Interior Design as a Second Career

Episode #269 the Wingnut Social Podcast

Have you considered interior design as a second career?

Cheryl Luckett had a 15-year career as a registered dietician and human resources professional. She launched Dwell by Cheryl after a weekly blog chronicling her home improvement projects quickly morphed into a side hustle decorating homes. After five years and a carefully planned exit strategy she dubbed “Project 36,” she left corporate life and made interior design her full-time, second career.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode of Wingnut Social

  • [1:43] Wingnut Webinar June 30th at 11 am
  • [2:40] Mini news sesh: Instagram’s repost option
  • [6:17] Project 36: Chery’s plan to transition to design
  • [16:36] The role of social media in building her brand
  • [20:02] Why you should invest in a business coach early on
  • [25:45] Why Cheryl chose to hire early in her business
  • [27:31] Hone in on a niche: Who are you here to serve?
  • [33:44] Approach each client with a service mindset
  • [34:48] What Up Wingnut! Round
  • [36:02] How to connect with Cheryl
  • [38:22] Blooper Reel!

Connect with Cheryl Luckett

Resources & People Mentioned

Cheryl’s exit strategy: Project 36

After 10 years in the same company, Cheryl realized something wasn’t clicking. She didn’t want to be there forever. At the time, she had just purchased her first home and started decorating it. It sparked something inside her.

So she took some design courses at her community college, starting with basic drafting. She fell in love with design. She started a blog sharing her ongoing home projects, which led to clients within her circle of influence. A couple of years of night classes later, she realized she was on to something. But she needed a plan to transition out of corporate America. She called it “Project 36.” It was her 36-month exit strategy out of corporate.

She was single, had been in the same job for 12 years, and had great benefits—including stock options. The one thing that would keep her from making the move was financial. So she hired a financial planner and said, “I want to leave my job in 36 months. Help.” They set out a plan to chip away at student loans and save money so she felt comfortable with her career change.

She set a timeline for everything she needed to get done. The plan unfolded over time. The more the months ticked away, the more comfortable and confident she became about taking the leap. She needed to be strategic. She believes anyone considering a second career in interior design should be the same.

Transitioning to interior design as a second career

As Cheryl’s 36 months ticked onward, she posted three times a day on social media. It allowed her to engage in a community she wasn’t a part of full-time—yet. It allowed her to build demand for her service before she needed it. She brought people along on her journey. They knew she worked full time, knew she was in school, and knew she was building a side hustle.

Her followers were so bought into her story that when she shared a video of leaving the ivory tower, they were excited with her. Now, every December 31st, she posts that video. She executed her plan, made the leap, and is still thriving because of it. What else did she do?

Cheryl spent a lot of her PTO traveling to design conferences, investing in herself and her growth. She built relationships with people on an upward trajectory. Once she transitioned into her design business, she continued to invest in herself to continue on the path of growth.

So she hired a coach—Kim Kuhteubl. It was a significant investment but helped her understand that it’s an inside game. To show up for your business, sell your services, and serve people—you’ve got to have your mind right. It was the best move she made in the beginning stages. Her coach helped her with mindset, branding, visibility—all of the big picture things.

Listen to the whole episode to find out why honing in on a niche and having a process in place to find the right clients is a key part of her success.

Connect With Darla & Wingnut Social

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