We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Amanda Garcia. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Amanda below.
Amanda, looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. Owning a business isn’t always glamorous and so most business owners we’ve connected with have shared that on tough days they sometimes wonder what it would have been like to have just had a regular job instead of all the responsibility of running a business. Have you ever felt that way?
Yes, I love running my own business! However, like any small business owner- I tend to go through ups and downs, business is great one day and slow the next. This year has been much slower for clients setting up short term rentals (Airbnbs, etc) because our market has become rather saturated with them, so we are working on growing the interior decorating and design side of the business. This has been a slower process than I had hoped, but is starting to pick back up. I do this business for 2 reasons- 1- because I LOVE decorating, and 2- because I LOVE helping people, whether it be creating a space they love and feel comfortable in, creating an office space that reflects their brand, or a short term rental that will help support their family by bringing in passive income. These are the things that keep me going, but when things get slow and I don’t feel as useful in those areas, my mind starts to wander and think about the “security” and consistency of a regular job. Of course then I remember how lucky I am to have a flexible schedule, get to do what I love, meet new people and spend time with my little one while she’s still little… and then I typically snap out of that thought process!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your background and context?
Well, I used to be a teacher. I taught for 10 years in public education before I had my little one and decided to stay home with her. After staying home with her for about a year, I decided I wanted to start my own business so I could still spend time with her, but also make some of my own money and use some of my time to do what I love- decorating. I initially started out doing stagings for real estate agents. I did this for several months before one of the teams (Five Pillars Realty at eXp) asked me if I would be interested in setting up their short term rentals for them (Airbnb, etc.), as they did not have the time or desire to do so once they purchased the properties. Setup entails everything from ordering furniture to purchasing wall art, decor, linens, dishes, etc- anything guests would need for a comfortable visit really, and getting it all set up and ready to go. The team was working on growing their investment portfolios so they had a lot of upcoming projects. I happily agreed and went through a pretty sharp learning curve, but ended up creating systems that made it much more manageable and enjoyable. The business grew from there. We have helped set up over 40 short term rentals, worked to redesign office spaces and previously staged Airbnb’s, created a course on how to set up your own short term rental and more! As previously stated, the short term rental setup part of the business has slowed down some, but we are now moving into more interior decorating and design projects which are also a lot of fun. We are about to take on our first virtual interior decorating client which will consist of coaching them through redecorating several rooms in their home!
What’s a lesson you had to unlearn and what’s the backstory?
A lesson I had to unlearn is that security is always best. I loved teaching for a long time, but by the time I left I was sincerely burnt out. I loved my students and wanted the best for them, but I was just so tired and overwhelmed from everything else the job demanded. It was extremely hard to leave a job that was pretty secure, offered consistent pay, health insurance, retirement and summers off…. even if it was absolutely draining me. Once I started my own business the lack of security in comparison to the other job was a bit astonishing! Every little detail of the business revolved around my actions, and even when my actions were exactly what I thought they needed to be to get the result I desired- I didn’t always get that result. It took a long time to build up and can be even harder to maintain at times… But I would do it all over again in a heartbeat! I love how much I have learned, the people I have gotten to meet and help, the areas I have grown in, and being able to say… “I built that!”
What’s worked well for you in terms of a source for new clients?
The best source of new clients for me has been word of mouth. As a matter of fact I would say 90-95% of my clients have come to me because someone else told them about me. I love this because it reaffirms that I am not just doing this as a job or for the money, but to truly help people- if they are sharing my services with others, I believe this feeling has been communicated. I treat my clients how I would want to be treated, and take care of their properties as if they were my own!