The Technological Travels of One Indianapolis Home Stager—and the Journey lives on!

By
Home Stager with Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis, Indiana

Old Computer

Many times I have heard the old saying "It's the journey that's important, not the destination".  Catchy little saying but I have to admit that when it comes to the technological travels that I have been on over the last 7 years, much of it is a blur. 

Recently Gary and I went to Isle of Palms, South Carolina to participate in our first Home Staging and Redesign (SAR) instructors retreat.  It was great being with old friends like Melissa Marro and Karen Otto and meeting new friends like Bernadette Flaim, Jessica Pirone and Michelle Molinari, which all of these people I knew by reputation as being some of the smartest and most successful business owners in the home staging industry today.  But I was really taken back a bit at just how technological savvy this group is. 

On the evening of the second day, after a full 9 hours of going through the updated SAR training program, the group started to spread throughout this very large living area of the beach house we were staying in.  Everyone was relaxed, and quite social, yet busily doing email, phone calls and other general computer duties relating to their businesses.  Everyone started discussing what they were doing.  Questions started popping up about all the tools that we were using;  Melissa was using a touch screen computer to post a blog on Active rain, Karen wasupdating files in something called the "Clouds", Bernadette was busy updating her computer call list, Michelle was using her new Kindle reader and connecting to the internet to see what other books could be downloaded, Jessica was using her computer to update her staging management tool called basecamp and as for Gary, well he was on his laptop updating inventory in Darby and I was on my I-Phone catching up on facebook happenings of the day.  Soon the conversation turned to webinars and Melissa was talking about how you set them up, which quickly led to every person in the house being connected on line.  There we were, in the same house, we could all see one another via our computer cam and we could all talk to one another.  We connected via a webcam, yet we were physically in the same room and really all we needed to do was look over at the person and have a conversation.  You should have seen it from my perspective.  It was funny!  That's when I realized how much of our lives today are so connected with technology at our fingertips and how far we have came with running our businesses.

Tech

When I started Home Matters 7 years ago, my tools which were located in my home office were a computer that was loaded with basic MS documents, templates of forms I used like quotes and contracts, some before and after photographs and internet access.  Other basic equipment like a fax machine, telephone with an answering machine and camera were my required resources.

Then in 2005, there started to be some pretty exciting things pop up on the internet, like Vista Print where I could, after hours of work, make some ok looking templates for flyers, sales slicks, brochures, etc.  Then I discovered several services sites where I could upload photos and make presentation books to show potential clients like Kodak galley and shutterfly.  This was also when we started adding inventory which we tracked via an excel spread sheet and man we were doing something great now. We were on the move...so to speak.

In 2006 came Real Estate Shows.  Wow, I could upload photos, match them to music and write text about the photos and it was in the form of a musical slide show.  Even though it was a program mainly for Real Estate agents, I could somewhat customize it and send to clients as a marketing tool for my business.  Boy, we were flying high now! 

SIFIn 2007, came our discovery of Activerain/SIF and RESA.  OMG (text language) I'm not alone!  These were tools of a different kind.   Not only was there a bunch of other Stagers that I could learn and share with, but there was a whole community of like minded people that I would get to know as we grew our businesses together.  This is also the first year I discovered my love for sharing what I know and have been blessed with what I've learned and realized the true meaning of stage -it- forward  and it took root in the form of me wanting to teach.

From 2007 until today it's all still a blur.  My home office is long gone and is now part of a complex that houses my accessory inventory warehouse, (Furniture is at another warehouse location) and my training facility.  Our tools are now; 2 desktop and 2 lap top computers including the new touch screen which we use for our SAR training classes and is given out to students of our 5-day course.  At Home Matters'  our  computers are all loaded with all sorts of programs that are directly related to the management of the business, along with things like Drop Box, Evernote, Picasa and other photo editing programs, just to name a few.  I can literally store all of my files out in the "Clouds" which keeps my computers running fast no matter how much stuff I have saved. We have a Fax and phone/answering machine combos where we can retrieve messages and documents from remote locations.  A credit card terminal and a couple of printer/copiers and I have an I-Phone that allows me to make calls from my list of hundreds of contacts, check the weather, gain internet access, take photos, and have access to thousands of apps which I'm sure I'll never live long enough to know about each and every one of them; an I-Pad that allows me internet access, it holds several presentations as well as my photo gallery which I show to clients and again thousands of apps.  A Sony digital-wide angle camera, a flip video recorder of which I really need to learn and use; and  a Kindle reader  which weighs about one pound, and holds our entire SAR training manual and related documents, which all of our students receive rather than a heavy book.  A Tom-Tom GPS, with a very nice English lady's voice (named Juliet) which instructs me how to get to anywhere I need to go.  And Darby inventory management system along with a bar code scanner which allows me a quick and accurate assessment of our inventory.

SIF

So, indeed this is a technological journey for me. After all, I still remember the typewriter and guess what...Now there is an app for that!

So, what has your technological journey been like?

Home Matters Home Staging and Training a professional home staging company "Servicing the needs of our Real Estate community here in Metro Indianapolis and central Indiana" We help real estate professionals, home sellers, builders and investors with their home staging needs as well as helping real estate professionals and stagers to develop their home staging and re-design skills through Staging and Redesign (SAR) training.  For more information regarding our services, please contact us at 317-209-9801 or visit us on the web. http://www.homemattersllc.com/

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Home Matters is a home staging company that offers services for both occupied and vacant homes. We work with all budgets and have received Angie's list highest rating for the past three years. Visit Home Matters website for more information.

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Re-Blogged 1 time:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
  1. Melissa Marro 10/27/2010 05:33 AM
Topic:
ActiveRain Community
Location:
Indiana
Groups:
Realtors®
Stage It Forward...
Home Staging
Real Estate Staging Association
Real World Home Staging for Newbies
Tags:
sar
home matters
linda barnett
home staging training indianapolis stager trainer

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Rainmaker
305,604
Karen Otto
Home Star Staging - Plano, TX
Plano Home Staging, Dallas Home Staging, www.homes

When you put it this way Linda I'm rather shocked that I even ever opened up a computer and started typing! While it can be overwhelming to someone who hasn't utilized the technological tools out there it really is something that helps us all do our business better, stronger and faster.  It's just knowing which tools to incorporate to make our jobs easier.  I'm still learning and "hunting and pecking" at times my way around the techno gadgets out there - but in the end it's about helping ourselves and our clients be more efficient and productive.

It was so great to see you and Gary! I miss you already!

Oct 22, 2010 10:51 AM #1
Rainmaker
133,378
Teresa Meyer
Cincinnati Home Stager - Cincinnati, OH
Home Staging Cincinnati-OH.

Hey Linda!  Well, well, well....welcome to the "cloud"!  I really enjoyed your post!  So, I'm dying to know how you like your ipad?  I am loving mine and it has worked really well in showing clients the portfolio or pulling up a document in the 'cloud'.  I bet you're glad you got one!

So also tell me...is Gary using "Evernote"?  Your blog here just may have inspired me to blog about that one!

Oct 22, 2010 02:48 PM #2
Ambassador
3,869,120
Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

Linda- I have a love of gadgets and am so happy I'm in this technological age.  I loved reading about your journey and your integration of these wonderful new toys/tools we have.  Good luck on the rest of your journey. 

Oct 22, 2010 03:19 PM #3
Rainmaker
41,799
Debra Landy
StageTwoSell LLC - Horseheads, NY
PA and NY Home Stager

Wonderful post Linda.  Keep 'em coming!

Oct 22, 2010 03:39 PM #4
Rainmaker
489,750
Kathy Nielsen
http://atlantahomestaging.net - Marietta, GA
Atlanta Georgia Home Stager

What a great idea to provide the students with a Kindle versus a binder that weighs a ton..  That's absolutely using technology to it's finest and I applaud you guys.  I too just purchased an iPad and am loving it. My MAC just came back from Apple Care and while I could have accessed my email from my iphone, it was much easier off of my iPad.  

I too am loving this technology!  

Great post, Linda.

Kathy

 

Oct 23, 2010 12:44 AM #5
Rainmaker
42,423
Linda Barnett
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis, Indiana - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Indianapolis Indiana

Karen; All this technology does keep me up at nights sometime, but I'm enjoying learning and using this tools that as you put it help us and our clients.  And yes, my dear we miss you more.  Take care and we'll see each other again in Vegas. 

Teresa; You bet I do love my I-Pad and yes Gary is using his evernote now and we are gettin with it.  However my technological friend, you should educate us more on many of these gadgets.  I look forward to your inspired piece on evernote.  Talk to you soon.

Kathy;  You know gadgets are a great resource for anyone in business, however sometimes you just don't know how to choose the right ones for you.  It is a Seek and Find mission at times.  Thanks for stopping by my post. Hope you are going to Vegas.

Debra;  Thank you for commenting and I'll try to keep putting out a blog every now and again.

Kathy N; I think anytime you can make things simplier, the better.  Technology has helped us all.  Sometimes however Gary says I can be addicted... I don't believe him just because I go to bed at night with my I-pad doesn't make it so.  Does it?  Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments.  See you in Vegas.

 

 

Oct 23, 2010 04:23 AM #6
Rainmaker
181,945
Karen Dembsky
Peachtree Home Staging LLC, Home Staging in Atlanta, GA - Peachtree City, GA
Atlanta Home Staging

I love it (technology) as well.  Love your Kindle idea.  The one thing I can't imagine life without -- my GPS -- oh, my, I love my boyfriend (that's what my husband calls my GPS because he says I am always running all over Atlanta with him!)

Oct 24, 2010 07:04 AM #7
Rainmaker
271,023
Cathy Lee
CL Design Services Home Staging - Danville, CA
ASP, IAHSP, RESA Danville, CA

I love technology just wish I had someone young at home to help me sometimes when I am feeling really challenged! My children were married when I started my staging business and it has been 9 years of in a  changing world of technology since then!! Sometimes I feel I will never catch up-but I do keep trying!!

Oct 24, 2010 11:07 AM #8
Rainmaker
42,423
Linda Barnett
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis, Indiana - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Indianapolis Indiana

Hey Karen; The Kindle idea for the Training came from Melissa Marro;  it is a great idea;  I can't wait to hand them out at my next class.  And yes isn't it good to have an auto pilot.  Take care... hope to see you in Vegas.

Cathy; I am right there with you;  this technological world is ever changing and it is sometimes hard to keep up.  Hope to see you at the RESA Conference.

Oct 24, 2010 04:08 PM #9
Rainmaker
443,634
Melissa Marro
Keller Williams First Coast Realty - The Marro Team - Orange Park, FL
Jacksonville Real Estate and Home Staging

Linda - wow!  What a whirlwind of technology.  I know Sue laughs at me because I've bought at least one computer every month this year - not including the ones I gave out to you and the other instructors.  Both John & I have ipads, each of my kids has a laptop, we bought 2 new computers for the office, etc.... it seems that we cannot be disconnected even for a few minutes anymore. 

I too learned a lot of technical information at the Instructor's retreat - isn't it great when you have a room full of successful people - we all still have great things to learn from each other!

Oct 27, 2010 05:45 AM #10
Rainmaker
42,423
Linda Barnett
Home Matters Property Stylist Group, Indianapolis, Indiana - Indianapolis, IN
Home Matters Indianapolis Indiana

Melissa;  Yes indeed, we do have great things to learn and I for one am very excited to be on this journey (no pund intended regarding this post...lol).  Take care, my friend.....see you in vegas again!

Oct 27, 2010 06:55 AM #11
Rainer
4,936
Tammie OBrien
Darby Inventory and Pineapple Interiors - Centennial, CO

Linda; You know I LOVE technology! Curious though -- can you view Keynote or Powerpoint Presentations on the Kindle? I am curious how the SAR Training "looks" on the kindle.

Nov 19, 2010 11:26 AM #12
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Linda Barnett

Home Matters Indianapolis Indiana
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