…about the similarities between running a business + decorating a home.

Raise your hand if you mention Chip and Jo or Ben and Erin so often in conversation that your husband thinks they’re coworkers or friends of yours instead of HGTV stars?! *raises hand proudly*

My husband and I have lived in two apartments and two homes in our (nearly) ten-year marriage, and with each place that we called “home,” I worked HARD to make our space reflect our style and meet our needs.

As I embark on this new adventure of running my own copywriting business, I’m consistently surprised by the similarities of this time to one of my other passions: decorating a home. Let’s dive in!

1) Home decorating is a lengthy process that requires refinement, as does running a business.

One of the trends that I just ADORE in home decorating is the gallery wall. Every home of ours has had a gallery wall that combines family photos with vintage finds or fun accents, like reclaimed molding, brass details, or DIY projects.

I often joke with my mother that I’m a maximist when it comes to home decor – I just can’t leave a bare wall alone!

My sweet Quincy celebrating Christmas a few years ago (with my favorite gallery wall I’ve EVER done behind him!)

But when we were preparing to sell our first home two years ago, one of the things I noticed – and kept in mind for our current home – is how refreshing it can feel to MINIMIZE. By creating open and blank space – by REFINING what’s there to allow space for what’s not – our brains recognize the gaps and the emptiness as spaces not for MORE necessarily, but for NEW.

Considering that the only thing that’s consistent in business is change, any reminder to embrace the NEW is welcome, as far as I’m concerned.

2) Home decorating allows you to use what you have in new ways, and the same is often required in business.

Our first two apartments were in a small college town that swelled in the fall with the arrival of new and returning students and dwindled in the summer to a slower, lazy pace. Our first son was born in this sweet little town (more about this special place in our hearts here), and so we look back upon these three years – and these two apartments – as really quite the significant birthplace: of Jordan’s IT career, of my teaching career, of our son, and (much less notable but true nonetheless) our decorating style.

When we moved from our tiny one-bedroom apartment to a bigger (but still on the smaller side) apartment upstairs, we had three weeks to prepare a nursery before our due date with our son. In the days prior to Lionel’s birth, we put our finishing touches on the room, which included using an accent table as a changing table, modernizing an old rocker from my childhood with paint and cushions, and using open, empty picture frames above his crib to set off the wooden letters of our child’s name.

Sweet newborn Lionel on his accent-table-turned-changing-table!

Like decorating, running a business requires us to rework, reimagine, and reclaim what may have worked in other jobs, decades, or uses. I often find myself repurposing writing techniques from my studies, my teaching, and my business experience all the time as I pursue this new endeavor. What works in one setting can be tweaked and work in others, from literary concepts like point of view and tone to the fine detail work and hustle of carpentry or engineering.

3) Even though a room may look good, that doesn’t mean it’s DONE, and working on your business is NEVER done, either.

When we decided to sell our first home, I had painted every. single. room. in that house except for ONE: the lower level bathroom, which was already painted a lovely dark grey color that suited my style. All of the other rooms were de-beiged in favor of COLOR (see my favorite paint colors here!), and the consistent palette of muted blues and greens felt SO fresh.

My little t-ball player in “ready position” (in front of our freshly painted walls!)

But the funny thing about a freshly painted home is how, uh, un-fresh everything else appears. From the tired baseboard trim (battered from hockey pucks flying and soccer balls scoring) to the springy door stoppers that had lost their spring, the little touches needed just as much attention as the big surfaces, both for selling high AND for living well.

The same maxim holds true for business ownership. While your branding may look gorgeous, from flat lays to your Facebook feed, if your product or service doesn’t serve YOUR people well at a price point that’s feasible for your clients AND for you as a business owner, the work has only begun. If your website is visually stunning and intuitive to navigate, but your copy and messaging doesn’t SELL your stellar product or service, all that you have is a pretty website, not a BUSINESS. In other words, a fresh coat of paint only goes so far – and in business, it’s not nearly enough.

If you’re looking to outsource this task to the pros and hedge your bets on greater business success, let’s chat about working together!

I equip and inspire business owners to inject some storytelling into their website copy to increase their conversion rates and serve their people at the same time. My heart pumps joy when working to help infuse the personal back into business ownership by snapping the right words into formation. I can’t wait to help you share YOUR stories and celebrate your successes!

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Hi! I’m Sara.

thanks for reading!

I love serving small business owners to craft copy and content that’s word-magic. And as a strategist and an educator at heart, I’m excited to work side by side with YOU, friend, to infuse stories and personality into your business so that YOU can serve your people better and sell to them more, too.

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