Chic on a Shoestring Decorating: Taking a risk on myself

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Taking a risk on myself

image from sjengraving
 I had a completely different post planned for today until I read some of my faves this morning, Kate the Centsational Girl and The Nester's posts about risk taking.  This got the old noggin' spinning in a completely different direction. 

Many of you may or may not know that I started my own interior decorating business less than a year ago.  I had always wanted to but didn't think I had the right credentials or the business know how.

I did not go to school for interior decorating/design.  Growing up I was always decorating and rearranging my bedroom, this should have been my clue... Duh.

As a nieve 18 year old making huge life decisions when entering college, I didn't even consider interior design thinking I was going to make big bucks as a business professional.

It wasn't until after graduation and becoming a homeowner for the first time that I realized my true calling was decorating.  I absolutely LOVED it.  I considered it a new hobby that I couldn't get enough of.  To curb the expense I shopped at TJ Maxx, Tuesday Mornings, Target, etc. 

image via google

When people came in our home for the first time they were always very complimentary, sometimes shocked at the nice decor.  A few people called me Martha (as in the Martha Stewart... aww shucks :). 

image via Martha Stewart Show

When we put our houses on the market over the years as we've moved several realtors thought our homes had been professionally decorated.  No, just little old me...

Friends started asking me to help decorating their homes and started telling me I should start a business...who, me?! 

All of these wonderful compliments slowly built my confidence.  Maybe I could do this as a career....

When we had our first baby I quit my job to stay home as we had planned (quite a risk in itself!).  Being a mom was definitely my first calling just ahead of decorating. 

After our second son turned 2 and years of thinking about starting a business I had had enough of the "what ifs" in my head... you know, What if no one  hires me? What if people don't like my style? What if people question my credentials?  What if I fail?. 

“Security is mostly a superstition.
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.”
– Helen Keller

I finally decided what do I have to lose?  The important stuff was covered... thankfully, my husband has great job security and benefits so I didn't have to provide benefits or a steady income.  I have family around to watch my babes if I needed to see a client during the day. 

Could I fail? 


Did it really matter if I failed?

No. (besides my pride taking a hit)

So, I followed a dream.

I made a plan (kind of), gave myself a name (actually, my dad came up with it... thanks dad!  isn't he creative?!)  I made a website for myself using a free service (which was pretty easy for a non-techy girl like me once I got the hang of it).  And then I just put myself out there (told my friends and family and posted on Facebook... free advertising!) 

And, amazingly... someone hired me.  It was a Facebook friend from a mom's church group I had been a part of a few years ago. 

Shortly after that, someone was reading my friend's blog, she saw me as a follower of my friend and clicked on my picture, intrigued by my business name, she then became my first client that I didn't previously know.  This was SUPER exciting!!  Someone I had never met hired me based off my blog pictures alone! 

Since then, I have steadily had clients contact me.  I haven't spent a dime on advertising.  It's purely been word of mouth. 

I am amazed that people are paying me to have so much fun. 

I am so thankful that I took that risk on myself. 

How about you... taken any risks lately?
image via google


  1. Thanks for the inspiration! I've been considering opening a business myself and it helps to know that someone has had the same worries!

  2. I just started my own online business on etsy for paper crafts and creations. I too am doing as much as I can with free's been a huge leap of faith and thankfully I can do a lot of the work with my two little ones running around...I also have the benefits and job security through the hubs! Thanks for posting!

  3. Thank you for this post. This is something I've been pondering for a while now, and it's so helpful to read the stories of others who have "taken the leap".

  4. Such an inspiring post! I say I'm not chicken...but I am super chicken to take any {real} risks... ahhh...Very good post, super happy for your success! oh and I really love your name {good job dad}

  5. I think your story is amazing! Be so proud of what you accomplished! Just curious what area in IL you're case I ever hear of anyone who might be looking for a designer.

    I'm the total opposite of a risk-taker, so I don't do it very often. One of my goals for 2011 at work is to be more assertive, so I'm trying to work on it. I'm taking risks by being more confident with my decisions and saying NO to people at work who try to use me!

  6. Thank you for posting this. It has given me inspiration to get my new blog going. It's only about a month old, but it has been something I have dreamed of for 2 1/2 years. I hope I can get a design business going one of these days. That would be very exciting. But until then, I am just trying to make a name for myself. Thanks again for your post.
    Erin: A Little Something, Too

  7. Great post! Very inspiring, what a great story. Best wishes to you, and I might just have to utilize your services...

  8. Awesome. Luv the story. Wish U lived closer to me. I'm always in need of help when it comes to decorating. So glad U took the risk.

  9. thats fantastic! I cant wait to see what you accomplish! Best of luck!
    Im your newest follower!

  10. So inspiring!!! I am in the process of thinking about taking a risk :) I need all the pushes I can get! Thank you!

  11. Kate, I'm new to your blog but you're such an inspiration. :)

  12. Thank you for such a well written, super inspiring post! I especially loved 'Did it really matter if I failed?' No, except for my pride taking a hit.
    I think fear of failure is what holds so many people back from realizing thier dreams, myself included.

  13. wow you're my bloggy-twin...........I have also recently taken the leap into starting my own design business. One of my biggest fears was my lack of "formal training" it always made me feel like a "fake designer"..........but my super loving husband would tell me sometimes natural talent and passion are worth more then a few letters after your name (except if you're a doctor, then you better have credentials up the wazoo lol).........Vicente Wolf ain't doing to bad.

  14. I want to cry after reading this post. I am in the process of taking a leap into a totally new career and am SCARED! Your post has inspired me!

  15. visiting from the nester.
    such a great story. way to go taking that risk on yourself!
    time to poke around the rest of your blog!

  16. Katie, I used to work with your hubby, and I wanted to thank you for such an inspiring post! While reading it, at times, I felt as if I had written it myself, because I have had so many of the same feelings and emotions recently. You see, I also started my own business last year -- but in photography. I accredit facebook for my business opportunity, because I would post pictures I had taken and people would comment that I needed to do it professionally. Then, all of a sudden, someone emailed me on my personal page and asked me to do her family photos. It's taken off from there, and I'm photographing senior portraits, family portraits, sports teams, and even weddings! I too built a blog and a website, and I'll never forget the feeling when I got my first "lead" through my "contact me" form on my web site. I got tears in my eyes and started running through the house yelling, "Yes! Yes! Yes!" :) Congratulations on taking on this risk. You are very talented and will do well. I know your hubby is very proud of you and all that you have already accomplished. Take care!


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