I always say, you know, it really depends on who you are. And if you are somebody who feels more confident because you have the accreditation behind you or because you want to make sure you’re covering all your bases and you learn all about the like technical skills and that then you might feel like you need to go to school.

[00:19:32] But if you’re someone who’s maybe already done schooling. already has had a career and you’re like, I need to start generating some revenue and like dive right into this. Then maybe going to school, it isn’t really what you need to do, but you do need to learn about business either way. You need to understand how to run an interior design business and what better way to do it than from someone who’s doing it and has done it, but also to be surrounded by all these other design firm owners.

[00:19:56] And that’s the community aspect of power process that I think that nobody really [00:20:00] signs up for it looking for that, but then you leave it. Um, and I’d love to hear your experience about that because you do get to know other designers in the Facebook group on the zoom calls and then people start to connect offline.

[00:20:13] Betty Simtikidis: I mean, I’ve made some fantastic connections, some lovely people. I mean, there’s everyone that I’ve met, I think has been great, but I feel like there’s a, there’s a few that have, you know, really. Supported me for me. I was hesitant to ask. I always felt like I don’t know as much as you do. So maybe I shouldn’t but then I realized it’s a safe place.

[00:20:32] It’s it’s really a safe place in the designers room community. Like, you know, throwing out a question in the Facebook group and someone’s going to get back to you and support you. And the difference between being in my previous world and in this world. Being an entrepreneur and being a solopreneur, my husband hates that word, he’s like, why are you calling yourself that?

[00:20:53] I’m like, because I’m alone. That’s what it is. Like, you’re alone, right? Like, you’re alone. You know, it’s my business. [00:21:00] It’s me doing my thing every single day. But knowing that I have a community that does the same thing, that understands. The challenges, understands what potentially could be happening at any given time and knowing that I can reach out and speak to them.

[00:21:12] And I’ve, you know, met people for lunch. I’ve met them for coffee. We’ve met up at the interior design show at different industry events. And it’s, it’s great because we always find an opportunity to really talk and support each other. And sometimes I feel now that I might even be able to offer a little bit of encouragement and where I didn’t feel that initially.

[00:21:30] And that was probably just, you know, my inexperience.

[00:21:33] Rebecca Hay: I like that you share that though, because sometimes people get a little bit intimidated. Like, Oh, I don’t want to go to a zoom call. Like, I don’t want to show my face. I don’t have anything to contribute. Like, I’m just here to learn. Like, I don’t need that aspect of the course.

[00:21:44] And I want to encourage anyone who’s thinking that way to recognize that everyone’s at a different stage. And you don’t even, like you said, you weren’t really asking questions. Probably the first round, you were just sort of there. You maybe asked a question or two, but you really absorbed it. And there’s a lot to [00:22:00] learn just from being a fly on the wall.

[00:22:02] Inside these zoom calls. 100%.

[00:22:03] Rebecca Hay: 100%. And you hear people going through an experience. You’re like, Oh God, shit. I never want that to happen to me. Right. But now you know that it could happen. Or someone asks a question about something and you’re like, Oh yeah, that happened to me last year. I’m so, I wouldn’t have thought to ask that question.

[00:22:19] I’m so glad she said that. Uh, there’s just so much that happens when it’s like, what is it like learning by osmosis? You’re just like in the environment. Right. So you absorb it. Absolutely. All right, designers, if you have been looking for a millwork company, a custom kitchen fabricator, then you have to check out Devix Kitchens.

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[00:23:53] You’ve really grown your business. So talk to me or tell our listeners, I guess, about like, how does your business [00:24:00] Look now versus when it started. Like what are some of the changes that you’ve implemented thanks to power of process or just your learnings?

[00:24:07] Betty Simtikidis: So I would say the biggest change is my level of confidence.

[00:24:10] I think you go through, and I, and I think, again, I’m surprised when I hear other designers that have a lot more experience behind them say the same thing. There’s this element of imposter syndrome that I think, I don’t know if it’s all creatives that go through this, but, you know, you’re like second guessing things, and I’m like, and then after, you know, you do your presentation, it’s like, Okay, I got this.

[00:24:31] Sometimes it doesn’t feel like it. Um, but I think some of the things that really have stood out for me is the confidence, the process, so like, knowing how long things are going to take. So being able to gauge, like, when can I take on something new? So if someone reaches out, do I have capacity at this point?

[00:24:47] This past year I’ve realized I need some help. And one of the other things that I’ve learned through the community is that you don’t have to be the everything because we wear a lot of hats as entrepreneurs. So, [00:25:00] um, there’s certain things that I want to make sure that I have my 100 percent take on. Um, so for right now, like my marketing is something that I want to be on top of.

[00:25:09] I want to make sure that my voice is coming across, but I did get help in developing my website, which was great. I have help with my bookkeeping because that’s not my forte.

[00:25:18] Rebecca Hay: That’s essential. 

[00:25:21] Betty Simtikidis: Yes. It’s getting help. So a couple of different freelance people helping me with, with some of the other things that are going on on the day to day that people don’t see that there’s a lot of admin that goes on and then there’s the creative side.

[00:25:34] So right now I’m taking care of most of the creative side and well, all of the creative side, but getting help on things like admin drawings, site measurements with people coming out to help me on some of the installations.

[00:25:46] Rebecca Hay: I love that. You’ve been saying you need some help for a little while now. And I keep saying, you got to get some help.

[00:25:51] So good. That was so good. Yeah, no, it’s great. So tell me, I guess, a little bit more about where you’re headed. Like, where do you see Simply [00:26:00] Designed by Bet moving in the next sort of phase of your business? I like

[00:26:04] Betty Simtikidis: where I’ve been headed. And I want to continue that. So we do full service design, a lot of Renovation, so I don’t have my own crew, for example, but I’ll work with the client’s contractor and their team and I’d like building those relationships and having opportunity to work with people that are like minded and have the same integrity and value that that I do.

[00:26:29] So I want to continue to foster. Some really good relationships to be able to have people that I can go to whenever I have projects of that nature,

[00:26:38] Rebecca Hay: if you like trade partners, right? Sort of partners. Yeah, repeat trade partners. Yeah,

[00:26:44] Betty Simtikidis: absolutely. Because then it just makes things easier. You know, you know how they work.

[00:26:48] They know how you work. It just makes it a better experience for the client. And I think ultimately, like, my goal is to just provide a really good experience For a client, I think, you know, ultimately, why am I doing [00:27:00] this, right? I mean, it’s for them to make sure that they’re happy and what they get. And I’m always trying to make sure that the client is, is getting what, what they want out of their, out of their experience and out of their investment.

[00:27:13] Cause it really is an investment. So really trying to hone the experience. I think full service per design, full service for decor or both. Is really where I want to stay focused and residential or commercial. I’m happy to do either.

[00:27:26] Rebecca Hay: So you said something just now that was kind of intriguing. And you mentioned that you are getting a better sense now of the time it takes to do a project.

[00:27:37] So, you know, when you can take on the next project. And so I’m just sort of curious. I want to just dive into that for a minute, because It really brought up some memories for me, some trauma, some traumatic memories from when I first started out. And, um, I was afraid, and I’m just curious if you went through this, cause I feel like we, you know, we, we share a lot in common, but that I was afraid that if I couldn’t take on [00:28:00] the project right away, They wouldn’t want to work with me, and so I found myself in a situation where I was so stressed out because I was so busy because I had so many things on the go, and I just couldn’t say no, or I couldn’t, I guess I didn’t have the confidence at the time, but I just remember a time, and I’m just curious if this is how you started out, a time in my business where I’m like, I’m picturing myself like in my spare bedroom in my house before I had kids being like, yeah, sure.

[00:28:29] Okay. I can meet you on Friday and like, let’s, you let’s get rolling next week. And, and people would ask me, clients would ask her potential clients would say like, you know, do you have availability? And I remember thinking, what a ridiculous question. Obviously I will take any job that comes my way. Until I was just burning out over and over again.

[00:28:46] Then I started to understand, okay, I need to give myself minimum, this is how I started, four weeks to design. Tell I can present to my ideas to my client. That was sort of how it started until I started saying, okay, I was comfortable saying that and then I could [00:29:00] extend it. Is that what you’re sort of referring to?

[00:29:02] Is that transformation from doing anything based on when the client wanted you to now you saying I can start your project in September because in my head, I know I’ve got these three other projects. Like, is that what you’re talking about?

[00:29:15] Betty Simtikidis: Absolutely. So last year and the year prior, a similar experience saying yes to everything, because again, like, you know, as an entrepreneur, you don’t know when your next client is going to come and where they’re going to come from, I, you know, again, like, I’ve left this corporate world and doing my own thing.

[00:29:31] And there’s still this level of fear. And I don’t know if that ever goes away. But it was hard for me to say no. So it was always yes. But what I’m now doing is yes, but not right now, so not yet, if that makes sense. So not a no, but not yet. And really trying to understand, like, how many projects do I have on the go?

[00:29:53] What stages are those projects in? So I’ve developed a seven-step process that I learned through POP [00:30:00] that works for me. So those seven steps work for me. The first stage is consultation. That could be a standalone. That could happen anytime with anyone, but if they want to move into the 2nd phase, which is, you know, designing, then I know that that takes.

[00:30:16] A certain amount of time and depending on the scope of the work, then I might need, like you said, you know, you need a few weeks to put it all together from the time that you’ve signed off on the budget and the concepts and having the trades come in and do a walkthrough that all takes time. And I think people don’t have that information.

[00:30:35] They don’t really know what that looks like. So the honing of the process and communicating to the clients all the time, that’s. That’s what I’m trying to really make sure that I’m doing, but what I experienced last year was, some of it’s out of my control, and this is what I’m trying to really navigate through.

[00:30:51] What happens when you have no control over something doesn’t, like, I think the times, um, since COVID, it’s gotten better that we’re not waiting as [00:31:00] long for products, but we still have to factor in that something might show up damaged. What happens if that’s a critical part of the project? I’m doing a lot of renovations.

[00:31:08] So, you know, I have a vanity that’s been, the project was supposed to be three weeks. We’re at three months because the vanity has gotten delivered, chipped on two occasions. So it’s getting remade. You know, that’s not fair to the client, but there’s nothing that we can do. It’s not something that falls under my control.

[00:31:24] Um, so just helping. The client to have a better experience really navigating that for them. Yeah. How do you really do that? So I’m really trying to figure out like without saying no, how do you pace yourself? How do you pace that project? And then like this year, I’m really trying to focus in on bringing in help in places where.

[00:31:42] I can use it to help me get through that process and it not being 100 percent on me, right? Because you can only do so much.

[00:31:50] Rebecca Hay: Exactly. And once you start having other people, you can do things in less time, right? If you’re strategic about it, right? So if you no longer have to do, let’s say, the [00:32:00] AutoCAD drawings.

[00:32:01] Someone else can be doing that well while they’re doing the AutoCAD drawings and of course you’re going to give revisions and et cetera and you’re going to mark it up and ask them to change things. You can be outsourcing the tile, the fabric, the furniture, doing some invoices or what have you. So you guys can be working sort of in tandem at the same time.

[00:32:18] What I think I’m hearing, and I just, for those who are listening, is this sounds like a dream, probably for some of you listening. You’re like, oh my god, I don’t know how long these projects will take. Like, how am I supposed to predict that? How am I supposed to know when I’m ready to take on the next project?

[00:32:31] And I will say, it starts with having a freaking process. Absolutely. Because if you have a, let’s say, seven step process, you know that you have seven milestones you have to hit. Okay, let’s now put those milestones down on paper. When do we anticipate those dates might be? Okay, given the scope of work, and this is what you’re talking about, given the scope of work, this is a kitchen project.

[00:32:54] We’re just doing the kitchen. We’re not touching the rest of the house, but the kitchen is such and such a size. How long will it [00:33:00] take me to get to that first milestone? Okay, let’s map it out. And that’s where it really acts as like, not just your foundation, but kind of like a framework so that you can then start layering those projects on top.

[00:33:12] And, and, you know, we get to a point in our design firm where I never want to have two projects that are exactly at the same phase and same step. I find it overwhelming. I’m not one of those people who likes to go furniture hunting for three different projects. I used to try that. I’m like, Oh, I’m just going to kill three birds with one stone.

[00:33:27] I was so distracted. I couldn’t remember which project I was looking for. And so that’s how I function. But until you have a process, it’s really hard to start looking ahead. Would you agree?

[00:33:38] Betty Simtikidis: Absolutely. The very first job that I took on, and I’m so glad that they were my friends. They were very patient, but, but I also know that like, we went shopping together for everything.

[00:33:50] Right. And after that project ended. I said, you know, like, I’m, you know, they’ve referred me to so many people, which is fantastic, but I’ve said to them, you know, like, what we [00:34:00] did together is not what I do any longer. And the reason for that is because, first of all, it’s overwhelming. There’s a lot of information that goes on, and I feel like what we bring to the table, if this is what your business, like, for me, what I want to bring in full service is I’m taking that away.

[00:34:17] I’m really understanding what it is that you want, but I’m going to go put it together and present the options to you so that you don’t become overwhelmed with, you know, this floor tile, this shower tile, and all these details that when you’re doing an entire home is, it’s too much. Even if you’re just doing a kitchen, it’s too much.

[00:34:35] So there’s, I really try to gauge with my clients how involved they want to be. And most of the time the involvement is. I might show you a couple of counters before I finalize the details to make sure I’m on the right track. Yeah. And that really happens at concept at the

[00:34:51] Rebecca Hay: concept phase. This is something that you’ve learned from experience and from process and from being with other designers that are like, I am the first person to say, good [00:35:00] Lord, I do not want to shop with my clients.

[00:35:02] And I even say, I say it all the time inside pop. I’m like, I am not a. Quote, air quotes, collaborative designer. I’m not going to talk about that on my website. I don’t want to send the wrong signal to a potential client who’s like, Oh, they can’t wait to work with a designer. And they get to go to the, look at the slabs and they get to go and like, Oh, this can be so fun.

[00:35:21] We’re going to go look at the lighting with the design. And like, that’s not the experience. I want and so therefore I’m attracting a different type of client and that’s, you know, what you’re going through now too is like, okay, wait a minute, that’s how it started and like that was fine. So I was learning and they were my friends, but now I need to let clients know that my process does not involve me dragging them around to all the different showrooms.

[00:35:42] Betty Simtikidis: Yeah. I think it’s just easier for everybody. Like I said, I want to give them a great experience. It’s, you know, you see all these things in the store and you can get so distracted and it’s, it could derail things.

[00:35:52] Rebecca Hay: Yeah. There are so many reasons I don’t do that. Yeah.

[00:35:55] Betty Simtikidis: Yeah. There’s, there’s a lot. Scheduling.

[00:35:57] Yeah. Right. Scheduling a hundred percent. Like, you know, [00:36:00] when are you available? I can’t

[00:36:00] Rebecca Hay: go Tuesday. What about Friday morning? Like no, my, my, my weeks are so scheduled that it gives me so much freedom. And it’s so counterintuitive. When I first started doing this, I didn’t understand. I was like, Oh no, I don’t want to have my calendar because I block out times to like.

[00:36:15] Work on things. I’m going to go sourcing this day. My time is my time with my team and my clients. I’m like, here’s two potential dates that we can meet on zoom. Which one works for you? I’m like, I’m very nice about it, but the scheduling of having to meet clients here, there, and everywhere. No, thank you, ma’am.

[00:36:31] It’s not in the cards for me. Yeah, it’s a lot. Is there anything that we didn’t touch on as it pertains to Power of Process, because it is coming back, and I know there’s a lot of designers listening who are like, I don’t know, I’ve been thinking about it for a while, maybe they’re on the fence, and they’re like, this sounds really nice, but I’m not sure.

[00:36:48] What would you say to those designers who are listening today?

Betty Simtikidis: I would say, like, again, I’m a lifelong learner. For me, like, I don’t think there’s anything wrong in investing in learning to hone, right? And maybe that’s all it is. It could be a small tweak, but that small tweak could save you a lot of time and just change the whole experience for you.

[00:37:06] And, and. I don’t know what I don’t know part, right? It’s like what could potentially come up in a conversation that could lead me down a path that I never expected to, to go down. For me, POP gave me the confidence. I feel supported. I’ve met amazing people through it, a great coach right here, that I feel like I can talk to anytime, which is fantastic.

[00:37:31] Also, like, just being around like minded people. I think there’s something that you talk about in POP, collaboration over competition, there’s a lot to go around. Right. And the things that people have shared with me that you have shared with this group, I never thought was possible and I would not be where I am today if I didn’t have this exposure.

[00:37:54] And it sounds to me from meeting all these people that have gone through POP, that they’ve had a very similar [00:38:00] experience, even having worked in the industry and having experience and having clients. It’s either setting you up for success from the outside, if you haven’t done it before, or it’s really helping you to hone in on what it is that you want to do.

[00:38:11] Even the pricing was invaluable. You know, just trying to figure out how, like, that’s the whole reason I really looked into it. How do you price out a job? Like, what do I charge somebody? You know, because they’re like, oh, I want to pay you. Well, how are you going to, I don’t know what to pay me. Now I know.

[00:38:24] Now I know. And again, I’ve tweaked that too, that works for me. You know, I track all my hours to see, you know, how long did it actually take? I think a lot of people that have not worked with designers before don’t really understand the level of detail that goes into that implementation phase and what that really looks like.

[00:38:42] And the fact that there’s, there’s so much that could potentially come up in that stage. That isn’t doc, like it’s, you can try to be as set in stone as possible, it goes completely out the window. Um, but I think, I think for me it’s all of those things and it’s also, it’s also helped me really remember [00:39:00] that because I’ve always been trust your gut kind of person.

[00:39:04] Being part of all of this, it’s really helped me to figure out that that’s still a good place to

[00:39:09] Rebecca Hay: start. I love that. Trust your gut. That’s something that we all can work on daily, right? It’s like following our gut and our instincts, but sometimes we get so caught up in our head and we don’t know like, well, what should I do?

[00:39:20] What is the right decision? How will other people do it? And so I do think that having access to a program like Power of Process or Pricing with Confidence, like you mentioned, which is my pricing course, I mean, they all complemented it. each other. But that helps to give you, like you said, it gives you tools that then now you have the tools and you see how others are doing it.

[00:39:40] Now you feel more confident, right? Now you don’t feel like you’re just making it up. And like, should I trust this feeling? Like, I don’t know, who am I? I don’t have any experience in this. Oh, but Betty is doing it that way. And Rebecca’s doing it that way. And Shirley’s doing it that way. And Jocelyn’s doing it that way.

[00:39:55] Okay. Yeah, I can charge this, or I can say, I’m not taking you to showrooms because you [00:40:00] see that there’s a community of people who are doing it. Now, everyone does it differently, but it’s. Still so confidence building. And I love that you said the biggest takeaway for you was confidence because that is somebody asked me a couple of years ago.

[00:40:10] They’re like, well, like what is the big, you know, you’re trying to figure out the marketing to like get people interested in the course and they’re like, well, what’s the big takeaway? Like what are people leaving with? And I’m like, confidence, like I’m instilling confidence in these women. And this like was a marketing person.

[00:40:24] They’re like, uh, you can’t sell confidence. Sorry. Can you come up with something else? And I was like, yeah, but that’s it. And they’re like, oh, people don’t want confidence. I’m like, no, I think they do. I don’t know. And then I’m like, do they?

[00:40:36] Rebecca Hay: I’m like I do. I do. So it’s made for people like me. 

[00:40:41] Betty Simtikidis: When you start off, like for me, I was, there was a lot of fear.

[00:40:46] The fear of the unknown was a big one, not knowing what to expect not knowing how things might go and not knowing whether or not you’re going to succeed one job at a time. It wasn’t even about just in general. It was just one job at a time is how are things going to go? And just knowing that I can do these things a little bit differently. And again, like everybody’s different. You don’t want to take somebody to a showroom. Someone else might only want to take them to a showroom. And then there’s everything in between. What’s right for you? And I think this helped me figure out what I really, really loved. And what I, what I was missing. And what I needed to kind of let go of. And I’ve been very fortunate. Like I’ve had, like I said, I’ve had fantastic clients. That, you know, I’d love to work with again, but the experience is different as we go along. It’s my process is changing to make that a much better experience for everybody.So sorry to all my previous clients who went through the chaos of the beginning

[00:41:41] Rebecca Hay: I do think on that. Actually, I went for dinner the other night with a girlfriend of mine. She was one of my first clients, similar friend. We did a big run out and the house looked beautiful and it was in a magazine and everything, but I’m sitting there thinking like, gosh, how different my business is now from that time.

[00:41:57] Bye. Bye. Bye. And I’m thinking like, I, I don’t even, I [00:42:00] almost want to ask her, but I didn’t, you know, like, what was the experience like working with me 10 years ago? Because like, that must have been stressful. I’ve

[00:42:10] Betty Simtikidis: asked, I’ve asked. And I think that’s comes from the learning. It’s that, what was your experience?

[00:42:14] Like, where can I make any improvements for, you know, if we work together again or for anyone else that I work with? Yeah, that’s really important. I will say, cause you mentioned published the very first house. That I got called to do got published last year. Congratulations. Thank you. Very happy about that.

[00:42:32] Super proud. And I had it photographed, obviously, and setting up for that photography of a whole house, the photography course that with you. Fantastic. Like, It just helped me because I would not have realized how much time and effort would go

[00:42:47] Rebecca Hay: into that. I forgot about that photography course we did. Yeah.

[00:42:50] It’s a workshop. I got to release that once people can get it because you’re right. It was so good. It was so detailed and you got, it was a photography and publishing workshop and [00:43:00] you got published. That’s amazing. Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love it. I love I could talk to you all day, but we don’t have all day. So I do want to make sure that you get a chance to share your nugget of wisdom before we sign off today.

[00:43:11] I feel like you’ve already dropped a whole bunch of things that people are probably going to DM you about anytime, but what is your last nugget of wisdom for us today? 

[00:43:20] Betty Simtikidis: So it’s a little different. I knew that you were going to ask this question and I, and I think there are a few things that sort of have happened more recently that have given me reason to pause and just Reflect and be extremely grateful.

My nugget is to be kind, be kind to everyone, be kind to people around you, the people that you work with, whether they’re trades, your clients, your kids, soccer coach, the parents on the team, wherever you are, I think, you know, more recently, I had someone ask, where do you find your clients? And like I said, they’ve all been friends and family. And from there, it’s branched out. people that they’ve referred me to. And so, you know, I think a level of that is also kindness. Might be, yeah, process is great. But if you have someone that you don’t really like to be around, or you don’t feel like is listening to you or nice, then maybe they’re not going to call you back.

[00:44:12] Maybe they’re not going to tell somebody else about you, even though your design is beautiful. Right, but there’s people that I’ve met years ago that have reached out to me that have referred that I’m so grateful and humbled by because, you know, obviously you leave an impression and it’s not about, you know, whether they like you or not, it’s more about, like, how do you make people feel and I think, you know, you just never know how that’s going to come full circle at some point in your life.

[00:44:37] And I, I feel so grateful all the people that have supported me throughout this journey and that have cheered me on because like. You know, I’ll get that through LinkedIn, I’ll get that through Instagram, I’ll get that people that I haven’t seen in a while, I bump into them in places. And I think that just remember a simple little thing like just be kind.

[00:44:57] Rebecca Hay: I love that. Thank you so much. And that is such a great [00:45:00] note to end on is people remember how you make them feel. Absolutely. In life and in business. So thank you for that. It’s a really great way to, to end our conversation today. Thank you so much for being on the podcast, Betty. Can you let everyone know where they can find and follow you?

[00:45:15] Betty Simtikidis: So you can find me on Instagram at simply designed by bet. My website is simply designed by bet. com. I’m also on LinkedIn. You can find me Betty Simtikidis. Please feel free to DM me. I’m more than happy to, to chat any questions anyone might have about the process, about the podcast. The program, designer’s room, my experience, whatever that is.

[00:45:37] Rebecca Hay: Thank you so much. One last question I do have for you. Do people call you Bette? Yes.

[00:45:42] Betty Simtikidis: I’m not a fan of my name, personally, and my closest friends call me

[00:45:47] Rebecca Hay: Bette. I mean, it makes sense. If simply designed by Bette, there’s a reason. Yeah. Yeah. Love it. Okay. Thank you so much, Betty. And we will probably see you again in the very next Power of Process.

[00:45:57] Thank you so much. [00:46:00] Well, how lovely is Betty? Thank you guys for listening to that conversation. Betty, thank you for coming on here and sharing how Power of Process has impacted you and given you the confidence to really build your interior design firm. I love hearing these stories. I also love your nugget of wisdom.

[00:46:17] It’s a really great reminder for all of us that being kind to other humans is only going to do good in the world and eventually karma, man, it comes back at you and how you make people feel matters more than anything else. And I think a lot of us as designers, we know. The power of being kind. But sometimes we forget that it’s how we’re going to make our clients feel is how we make the people feel that are our trades, the people in our lives.

[00:46:45] And they’re the ones who are then going to likely refer us. And we’re all just going to have more fun as a result. I love that Betty has really learned to take the time. needs to do a project and not take on too many projects at the same time [00:47:00] because it’s just a recipe for burnout and is following and constantly revamping and tweaking her process.

[00:47:06] So Betty, thank you so much for sharing your wisdom today. If you guys want to join us inside POP, I am almost certain you will get a chance to connect with Betty inside POP, the Facebook group, the Zooms. Please come and join us. This time around, it’s coming back. You can find out more if you go to and I look forward to supporting you on your business journey just like Betty inside POP.