Tough Love Rebecca is making an appearance in this shorty to give you permission, motivation and a kick in the butt to get out from behind your desk and in front of some people.

In this episode, I emphasize the importance of personal connections and intentional networking in building a thriving interior design business. I share my own methodology for getting out of my comfort zone, how I organize and fit in networking in my life, and why it is so vital for the success of my business.

While virtual connections are valuable, don’t overlook the power of face-to-face interactions.

Read the Full Transcript ⬇️

[00:00:59] Hey, hey, hey, it’s Rebecca and you’re listening to Resilient by Design. Today is a shorty episode all about stepping out of your comfort zone. And let’s be honest, the power of networking. That’s what I want to talk about today because I know so many of us as creatives are sometimes a little bit hesitant to connect with other people or go to an industry event Reach out to a vendor that you haven’t worked with before or cold call.

[00:01:24] And a lot of that just comes down to making yourself do it. So today’s episode is a shorty, but hopefully a little bit of a motivational kick in the butt. I keep saying inside Designer’s Room. How important it is to physically, I don’t know another word to describe it, but like to literally physically step out of your office, step out of your house, step out of wherever it is that you work and meet new people and network and do in person things, events, visits, outreach.

[00:01:58] To not only get [00:02:00] clients, because let’s face it, that is what’s missing in the marketing these days. People are so hell-bent on showing up on Instagram and updating their website. And yes, I know I talk about internet marketing and the power of it. And that is something that in May we’re discussing inside Designer’s Room.

[00:02:15] We’re talking about SEO and the power of your website and, and the tweaks that you can make. But outside of that, this business is a repeat and referral business. Full stop. This is a service-based business that is local. Most of the time, most of you are looking to work relatively local. You’re not hopping on a plane yet and flying across the country or flying across the pond.

[00:02:37] Maybe one day, but let’s start with getting clients that are local to you and building a name for yourself online. It is something that I talked about recently on a podcast episode. I’m not sure if it’s aired at this time with Alison Wilson, who is a designer in Toronto and she does beautiful high-end homes.

[00:02:55] She said most of her business is repeat or referral. And I just think that’s really, really important to remember. You know, you don’t need to blow your brains out posting on Instagram every single day because That is helpful for brand building. Absolutely. But that is not going to be the quickest return on your investment.

[00:03:12] When you step out of your house and you make that trip to that vendor that you’re nervous. Listen, I’m talking from experience. Like I’m number one, the person who gets nervous. Who’s like, do I really have to, it’s so much more comfortable just to sit here. Well, let me just see if there are more emails I can respond to.

[00:03:28] No, you need to, this is like tough love Rebecca coming out today. This is like a shorty, but goody. Some of you need this. I know I need this. So I’m giving it to you straight. You need to step outside of your house. You need to put on some makeup, blow dry your hair, whatever it is that makes you feel good.

[00:03:42] Don’t feel like you have to do makeup, but you know what I’m saying? That gist of what do you do to make yourself feel excited to be out in the world and you need to step outside. Close the door behind you, lock it, get in the car, or walk, and go, or take public trans, or whatever it is you do, but you need to [00:04:00] go to two new vendors.

[00:04:02] Can you go to two new vendors this week? Someone that you’ve kind of considered, you’re not sure about them. Maybe you don’t know who to go to. Well, reach out inside Designer’s Room, right? Send other designers a DM on Instagram, find out, and go without any other intention than connecting in person. You don’t have to have a project to go and meet with a vendor.

[00:04:23] There is a contractor in Toronto, a builder really, who I’ve, you know, wanted to work with. They look super organized. They seem like really great. They do tons of high-end work and we have been connecting or trying to connect for coffee or lunch for over a year. And no, I don’t have a project for them.

[00:04:39] They don’t have a project for me, but we are meeting next week to go for lunch just to see, Hey, let’s make that personal connection so that later when the time comes, they think of you or you remember them. The other thing you can do is just walk in and say, Hey, you know, I’m Rebecca. I’ve just walked by here many times.

[00:04:58] I’m an interior designer and I’m super curious. What’s your story? What is it all about? I’d love to work with you. I don’t have a project right now. Do that. If you can do one visit like that a week, I try to reserve Fridays for my out and about my out and about day. It doesn’t always happen, but I do try to do that.

[00:05:16] It could also just be going to see a vendor you haven’t seen in a while. So for me, it’s been a long time because I’ve had a lot of design team members doing a lot of the grunt work, doing a lot of the initial sourcing, bringing it to me, and then I’ll just pick up the phone and I’ll call my rep at the fabric showroom and say, Hey, can you bring a substitute for this?

[00:05:32] Or, oh my gosh, does this come in a wallpaper too? Can you guys drop it by? That’s the beauty of having a studio. But the problem with that is I’m not getting out and seeing other people and socializing. And so the other day I made an effort to go down the street. I literally could walk down the block from my studio and I went into Kravit and it’s like, Oh my gosh, Hey, you know, I just perused, I got some samples and I was sure looking for some specific items for a specific project, but it really wasn’t [00:06:00] so much about that.

[00:06:01] I grabbed some new things. I saw that there was this new line. And it got me chatting with the people there. I sat down and chatted with the showroom manager. We talked about going for lunch, talking about business ideas. When you put yourself in a situation where there are other humans that you can talk to, who knows what’s going to come of it?

[00:06:18] I wanted to do this episode because I didn’t want it to feel like you need to go to industry events. That is not what I’m saying. I’m not talking about going to industry events. I’m talking about. Intentionally going and connecting with other people in your industry. And then the flip side of that is connecting, networking, and stepping out of your comfort zone in order to attract clients.

[00:06:42] I’m not suggesting that you go knock on someone’s door and try to sell your design services to them. I mean, Hey, heck, if that’s something you want to do by all means do it. But what I am suggesting is that you might want to attend a luncheon at a country club, you might want to go play tennis with a friend in a neighborhood at a tennis club where you know that potential clients are going to be, you might want to go up for the day skiing to visit a friend.

[00:07:07] Maybe they’re a member of a ski club and you think, you know, you want to get in front of people. What can you do to get in front of the people? Maybe it’s walking your dog. At a different park, maybe it’s walking your dog at a park in a neighborhood where you would love to potentially connect with other people.

[00:07:25] Maybe it’s doing school drop-off and chatting with some other parents instead of doing a quick drop-off and heading to the office. These are the little micro steps that we can take to push us outside our comfort zone. And no, there is no guarantee that you are going to find your next client, meet your dream supplier who’s going to give you 50 percent off everything, or meet an incredibly potential business partner or collaborator, but You don’t know until you get out there and I can tell you those opportunities are waiting for you, but they’re not going to come to you when you’re just sitting at your desk.

[00:07:58] All right, that was my shorty [00:08:00] for you just to give you a little kick in the butt, get you motivated. I’d love to hear from you if this is something that you struggle with and if you want a little bit more tips on what you could do and who you should reach out to. Let me know. Also, have you seen success doing this type of thing, reaching out, and stepping out of your comfort zone?

[00:08:17] Let me know. And I’ll see you soon.