Small Business Insights: Home Staging By Abigail
Central Massachusetts is home to a thriving small business community. From one person shops operating out of their homes to companies with a few hundred employees and multiple locations, it’s a diverse and supportive group of creatively talented people who all have a story to tell. Each month this blog gives one of these businesses a chance to share their story to help others on the same path looking for some insider tips to grow their business.
This month we welcome Home Staging By Abigail.
Home Staging By Abigail is the brainchild of Abigail Halal. Based in Jefferson, MA her services help you get your home looking picture perfect for when you’re ready to sell. Abigail is a RESA® Accredited Professional and is a top rated service provider on Houzz.com. Even if you’re not in the market to stage your home, you’ll definitely want to join her 14k followers to check out her inspiring work on Instagram (@stagedbyabigail).
In this interview you’ll learn:
• How following your instinct is less risky than staying where you are
• Why relationships matter on and offline and how to maintain them
• How to set professional boundaries and the importance of saying no
1. What got you to where you are today?
I actually had no idea what home staging even was until my late twenties. Prior to starting my business I worked in education but I always had a passion for design even though it was limited to my own home. One day someone walked into my house and said, “Your home is beautiful! Is it staged?” My response was, “Staged? What is staged?” I did a quick Google search and three days later I quit my job and the rest is history. It sounds crazy because it is–but I knew I’d be good at it and I also knew I’d enjoy it. And for those two reasons, it didn’t feel like a big risk.
2. How do you stay motivated to keep on your path?
I used to have one of those jobs where you couldn’t wait until Friday. Sunday scaries were a real thing and when the alarm went off in the morning all I wanted to do was snooze. I’ve heard the saying: “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.” It’s absolutely true. So what keeps me motivated? The fear of having to return to a miserable 9-5. Not only does my business bring me genuine happiness but I feel a real sense of freedom. There are many risks associated with owning a business and many, many challenges but it’s worth it. My business has taught me if you work on something every day you will absolutely see growth and results!
3. What has been your most successful marketing strategy? What keeps people coming back for more?
Social media and word of mouth without a doubt!
When you own a small business your reputation is important. I make it my priority to make sure my clients are happy. I pride myself on my communication skills.
As for social media, I’ve made a real effort to post content consistently and also use it as an opportunity to follow potential clients – such as brokers, realtors, flippers and developers. I introduce myself and maintain contact. It’s important to foster those relationships so they keep me in mind if they ever do need a home stager in the future!
4. How do you set yourself apart from others in your industry?
There are many ways to own and operate a home staging company. Some choose to rent furniture from a third party. I quickly learned by owning my inventory I could keep my prices reasonable and deliver quality as I can speak to the color, material, size and scale of the furniture I use at my stages.
I also don’t identify as an “only vacant” or “just luxury” home stager. I offer consultations and accessory rentals as not all sellers are able to completely vacate the home they are selling. I feel all sellers can benefit from staging services regardless of the age, size and/or style of their home. I like to think of myself as a stager for the people–all people. I think this sets me apart!
5. What is the best advice you’ve received when starting out?
I’ve had plenty of other home stagers from both MA and other states give me great tips and tricks specific to the trade. But in regards to owning and operating a business, I used to think “good business” meant never saying, “No.” I would always say yes to any paying client, even if it’s at a discount or I have to squeeze them in last minute. I thought it was my job to make their budget or timeline work because some money is better than no money and I didn’t want to lose a job! And when you’re just starting out there’s nothing worse than losing a job!
But I’ve learned from other small business owners that it’s okay to say, “No.” I don’t need to operate like a larger corporation. I have set prices that are fair yet competitive and I am typically booked two weeks out. I wouldn’t be very good at my job if I had next day availability!
Another small business owner told me that the perk of owning a business is you actually do get to choose who you work with. You can turn down a job and even fire clients. I choose to work with clients who respect my prices because they see my value and give me ample time and notice when they request my services. Those are the client relationships I nurture and would actually do cartwheels for if they asked me to but I’ll never have to because they treat me with respect and see me as part of the process, not the help.
6. Is there a local business, organization, or person that inspires your work? How do they inspire you?
I’m really passionate about women in business and especially women in real estate! One of my clients, Holly Frongillo, not only is she a local agent, she’s also a rookie flipper and AirBnB owner! She doesn’t mind rolling up her sleeves and doing the work herself and I respect that! A lot of things she’s doing now I plan to do in the future. So she certainly inspires me and I also love working with her!
My good friend and personal realtor is Morgan Wigden. She owns Morgan Wigden Design Co. and works with AirBnB owners. She’s designed some truly gorgeous spaces and has actually allowed me to help on some of her installs! Her pipeline of projects is always unique and exiting; I can’t wait to see what she does next. She keeps me inspired when it comes to design.
7. What do you enjoy most about being located in the Worcester/Central Mass area?
I’m originally a city girl! I grew up in Belmont, MA just steps away from a bus line that would take me right into Harvard Square and even closer to Boston if I wanted to hop on a train! So you could say I’m new to the area! I moved here just about a year ago with my husband, who is much more familiar with the area as he grew up in Shrewsbury, MA.
The grass is always greener and you always want what you don’t have. Moving to Central, MA was exciting because I was finally getting a yard, pool, some trees and quiet! I love it!
It was also ideal for business. Since I own all of my inventory, I needed a larger space to store it all and the price of storage out here versus the city is much more affordable! It’s a win-win all around!
To learn more about Abigail and Home Staging By Abigail visit: homestagingbyabigail.com
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