Career Q&A: The Importance of Knowing Your Niche
In this Career Q&A we hear the career story of Tania Bell, Green Room Interiors. Tania’s and my own career paths intersected many years ago when we both worked at Diageo Australia. It was at this point that Tania had made the decision to study interior design. I have enjoyed watching her passion turn into a reality and hope her career story inspires you to do the same.
Please tell us a little about a day in the working life of Tania
My day starts very, very early! I arise at 5am when my alarm goes off. My husband gets up then also, as he leaves early for his job in the construction industry. I do some yoga stretches, put on the kettle then settle into my office for a very productive 2 hours. At that time of day I am at my best, so the first hour is checking and responding to emails, the 2nd hour is either updating my online social media accounts, procedure writing, working on the business kind of stuff.
By 7am I am then into mummy mode and after the 9am school drop off back into it again. I have a default diary and Tuesdays and Fridays I allocate to client appointments. So it might be going to a client’s home to select paint colours and stone, laminates etc for their renovation, measuring up for curtains and blinds, or visiting a supplier showroom to select homewares or furniture for a client.
I usually like to have one day a week in the office, as interior design requires a great deal of research and paperwork.
My work day ends at 3.30pm when I become a mum again. After my 8 y.o. daughter is in bed, I then sit down and relax for a bit with my husband or I also work on some self development reading, or I might go to the gym.
Before I retire around 10.30pm, I pop on a meditation track and drift off to a sound sleep.
How does this differ to your career ambitions as a young adolescent?
I am so much more focused and driven now than I ever was in my younger years. I tended to drift through life and be more about the experience and having fun. I travelled and lived in Japan and also UK for most of my 20s, mostly doing customer service and retail work, so it was all about the travel and experience rather than the career.
What was the defining moment that set you on the career path you are on today?
A defining moment for me was when my marriage broke down while living in UK, so returning to Australia, single and moving back in with my parents at the age of 29. I laid low for a few months, then got back on my feet, decided to do a short course on interior design. Then from that moment on I was hooked! By hook or by crook I was going to study interior design and get a qualification and be my own boss.
Who inspires you both in life and in business?
Professionally I admire my friend, Bree who is also my graphic designer. I love catching up with her to talk all things creative, retro and business. She runs a successful practice and her brand is very strong, so she has a great influence on me.
In life, I am inspired by my husband, Andrew who is a building supervisor for a residential developer. He constantly makes me think outside of the box and pushes me to be so much better than I think I am. He is a pretty unconventional thinker and is a hard worker who just gets things done and makes it all happen. We are currently renovating our 1970’s flat roof home together and it has been a great journey so far, witnessing our ideas and vision come alive is so inspiring and helps maintain the momentum.
What is one of the hardest decisions you’ve had to make in your journey to success and career happiness?
One of these decisions I faced only recently, I decided to let go my 2 part time assistants. I needed to step back from my business and re focus on what my core services are and felt that I was all over the shop, trying to be everything for everyone and didn’t have a clear direction. So while it was hard to admit to myself that I had perhaps prematurely hired assistants before I was ready, I am so glad I did decide to do it.
What is one of the best decisions you’ve had to make in your journey to success and career happiness?
The best decision I’ve made is to hire a marketing consultant, this was only recently too, so now I am working on regaining my focus, unearthing my passion (again) and getting my marketing message clear, so that I now attract the type of clients I want to work with and the projects that make my heart sing.
How have these decisions reflected on your personal happiness?
It has been a huge impact on my happiness, even though I am busy with a lot of new client work and things to do in my business (working on the business) it is feeding my passion and I am content! Nowadays I find myself driving around Melbourne singing to a cool song on the radio and being eternally grateful for the good fortune in my life! In my business networks I am surrounded by wonderful, supportive business men and women and I am so lucky.
What advice would you give to someone starting their career/business in your industry?
Find out what it is you are good at and niche yourself. The interior design industry is very broad so we can’t all be good at everything. Be confident in your own style of design and communicate that clearly in your marketing. By being authentic, you will then attract the type of people who seek you out and only want to work with you!
Thank you, Tania, for sharing your career story with Think Bespoke’s community.
You can also have a sticky beak at her latest projects here.
Bio: Karen Hollenbach is a Career & Executive Business Coach and LinkedIn Strategist and partners Australian men and women to be more effective in how they communicate online and offline with clients and their teams.