All this month I’m interviewing real-life designers about what it is like to run a design business. As you’ll see these ladies have all different backgrounds and experiences, but one thing they all have in common is that they have taken my course, The Golden Blueprint.
About Leslie Cutler
Leslie has had many a creative careers and a life of travel. After growing up around art & antiques, she graduated with an Art History degree and went on to model for 15 years. After modeling she worked in event design and planning before ultimately settling into interior design. She has been working as Leslie B Cutler Interior Design off and on for 20+ years.
What traits or talents have made you successful?
I am very detail oriented. Organized but my confident smile and innately being a people pleaser are what make me successful. I am approachable and down to earth I think clients like that as well.
How do you charge?
Time plus product increasingly customers want to purchase online so time rates have gone up.
What is a typical project like for your business?
My favorites are either one of these: Full design build where I am in on the planning and work with the builder and architect on every little decision OR clients that listen to my recommendations and like to work together and believe in authentic use of product sources etc.
What has been your biggest sacrifice in running your business?
This might sound crazy but Creativity! As any one who runs their own small business knows 90% of it is paperwork, bookkeeping order tracking...I am definitely in the market for an assistant now that my business is definitely growing
What is the biggest lesson you've learned from running your business?
That every job teaches you something new...you never truly stop learning and that’s the exciting part as well!
What does success mean to you?
Success means happy clients, money in the bank, and being proud of my work. Creating an environment that inspires us wether it be comfort, luxury or just plain beauty is what I love to do.
When you stumble how do you pick yourself up?
Forge onward don’t look back except to learn what you did wrong (and maybe drown your sorrows in a glass of really good wine).
Do you have a favorite quote?
The details are not the details...they ARE the design....little things whether it be the perfect waste bin, or fill of a down insert...this is really important to me.
What drew you to interior design?
I was an art history major in college so I always thought I would pursue that, but I also grew up surrounded by antiques and a had a Francophile grandmother that taught me to love interior design. It has just sort of come natural to me...coupled with a ton of travel which is the best inspiration...I cant imagine doing anything else!
How do you wish the design industry was different?
I work alone so I wish there was more collaboration, more transparency and pricing norms.
Looking back, is there anything that you wish you could've done differently running your business?
From a work perspective I wish I had stayed in Miami where I grew up. My business would have grown much faster and I like to think I’d have a big firm!
What are you most proud of?
I am most proud of my daughter (and when clients refer me because el they are happy with my work!)
What is your biggest struggle in running your business?
My biggest struggle is focus...being pulled in so many different directions. Learning how to be accountable just to myself....I also need to constantly remember to trust my judgement. OH and also work on client boundaries.
How has your business changed since The Golden Blueprint?
The Golden Blueprint helped me reflect more and really dig deep to refine my vision. I all ready had most of the business practices in place so I benefited more from the course in a philosophical way.
Any sage advice or words of wisdom to fellow designers?
Advice to fellow designers? Be strong...in many ways
What is on the horizon for your business? What are your goals for the next year? What are you working on?
I have GOT to photograph more, hire an assistant and streamline the back house. I want to build my business in south Florida/Caribbean.
Tired of other designer's not sharing what they know about running a design business? That stops now. This is the blueprint for you design and build your business in 7 weeks so you can do what you want to do: design.
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