Trip to St. Simon's Island
A lot of people, including clients and students, have been asking about the background story of Becky Harmon and Transformations. Who is Becky and why should I be listening to her? What preceded the birth and expansion of one of the top 10 home staging and redesign training centers in the USA?
Looking back now, as a 4th generation entrepreneur, I never quite fit into a traditional job. I tried bookkeeping and administrative work before taking 10 years off to get married, have kids and get them into school.
In 1980, a friend and I pioneered one of Florida's first balloon bouquet delivery businesses in Tallahassee, Florida. Everyone thought I was crazy because we were in the middle of a recession and gas crises. ALERT: When your neighbors and friends think you're crazy, that's a good sign you are on the right track.
Students at the Clubhouse
Working from home, we delivered bouquets of helium balloons and gift baskets for birthdays and special occasions dressed in various costumes. I was Chiquita, the Banana Lady and my partner was Magic Wanda, the Good Fairy, until we could afford to hire employees. Darth Vader, Miss Piggy and Zorro joined us later. We threw confetti on our recipients and kazooed a song. Our "I've Been Ballooned" bumper stickers went viral. By the way, I am the shy person in my family. What happened to me!
I had to get outside my comfort zone to be successful. Costumes, confetti and clowns, oh my!
We added party planning in the later years and became a well-known legislative event decorating source. Yes, we "ballooned" many famous people, including the governor, Bob Graham and many celebrities, such as Barry Gibb and Elton John. We eventually sold business opportunities in other cities. With almost no overhead costs, our 1st year, we grossed quadruple an average full-time salary, just selling balloons part-time.
The home-based business bug had bit me and started changing my desk job mindset.
In 1990, after selling the business, we moved to South Carolina and for 3 years, I managed a small retail design center. It proved to be the hardest job for me, a right-brain dizzy blonde, but it covered every aspect of running a business and I grew to love it. It was an important stepping stone and my introduction to design.
Lunch with Stager Friends
When we moved to Jacksonville, I worked as an interior designer on a team with 12 talented people for 11 years. I earned my ASID design affiliation during that time. It was a great experience. This, I thought for many years, was my dream job. It was another stepping stone.
My AHA moment came when I could not get off work to attend a family reunion event that was important to me. As I started evaluating my real priorities, I realized I wanted 2 things more than anything... control and freedom.
The Whole Family at Christmas, I'm in green on the left.
I began to hear about 2 new industries... home staging and redesign.
I spent quite a long time researching and talking to existing stagers and re-designers around the country. In 2003, there wasn't much information online or anywhere, no HGTV shows and no one was talking about any of this.
The Leap of Faith: One day, I asked God for a sign whether or not I should leave my safe, predictable and profitable job to strike out on my own. The next day, early morning, I was walking a familiar route on the golf course cart path where I lived.
This particular day, I noticed some unusual new flowers blooming right around the ladies tee on hole #17. As I approached, I saw something I must have walked past 100 times before but never saw. The cart path was across the fairway. A large engraved stone had been placed on the ground in memory of a lady golfer who had died of breast cancer. It said, "Don't lay up. Go for it!" In golfer's language, that means take the riskier shot. She was always encouraging other lady golfers to swing for the green and don't worry about possibly losing your ball in the massive lake/marsh.
Dinner with Good Friends
I felt like I had been sprinkled all over with fairy dust by my fairy godmother. It was my sign! I cried! In 2004, I left my favorite boss and the coolest designer friends to begin Transformations Staging & Redesign. I guess you must let go of something first to embrace the more important reality... Time for family and friends, hobbies and travel. I still miss those days.
The school was born in the summer of 2006, exactly 10 years ago, with a full class of eager students who were mostly local. Now they come from literally every state in the US and beyond. The online class has now gone viral.
Three of the Grand Kids
I love staging and redesign but I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE teaching the class. And I have to say, my fairy godmother shows up by the last day of each class and I witness tears and euphoria every time. I can't take credit for it. It's the beautiful new industries of staging and redesign creating hope for a better life and making dreams come true for women (and men) from every conceivable background. I haven't looked back.
And so for you, what is your dream job? Write it on a goal list or vision board, put it on the fridge and ask for a sign. Habakkuk 2:2 has become one of my favorite scriptures. "Write the vision and engrave it plainly upon tablets (or a stone) so that everyone who passes by may be able to read it easily and quickly as he hastens by."
I ask that you feel hopeful today, that your dream job is within reach and that fairy dust is falling all over you right now. My wish for you today as we celebrate our 10 year anniversary is, "Don't Lay Up. Go For It!"
If you need an incentive to leap into that desire to work for yourself and decorate for profit, I am once again offering the online class at a reduced rate. 33% off for a short time. $500. Most other online certification classes are over $900.
One of my online students from 2014 has recently been named one of the top 5 stagers in the country by the Home Staging and Redesign Association. She has 3 employees now and is currently doing the styling and decorating for an HGTV special. Kristy, I am so proud of you!
Remember, it is always Money-Back Guaranteed. Why not now! Why not you! It's time to push through the fear and leap.