I’m back, and I’m so excited to share another success story from the Business Mentorship Program with you! Tinka Markham Piper is based in Montreal, Canada, and has a true gift for helping people transform, and redesign, their living spaces. She’s a triple threat (part organizer, part designer, and part life coach), and she has a brilliant eye for color and spacial planning. She is innovative, creative, and generous (she offered free virtual space makeover consults to people all over the world at the start of the global pandemic when everyone was stuck at home, and the results were incredible).
She might be the most humble person I’ve ever met, so I will brag for her: she also happens to have degrees from Princeton and Columbia University, and a background in mental health and suicide prevention. When I started working with Tinka, she already had a well designed website and years of business experience under her belt. Her goal was to further clarify and refine her service offerings, tighten up her packages, and generally take her business to the next level.
It was truly a delight to work with Tinka, and I can’t wait to share her story, and her success, with you!
Why were you looking to make changes in your business?
When Shira announced her mentorship program, it was an “aha” moment for me. I signed up immediately. I had been following her on Instagram for years, loved all the content and resources she shared, and witnessed how much her own business had evolved. I also had the sense that she was razor-sharp, insightful, big-hearted and fun. And yes, she is!
While I had been running Solve My Space for 8 years, I had never worked with a mentor, and I wanted someone to help me to up-level my business, brainstorm fresh ideas, provide accountability, and act as a sounding board.
The four main challenges I wanted to work on with Shira included:
1) Clarifying my business mission and identifying who were my ideal clients.
2) Diversifying my services.
3) Properly assessing my value and fee structure.
4) Becoming more proactive about new business opportunities.
What specific results were you after?
In Shira speak, I had #15minwins and #90minwins that I wanted to achieve in her program.
Micro results included: getting feedback on my website, redoing my Instagram profile, fine-tuning my current services, and pricing and rethinking my weekly/monthly schedule.
Macro results included: brainstorming new directions for my business (i.e. remote clients), becoming more comfortable with fee structures and my worth, and figuring out how to take more risks and change things up.
I really benefited from the thoughtful “homework” that Shira assigned in between our sessions—each activity was clearly connected to a specific result we were working to achieve. The homework was a combination of action- and thought-driven steps: filling out her Business Workbook that comes with the mentorship program, reading a recommended article or book, listening to a podcast, journaling and editing. And, our correspondence in between sessions was super helpful too.
What are some of your proudest wins over the past year?
I finished the mentorship program in February of 2020, and soon after, Covid-19 shifted the world. Similar to many organizers, I realized that I wouldn’t be able to work directly in homes, and I really missed my clients and our work together. I wanted to find a way to provide help during an uncertain time where so many people were in lockdown in their homes. In April, I started offering “free remote mini home consults” on Instagram. Over the next three months, I gave over 100 mini consults to people from 12 countries! Each person sent me photos of a room, or space, that was currently challenging for them, and together we brainstormed ideas over text, phone, or zoom to transform their space.
I loved the experience of these mini home consults – the emotional connection during a challenging time as well as the problem-solving and collaboration in each home. And through this process, I gained a lot of experience working with clients remotely. Now I’ve transitioned my service delivery model to include virtual sessions, and I am taking on more and more remote clients around the world!
A few other wins that I was proud of include:
- I now offer two signature “Solve My Space” packages that are very popular. One is called the “Fairy Dust Package” for in-home services, and the other is called “A Virtual Personal Trainer for your Home,” an affordable, yet substantial, way to get started working with me.
- I created “The Joyful Guide to Decluttering” for Ingrid Fetell Lee’s online course on “Design your Home for Joy.” Ingrid is the author of Joyful: The Surprising Power of Ordinary Things to Create Extraordinary Happiness. I highly recommend her book and her online course, which is fantastic.
- I have a “healthier” relationship with Instagram now, and I am having more fun with the platform to create connections and share resources.
- A really big win is that my income increased by 30% after completing the mentorship program!
Anything unexpected that you learned this year?
I love the saying, “No is a complete sentence,” and I feel that this is something that I’ve learned. Not saying yes to everything, and being very clear about what makes sense to take on, and how each project aligns with my overall goals. I also feel re-energized about my business and ready for all the upcoming opportunities.
What personal growth have you experienced while working on your business?
For many years now I have been reactive about my business instead of proactive. I’ve been very grateful to have a steady client flow with very little marketing. However, I’ve often taken on too many clients at once (not a good idea) or have just kept on going with the same type of services. And, I’ve consistently undercharged for my services (I think a lot of organizers may be able to relate to this, especially since there is so much back-end to our work).
As a result of the mentorship program, I have a more defined weekly schedule with clearer parameters. I am more focused on who my ideal clients are, and the number of clients I can realistically work with at any given time. I have increased my fees to reflect the value that I bring to people’s homes and lives, and the time and investment it takes for me to do this. I’m working smarter, not harder. The result has been an increase in income and better relationships with my clients.
Tell us more about Solve My Space! What’s coming up next?
Solve My Space is based in Montreal, with virtual clients around the world.
I call myself a “chaos counselor” – part organizer, part re-designer, and part therapist. My graduate degrees include an MSW and an MPH, and I worked for over 15 years in health and mental health: suicide prevention, emergency management and urban epidemiology.
Eight years ago I had that “lightbulb moment” – the realization of my true passion (and the company’s mission): transforming lives by transforming homes! So, I combined the counseling elements of social work and the project management training of public health to create Solve My Space. I work with every client on an emotional and physical level, and I show them that solving even the most challenging spaces can be a joyful and rewarding experience.
Coming up next:
- Helping people transform their homes with a focus on reducing environmental impact: using what they already have and only purchasing second-hand or vintage items.
- Collaborations with other re-designers and organizers.
- Some new programs and packages…stay tuned.
- And probably another round of the mentorship program with Shira!
And finally, I want to send an enormous and heartfelt THANK YOU to Shira, who helped me accomplish more in my business in a few months than I was able to do for years on my own!
If you’ve been daydreaming about your own business venture, I’d love to help. Learn more about the Mentorship Program right HERE.
Image Credits: Lalor Photographie, Babasouk, Vivian Doan Photography