Staging with Your Family - How to Make it Work
By Jennie Norris, ASPM, IAHSP-Premier, ASP-SRS, ASP-SRS
Owner, Sensational Home Staging
Denver Region's Premier Home Staging Resource
In the beginning my children could not help out much in the business because they were too young. They could help with administrative things like marketing pieces, organizing papers, and stuffing envelopes. You want to find ways to involve your children in your business so that they gain an appreciation for what you do, and eventually can grow into a business partner. You see there are ways to involve your family that are advantageous for you and them – because you can pay a family member any wage you determine for them to help you in your business. A child can earn over $5,000 tax free as your employee and the benefit is this money can then be used by them to purchase things they need such as clothes, school supplies, entertainment – things you would be paying for anyway – but now they are a legitimate tax write off for you. So I found ways to involve my family.
My husband has always been available as needed – he has helped schlep inventory, he has driven vehicles, he has helped de-Stage when I was flying solo and my crew were not available. Most of all he has helped open doors for relationships because he is such as great networker and spokesperson for my company. He says the things I am too embarrassed to say because it sounds like I am bragging. He has a full-time demanding job in the high-tech industry, and yet loves the real estate industry and truly understands how I fit within the industry to help serve Realtors and sellers. I know if I did not have his support, and that of my children I would not still be Staging because it would be too challenging to have to prove my value repeatedly to my family and demonstrate that I have a legitimate business.
When I started both my Staging companies, I built from the ground up from scratch. We did not know any Realtors or have any sort of network for referrals in both the cities where we lived. That is the hardest way to build a business – cold – and yet that is how I have had to do it both times. Having the encouragement of family has been key.
Not all of my extended family “got” what I did in the beginning and therefore were not the most supportive. I believe they thought it was a hobby, fad or trend that I would move past and not a legitimate business. Staging was not that well known where they lived so my starting a Home Staging business was probably odd to them. When I started bringing in big dollars that is when my parents’ eyes opened. I have had family members sell and not contact me for help – and that’s OK. They may never totally appreciate what I have done in the past 10 years as a business owner, mentor, trainer, author, and entrepreneur, but my family and I know and that’s all that matters.
And my sisters and brothers in the trenches in the industry know because they are right there with me each day working to increase their business, to be successful, to represent our industry, and to help others achieve their goals along the way. I cannot think of a better role model for my children than a person that uses their God-given talents to develop a business that helps others. The fact that it is a great industry and lucrative is a double bonus. My Staging family that extends all over the world has become a huge avenue of support, encouragement and friendship and I would not be able to do this without them!