I'M COMING CLEAN: THE TRUTH ABOUT MY WORK.

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I’ve been hiding something I need to be honest about.

For the past 10 months I haven’t really been telling the full, unadulterated truth.

Partly because I thought I needed to ease myself into it.

Partly because I was waiting for more answers.

Mostly because it’s another turning point in my life…and turning points can feel scary.

It’s just so much easier to keep going forward when you think you know exactly what the road ahead holds.

But of course, that's some straight up bullshit 'cause

we NEVER really know about the journey ahead with absolute certainty.

And now I've come to the point where

the thought of

staying still right where I am is more uncomfortable than the thought of just saying what needs to be said.

So here's my truth:

I love interior design.

I believe the real impact of design is much deeper than beautiful drapery & rich pillows & imported rugs & handmade tiles...

but I love those aspects of it too.

I love how it feels to create spaces that make people say,

"This is exactly what I wanted, I just didn't know how to tell you."

I love that I've made a space for myself out of thin air. I didn't fill someone's job description and what I'm doing--

who I am + HOW I'm doing it

-

-didn't exist until I was born.

I'm pretty damn proud of that.

Hear me again: MY BUSINESS LITERALLY DIDN'T EXIST UNTIL I CREATED IT.

I love that I've been able to make a name for myself as a designer--that

people have found value in the service I provide and that I've created work I can take pride in.

I've designed amazing things with great companies and been exposed to some opportunities that I never, ever imagined myself having.

I like design a lot. I'll even say that I love design. 

But I'm not obsessed with it. 

I don't think about the blind spots to my design approach while I'm driving around.

I don't obsessively read every design book by every famous designer that's ever been published because I don't even own most of them.

Matter of fact, I really 

couldn't 

care less.

My design magazines come in the mail and pile up for months because I don't immediately devour them to make style notebooks like I used to in the early days.

I no longer aim to fill my calendar with every 

single design event

 in Atlanta.

I don't stay 

in the know

 on all of the design blogger news and professional industry "scuttlebutt".

Something indeed, has shifted.

I like design. I even love design. But I'm just not 

there

 anymore.

I've grown.

I know without a doubt that my greatest work is 

the work that is yet ahead of me

--the work that's been waiting ever so patiently to be created. It revolves around

Personal Empowerment, Personal Responsibility, Honesty, Authenticity and specifically, the Empowerment of Women

(it's some serious work--it needs to be capitalized).

I think about it all of the time. 

I read about it all of the time.

I talk about it all of the time.

 (if you've ever had more than a 30 minute conversation with me, you can vouch for this!)

I write about it.

I post on social media about it.

I unpack it endlessly with my closest friends.

We could be talking about a combination of

your medical history, a 1964 Mustang, the weather in Istanbul & the benefits of Kale as a super green

and I promise you--somehow, someway, I will bring that conversation back to

Personal Empowerment.

It's just how my mind makes sense of the world.

Telling the truth. Owning your own shit. Self care. Making empowering decisions. Personal responsibility. THESE are the things I want to spend my life working on.

I want to speak to groups, conferences & students to remind them that Personal Power is a Personal Job.

Coach women on uncovering & staying in alignment with their deepest values.

Write books on how & the why.

Host retreats for women fostering authentic connections & empowered living.

Author articles.

And boldly explore the corners of this world both on my own & with groups of courageous women.

 Annnnnndddddd....you know what??

I want to design some beautiful spaces here & there, too.

A few super cool projects every year for

wonderful, bad ass clients with great budgets who love me, love my approach and TRUST me to do my thing.

Wait--did you expect me to say I was quitting design?? 

No--that's not exactly where I was going with this.

It's more about

being radically honest with myself AND with you.

And to serve as your personal reminder that

life WILL change...and when it does it's so much easier to go where it is taking you than to fight against it.

Nine times out of ten it will lead you to the place you most want to be anyhow, you just don't know it in this moment. 

So just relax & go with the flow.

Trust me on this.

Yes, I still want to take on some design projects, but I'm looking for

the RIGHT people

and

the RIGHT projects.

Cool projects, good budgets, funny, fun, quirky, interesting people...

the kind of folks that carry their own pixie dust and know it.

The kind I wrote about in this post.

And since I'm being so honest, let me just keep it 1000:

It takes courage to turn business away when a glance at your bank statement reminds you that the easy way out is to betray yourself & just take the money anyway.

It's one thing to 

talk

 about taking a stand for yourself & ONLY doing work you really love with people you really want to work with but....

actually doing it??

This is a completely different ballgame, my friends.

It's scary and empowering. Crazy and commendable. The kinda work that will put a bit of hair on your chest.

There's no husband, partner, or sugar daddy over here to share the load--just me by myself (and God!) doing the very best I can to make it happen. Every.single.day.

Me & my

ballsy self.

Getting clear about your values, about who you are and then living in a way that conveys 

personal integrity

 is at the very core of sharing this publicly.

Showing up for MYSELF. Making sure that

who I ACTUALLY AM and who I SAY I AM are the exact same woman.

This is some boss work, my friends, and while it may not be for everybody.....

IT IS FOR ME.

THIS IS MY JOURNEY.

So here's what I'm looking for:

If you're in need of design services--residential design, commercial design or brand -- you've got a few dollars to spend and *you're super cool, I'd love to hear from you.

It could be a small project, a big project, a production project--but it must be interesting. Let's do something bold and have fun! Y

ou should be ready & willing to hire a designer and most importantly, you should want to work with ME, specifically.

If you fit the bill, send me an email at

dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com

or leave your info below and let's see how we can create magic together.

If you are a woman who could use a little bit of my Personal Empowerment pixie dust--who's ready to evolve to the next level but isn't quite sure how to do it, who knows you've got some blind spots & you're ready face them head on, I'd LOVE to hear from you.

I'd love to work with you and help you learn how to empower YOURSELF in a way that feels right for you.

No more stories about him.

About her.

About what happened. About why it sucked. About why the business isn't working. About why you can't do whatever it is that you know you're supposed to be doing right now.

Just you

--

right where you are, right here & right now

--

and me together, working together to move you forward into who you KNOW you're destined to be.

If I'm talking to you, please drop me a line.

Or if you're comfortable, leave your info below & I'll send you an email.

I would LOVE to work with you.

L.O.V.E. And if you're not sure that I'm talking to you, here's how to know:

if you're reading this and getting a tingle then yeah, I'm talking to you.

When you know that you know, you KNOW.

In the meantime,

thank you for your support.

For reading my words & sharing them with your friends, for hiring me to design your most intimate spaces & for always, aways ALWAYS cheering me on.

It means more than I could ever adequately express.

Trust me when I say this is only the beginning.

**

And FYI, you cannot vouch for your own cool factor--someone must have actually TOLD YOU that you were cool. Folk need to be vetted!! ;-) 

**

THE PROFESSIONAL DESIGN TOOL YOU NEED. FROM THE DESIGN EXPERT YOU LOVE.

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If you're in the design business--as a student, an aspiring designer/decorator, a newly minted entrepreneur or an established professional--then consider me your newly minted Design Fairy Godmother 'cause you're about to hit the jackpot! 

For the first time ever I've taken one of my most valuable design resources & made it available to you.My DRD Design Proposal & Terms--the on-boarding packet I use for all of my private full service design clients--is now ready for purchase & available to the public!!

CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS. 

POWERCAST #3: CHARGING WHAT YOU'RE WORTH IN YOUR BUSINESS

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Last night I shared a piece of my business advice on Instagram:

If you can't confidently explain your fees, then you're not worth what you're charging.

This is something that I ALWAYS tell the designers & business owners that I personally coach & mentor and it's something that I stand by personally--if you can't teach someone about your worth well then you don't know it well enough. BAM.

I started working on a blogpost about this very topic yesterday but as I was laying in bed late last night, I decided a podcast might be better & since I haven't recorded one in awhile,  I hopped up to get it done in the wee hours of the morning. Would love to hear your thoughts on this one....

WHY AWFUL CLIENTS ARE GREAT FOR YOUR BUSINESS.

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Awful clients.

The ones that want you to give them everything, at the highest quality, but then nickel & dime the budget. The ones that hire you to do a job but don't trust you to actually DO the job. The ones who won't acknowledge that they don't know what the hell they want. The I-already-know-how-this-works-because-I've done-this-before people (except that they don't know how it works) and the can-you-do-it for-cheaper? folks. Ridiculous turnaround times, unrealistic expectations, clients who think they can do your job better than you, & clients who just want to use you for your resources--these folks can quickly become an entrepreneur's worst nightmare.

Whether you're a Photographer, Graphic Designer, Personal Trainer, Copywriter, Fashion Stylist, Videographer, Baker, Producer, PR guru, Interior Designer or any other kind of creative business owner, you'll probably encounter one of these people at some point during the life of your business. Do I hope that they never--EVER--cross your path? Of course. But the reality is that they probably WILL show up along your entrepreneurial journey because they're there to teach you how to show up more fully in your business. Knowing them will raise your blood pressure, create tons of physical stress & almost make you were sitting in an office cubicle instead of crafting a career you love...but these people can be really great for your business if you can learn what they're really trying to teach you.Let me explain.

Over the course of my 5.5 years in design, I've probably had 3 clients who I'd put in the no-matter-what-happens-please-absolutely-never-ever-call-my-line-again category. Some as recently as 2015. With two of the projects there came a point where I thought, "there's not enough money you could pay me that would make this a pleasant-enough experience to continue"--too many changes to the scope, too many fluxuations in the budget & not enough trust to execute the project in a way that would make this collaborative design process fun. And for awhile I did what we normally do in these cases--complain to family & close friends about what an absolute hemorrhoid these people had become. But that quickly got old. And I knew deep down that they weren't just there to get on my nerves but that they (and my experiences with them) could teach me something, if I changed my perspective.Because all the "awful clients" are really doing is showing you where you need to "tighten up" in your biz--where you need to be more specific in your contracts, raise your prices, eliminate some services or set clearer personal & professional boundaries.

So I did. And here's what I realized: that in the beginning of my career, as a fresh & bright-eyed designer, I'd constructed an ideal client profile that consisted of something like this: Good eye.Great budget. And that was pretty much it. What I most wanted were clients with a good eye for design who'd let me execute my vision + a sufficient-enough budget ($10k & up) with which to execute said design. They should "benice", "be cool" and "be flexible". And when I found those people, I was straight up overjoyed. But now that I've had time to develop as a designer, expand my professional interests, work with a variety of clients & grow as a person (read: I've acquired some skin in the game),that short list doesn't cut it anymore.Not if I intend to continue doing work I love, for people I love working with.

Here's the invaluable insight The Awfuls have helped me realize: I'm no longer willing to settle for clients with just "good money & good style" and I can no longer focus on the traditional quantitative demographics like age, education level, marital status, family makeup & income level to identify the people I most want to work with(categories we entrepreneurs are traditionally taught to use). Instead, I've shifted to a Values-Based Client Profilewhich means I care more about WHO my clients are and what THEY value then what they're bringing to the table.TheAwfuls have schooled me on this:  My ideal/targeted clients are people with a high level of personal integrity--ones who take responsibility for their behavior. They're people who value my time as a professional & who understand that Interior Design is a professional luxury service. These people trust the process of design and understand that there's no one size fits all design approach. My ideal clients believe in the importance of self-care & view the creation of a beautiful home as an extension of their well-being. They communicate authentically, are decisive, have a great sense of humor & genuinely want to work with a designer. Do I still want them to have a stylish eye & enough of a budget to execute their wishes? Absolutely. But I don't worry about those things because they're encompassed within the values/standards I set regarding the people I want to work with. Because someone who understands that Interior Design is a professional luxury service would never belittle me or themselves by asking me to render a service for less than it's value. Someone who really wants to work with a designer will give me the freedom & trust to work my magic and create something jaw dropping for them. Someone with a high level of personal integrity is honest about their budget upfront. See what I mean?

Here's another example: If you're an "artisanal croissant maker", your client is not "anyone who can afford $2.25 for a piece of bread". It's someone who LOVES a delicious buttery & flakey croissant. Someone who will find a bakeshop they love & drive 20 minutes clear across town on a Sunday morning to read the New York Times & have a croissant because it's their "thing"--an act of self-love. It's someone who believes in the value of knowing where their food comes from. High quality butter.Locally grown ingredients. Developing relationships with the people who make their food. A person who believes that not just anyone can make "good bread".  If you're a croissant artisan or specialty bread maker, your clients are not "anybody who will buy a croissant"--you want the people who appreciate the value of the service you're providing. And if you really love what you do, you should want the same thing, too.

I'm not implying that when you encounter The Awfuls that it automatically means you need better people--that was just one of my lessons. I've also learned that if I have a misunderstanding with a client it's probably a sign that I need to update my contract & make sure the major details are in writing. And I've learned that I needed to stop giving clients discounts that they didn't ask for because giving without explaining the true value of the discount means they won't understand the value of the service they're receiving. And because of that, they will ride me bareback (not to mention that clients who want a discount should AT LEAST have the balls to ask for one).  Because I've had the ability to create my own path, I intend to work with the kind of people I genuinely want to be around. Think about these questions with regard to your biz: For whom are you making your product? How do you want your clients to interact with YOU? Who do you want them to be in their personal lives? What does investing in your product mean that they value?? I NEVER would this kind of clarity about my business & my tribe if it hadn't been for The Awfuls. When I got fed up enough & realized I never wanted to work with those kind of people again, it gave me the push to figure out the kind of people I DO want to work with, which has made all the difference. And it's also why I don't really believe in "awful clients"--I just see them as the guides who show us where we aren't in alignment with who we really are & what we really want. All they're really here to do is point you towards greater happiness....so acknowledge what you need to change & go change it. 'Cause your best work is still waiting for you.

JUNE CHALLENGE: DOING WHAT MATTERS MOST

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June is here!! We're officially halfway through 2016 and just as it happens every year, I'm looking up thinking, "Where has the time gone??!".

When January slides in it feels like 12 months--hell, even 6 months--is a loooonnngggg way away.  And then before I know it, the Atlanta weather is sticky, everyone's showing off their summer bodies & I start taking stock of what I've accomplished since the beginning of the year. I'm normally a "6 month goal check-in!" kinda gal but this year I've decided to mark this halfway point by doing something radical: I've made a personal commitment to spend the next 30 days doing the things that matter most. And just what makes this simple idea radical?? The fact that I spend a lot of time doing OTHER things that keep me "busy". I do the things I THINK I should be done (post here, create more engagement there, figure out how to monetize X, get more clients/more money, etc.) but to be honest, I don't always feel like I'm doing the RIGHT things. And in this case, the "right" things are the ones that matter to & for me BEYOND the snappy business advice....the things that speak to who I am as a person. I've been on a wheel of what feels like a lot of DOING--trying to "make" or "force" things to happen--versus just BEING, which means working according to flow and moving inRIGHT action. All of this "busy-ness" is actually counterintuitive to how I believe the world turns and how I should believe my life should work. So I figured it's time to line up with what I believe. There's nothing wrong with having a full calendar (I detest the word "busy"), but too often I think we fall victim to filling the holes just to fill the holes. Or at least I have. Like there's something wrong with silence spaces or doing the work that comes easy. The need to DO all the time makes it seem like there's one tried & true route to "success" when there's not--and by working in a way that feeds into the myth, I feel like I'm abandoning the things that really matter for what "the world" says is right. Which doesn't make sense because my beliefs are metaphysical in nature (stay with me here). So I'm calling bullshit on myself. I want to be in the flow of allowing and inspired action...and because of that,I'm taking a step back. Doing less to do more. 

 I've decided not to waste my time "checking back over my 2016 goals" or mapping out more things to do before the calendar year escapes my grasp. I know that a lot of what I really need to be doing right now is WRITING. About secrets. love. entrepreneurship. business advice. confidence. staying in your own lane. making room for God. I have a lot I want to talk about! And a lot I want to hear from YOU about! For years I've believed that being successful in business is related to how much I'm worth as evidenced by how many clients I have at any given moment & how much they're each paying me--you know, what i'm doing to make the machine run. But when I think about how I really want to be spending my days, the kind of work I really want to be doing, who I most want to work with & the kind of legacy that I most want to leave, I know it's about building a special kind of COMMUNITY. And as a result, there's always a single refrain running through my mind: Write. Write. Write. So that's what I'm committing to do this month. 6 blog posts. And that may not seem like a big deal to you but because it's the thing I think I run from the most (which is odd because it's also one of the things I want to do the most) 6 is me really pushing myself to put pen to paper over the next 30 days. To stop putting off the inspired ideas for the ones I THINK are "best" because I'm trying to force what I think is right (what the "experts" say & what other people are doing). Because what's really right for me a this moment, is to write (as much as 6 scares me). And to know that I'll meet who I need to meet, travel where I'm supposed to travel and create what I'm supposed to create but in a more meaningful way--all because I listened to my heart. 

So that's my plan for my "6 month business check-in":

focus on what matters most

. And my question for you is this:

Is there something you'd LIKE me to write about?? A question you've been wanting to ask me or something you'd like my take on?

If so, leave it in the comments below...or email me if that makes you feel more comfortable. dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com

Happy June!

TURNING DOWN A GOOD THING...FOR THE BEST THING.

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Recently I was extended an invitation to participate in a great professional opportunity but as I checked my calendar, I realized said opportunity would overlap with a really important event this summer--my trip to Istanbul. Now this business opportunity is cool. It's relatively high profile and would be a chance to further my career, expand my exposure, build my brand and do something creative & fun. But Istanbul??It's the trip of a lifetime.

Lately when I've faced decisions like this I ask myself 2 questions to help figure out my highest course of action--they serve as an inner compass and never steer me wrong:

"Will this decision take you closer to who you want to be? Will this decision take you closer to where you want to be?" 

As I weighed the decision--one that wouldn't have kept me entirely from the trip but definitely would've made it much less relaxing than I intended--the "right" answer quickly became clear: I needed to turn down the professional opportunity to devote my time & attention to the trip. Because in my heart, traveling to Istanbul is so much more than just a vacation. When I think about that trip, I think about how the experience will change me. About the new people I'll meet and all of the incredible ancient sites I'll see. About the spiritual experiences I'll have. And mostly, about the fact that that trip will take me closer to who I want to be--a woman focused on creating memories, having life changing experiences all across the world, and fully committed to the growth of mySELF.

Is my business important? No doubt. But my work is who I am, while my business is the vehicle through which I work...and there's a big difference between the two. I know that the best way to grow my business is to grow my self (that's no typo), and when realized this was the choice I was being called to make, the right answer immediately became apparent.

 Because sometimes you have to turn down a good thing....to experience the best thing.