Don’t know if you missed it, but I didn’t send out a newsletter in Jan — and this one is a week late.
Things were looking pretty bleak and I just wasn’t up for it. :-(
Of course, though, there’s never much work going on in December. And I had my showhouse room which was wonderful to do, but...showhouses cost money. We didn’t have any big projects on the horizon at the time and, well, I’m not gonna sugarcoat things…I was scared.
The oil business downturn is really starting to affect small business around the Houston area.
People have been laid off and things aren’t looking so good for the economy. Of course that affects luxury services like mine.
However, I know we get more calls after school starts up in January, so I held the faith. We are meeting and booking projects now, and I think February and the spring will be better. While I do take on small projects sometimes, we really treasure the big ones and are hoping to find more of those this year. Last year also drove home the idea that having a project be a good fit for my business is critical. I’ll be talking more about that in an upcoming post for designers, available on my sidebar soon.
We put out a pricing package for a client just before the holidays: an interesting concept that I want to explore as an option to provide. Basically, it’s half the price of a full service project. There’s a lot still to design and specify once it’s done, but it sort of cuts the process in half, while providing just enough info so that a contractor can give a homeowner a realistic budget idea for construction costs. This project included a floor plan with demo and new construction noted, a couple of elevations showing cabinetry general ideas, and some general notes that included dollar values placed on materials per s.f. Sound interesting? I think so. Stay tuned for more on that service.
With all the stress of the business climate around here, I was excited to get out of town in January and go to KBIS2016 in Vegas with Blogtour Modenus.
I attended last year and was so excited to be invited back. I have some posts below about some of the products and vendors we saw, and there will be more coming up. I really enjoyed meeting other designers from all over the US and the world, and it was just a huge boost for me — so much so that I’m planning another trip in March to the Design Bloggers Conference. (I also got to share a room with my daughter, who was the photographer for Blogtour. It was so much fun to have her along with me on the trip!)
One thing these past few months have taught me is how designers really need to diversify and find other sources of income. Design is no longer a good profit source with the internet selling everything on the cheap — including design services. Designers need to focus on acquiring steady, monthly income streams that can be counted on. I’m open to more writing gigs, selling all the items in my outlet store (please take a look, many have been marked down), and whatever else I can find to help fill the coffers.
That said, I’m on the hunt for ways to monetize this blog. I gained over 386,000 unique views this past month (an all time high for me). I was at around 300,000 in Nov and Dec. Really, that should be enough to have this baby start working for me, but I’ve yet to figure out exactly how I want to do that. I’m trying out selling some high value blogposts — only $5, so they aren’t expensive. Sometimes I feel like I’m giving it all away here; and some of my knowledge and expertise deserves to be paid for. Check out my latest post for sale on my sidebar.
I’ve hand-picked ten of my best articles from the last two months here for you today.
I’ve got bits from the showhouse, my KBIS trip, a completed project reveal, a place where I’ve been published recently, a helpful and highly popular post on backsplashes from my archives that has been updated, and even a fab home library design we put together with shopping links that you can do all by yourself. When I get frustrated, I do those posts. :-) It’s like making up a client and designing just what I want for them and putting it out there in a nice little package. It's kind of fun and it lifts my spirits!
I hope you’re having a wonderful 2016 and are celebrating the month of love in style!