I reinvented myself at 48! I was a full time Sergeant with the Miami-Dade Police Department for 17.5 years and decided to make a career change to interior designer. I had always been interested in interior design and had been doing side projects off and on for friends and family over the years. One good mid-life crisis later and I decided that life was too short not to be doing what I loved.
What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?
Goodness. What wasn’t a hurdle? The interior design biz is a pretty complicated one. I made tons of mistakes in the beginning. The biggest one, I think, was way undercharging. I completely underestimated the amount of hours projects would take. That comes with experience, of course and now I am so much better!
What books are you currently reading? And your recommendation for entrepreneurs to read?
I love The Big Leap by Gay Hendricks. It had a profound impact on me professionally.
Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?
Yep. Lots of cops that I worked with didn’t understand why I would give up such a secure job to run off and start a decorating business. How did I handle it? I just ignored them. I think it’s super important to not worry what others think of you or of what you are doing. Just stay in your lane and keep pushing ahead.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?
100% my social media presence. Darla Powell Interiors has leveraged our social media and achieved a healthy following and enough visibility to be featured in Designer’s Today and Pure Wow and numerous podcasts and other media outlets. We have gotten so many clients from our Pure Wow article alone.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?
Hire as soon as you can afford it!
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?
Don’t worry about your competition. Just focus on you and what you do and do it to the best of your ability.