By Renée Biery

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Add-on’s, renovations, and new construction homes can seem intimidating to take on. How do you even get started? How do you find and manage contractors? What surprises should you anticipate coming up? How long do these things take?

In this podcast, you will learn all that and so much more!

Empowering Interior Designers: Michelle Lynne’s Mission and Success Secrets


Michelle’s Interior Design Business Review Planning Guide

Interior Design Business Success Summit – use the code: OGOTJS for $97 off

Connect with Michelle at:




Join me for my Pricing Webinar March 7th, 12:30pm EST / 9:30am PST





Michelle Lynne began her interior design career after spending more than two decades working in Corporate America. She began in the home staging arena and has since built a successful, award winning, full service interior design firm, ML Interiors Group, employing talented designers and serving clients across the country.

In the summer of 2018, Michelle began focusing on a big gap she saw missing in the interior design industry: teaching interior designers how to run the business of an interior design business. She now leads The Interior Design Business Bakery, an in depth, 12-month group coaching program that focus on teaching designers profitable processes, systems, strategies and mindset needed to run a streamlined, profitable interior design firm.

She also founded and leads Studio Works, a co-working studio for the interior design industry where her design firm operates from. And is the co-founder of Sidemark, a sales & marketing software designed specifically for the interior design industry. 

Her motto is simple: we rise by lifting others.

Systems & Regulations

“As humans, we tend to make things overcomplicated. Running the business is not easy, but it is simple once you put the foundation in place. The project is always different, but the process should be the same.  You have to go ahead and create the foundations and basic structure, and then you can go in and decorate your own business.” says Michelle

It is an energetic exchange once you start getting paid for your design genius. Oftentimes, as women, we downplay our genius and make it seem like just a fluffy little hobby when, in reality, you are business woman. Running our business like a business is, first of all, incredibly empowering, and also, if you’re not going to do it for yourself, do it for the people watching. 

If your children are watching you build this business, don’t you want to have them watch you thrive? Versus you continually striving and not feeling fulfilled or appreciated because that exchange for the money is not up to par, and you’re not running it like a business with your processes and procedures written down and easily repeatable. 

If you treat your business like a hobby, your clients won’t take you as seriously. And pay you accordingly. (Or not pay you because they’re going to think it’s ‘fun’ for you.) 

What if you really need the income?

For those of you feeling like you need income – it isn’t a hobby. Sometimes, you have to do what you have to do in order to not get kicked out of your home.

“But also, you have to have some boundaries. You have to acknowledge that you are breaking your own rules, but you’re doing it with intention.” says  Michelle

Also, make sure that you always create a scope of work so that your deliverables are spelled out. So it’s not the “Oh, what about this?” And, “Oh, what about that?”  Create a scope of work that becomes an addendum to your contract. And if you don’t have a contract, you must have a contract. Put an end date on it. You can easily extend it for free, but if you need to get out of that relationship, you have it in your contract to be finished by a certain date. 

Educate your clients

“I firmly believe there are no a**hole clients. For the most part, you let them treat you that way, and you also are not educating them on the front end.” Michelle

You have to educate the client. Otherwise, our clients are professionals and are used to running the show. So if you don’t run the show, they’re going to. It’s our job, as the business owner and as the business women, to put our big girl panties on and say, “Here’s how I work. If it doesn’t work for you, I’m not going to be the best solution.“

So often, designers are excited to get started, and more often than not, the designers launch into what they’re giving their clients as far as furniture and fabrics, yet aren’t launching into the value that they’re bringing. 

This also includes the role you take on as the Designer. If you don’t take the lead on the project, it often just confuses them as they aren’t sure if they need to make that phone call or be somewhere at a certain time. It is your role to take on that leadership responsibility and let your clients know that. 

If you have a hard time with those conversations, the contract can say it. Michelle and I still have that imposter feeling when it comes to some tough conversations. After years in the business, it does get smaller but doesn’t ever completely go away. 

Personal and Professional Development

We are always growing in our business, and personal and professional development go hand in hand. You learn, and once you know better, you do better. And then you’re uncomfortable, deal with it, and stretch your muscles. We all have days that are hard, but they’re temporary. It may last longer than you want, but it is temporary. 


Having someone there to guide you or ask questions can dramatically impact your business. Every little detail is important, and if you end up a little bit off course, over time, you can end up in a completely different destination than you intended.


I’ve told my story before about how I have billed hourly up until 2022, but in today’s episode, we discuss the value of billing a flat fee.

It takes time to build your systems. Even if someone hands you the template, it takes time to implement them and get them in your psyche so that they’re second nature. 

There is no quick fix, but there are fixes. I know a lot of designers feel like they have ‘good enough.’ The thing is, I realized when I finally put systems and regulations in place I had so much more bandwidth.

I hope you enjoy today’s conversation, laugh with us, and learn a whole lot!

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