Starting a business when you're drowning in debt

Home Stager with Staging Diva / Six Elements Inc.

debtIt was reported this week that parents are paying upwards of $1200 per ticket to get their kids seats for the Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana concert. Many will be running up their credit cards (in the middle of the year's biggest shopping season) to pay for it.

Has the world gone mad? You can imagine what great managers of their personal finances these kids will be when they're old enough for their own ViSA cards!

Personal debt levels in the US and Canada are at all time highs and I continually hear from people who want me to loan them money to take my courses! As if me helping them scrape together $199 will change their world.

Many home stagers who complete the Staging Diva Home Staging Business Training Program make $2,000 to $5,000 on their first project. Not bad for a business that costs next to nothing to get into!

But, does that mean it’s a good idea to start a business when you’re already deep in debt?

I started thinking about this after I was approached by the producer of the W Network TV show Maxed Out. It’s one of those reality shows where a financial expert helps a financially stressed woman understand how she got so deeply in debt and then gives her a plan to get out of it.

I have to admit I don’t have a lot of sympathy for someone who is in debt over extravagant trips, $1200 concert tickets, a luxury car, and a closet full of designer clothes and shoes. So perhaps I was a bit biased when they called.

But back to their concept. Apparently the wife in a couple that’s over $40,000 in debt wants to become a home stager. Maxed Out wanted me to appear on the show to help her learn about running a home staging business.

Although it’s always nice to have media exposure, I refused to participate. I don’t think anyone that’s deep in debt, with no resources behind them, should be starting a business!

You can make tons of money in home staging but it takes a great deal of commitment and follow through to make it happen.

Ken Sater, a Staging Diva graduate in California, just wrote me that he staged 17 homes in his first year with an average fee over $10,000 each!

That might sound attractive to someone swimming in debt, but would such a person have the self-discipline required to get their business to that level of success?

In course 1 of the Staging Diva Home Staging Training Program, I share my secrets of success as an entrepreneur. One of these includes having a financial safety net. If you can’t keep a roof over your head and food on your table for the next 3 months, then you don’t have the resources needed to allow you to focus on your business growth. Start staging part time while you keep your paying job, or start an aggressive savings plan while you have a regular income.

And for God sakes, stop shopping for items you can live without!


Debra Gould, The Staging Diva
President, Six Elements Inc. Home Staging

Home staging expert Debra Gould is the only person teaching the business of home staging who combines an MBA in marketing, almost 20 years experience as an entrepreneur and the proven track record of actually growing a successful home staging business herself from scratch— not as a sideline to a real estate practice, but as a stand alone and profitable home-based business. Debra knows from first-hand experience what it takes to get a home staging business off the ground with a shoe string budget, and she knows how to attract home staging clients as proven by the hundreds of satisfied clients she’s served.


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Jason Romrell
Business Attorney and Success Advisor - Los Angeles, CA
Sounds intriguing!  Hope business is going well.
Dec 05, 2007 03:59 AM #1
Anthea Click
Fresh Perspectives - - Franklin, TN
Nashville Home Stager - Selling Nashville, TN homes quickly!
This is a great post! I have actually paid cash for everything I have in and for my business. I haven't grown as quickly as I had initially wanted to, but this is the right path for me. Stay debt free!
Dec 05, 2007 07:13 AM #2
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents
I must applaud you for this blog. I absolutely feel no mercy for people who buys stuff they cannot afford. We have forgotten the good value of saving for what we want.
Dec 05, 2007 07:31 AM #3
Abby Roselli
ALR Home Staging and Showcasing, LLC - Staten Island, NY
Staten Island Home Stager

What an enlightening post.  Thanks for sharing.

Dec 05, 2007 07:48 AM #4
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Debra Gould

The Staging Diva
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