Archive for December, 2014

The end of the year can be stressful and exciting all at once. At the same time as you’re trying to finish projects and meet deadlines before the year is out, you also have the holidays to look forward to! Additionally, you have the prospect of a brand new year ahead. For interior decorators, making resolutions for work can set you on the right foot for the coming year and prepare you for a positive start to 2015! Here are some useful resolutions that might help you choose your own!

interior decorator

1. Address your habits

Knowing what your habits are, both the good and the bad, is essential to becoming a successful interior decorator. If you can resolve to keep track of and address your own habits, you’ll be much more prepared throughout the course of the year to foster the good ones and kick the bad ones! Determining which skills you’re best at can be difficult, and recognizing your bad habits can be even more of a challenge, but identifying these lets you deal with them head on and the start of a new year is the perfect time to do that! Resolve to avoid bad habits like letting your emails pile up or waiting too long to follow up with past clients, and to concentrate on good ones like maintaining a strong social networking presence and dealing with clients in a friendly, positive manner. Addressing your habits doesn’t have to be a negative resolution; it’s just as much about paying attention to what you’re good at as it is about discouraging harmful habits!

2. Balance fun and finance

If you’re a successful interior decorator, you’re probably very passionate about your work and enjoy almost every contract you take on. Even so, every professional finds themselves in a position where they might take on a contract because it’s a very lucrative one, rather than because they’ll actually enjoy doing it. Similarly, interior decorators sometimes take on fun projects that they really want to be a part of, even if they’re not profiting as much from it. This year, resolve to find a good balance between the two types of projects. You can’t take on solely contracts that you feel passionate about because that won’t benefit you monetarily enough to sustain your business. At the same time, avoid only taking contracts that interest you financially. This can become draining, so there’s nothing wrong with a smaller project every once in a while to remind you why you’re so passionate about your craft!

balance fun and finance

3. Collect inspiration

It sounds cliché, but keeping an inspiration board is a small, easy thing that you can do to keep yourself motivated on an individual project, or in general as you work. It doesn’t have to be an actual inspiration board, of course, but collecting ideas and images that you like as you go about your various decorating projects gives you a resource to turn to if you suddenly feel as though you’re lacking ideas in the middle of a contract. It also gives you a place to collect colors, furniture styles, and other ideas that you’d like to use but haven’t found the right project for yet. When that contract does come along, you’ll already be prepared with a look that you’re excited about. This year, resolve to pay attention to your surroundings, look for inspiration in the things around you, and store ideas that you really like rather than letting them pass you by.

decor trends

4. Know the trends

Not every client you work with will want the current trendy look for their space, and you should avoid following a particular style simply because that’s what’s popular right now. Even so, you should be aware of what the latest trends in interior decorating are. This way, you can use or avoid certain styles accordingly. As a professional, clients might find it odd if you’re not up to date on the most current decorating trends, no matter how amazing you are at a particular signature look. Trends can be difficult to keep track of because they change rapidly, but resolve to keep yourself informed about what’s popular this year and what isn’t to ensure that your knowledge is versatile and well rounded!

5. Set a goal

Making the resolution to set yourself a new goal seems redundant, since each of these things is something that you’re striving to achieve, but this resolution can give you particular focus. Amongst the other smaller milestones you’d like to reach throughout the coming year, set yourself a larger goal or two and really shoot for them. Is there a particular client available that you’ve wanted to work with for years? Is there a particular look you’ve had in mind for a while that you can’t wait to make a reality? Is there a professional conference you’ve dreamed of attending or presenting at? In between the resolutions that you’ve set for your daily routine, do what you can to reach your larger professional goals and resolve to work toward those at every opportunity you get this year!

Let us help you reach your goals! QC Design School’s courses offer the professional training you need to fulfill your resolution of working towards becoming an interior decorator! Visit our website to take a look at our outline!

December 10, 2014 9:00 am

How to Deal with Overbooking

If you are a small business owner or a self-employed freelancer, it is extremely important to keep a very organized schedule. Ensuring that you give each client the correct amount of time for your meeting, at an hour that works well for both you and them, is the foundation of your business. It’s what lets you determine their needs and perform services for them. Your ability to organize your schedule is one of your most important skills, but that doesn’t mean that things will always go smoothly. Overbooking is one of the most important traps for you to avoid. If you take on more clients, meetings or projects than you have time for, you might not be able to deliver the services that you promised each client to your usual standard. You’ll receive much less positive reviews and recommendations if clients can tell that your work is rushed or that your services are performed less thoroughly than usual because of overbooking, and they’ll also be displeased if bookings overlap. If you do find yourself in this situation, don’t panic! Staying calm and professional will help you keep on top of things. Here are some tactics to help you deal with overbooking!

overbooking schedule

Respect time

If you’re worried that you might be overbooked, make sure that you are extra careful with both your clients’ time and yours. You’re already under pressure to conduct more meetings or complete more projects than you normally would, so there’s no room for small talk. You never want to be curt with your clients or hurry them without providing the proper level of service and care, but being overbooked calls for increased organization and efficiency. Be on time, stay on topic, and focus on being productive. You don’t want to waste your own time when you have so little of it. More importantly, you don’t want to waste your clients’ time by taking on projects or meetings and then keeping them waiting because you overbooked and were too busy with someone else to commit.

overbooking keep informed

Keep them informed

You should be courteous enough to keep your clients updated on your progress. If you took on a project for someone but you overbooked and simply won’t have time to get their project done by the agreed upon date, tell them this as soon as you realize. If you have a meeting with a client, but overbooking might prevent you from arriving on time, let them know right away so that they can assess whether they’d like to keep the meeting or readjust their schedule. Don’t try to be the hero! As much as you don’t want to disappoint clients, it’s much better to contact them and tell them that overbooking might interfere with your business with them than it is to lead them on and say you’ve got it under control, but then have to retract that statement later. Your clients will be less disappointed if you practice full disclosure than they will if you fail to come through for them without warning.

Ask for help

If you have business partners, assistants, or colleagues that are able to help you in an overbooking situation, let them do so! You’re better off admitting when you need assistance than you are trying to take everything on yourself and failing to deliver for your clients. Of course, you must use your judgment and only hand clients on to other professionals that you know will take good care of them. Perhaps there’s someone who can come on to a project as an extra set of hands so that you can work more efficiently, rather than giving a project up entirely? Your clients will appreciate that you’re professional enough to assess the situation and adjust by getting help, rather than burning yourself out and giving them a negative experience.

overbooking coworkers

Re-evaluate, without cutting corners

Is there a more time efficient way to do things than you usually do? Can things be re-arranged in your schedule to be more productive? Are there any adjustments you can make to your contingency plan for each meeting or project that will ease the pressure of being overbooked? Asking yourself questions like these can help you figure out whether there are any changes you can make to your original plans for each client that might help you reorganize overbooking to ensure that everyone is served as well as possible. Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean taking short cuts! You want to serve your clients thoroughly, but also do it efficiently.

Offer to reschedule

Rescheduling can be an inconvenience for clients, but it’s less of a disappointment than you being late or not being able to come at all. If you’re overbooked on a particular day, your clients will appreciate your professionalism if you call them in advance and offer to reschedule their appointment to a time that works for them, rather than keeping them waiting.

overbooking discount

Offer a discount

In situations where clients have had to deal with changes or rescheduling as a result of you being overbooked, offering a discount can be an effective consolation for their trouble. After all, it’s not their fault that you were overbooked! Discounts for hassles caused by overbooking are a good way to show the client that you really do care about their business and the experience that they have with you. A client who is displeased about being rescheduled might be discouraged from giving you a bad review if they receive a discount on your services as compensation for their troubles.

Keep calm!

Above all, make sure that you keep your composure! Being overbooked can definitely be stressful, but there are ways to deal with it that benefit both your clients and you. Your clients will be much less disappointed about things like rescheduling if you are still courteous and well organized even when you are overwhelmed.

Have you ever experienced overbooking issues? How did you deal with them? Let us know in a comment!


Navigating a social event with people that you work with can be an interesting experience. For some people, any party is a source of stress, let alone one where you might be seated with your boss! Just because someone is a work colleague, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy interacting with them casually as well. As long as everyone conducts themselves appropriately, there is no reason that office parties can’t be fun! In case you’re still feeling nervous, here are some helpful tips and things to avoid at your workplace Christmas party!

Xmas party wine

Attend the party!

You’re a part of the office community, which means you should actually go to the party! Don’t let tales of uncomfortable workplace events discourage you from socializing with your colleagues, particularly when your office has put effort into organizing something nice for everyone. If you skip every office party, you lose an opportunity to get to know the people you work with on another level. While your coworkers bond and build stronger relationships, which can be beneficial professionally, you might find that you start to feel out of the loop by not attending. These are people that you see almost every day so try not to treat them like strangers, especially around the holidays!

Remember to RSVP

Once you know whether you can attend the party, be courteous about responding to whoever is planning so that they can keep track of numbers. Try not to forget and leave your RSVP unanswered until the very last minute. Planners need responses as soon as possible so they can account for your attendance when organizing place settings, prizes, or food quantities. If the invite includes a date that they’d like you to respond by, make sure to respect it.


Xmas party Santa

Usually, office Christmas parties are open to guests. Your invitation should specify whether guests are encouraged or whether the event is for employees only. Similarly, the invitation should tell you whether it extends to your whole family or just one additional person. If you work for a small company that is hosting an afternoon crafting party with Santa, employees might be encouraged to bring their children along for the day. If, however, the event is a Friday night dinner with musical entertainment, you’ll likely be instructed to limit your guests to one adult. If you’re not sure, ask for clarification rather than assuming and doing the wrong thing! Also be sure to RSVP for guests when you respond for yourself, out of courtesy for the person planning.

Check the dress code

The expected dress code will be different for an afternoon tea in the company owner’s home than it will be for a fancy dinner at a hotel downtown. Make sure to check your invitation for a dress code so that both you and your guest can dress accordingly. If the invitation isn’t clear or you are unsure, ask the person planning what their expectation is. You want to avoid showing up to a formal event in your jeans, or a casual event in your Sunday’s best! Dressing to the same level as everyone else will let you feel more comfortable and give you one less thing to worry about during the party.

Arrive on time

Being a little bit early or fashionably late isn’t usually a big problem. The chances of having everyone arrive right on time are very low. This doesn’t mean, however, that you should actually plan to show up before or after the time on your invitation. Aim for the correct hour, and do your best to meet that time out of respect for your hosts. It won’t reflect well on you if you come in very late after speeches or activities have already started, or if you arrive so early that you’re in the way while the finishing touches are still being put on the event. Everyone understands that things happen, but do your best to arrive on time, just like you do for a regular day at work!

Be social

Work parties have a unique dynamic! You are suddenly in a social situation with people that you might have only been around professionally before. Don’t let that make you nervous! This is an opportunity for you to get to know the people around you, and vice versa! You can use this fun setting to meet new people, network, and settle into the office community a little more comfortably if you’re feeling shy. Try not to exclude yourself from conversations by hovering around the edges or avoiding your coworkers. Introduce yourself to people that you haven’t met yet and strike a balance between listening to people and contributing to conversation yourself. Chances are that you’ll forget your shyness in no time once the festivities are under way!

Try participating

Some office Christmas parties will feature fun games or friendly competitions for prizes. Even if you think it’s silly to have games at an adult party, you should consider participating. These things are meant for lightening the mood and bonding with the people around you. Particularly if you’re shy about conversation, taking part in games or activities gives you an opportunity to engage with the people around you, but with a focus that saves you from having to make small talk! Being an active part of the festivities can be a lot of fun, and participating helps you come off as personable. Did your office choose an ‘ugly Christmas sweater’ theme for your holiday party? Even if you feel silly wearing one, try using that as a chance to bond with your coworkers by getting the ugliest Christmas sweater you can find. If nothing else, it’ll be a good conversation piece!

All things in moderation

Christmas parties are full of great food, yummy deserts, and drinks to help you unwind. Remember, though, that moderation is the key. This is a social gathering and you’re supposed to have fun, but you’re still in the presence of your bosses and coworkers! They won’t be impressed if you take large greedy handfuls of food, regardless of whether other people have served themselves yet. Similarly, it won’t make the best impression if you have too much to drink. Having one or two glasses of wine with some food to relax and calm your nerves is acceptable, and maybe even encouraged, but don’t go overboard on the liquid courage! You’ll be less embarrassed later if coworkers noticed that you were a little shy at the party than you will if coworkers noticed that you fell down the stairs on the way to the bathroom. Remember, the purpose of the night is just to have fun!

Xmas Party drunk

Get home safely

There’s nothing wrong with toasting a drink or two with your colleagues at the office Christmas party, but make sure that you can get home safely! Organize a carpool with a designated driver or take a taxi if you decide to enjoy the rum and eggnog. A great holiday party where nobody is hurt is the best kind of send off at the end of the year!

Are you off to an upcoming Christmas party soon? How will you ensure you’ll behave yourself? Share your own tips in the comments below, we’d love to hear your ideas!


The holiday season is a time for being kind. Exchanging gifts is all part of the fun! If you’re in a working relationship with someone, however, is it appropriate to send gifts? Should a professional send their clients holiday favors to keep up good rapport?

If you have many clients, vendors, and business contacts, who should you send gifts to? What kinds of gifts are appropriate? Figuring out proper gifting etiquette can be stressful, but don’t let it drag your holiday spirit down! Here are some tips to help calm your gifting worries.

Should you send a gift to your clients?

As long as you conduct yourself professionally, most businesses agree that sending small holiday presents to your clients is acceptable. Some even encourage it! For your client, a small gift is a warm reminder that you appreciate their business and would value the opportunity to work with them again.

For you, gifts are a holiday-friendly way to remind people that your business is a good choice. As long as you aren’t bombarding customers with blatant advertisements during their personal time, sending a small token of your appreciation can be a smart idea.

Handing a small present

Who should you send gifts to?

Whether you send gifts to a select group of people or many clients and business partners is a personal choice. If you are a small business owner with just a few regular clients, it might be worth sending a gift to everyone. If your business is large, with many different clients and vendors, you might want to avoid sending gifts to every person you’ve ever encountered.

A person that you had a short consultation with two years ago who didn’t actually book your services might be confused if they suddenly receive an expensive bottle of wine from your company. Large companies generally keep their gifting pool to just clients or vendors that they business with regularly. Gifts will be reserved for their biggest accounts, most frequent clients, and often used vendors.

Whether you send gifts to a select group of people or many clients and business partners is a personal choice. If you are a small business owner with just a few regular clients, it might be worth sending a gift to everyone. If your business is large, with many different clients and vendors, you might want to avoid sending gifts to every person you’ve ever encountered.

A person that you had a short consultation with two years ago who didn’t actually book your services might be confused if they suddenly receive an expensive bottle of wine from your company. Large companies generally keep their gifting pool to just clients or vendors that they business with regularly. Gifts will be reserved for their biggest accounts, most frequent clients, and often used vendors.

Holiday present for clients

How much should you spend?

Even though holiday gifts are an opportunity for gentle marketing, try not to go over board. The goal here is to spend a little bit of money making your clients feel appreciated. Don’t drop lots of cash as though it’s a big advertising campaign!

Giving very expensive gifts, particularly if you’re a small business, gives the wrong impression and makes clients uncomfortable. How much you spend, specifically, depends on how big your business is and how many clients you’re gifting to, so use your judgment. Remember that a gift shouldn’t be expensive enough that your clients feel guilty or pressured!

When should you send the gifts?

Gifts are a great gesture, but you don’t want to interrupt your clients’ actual holiday with business reminders. Most companies will send their gifts at the very beginning of the season, near the end of November when work Christmas parties begin.

For example, American companies might begin sending clients holiday favors after Thanksgiving. If this is not convenient for you (perhaps that’s a very busy part of your season!), wait until after Christmas and brand your gift as a ‘Happy New Year’ favor.

Sending gifts too close to Christmas, or during your clients’ vacation time, can make them feel like their personal space is being stepped in. If you send things too close to Christmas, some clients take trips, so your cookies might go stale in their mailbox!

Is a Christmas card acceptable?

Not every business sends their clients actual gifts. Some companies, particularly big ones, will send nice holiday greeting cards instead. If you’re the owner of a small business, cards are a fine idea, but they will not make your company’s name stand out in the same way as those who send a thoughtful gift.

What kinds of gifts should you send?

There is no formula for choosing what kind of gift to send your clients. You can be creative with your ideas as long as you reach a happy medium between too personal and too business-like.

You are sending a warm holiday favor to show clients that you care, but this is still a business relationship! The more creative you get, the more likely your business’s name is to stand out, but remember that your gift should still be appropriate. Here are some common holiday gifts for business clients!

  1. Holiday treats (ex. gourmet chocolates, nice Christmas cookies, etc.)
  2. Branded mug and warm holiday drink (ex. coffee, tea, hot chocolate)
  3. Small, affordable technologies (ex. branded USB memory sticks)
  4. Gifts that people might actually use (ex. a nice quality stationery set).

Even though you want your gifts to be simple and affordable, avoid giving your customers something too cheap that might be viewed as junk or thrown away!

Consider gifting things that actually relate to your business as well. A destination wedding planner might give clients nice passport cases, while a makeup artist might choose to send a holiday themed makeup product from their favorite brand. There are many different options. Choose something appropriate that your clients will appreciate!

Crafting Christmas Presents

What kinds of gifts should you be cautious about?

The gifts you choose for your clients are your choice, but there are some things that smart business people try to avoid. Be wary of giving the following gifts!

  1. Blatant advertising products or things that are too business-like can seem cold around the holidays. Sure, discount cards for your services might be useful, but are your clients really thinking about your latest low-price deal during their family holiday?
  2. Some companies make charitable donations on their clients’ behalf, but this is very risky. What if they don’t support the same causes as you?
  3. Gift cards for businesses other than your own can be a nice gesture. Everyone needs gas and groceries! If you choose this, though, make sure that it’s a large enough chain that your clients will have access to a location, so your money is not wasted.
  4. Holiday treats are a common gift, but be careful. People can be wary about accepting food. Consider common allergies and avoid things with nuts. Choose packaged treats like chocolates, or baked goods from a reputable local business. Someone might feel uncomfortable receiving a chicken potpie that you cooked yourself and put in an unlabeled box, even if your intentions are good and the pie is delicious!

There are many perks to sending client gifts during the holidays, but it’s not mandatory. If you believe that it’s an uncomfortable practice, or your clientele is one that largely doesn’t celebrate Christmas, you’re not obligated to participate in a gift exchange. Consider which practice is best for both you and the people you do business with, and remember that friendly favors during Christmas time can be positive for business relationships.

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