Welcome to our founder series. Twice a month we will interview the founders of businesses, NFPs and charities who impress us, and we know will impress you too.
This week we chat with property stylist, TV presenter, and CEO of the International Institute of Home Staging, Naomi Findlay.
Designing a successful business: How Naomi Findlay renovated her career
At 30 Naomi Findlay renovated her career, moving from a role in the medical science education space to founding two creative businesses. Stay tuned for the big reveal.
This post continues our series where we ask business leaders for their insights and lessons learned on their success journey.
Naomi Findlay is an in-demand property stylist, known as a designer on Network 10’s Changing Rooms and host of the online series The Reno Show as well as the author of best-selling books Ignite Your Property Mojo and Selling Your Property for More Money.
She is also the founder and CEO of the International Institute of Home Staging (IIHS), which provides education and training for property styling, including advice for starting a home staging business. She has a PhD in education and teaching awards from the University of Newcastle and the Australian College of Education.
If you could give a start-up one piece of advice, what would it be?
Don’t overthink it or you’ll never do it. And second, 100% go with your gut, every single time. Listen to your brain, but go with your gut. The only times that I’ve stuffed up or lost money or had regrets is when I didn’t listen to my gut.
What has been the key to your success?
Tenacity and resilience because it’s not easy, and taking action – being a doer leads to success.
What have you learned on your business journey?
Fear is the biggest thing that will stop you from being successful, 100%. Fear is crippling and insidious, and it appears at every level of your business, not just when you’re starting. Don’t ever be fooled into thinking it’ll go away once you get started.
Also, that business is all about relationships. A lot of success, I believe, can be attributed to doing the right thing by people.
In your renos and other work, you need to lead a diverse group of people. What have you learnt along the way to do this well?
The biggest thing I learnt is that not everyone is like me. I know that sounds ridiculous, but I used to be really naïve and just think that we’re all the same in the world. Not everyone shares my challenges, and not everyone shares my talents.
Because communication is key and everyone communicates differently, I always seek to understand before I seek to be understood. For pretty much every interaction there has to be multiple wins in it otherwise it will never come off.
How do you stay motivated?
I believe that you motivate others by example and by leadership, without doubt, and by sharing your energetic vibration, which, for many people, can be quite inspiring.
Where have you seen the value of PR?
I often struggle with this because it seems often intangible. Having your brand out there and published and on TV and in magazines and the like gives you credibility.
I also think there’s a whole traditional brand alignment – know, like and trust – people see your face. I see the value in it when it comes off.
What have you learnt failure?
I’ve experienced shizz-loads of failures. I probably choose to look at them not as failures, but as learnings and pivots. It’s not like you recover, you just pivot and head in a different direction. I guess that’s where the resilience and tenacity come in.
What has surprised you in your business journey?
How much I could grow and personally develop.
How do you set goals? And how do you make sure you achieve them?
I’m a little alternative. I set my goals based on what I feel and then how that translates to business, and what I want my year to look like, and work backwards. So for me it’s all about what I want to be doing, what fills my cup, what I want my week, my month, my year to look like. And I’ll work back depending on what I want to get out of it, I’ll reverse engineer it.
What excites you about the future?
The future is big and bad and amazing and awesome, and the thing that excites me about the future is I could never have predicted 10 years ago that I’d be doing what I’m doing now. So, I can only imagine what the universe has in store for me over the next decade, and that excites the hell out of me.
Thank you Naomi for sharing your insights and proven advice.
You can connect with Naomi Findlay on: