By Renée Biery

listen on apple

listen on spotify

listen on google

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!





One way to manage overwhelm is by hiring help and support within your firm. Today, I want to share how to be strategic and thoughtful when hiring, especially in the world of construction management. 

When hiring for construction management, you have to be much more thoughtful, have realistic expectations, and set goals for this other designer because the world of construction management is different from a traditional decorating project. 

Junior designers most likely haven’t gained the knowledge that you have, so thinking you are going to hire a junior designer who is fresh out of school or has had one job but no construction management experience, thinking they will immediately take the load off your plate, you will be mistaken, and it will not end well. 

I’m sure you’re thinking you know a girl who just got out of design school, but the students coming out of the schools are not as well-versed as you think they are. 

When it comes to hiring, the highs and the lows of every project rest on your shoulders. 

After I closed my in-person stores, I swore there would be no more employees! This was long before virtual assistants were in existence, and I stuck to my guns. I only took the jobs I could work on my own. I did get help with drawings and a bookkeeper, but that was it. I only took jobs I could handle on my own and spaced them out accordingly. 

I did have a few girls over the years ask to mentor with me. Or a friend’s daughter would come home for the summer and want to shadow me for the summer and learn more about the business. I have to admit, I said no. I knew the work that it would take. I knew they wouldn’t be able to help me in the way that I needed. I’m not proud of that decision – although I know why I made it at the moment, but I wish I had made a different decision and made the bandwidth to let them actually shadow me. 

But I knew it wouldn’t be that effective for me personally, but it would have been very valuable for the girls that had asked.

So, what I want you to focus on today is the world of virtual assistants. 

I still have no employees in person. But I’ve talked about this in the past. I have tons of virtual assistants. 

I made a list of what I do on a given day. And then, I expand to what that means in a given week. What does that mean in a given month? And then I looked at it and said, “What do I not have to do myself?” 

I work extensively with reps in my showrooms. I have made great relationships. I have specific girls in specific showrooms that I can call up. They know my taste, style, and price points that I’m usually looking for, and they are my assistants. 

That doesn’t mean I never go to the showrooms, but there are times, particularly with what I call filler fabrics, when I don’t need to go and spend the time to do that work when I can call in showroom assistance. This is the same with furniture.

Now, as far as the construction management, I do no drawings. I can’t believe I’m saying this. I loooove to draft. But it wasn’t time-efficient. I never kept up with all of the updates and new programs out there. It just didn’t make sense for me to keep up with all of that when I can have insanely fast people do it for me.

I still don’t do my bookkeeping. He can remotely work inside my program, building proposals, turning them into purchase orders, invoicing clients, the works. 

I have these virtual assistants so that I can focus on doing the work that I love, creating the content, and putting my knowledge out there for you all to learn from. 

I had a designer reach out to me and say she wanted to mentor a junior designer, and I thought this is the next step. It is time for me to do this and pay it forward again.  This podcast, the course, that is me paying it forward all the lessons I was given by the women I worked for. But I do feel that it’s time for me to try and find an in-person mentorship. And so that’s one of my goals for this year, and I’ll keep you posted on how that progresses. 

So, for those of you thinking that you still need someone in person, I would set your expectations correctly.

I would create jobs that they can be successful in. Keep it in the decorating world. Keep it in the specifying world. But then I would also be taking them on job sites regularly. Perhaps not every time because then that’s time away from other projects. But in order for them to learn, you need to take them to the job sites and show them, up close and in person, what is going on, at least on a weekly basis. 

It is hard sometimes to give up that sense of control and hand over tasks, but once you do and empower that person to take on the responsibility they want, you will have so much more mental and physical time to work on the projects you want.

And so when I head out to construction sites, I know that my staff, albeit virtual, is working behind the scenes, so I have the time and the bandwidth to lean into my construction projects, share my expertise, adn run successful projects to the end.

follow the podcast

want to be a guest?

Fill out the form on the inquiry page under the podcast tab and we'll get in touch with you!

leave us a review!

We love hearing from you about your thoughts on the podcast, you can leave a review on apple!

You can find us anywhere! Click the icons to find us on the podcast platform you use!