I remember when I was first starting out as a Home Stager, I would anxiously browse the questions and conversations posted in the different Stager Facebook groups that I joined. One day I saw a post by a Home Stager and it involved fundraising for another stager who was dealing with major health issues. Because of those issues, he moved back home to be near his family and because of that, he couldn’t physically stage homes to generate income or sustain his business.
When I saw that post and read the details, I lightly gasped for air, placed my hand over my chest and thought to myself “I don’t want that to be me”. I nervously asked myself “What will I do if I can’t physically stage a home for sale?” and “How will I take care of myself?”. At that point, I only saw that if someone can’t physically stage a home to make money to pay their bills, then they were out of business and I didn’t want that to happen to me.
Time went on and I continued to educate myself on the logistics and business of home staging and it was a lengthy process connecting with realtors to get the projects I needed in order to prove myself. Just when I was feeling good about what was going on and the connections, I was able to make, something happened . . . COVID-19. Every monthly event and meeting I put effort into attending were suddenly cancelled and we had no idea when we would be able to network again. Realtors all over the country were staying home because they didn’t want to contract the virus and bring it home to their families. Just like most of us were walking the isles of the grocery stores looking for toilet paper and meat to buy, I was browsing Facebook and Meetup.com to see what online events I could attend so that I could continue meeting realtors and investors.
One day I saw a Facebook post regarding the disruption in the Real Estate industry due to COVID-19. I responded that I had no idea about what I would do for my Home Staging business because all events were cancelled and I had no idea how I would generate income. Another stager from Philadelphia responded that she created an E-Staging Consultation service (also called Remote Staging) for her business years ago and that it’s commonly used by her clients when staging their homes for sale. She created an online mini-training course where she added videos on how to do all of the behind-the- scenes set up. She then went on to say that she wants every stager to thrive and get this stuff set up as soon as possible. I excitedly jumped in, setup all of my templates and photos on Google drive and then I did what most stagers avoid doing . . . I automated the process. Using a Customer Relationship Management platform (CRM) and a popular back-end automation tool, I made sure that the only manual work I had to do was review the client’s photos of their home, write customized recommendations and give them a call mid-way through the process to offer support and guidance.
I literally rolled out the process to my realtor and investor community 2 weeks ago and I’ve been making lots of cold calls, sending emails and posting on social media about the new service. As I write this blog, COVID-19 numbers are in the middle of surging again and we never completed the first wave. What that means is that realtors will continue to have reservations about going into their client’s home, if they go at all. I don’t want this uncertainty to stop their business and I certainly don’t want it to stop mine. The impact of the pandemic has created a buyer’s market in the Dallas area and many of those buyers need to sell the homes they’re currently living in. That’s why I integrated the E-Staging Consultation service into my business – it’s sustainable, it’s robust and it generates trust from my realtor partners. Most of all, it minimizes risk of contracting COVID-19 and keeps our realtor community and clients safe and well. Thanks to Effortless Staging for collaborating.