Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Michelle Lyles. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Michelle, appreciate you joining us today. Getting that first client is always an exciting milestone. Can you talk to us about how you got your first customer who wasn’t a friend, family, or acquaintance?
My very first client was actually prior to me even establishing my DBA! When I initially started in the architectural field, I knew it was important to place myself around my individuals that were in the architectural world so I would frequently attend corporate events and happy hours to gain connections. I met a guy Stephen that was based in California but had an office in Dallas he was wanting to renovate, and he trusted me enough to do a quick sketch for a proposed redesign. I was 19 years old.
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 back background and context?
I have always loved art and design, so at a very early age, I made the decision to get into architecture. The high school I attended offered “AutoCAD / Drafting” college courses, so I began learning on a drafting table introductory architecture at age 14 and just grew my skills from there!
Shortly after graduating from high school I began working at a commercial architectural firm, and remained there for the following 10 years. During that time, I not only learned how to package together a full set of architectural design drawings, but I was afforded the opportunity to learn electrical systems and plumbing design. Many of the projects I worked on were restaurants and retail designs, which were interesting initially to develop, but I quickly began feeling unfulfilled from reptitious design and lack of room for creativity.
I began gravitating more toward residential design, and decided to start Lyles Home Design in an effort to fulfill my desire to not only express my creativity but also help people through space planning and design. My goal became to be a home developer – providing a space for families to call home.
After ending my tenure with the first firm, I began working as a Design and Construction manager building luxury movie theatres nationwide. (All the while, managing and growing Lyles Home Design). I stayed with that company a little under five years, and once COVID hit, I transitioned to a General Contracting company. During my short tenure there, I learned a little more of the nitty-gritty side of things, but finally in 2021, feeling much more well-rounded, I decided I needed to trust myself and just focus on reaching my home development goal.
Currently, I own and operate a design firm and a construction company managing Commercial Designs, Residential Designs, Interior Decorating, New Construction and Commercial Project Management.
What do you think helped you build your reputation within your market?
I would certainly say consistency! Many of my clients are from word-of-mouth, they trust that I will not only offer the most sound advice that I can, but also will provide realistic expectations for their project goals.
How about pivoting – can you share the story of a time you’ve had to pivot?
I built my first home in 2015. After finding a lot to purchase, I took on the design and general contracting of the project. At that time in my life, I was traveling heavily for the Theatre company that I was with, both of my children were younger, and financially I wasn’t realistically in a position to begin such a daunting project and I was still working full-time on Lyles Home Design projects.
I spread myself too thin and was making brash decisions that made me have to come to a complete halt in order to re-evaluate my life and what truly was important to me and my children. I pulled back from Lyles Home Design, walked away from my construction project, and took about two years to realign my energy and home life. It was a hard decision initially, but necessary for me to truly grow in the areas I needed.
- Website: www.lyleshomedesign.com
- Instagram: @lyleshomedesign
- Facebook: @lyleshd
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lyles-home-design/