I'm proud to announce I've joined the team at Staging and Redesign (SAR) as a course instructor for the Texas Market for the 3-day, 5-day and online SAR home staging training courses!
Now I want to share with you how I came to this decision and why I chose to join the team of professionals at SAR as a course instructor.
I want to assure you this decision did not come lightly.
It took several months of emails and discussion, 5 days away and a round trip plane ticket at my expense to visit South Carolina this month to audit the SAR program in person to see if it was indeed something I could align myself with and feel confident in offering this to would be home stagers or those already in business but wanting more. I do not take lightly anything that involves my endorsement or brand being associated with it if I'm not 100% sure that I can truthfully share the information and believe in the product. I've spent too much time, energy and hard work not to investigate something I would be potentially endorsing. My reputation is important to me.
A little back story... I met Melissa Marro, CEO and President of First Impressions Home Staging and Redesign and the SAR Training Course creator at the January 2010 RESA Conference in Las Vegas. However before that I was well aware of Melissa, her professionalism and experience as a home stager through the various blogging and social network sites we both frequent, most notably Active Rain. We'd spoken a few times over the years and regularly commented on our blogs however it wasn't until we met in January 2010 did the real live connection begin.
In the last several months Melissa freely shared her vision for a home staging training course that was poised to be different than others offered currently. I was initially skeptical and have long felt that although I took a training course myself and fully believe in them and the value they can offer if done correctly, there have been too many stagers and would be hopefuls in our industry who have invested their time, money and energy into various programs only to be out of business within a year or two, some even less.
The two main questions I had:
- Why do we need another home staging training company when so many students are unfortunately NOT succeeding in their businesses once they get out into the "real world of home staging"?
- How could I comfortably support or endorse another course and expect students to pay a couple to several thousand dollars of their hard earned dollars into something I really didn't know was needed?
And then I went to South Carolina October 14th, 2010 to see for myself.
As a small business owner I left my business and my family to spend 5 days to see if the SAR course was indeed a course I could align myself with and comfortably offer and teach to others. But from what Melissa had already shared freely with me - no strings attached - I knew I had to be there and see for myself exactly what her program would offer in a way that set itself apart from the rest. I was under a "no obligation to commit" invitation to come check out the program and see what I thought at Melissa's request. THAT I found refreshing.
And I was not disappointed.
From day one of arriving at the course instructor training week I could sense the difference.
Not only were the other home stagers in attendance respected, successful professionals in their markets, but they all have a passion for the industry as not only instructors but home stagers themselves! All SAR TRAINERS ARE WORKING HOME STAGERS IN THEIR RESPECTIVE MARKETS. We have combined experiences of over 30 years in the industry. We are all also RESA Approved Instructors.
We spent whatever down time we had talking about the industry! (And it wasn't much downtime let me tell you, Melissa is nothing short of a work horse...if you can spend 5 days within 200 yards of a beach and only see it ONCE for about 20 minutes... then don't expect a vacation when Melissa's in charge... and I say that with much gratitude because I would have loved to curl up with my Kindle* on a lounge chair at the beach but I'd have never been much of a student & my time would have been for naught...) Sometimes we talked until the wee hours of the morning only to start up again the next day bright and early. We never lost interest in the subject! In fact the excitement only intensified as we dug in.
Once we started the instructor course training sessions I could really see the difference.
Melissa handed each of us a *Kindle fully loaded with the 300 + page course training manual. An innovative, green and user friendly device that puts the course in line with technology that students can learn from, grow with and use today, tomorrow and the future.
The*Kindle is standard with the 3 and 5 day course offerings respectively. No more bulky bound notebooks, this is portable on demand knowledge at your fingertips. Have Kindle will travel, in car, on plane, while waiting, while sunbathing... And that was just the beginning. For the 5 day course vacant property staging portion and further business building tools course another unique offering and state of the art feature is the ASUS T101MT Touch Screen Tablet PC which is included in each student's tuition. A flash drive is provided in each course of templates, documents and the tools for business that stagers will need to get going.
While the SAR course does get into the logistics and technicalities of "how to stage" the real meat of the course has more to do with the business of home staging.
While I do believe you can teach almost anyone willing to stage a home over time and with practices and principals in place how to stage, the actual business side of running a home staging company is unique to our industry and has evolved over the years and continues to do so. We must continue to evolve. Who better to learn this from than a real home stager working in your market? The SAR program was created by a successful home stager, currently operating one of the most profitable industry leading staging companies in the US and has developed a program around that model to offer new stagers the opportunity to create their own success story.
Many of us, even those of us who have taken home staging courses in the past, had to "invent the wheel" so to speak when it came to developing our business and marketing plans. And naturally so.
Social networking, online marketing and staging business development plans were relatively unheard of when I first started back in 2006. Active Rain had just come on the scene in June of 2006 and I started blogging on the site in February of 2007. The home stagers on AR at the time are who I consider pioneers in the online revolution in internet marketing for home staging- the early adopters if you will, namely Craig Schiller the founder of Stage it Forward and a group I currently moderate one week a month.
Much discussion was brought up in the early days, some not so "sugar coated" into the realm of home staging training and its place in the industry. It was actually my first foray into the discussion that frankly needed to be had. But it also opened my eyes to the fact that business training and models of success were sorely lacking in our industry because too many home stagers were not staying in business in many major and not so major markets. While California and the East Coast in some spots have a variety of successful home staging businesses, the same could not be said for the remainder of the country. Month after month I'd read of another stager having to go back "to get a real job". I see it in my own market. Generally 6 months to a year once a new website goes up, I rarely see it after that time.
Why can't home staging alone be a "real paying job"??
A problem I see is that if you get into home staging believing that you'll only be staging homes and the work will just come to you, then you've been sorely misled. There are so many other things that need to be done before you ever actually get a job that most people give up trying. (if they're not already giving it away for free or incredibly reduced prices and then experience burn out and disillusionment) . And who can blame them? More doors are shut in our faces than open and a consistent pattern of that can make anyone want to go home, jump in bed, pull the covers over our heads and say NO MORE!
But Home Staging is a BUSINESS folks and until we start treating it and teaching it as such and not just a well paid hobby that HGTV says is fun or a someone says you should be making 6 figures in your first year only to realize you'd be happy clearing $6 in profit in 2 years, then we ourselves continue to keep our industry SMALL.
This is what SAR is offering. Business tools and marketing strategies to help you develop, start and grow your home staging business into a model for success. Strategies for success!
SAR wants our students to succeed because what SAR is offering is the tools to get you where you want and need to go. But it is work and will take work on your part once you've been given the tools. Just like a hammer can't make a house without the carpenter's skilled hands, a stager can't stage profitably without the tools to run a successful business.
Now why on earth do I want to teach potential "competitors" in my market how to be successful stagers?? THAT is a good question!
My philosophy is the more successful business models for home stagers we create, the MORE BUSINESS AND LEGITIMACY THE HOME STAGING INDUSTRY WILL HAVE.
SAR has created a valuable, current program with real world, vital tools for home stagers who are serious about starting a home staging business and not just wanting part time work or a hobby.
And if that's what you want, a part time job or hobby that's fine and recognize that!
But then the SAR program probably isn't for you.
One of my favorite quotes was said by a fellow stager here on Active Rain, Michelle Minch, "rising tides raise all boats" and it rings so true to me. To be empowered with the tools you need to get your business off to a good start, to not grow frustrated with disillusionment of spinning wheels with no movement forward, and to be successful in the home staging industry only makes it easier for you and the rest of the industry to grow along with you.
SAR wants to raise those tides!
Our real competitor is ignorance folks. Ignorance on the part of home sellers, Realtors, investors and builders, those who do not understand the value home stagers bring to the home selling table. We must first learn to value ourselves and be confident in our ability as business owners and enter the market with a model for success.
If you're serious about a home staging business as a career than I can personally tell you that the SAR training program is one to seriously consider when doing your home work on staging training companies.
SAR has my endorsement and I am excited to bring the SAR program to the Texas market in 2011.
Home Star Staging is a qualified, insured home staging company and we are always here for you North Texas!
- Pre-listing property consultations
- Post list "trouble shooting" property consultations - no matter how long a home has been on the market there are always ways to improve the chance of sale
- Owner occupied property staging (utilizing owner supplied furniture & accessories or including some of our own inventory)
- Vacant & investment property staging (Full and partial rental furniture packages, accessories and staging services)
- Is your office interested in hosting a home staging class or presentation? Just ask!
- Contact Karen at 496-964-0516 or Karen@homestarstaging.com