Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rren Schafer, Founder of Revel Design Studio, located in Seattle, WA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Revel is an interior design firm and project management company that has grown into general contracting for both high-end residential and retail/commercial spaces. My clients are homeowners and business owners looking to solve design problems such as layout through remodeling and tenant improvement.
Tell us about yourself
I was one of the lucky ones. I had an epiphany one day while working at a day spa. I realized all the surfaces, lighting, furniture, and overall ambiance of the space were something I could do and do it well. So I quit and went back to school for Interior Design. I started Revel in the Spring of 2014. I live and breathe design, but not in a typical way. I use design as an applicable art skill to create real spaces that help affect my client's homes and workplaces for the better. I grew Revel in what it is because I love seeing the designs executed in real time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Being a woman-owned general contractor is a pretty big deal. It took a lot of grit to believe that I could do it by myself. However, the thing I am most proud of as a business owner is the joy of growing together with my colleagues. Being able to hire or refer business to people I've worked with for years is extremely rewarding.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things about being a business owner is realizing not everyone is built or motivated the same. Unfortunately, being a woman in construction is also extremely tough. I get dismissed a lot. Luckily that only serves to better motivate me to prove them wrong.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Know your strengths, and either supplement or actively teach yourself more about your weaknesses.
- Learn how to say No. This is absolutely invaluable. If you say yes to everyone, you will get overwhelmed. A no can simply means you can but in 2 months' time. A waitlist is valid. It also shows a strong pipeline.
- Charge for your time. Do not give anything away for free. Free equals being devalued from the start, and clients will respect you less.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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