A Well-Designed Business® | Interior Design Business Podcast

In today's world being a talented interior designer isn't enough to ensure that you have a profitable and successful interior design business. Design school doesn't always teach you the critical business skills to be sure your interior design business be everything you imagined it would be! A Well Designed Business is here to fill in the gaps and give you real live business skills from some of the top interior designers. Your host, LuAnn Nigara shares her 35 years of success in the interior design industry, and she finds the most successful guests to share their interior design business best practices.
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Now displaying: July, 2017
Jul 31, 2017

Today's guest on the show is Carly Waters, the Principal of Carly Waters Style. Carly has really loved design ever since she was a little girl. As the daughter of an attorney, however, she followed in her Dad's footsteps and became an attorney too. Listen in to find out how she ultimately managed to change that and follow her heart and her dreams.

Carly graduated from UC Hastings in 2010 and started out in what would be a career in Family Law, at an esteemed Law Firm in San Francisco. Her heart really wasn't in it though, so when she went on maternity leave while pregnant with her son, she rediscovered her love for interiors. She designed their apartment in San Francisco and got it featured on Apartment Therapy. This was when she started taking on some Design clients, on the side. After going back to practicing Family Law, however, she realized pretty quickly that it was time for her to leave the law behind. So, when they moved to LA for a job opportunity for her husband, Carly decided that this was the right time for her to strike out on her own, so she started Carly Waters Style in 2014. Here's the thing- in these three short years, Carly has been featured in My Domain, People, Rue, Simply Spaced, Apartment Therapy and Martha Stewart. Listen in now, to find out how Carly managed to achieve all of this, in such a short period of time.

Show highlights:

  • Carly explains how she managed to achieve all that she has, only three years after opening her firm. She really went about it in an intentional way and hired a Coach, Annie Little, who specifically helps attorneys to leave the law. She also spent a full six months making preparations and getting her ducks in a row.
  • Carly really made use of her friends and connections to get ahead in her business.
  • Carly started out initially with organizing clients.
  • After about six months, she decided to take things further and started working with a Realtor and found a house to renovate. This was the house that she used for her portfolio and it was also shot for her My Domain feature.
  • Carly realized that she can't do everything, so she hires people who are experts and she oversees them. She helped a friend with her office, in exchange for putting all her drawings onto CAD.
  • What really stood out for Carly, from her first big project was that you should not try to 'band aid' the problems in the house, because it will eventually end up costing you a whole lot more.
  • It's really important to have your plans and drawings ready, before bringing the contractors in. You will always have problems to solve, however it really does help to be prepared.
  • Carly has really learned to see her worth and understand her value, over time.
  • Carly has really made full use mentors and her network of friends and connections, to help her to learn out about the aspects of the business that she needed to understand.
  • How Carly managed to be published in so many publications in such a short period of time. She used her contacts and knew that she really had to have professional photographs, amongst other things.
  • Carly explains about her hourly rate and about her minimum fee of $5000, both of which she's stated on her website.
  • You really need to surround yourself with people that really support you and elevate you.


Carly's website:

Jul 28, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is Yian Quach.  Yian, who is originally from Seattle, Washington, has been designing websites since 2015 and he helps professionals in the Design Industry to cure their web site pain so that they can grow their businesses. There is a particular mention, on his website, that LuAnn found quite interesting- in addition to his role as Website Doctor, Yian really loves educating and his original career was as an English Teacher!  Listen in as Yian explains all about his real genius ways with websites.

Yian's clients have been published in a number of top shelf magazines, including Architectural Digest, Lux, Hudson Mod and Editor At Large. The thing about Yian is that he has a rare combination of skills in the areas of Website  Design, Copywriting and Coding and he's also familiar with all the nuances of the Interior Design Industry. He regularly attends Industry Trade Shows, so you may even know him. In the past year, he's been at High Point Spring Market, Brooklyn Designs, ICFF (where he and LuAnn did a Facebook Live for Curated Kravet), The D and D Building Spring Market and later this month, he'll be at Las Vegas Furniture Market. Listen in now, to learn about the really actionable ways that Yian works to help people to cure their website pains.

Show highlights:

  • The kinds of website pains that Yian cures.
  • Yian explains the details of his Criteria List of twelve items, which he uses to evaluate websites.
  1. Does the website feel clean and easy to use?
  2. Does the website feel complete and up to date?
  3. Does the website feel thoughtfully written and succinct?
  4. Does the website feel fresh?
  5. Does the website feel guided?
  6. Does the website feel beautiful?
  7. Does the website feel personal enough?
  8. Does the website feel cohesive?
  9. Does the website/designer feel endorsed?
  10. Does the website/designer feel credible and authoritative?
  11. Does the website feel actionable?
  12. Does the website feel polished?
  • Yian tests his very simple Grading System (A+ to E) that he uses to evaluate websites, on his own website.
  • Consider hiring a wedding photographer to get a really great video for your website.
  • Yian helps LuAnn to evaluate her website, using his Criteria List.
  • Yian points out some missed opportunities on LuAnn's website.
  • The impact of having website photos that fill the whole screen.
  • The cohesiveness of the voice on websites is something that is often overlooked.
  • Yian points out where LuAnn's website could be more actionable.
  • Yian assists LuAnn with ways to tweak the logo and header on her website.
  • Yian encourages you to take advantage of his Website Review.
  • Yian's Free Giveaway- Yian will be giving away five free Website Reviews to the first five professionals in the Design Industry, to contact him at and articulate their particular web site pain, within one week of this podcast being aired.

Yian will be covering the Las Vegas Furniture Market, later this month, on the Tastefully Inspired Facebook Page, with lots of live videos. Like the page and ensure that you get the notifications when it goes live.

Jul 26, 2017

Today's guests, Leslie Carothers and Sam Henderson,  are the two industry pros and the brains behind Savour Partnership. They create magazine quality, custom branded e-publications for your website, or blog. This really means that they create opt-ins and lead magnets, for you to attract and grow an email list. LuAnn urges you to hang on and really listen, specially if you find your eyes are glazing over at the mention of growing your email list, because these two really are experts at this and today, they're going to explain precisely why it's so important, for the health of your business, to grow your email list. Listen in to find out more.

Sam Henderson is the owner and Creative Director of Savour Imagery, which is a Food and Lifestyle Creative Studio, located in Dallas, Texas. Sam and his team create photography, video, and graphics for numerous national brands and media outlets. He uses his knowledge of food, lifestyle, and travel together with his experience as a Designer, to create content for HDTV and DIY Network. Sam also writes a weekly article on Design trends.

Leslie is the CEO of Kaleidoscope Partnership, which has more than thirty-seven years of experience in the Luxury Home Furnishings and Interior Design Industry. This year, her company celebrates it's the fifteenth year. Leslie pioneered the use of Social Media Marketing and Influencer Marketing nationwide and she has helped to build the brands of major manufacturers, retailers, software providers, individual Interior Designers and Trade  Shows through her website, her Blog Management work, Social Media and Content Marketing. These are brands like Havly Court, Wilson Kelsey Design, Four Point Design Build, The New Traditionalist, Meredith Corporation, World Market Centre, Las Vegas, ICFF and more than thirty-five others! Leslie speaks frequently at Industry Events and she is often quoted as an Expert Resource in National Publications. She wrote the Retail Ideas Column for Furniture Today Magazine for nine years and her micro-blog, @TKP Leslie, has more than thirty-six thousand followers and was named, by Decorex, as one of the top one hundred most influential Interior Design blogs in the world! Together, Leslie and Sam are the co-founders of the recently started Savour Partnership. Listen in to find out how they can really help you to position yourself for success, elevate your brand and grow your business.

Show highlights:

  • Leslie gives you the basics of what she and Sam do with their Savour Partnership (in layman's terms) and why you, as a Designer should care about it.
  • Why it would be worth it to you, as a Designer, to sit down and write an ebook, to offer to your prospective clients.
  • Sam explains their system, which offers templates, yet remains true to each Designer having a unique look.
  • Leslie explains about how to drive traffic to your blog, or website, through their Savour Partnership Group on Facebook, in order to grow your email list and create a means of passive income for yourself.
  • Rich Pins On Pinterest- a number one way to drive traffic towards your blog or website. (Click on the Note on Leslie's Facebook Page, The Kaleidoscope Partnership, to get the details of how to set up a Rich Pin.)
  • Sam shares some other really great tips for how to drive consumer traffic to your website, or your blog, using Pinterest.
  • Affiliate Marketing- what it is and how it can work for you.
  • How Affiliate Marketing could generate a passive income for you, as an Interior Designer.
  • How you can make an Affiliate Commission, which is really another kind of passive income, through selling products via your website, to the consumer.
  • Why you really need to have something to trade with the consumer, for their email address.
  • Leslie will hold your hand throughout the entire process of assisting you with the development your e-publication and she really has the utmost respect for the artistic quality of whatever you produce.
  • Their work is so professional and of such a high quality, that it really seems so easy!
  • Why you really do need to be putting out a call to action, to the consumer.
  • Sam and Leslie can even help you with Copywriting, if necessary, to help you elevate your business.
  • Leslie will be speaking at the Bold Summit, in Chicago in September. Sam will be there also.
  • Although Leslie does not have a personal blog, she has written between seventy-five and eighty percent of all the content for the really successful Havly Court Blog, so she invites you to join her new Facebook Group so that you can learn how to drive consumer traffic to your blog.
  • You can sell a blog as a separate business asset.
  • There are Design Bloggers right now, who have only been focused on blogging for five years and they are making, on their blog, over $200 000 per year! This is a very real income opportunity for you!
  • This is how you really can create more freedom for yourself, over time.
  • You can put a three page PDF together for yourself on one Sunday.
  • Creating affiliate links on your publication.

Links for Savour Partnership:


Instagram: Savour Partnership


Jul 24, 2017

The guest on today's show is Susan Yeley, of Susan Yeley Interiors, in Bloomington, Indiana. A few weeks ago, Susan contacted LuAnn, because she listens to the show a lot and she thought that the particular challenges that she faces in her Design Firm could make an interesting topic. After learning a little more about it, LuAnn agreed and she really hopes that you will too. Listen in to find out about the challenges that Susan faces in her business, which is really defined by the area she lives in.

Susan started out as a struggling graduate student in Religion and Philosophy at Indiana University. She later took an unpaid internship at Thomas Jobb, a furniture and fabric showroom in the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and became hooked on Design.  She then enrolled at the Harrington College of Design and eventually landed a job at a high-end Residential Design Firm in River North. Susan and her husband finally returned to their roots, a few weeks prior to the birth of their first daughter, in 2005. Listen in now to find out more about Susan and the specific challenges that she faces, when it comes to her business location and the fees that she charges.

Show highlights:

  • Susan explains what the demographic is like where she does her business and also what the factors are, that contribute to making it a little different to LuAnn's usual conversations.
  • Susan's really intentional, yet flexible approach to her business.
  • Many of Susan's clients have never worked with a Designer before.
  • Trust is a really important factor in business, in Susan's close knit community.
  • The packages that Susan used to offer, to sell to her value and services to her small town community.
  • Why she eventually discontinued the packages.
  • The conversation that Susan had with a friend, that caused her to examine the perceived value of her services. Now she makes no mention of figures on her website.
  • Susan's Gut Check On A Potential Home.
  • The really interesting blend of personalities in Susan's wonderful team of really skilled staff.
  • The rationale behind Susan's website.
  • Susan loves the small town life, even though it really makes it harder for her as a Designer.
  • Most of her money is made from once-off, hourly consultations, so Susan is really forced her to think creatively about how to make money, every day.
  • It's not been a feasible option, so far, for Susan to make any money from product mark ups, so she and her team have to think really creatively about what Interior Design looks like in their particular culture.
  • Some of the ways that Susan is trying to generate an income, in her tricky community.
  • Susan's online initiative, to sell things through her website. It's almost like a Town Gallery.
  • The mid range price point items that have been identified, that Susan and her team are working hard to make 'trade only available', in order to generate some more income, via her website.
  • Making money from property flips.
  • Incorporating Enoch Sears's (#202) idea, to collaborate with local Architects.
  • The three P's that Susan relies on- Planning, Priorities, and Patience. They really work for her!
  • Susan's take on Design Therapy.

Susan's website:

Jul 21, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is a really special force to be reckoned with! She's is also the very first guest to be talking about Twitter on the show! Madalyn Sklar is a Business Coach, Consultant, and Twitter Marketing Expert. Other than being an expert on Twitter, she's the host of #Twitter Smarter Twitter Chat and Podcast. She has the weekly #Social ROI Chat, she blogs and she creates courses and also speaks and teaches courses at Madalyn Listen to getting some awesome advice about marketing with Twitter from Madalyn.

Madalyn, who really has some visionary skills, is known for being the Number One Social Media Influencer in Houston, a city which has a population of two million people. She has been blogging since 2000 and she's been founding online communities since 1996 when the internet was new and she saw it as a really great way to connect people. Listen in now, as LuAnn interviews Madalyn, someone who really has the knack of being an early adopter of all things tech!

Show highlights:

  • Why you really should care about Twitter.
  • Engaging is really where the magic is, with Social Media.
  • Get on Twitter and listen to where the conversation is.
  • Madalyn's Twitter Secret Sauce- to help you to start meeting people and enjoying Twitter.
  • Create a Twitter List, either public or private- it's really a great way to organize.
  • Twitter Chats- #an awesome way to make connections with people.
  • Using Twitter Chats to get your business seen and heard.
  • Creating a really effective and clear Twitter profile.
  • You can boost your bio with a link.
  • A great tip to check the traffic to your Twitter profile- you may be in for a big surprise!
  • Why a Pen Tweet really is such a great idea to build your hash tag following.
  • Go to Madalyn's Twitter Smarter Twitter Chat and podcast, to learn more about Twitter.


Madalyn's website:

Go to to get to a page with a variety of charts that you can look through.

The best place to meet Madalyn- on Twitter! #madalynsklar

Jul 19, 2017

Today, LuAnn  is shaking it up a bit and introducing a new monthly feature, called  Design Biz Live. On the third Wednesday of every month, she will be talking with Judith Neary of Roadside Attraction Design Studio and Corey  Klassen of Corey Klassen Interiors and they will be discussing the specific problems and challenges that you are facing in your design firm. Somewhat similar to what LuAnn's been doing for the last eighteen months, however, with Design Biz Live, she will be dealing with the questions that you have by asking them of these two talented designers. So, it's the same, but different... Listen in to find out what it's all about!


If you'd like to know more about who Corey and Judith are, you can listen to episode #170, where LuAnn first met them and there you can hear all about their firms and their backgrounds. What really makes this new feature so actionable and worthy, is that Corey and Judith run two entirely different kinds of firms, with Judith's being a solo operation, on a small island and Corey's in a big city, with staff. This will be really fun and interesting and it will also give you two very different, yet valid perspectives.  What makes it live, is that in addition to this podcast version, there is also a video available, of the three of them, which will be posted on LuAnn's Youtube channel, A Well Designed Business, as well as on the LuAnn Nigara Facebook Page. LuAnn wants you to know that this format is a bit more laid back- more like a coffee jam session- and she also warns you about having these three crazies all in one place! Make no mistake about it, however, they're still going to be covering the business principals that you need to know, in order to be successful. At the end of the day, the goal is still to help you to be more productive and profitable. 


They've decided to start off with an introduction of the philosophy of both Corey and Judith, so they have each made a list of the top things that they think you should do, or you should know, in order to be successful in the Design Industry. You don't need to take notes, because if you go to, you can get your free PDF download of 'The things I learned from Judith and Corey Design Biz Live Episode #1'. Listen in now and enjoy the new show!


Show highlights:


  • The first thing on Corey's list- To be really completely obsessive about drafting and graphic communication. And also...please spell correctly! Corey explains why your construction drawing really needs to be a work of art.
  • The number one thing on Judith's list- Install a toilet, upholster a couch, hang wallpaper, mud and prep dry wall. In other words, get dirty. You really need to have an understanding of not only your trades and what's involved with the different aspects of the product that you're specifying or selling, but there is a respect aspect to this too, which you can only gain through getting a real understanding of the various skill sets involved with doing all of this- and doing it really well. Without this you're not going to be able to really connect with those trades.
  • Number two on Corey's list- You need to take accounting classes. You really do need to know the difference between a mark up and a margin, gross profit and net profit and how much you cost- not how much you earn. The latter includes overheads, facilities, equipment, your hourly rate and your costs for  getting back and forth. 
  • Number two on Judith's list- Work on a finish line at a Cabinet Manufacturers for at least two weeks. Not going to happen easily, but you should try! This is because you really have to have an understanding of the human element involved here. There are going to be imperfections- this is in the nature of the business, so this understanding helps lessen the shock or surprise value when something does go wrong.
  • Number three on Corey's list- Visualise the details. Stand in the room for five minutes and design it in your mind. If you really can't do that, you're going to have trouble getting through the whole process.
  • Number three on Judith's list-  Run the plumbing for your bath design and then do the tile installation. Think this through from the beginning. This is a fundamental, as it's about the reality of what happens on a job site, vs your drawings, vs life, vs product, vs the variation in the installation  process. This is, again, about having an understanding of  and a compassion for the trades. You can only get that through hands-on experience
  • Number four on Corey's list- Don't think for a second that going out on your own is going to be easy. It isn't! It's going to be the hardest stuff you've ever done in your whole entire life, but, it's really so rewarding and so fun!
  • Number four on Judith's list- Date a Lawyer and learn how to argue effectively. One of the huge challenges in the industry is that there's always conflict and conflict often comes up in communication.  This isn't about arguing, it's really about problem solving. About getting to the issue of what the conflict is about. It's about how to resolve things effectively and professionally, without creating more conflict.
  • Number five for Corey- Use really solid contracts with clients. Don't kill them with the contracts, though. ASID has a set of contracts that you can purchase.
  • Number five for Judith-  Take out your nose ring and go and work at Nordstrom for a year and learn how to dress. Find a style somewhere between Brad Pitt and Iris Apfel. It's really important for Trade Professionals to look professional. You really can make a personal statement and find a way to be neutral and appropriate to the situation, without challenging your customer. 
  • Number six on Corey's list- Take credit cards. The fee that's charged is usually offset by the amount of work that you save from having to go to the bank to deposit a cheque. 
  • Number six on Judith's list- Learn grace under pressure. Experience and manage customer triage. Work at a Big Box Store for a year. Great to learn to manage multiple clients at the same time and maintain grace, think on your feet in and do problem solving in a retail environment. Don't hire anyone without any retail experience.
  • Number seven on Corey's list- Follow through on everything and think about the big picture. This is really important to solve those unresolved things that are hanging around and to nip them in the bud. 
  • Number seven on Judith's list- Go old school and learn how to use a sharpie and paper to quick sketch your concepts.  This is just basic artistic ability- not tech. You can go to an art school to learn this. It's a really respected and impressive technique.
  • Number eight on Corey's list- Document everything. You never know when you're going to need it!
  • Number eight on Judith's list- Design something and build it. Not a 3D printed model- really build it yourself. You'll really get a fundamental understanding of how things are put together this way.
  • Number nine on Corey's list- Don't cheap out on software and solutions. They really are your best efficiency machine. You can do the same amount of work and charge the same amount of money, or you can do less work and charge the same amount of money...
  • Number nine on Judith's list- Learn the difference between a professional rejection and a personal one. They may not like you, but they should at least respect you. It's often hard to separate the two as creative professionals. This is learned usually through experience. Develop a professional perspective.




Corey's website:


Judith's website: 


Jul 17, 2017

Today's guest is Lane McNab, of Lane McNab Interiors. Lane, just like Darla Powell, who appeared on last week's show, has also come to Interior Design as a second career. Listen in to find out all about Lane and how she's developed her really successful Interior Design Business.

Lane grew up in Florida and attended school in both Tennessee and San Francisco. She continued her education at Oxford University and at Il Globo Institute, in Italy. Lane's Interior design career is backed with her vast experience and her work and her expertise have been featured in many places, including The Today Show, the East Bay AIA Tour Of Homes, Dwell, Modern Sanctuary, Lux Pad, 24 East, My Domain and also in her home town publication, Berkeleyside, as the go-to Interior Designer, for approachable ways to modernise an historical home. Listen in today, to find out how Lane's career path and the lessons that she's learned along the way have contributed to her success, both as a Designer and as a Business Person.

Show highlights:

  • Lane talks about her first career, as a solo opera singer, in the San Francisco Bay area- prior to her becoming a mom.
  • How Lane first started out in 2004, working with a contractor on her own projects and how this eventually developed into Lane McNab Interiors.
  • The Today Show wanted to include one of Lane's Design Projects in an article they were running, at a time when she still didn't even know if she really wanted to have a business.
  • The point at which Lane realized that she could really take advantage of the fantastic opportunities that were coming her way, and start her business.
  • Lane eventually shut down her blog and took a year to stay focused and she worked very closely with Julia Malloy as well as with a number of other consultants, prior to starting her business, as she realized that she really needed a jump start.
  • The huge amount of confidence that Lane gained, from working with Julia Malloy.
  • Lane always writes down anything that she doesn't understand, so that she can research it later because different projects always require different amounts of knowledge.
  • Lane explains how she found the necessary help when making her transition to a much larger project.
  • The really sage advice from Julia Malloy, that Lane still holds on to- 90% of successful entrepreneurs have the consistent quality of a high E.Q.
  • Explaining to clients not only what the best design is, but why!
  • The typical things that tend to trip Designers up, when working with construction.
  • A memorable challenge that Lane faced with the cabinet guy, which became a valuable learning experience.
  • Using a mistake as an opportunity to develop a really great relationship with the client.
  • Lane's way of working with her vendors, or trade sources.
  • Dealing with clients who aren't happy about having their project photographed.
  • Not taking the first 'no' for an answer...
  • The importance of being collaborative, as a Designer.
  • Lane's outsourcing of her expediting- how and why it works for her.
  • The importance of keeping really detailed notes as a reference, for Lane.


Labe's Website:

Jul 14, 2017

The guest for today's Power Talk Friday is Kathy Knowles, a former HR Director who has become an entrepreneur. Her company is called Intuitive Strategies and Consultants and Kathy has become known as The Soulful Business Mentor. She really understands the challenges one faces, when leaving behind a successful, yet unfulfilling six figure career, to build a more satisfying business and life. Kathy has more than twenty years of experience of maximizing people and potential, as an HR Director, which has given her a real advantage in helping you to create your own Heart and Soul Business.

She and her team share proven strategies and formulas, to help you to establish a growth strategy that makes you more money and frees up more of your time. Magic words, right? Kathy's mission is to help more business owners and entrepreneurs to create a life of a business that they love, without sacrificing integrity, income, or sanity! There are really so many things that Kathy, as a talented Business Coach, could have discussed today, however, LuAnn decided to zero in on 'Help Business Owners Hire Right The First Time'. Even though LuAnn has owned a business for more than thirty years, she's really looking forward to this discussion, because for her, hiring really is one of the most troublesome parts of being in business. So, listen in, to get some great insights from Kathy's more than twenty years of experience.

This is going to be a really jam-packed episode, as Kathy has a ton of information for you. She has prepared a list of questions that are very helpful in assisting you to make the right hire. Several of the questions will be discussed in the interview today, however, her list is really much more in-depth, so if you are about to hire, or if you struggle with how to do that, you will enjoy this interview. To get Kathy's really valuable list of questions, go to and click on The things I learned from Kathy Knowles. Listen in now, to find out more.

Show highlights:

  • Kathy explains that the process of hiring starts with you and being crystal clear about where you want to go with your business.
  • Hiring around the things that you're not good at.
  • Getting intuitively in touch with your business, in order to really grow your email list and to know which team member to hire.
  • Knowing how to choose the right person, when hiring someone for the very first time- using the List Of Four and then breaking it down a little further.
  • How to know when it's time to hire someone.
  • Asking the right questions when interviewing a potential employee.
    Talking about money during an interview.
  • Understanding that the way that someone interacts with you during an interview, will be the way that they will interact with your clients, should you hire them.
  • The importance of asking specific questions during an interview, even if you really hit it off with them.
  • Why you really shouldn't talk too much, when interviewing someone.
    The kinds of questions that are more likely to elicit a true response from an interviewee.
  • The importance of employees being accountable.
    Some suggestions for great questions to ask a potential employee, during an interview.
  • Creating interview questions around a personality profile- like Disc or Kolbe.
  • Links:

Kathy's website: – This is where you will find her free Gaining More Loyal Customers resource.

For Kathy's free Find and Fill resource, go to:\find-and-fill\

Kathy's email:

Jul 12, 2017

The guest for today's show is the truly remarkable Darla Powell, of Darla Powell Interiors, in Florida. Darla and LuAnn initially became friends through the social media of the podcast and then continued their friendship with conversations on the Designer Facebook Groups that they were both in and also through Instagram. It's not unusual for LuAnn to become friends with the people that she interviews for the podcast, and she and Darla also have a few friends in common (Mark McDonough from Tastefully Inspired and Karina from Superior K Interiors), so she really thought she knew all about her, until she went out and did her research for the interview. Then she was truly surprised to learn a few things about Darla that she didn't know before! Listen in to find out all about these surprising details.

Mark McDonough was actually the person who suggested to LuAnn that she should consider having Darla on the show. He pointed out that this was a second career for her and that she was going to be a truly amazing Interior Designer, as she was really putting her all into it, after having retired from her first career. Listen in now, to find out more about Darla and how she came to be doing what she does now.

Show highlights:

  • Darla talks to LuAnn about her first career- in Law Enforcement, for eighteen and a half years, as a Detective Sargent with the Miami-Dade Police Department, where she thought about quitting her job and becoming an Interior Designer almost every day!
  • Darla talks about her long journey from Law Enforcement to Interior Design.
  • How Darla really became really motivated to become an Interior Designer, after listening to one of LuAnn's podcasts, with Mark McDonough.
  • Darla's Instagram is only seven or eight months old and it already has way over seven thousand followers!
  • The biggest tip that Mark McDonough gave to Darla, about finding brands that align with her work and commenting on their posts straight away.
  • The great value in taking the time to be genuine and really engaging with people on social media. This makes you human and really helps your brand- and gets people to stay with you.
  • As long as you're putting out great content, your fans will still love you, even if you don't follow them back.
  • LuAnn and Darla discuss the portfolio which is up on Darla's website, which is actually her entire own home, done on a limited budget.
  • Darla talks about the fabulous blog, which is called Wing-nuts and Wallpaper and really reflects her brand voice.
  • How Darla boosts her following with her blog and with her Facebook posts.
  • How Nicole Heimer, (Episode #125) a really rockstar brander, has really helped Darla.
  • Some areas where Darla has felt a bit overwhelmed with her new career and what she's found helpful at these times.
  • How Susan Winterstein really helped Darla with her process, with an organized chart to inform the client about the whole design process.
  • Why Darla quit her first career way sooner than she originally intended to do so.


Darla's website:, where you will also find Darla's blog, Wing-nuts and Wallpaper.


Business of Design, Volume 3- Win The Flat Fee Game by Kimberley Seldon

Jul 10, 2017

The guest on today's show is Enoch Bartlett Sears, a licensed California Architect and the founder and publisher of Business of Architecture. He's the creator and host of The Business of Architecture, the number one podcast for Architects and he is also the co-founder of The Architect Marketing Institute. LuAnn had to wait quite a while to get to interview Enoch, as he really is busy, so she's grateful and very glad that he found an hour for her today and she thinks that you're going to be glad too! Listen in, to find out how you can increase both the income and the efficiency of your business, with the fantastic resources that Enoch has for you.

LuAnn came across Enoch because of his podcast. She's a regular listener and really enjoys his show and thinks that what he does is really terrific! She finds that he actually does a lot of the same things that she does on her podcast, except that his target is Architects, so she just switches the word 'Architect' in her mind, for Interior Designer. Enoch interviews Architects on how they run their firms and what they do to increase their income and efficiency. He also talks with outside Industry Experts, as does LuAnn on her Power Talk Fridays, to help Architects to increase the profitability of their firms. This is why LuAnn thought that this would be such a great fit for this show. Enoch is also a Business Coach and he's become famous for helping Architects to grow their firms and their income and increase their freedom, through the use of effective Client Strategies.

Enoch went through one of his very actionable strategies, a Twelve Step Questionnaire process, called Twelve Questions To Ask Before Your Meeting- So You Know What Hot Buttons To Push, which he recommends to Architects, with LuAnn. This was developed by Enoch's partner, Richard Petrie, who's known as The World's Leading Architect Marketing Coach. LuAnn was really impressed with it and as she went through it with him, she found that it could be translated right to Interior Designers. So listen in now, to find out more about this questionnaire which you could apply to yourself, to help you to attract your ideal Interior Design projects and clients.

Show highlights:

  • How to deal with the fears and insecurities that often exist between Design Professionals.
  • A tip for Interior Designers, to deliver more value when wanting to do work with Architects.
  • Enoch goes through his Twelve Questions To Ask Before Your Meeting- So You Know What Hot Buttons To Push.
  • Number one- Asking if are all the decision makers are present.
  • Number two- Setting the format and the ground rules for the meeting, in order to maintain an alpha position.
  • Number three- Framing the meeting's purpose and it's time frame with the client.
  • Number four- Asking the client some background questions, to discover their current situation or the 'now'. You really need to be quiet and listen carefully here!
  • Number five- Understand the client's goals and objectives and their vision for the future and also, how they want to feel in the space. Try to get the emotional impact of what they're going for.
  • Number six- Ask your success criteria questions, about how the client would know if they've achieved a successful project with you. This would involve helping them to imagine the future and to talk to you about what they are imaging.
  • Number seven- Ask your client what it would mean to them, to have achieved their objectives. This will be an emotional question, bringing out emotional answers, to discover their emotional drivers.
  • Number eight- Ask their current plans to achieve their objectives and find out the degree to which they are already on track. This is where you find out about any obstacles or challenges they may be worried about and also, how much time they have for the process.
  • Number nine- Ask them about the consequences, if they don't meet their objectives. This is about discovering their degree of motivation, to do the project and follow through on it and helping them to connect their current decisions with the consequences of those decisions.
  • Number ten- Ask the timing questions, about when they want to get their new results completed.
  • Number eleven- Map out the road to success with your client, with their options. This is where you really need to bring all your professional training to bear and look at the gap between where they are now and where they want to get to.
  • Number twelve- Book the next few meetings, if you feel that this client is a good fit.
  • The really great value in Designers creating contacts with Architects.
  • How you as a Designer, can best reach out to an Architect, to arrange a meeting about the possibility of working together.
  • What Architects really want to work on.
  • Ways that you can bring value to architects, as a Designer and get them to work together with you.
  • What Enoch does on his podcast and how you can find him, at The Business Of Architecture, on iTunes.


For some awesome, free giveaways:

Go to: and give your email address, to get your free PDF download of the questions and frameworks mentioned on the show, as well as the two questions that Richard Petrie calls his Mind Cannon.

Jul 7, 2017

The guest on today's Power Talk Friday is Dorien Morin-van Dam, the Owner and Social-Media Consultant with More In Media, which is located in sunny Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Dorien helps Small Businesses Owners with their strategies, planning, and execution, around Social Media. Listen in to find out more about Dorien and what she has to share, to help Small Business Owners with their Video Marketing on Social Media.

Dorien is a Coach and Trainer, who concentrates on Video Marketing and  Social Media Management. She particularly enjoys working with Video Coaching and helping people to overcome their fear of the camera. This is something that she runs into all the time, with local clients and Small Business owners who really need to be on camera, yet have real fear around doing that. Dorien has found that here is such a great need for this right now, with Video Marketing being so popular, that she is also busy writing a book about it. Dorien, who's a Mom with four teens and three dogs, loves to run marathons and cook and eat vegan food. She also really enjoys teaching, blogging and speaking about Social Media. Listen in now, to find out more about how Dorien helps people to overcome their fears about appearing in front of a camera.

Today, Dorien talks to LuAnn about:

  • The fear that so many people experience, of appearing on camera.
  • That there really is an easy way to overcome that fear.
  • That although she has no fear of the camera, she did have another extreme fear, through which she developed the necessary empathy to help others to overcome their fears around cameras.
  • The story about her epiphany- which enabled her to overcome her own fear and help others to do the same.
  • How she helps people to get ready to appear in front of the camera.
  • A new acronym for FEAR- that, instead of Fearing Everything And Running, you can learn to Face Everything And R
  • The Rise of Video in Social Media and the tremendous opportunities that it can bring for you, with this year being The Year Of The Live Video in Social Media.
  • The fantastic new developments coming up on Facebook, for Virtual Reality Meetings.
  • That the reach of a video is so much greater than either using pictures, or text.
  • Facebook Live- how it's pushing Video and where it's going.
  • Why Dorien thinks that you can't fail with Video- if you go through her process.
  • Low-cost ways of creating Videos.
  • Replacing your fear of how you look with a love for your brand.
  • The more you watch yourself on video, the more you get over your fear of it.
  • Really awesome tips for creating really great, confident videos of yourself, before going live on Facebook.
  • Being authentic, to better connect with people on video.
  • How to catch people's eye in the first few seconds, with your video.
  • Some ideas for you to use, to market yourself with video.
  • Using what's going on around you currently, as a topic for your video.
  • Creating great content for your videos.
  • How to straddle the fine line between oversharing and too little content on your video.
  • Re-purposing your content, for great results.

Dorien's book, No Fear Video, which will be coming out later this year.


Dorien's website:

Jul 5, 2017

Today's show is taken from LuAnn's presentation that she gave at the I.W.C.E.

LuAnn starts her presentation by explaining the mix that goes into creating a really successful business. She points out that you are actually your own magic pill and that you really do have the ability when it comes down to making decisions. All that you need is to have confidence in yourself and to know that you have a good business and that you're a good business leader. Then, you have to identify the obstacles and make a plan, rather than running away from them. The really important part though, is to make the decision, as confidence and a plan are nothing without a decision. So, every day, as a business person, you have to choose to go out and do what is necessary. Listen in now, to LuAnn's really valuable presentation.

LuAnn explains that Window Works was initially a franchise which started in the early 70's and went until the early 90's and that she and her two partners owned three of them. From year one and for the next ten years, two of their three franchises were number one and number two in highest gross sales, every year!  Today, LuAnn talks about the things that she has found when looking back, that have really contributed to their great success. Number one being Leadership, number two- Systems and number three-  Excellence. Listen in, to find out how to use these three ingredients to really attain the kind of success that you would love for your business.  

Today, LuAnn talks about: 

  • Her A Well Designed Business Podcast and what it's all about.
  • What goes into creating and being a terrific leader- 1) Establishing your company's mission. 2) Establishing your company's core values and 3) Establishing accountability.
  • What you will gain from having a really well thought out Company Mission.
  • Why you need to make your Company's Core Values, which are non-negotiable, really clear to both yourself and to your employees.
  • Why it's really so important to establish accountability in your business.
  • The book, The E-Myth by Michael Gerber and why the three business roles that it refers to are so important to understand.
  • Working on your business as well as working in your business.
  • That System is the number one thing that contributes to the success of your business.
  • The reason for the Red Pen System that they use at the Window Works office.
  • Why systems really do make your life (and your business) so much easier.
  • The real importance of impeccable customer service- and that often means that you have to let go of being right!
  • That it's sometimes hard to keep to your business systems and decisions, but it's really worth it!


Book: The E-Myth by Michael E. Gerber – An amazing book for small business owners.

Jul 3, 2017

Today's guest is Manuella Moreira, one of LuAnn's long time early listeners to the show.  In May, there was a big event at the insanely gorgeous Ethan Allen Showroom in New York City, where Manuella works with Barbara Viteri, the Designerlebrity.  You can go back and listen to the audio of that show (#185 ), or you can see the video of it on A Well Designed Business Youtube channel- something really well worth seeing! Listen in to find out more about Manuella and her fabulous career.

Today, we're talking about Manuella's fascinating career, working for Ethan Allen. What LuAnn finds interesting is that it's really so completely different from what she would have expected an Ethan Allen Designer's career to look like and she points out that the opportunities that this brings for Manuella are truly remarkable. Listen in now, to find out more.

Today, Manuella talks to LuAnn about:

  • The research that she did and the decision-making process that she went through in 2013 when she had the opportunity to go to Ethan Allen.
  • That the CEO personally approves each Designer employed by the company- and there are fifteen hundred of them!
  • Why she chose to work for Ethan Allen rather than any other company.
  • That at Ethan Allen, they really value the Interior Design portion of their company.
  • The different levels of Designers at Ethan Allen and their ongoing training processes for their Designers.
  • Their really different approach to working with their clients.
  • That there really are opportunities for new Designers at Ethan Allen.
  • How Manuella and Robert Nelson, the other Lead Designer, assist the other Designers in the company to execute their projects successfully- they're really not competitive.
  • How they, as a company, manage the huge number of walk-in customers, who come into the showroom.
  • That the Designers at Ethan Allen don't really work specific hours.
  • That Manuella created her website for herself and feels as if she's running her own business but under the Ethan Allen umbrella.
  • That each Designer within the company really has their own approach to marketing themselves.
  • That Ethan Allen has really given Manuella the freedom to be creative.
  • That they only do their sourcing from Ethan Allen's product.
  • How they're evolving at Ethan Allen, as a brand.
  • That Ethan Allen's in-house Designers design 70% of the products that they have on offer.
  • Designing in such a way as to stay relevant.
  • Their two different Trade Programs at Ethan Allen and the credit and also the commissions that you could earn from purchasing from them, as a Designer.
  • That they're trying to work more and more with Designers, at their new Flat Iron location and the 25% discount they offer to the clients.
  • The whole online scenario for Ethan Allen and the new features on their website. Go to to find out.
  • That one design project really seems to lead to the next- and it all starts with a conversation.
  • How much Manuella really loves building relationships with her clients.
  • The really awesome video on Manuella's website. (
  • All the recognition and awards that Manuella has earned.

What's coming up on the horizon with Ethan Allen and Amazon and Manuella's role in that.


Manuella's email:

Manuella's website:

Manuella's Instagram: mgmdecor