Emma Blomfield’s (above) healthy fear of the tax office has helped her business thrive among other strategies.
How did you get started in business?
I began working for an interior designer fresh out of completing a marketing degree. After four years at university I didn’t want to be in a traditional marketing role, much to my parents’ horror. They’d just supported me through my degree. My position was marketing and online store stylist. I ended up going into property styling and then started my own business while working part time as a furniture buyer for an online store.
What's your business point of difference?
Resilience. It takes a fair bit to knock me down these days. I used to get upset with client feedback about my design work, but you learn to grow a thicker skin.
How have you managed to grow your business from individual styling to online courses, consultancy and an event styling business?
Hard work. I’m the type of person who battles through without asking for help, because as the business owner, I feel I’m responsible for finding the solution on my own. It might also be a pride thing, who knows. I’m working on changing it.
What would you do if you weren't on your current path?
I’d definitely be in a creative field; maybe a jewellery designer?
What is your approach to personal finance?
I’ve always been a pretty good saver. I’ve got savings accounts I regularly deposit into and also have a term deposit which is where I’ve got a chunk of money saved to buy a house one day.
I’ve read so many finance books over the years which has taught me a lot. My business degree certainly helps when it comes to my company finances.
I spend within my means. I’ve never had credit card debt. If I can’t afford something I’ll make a plan to save for it rather than buy on credit.
What mistakes have you made?
I’ve had to learn to stop DIYing things I should outsource. I learnt this huge lesson after signing my first book contract and realising I had retained no creative control.
I engaged a lawyer (which in hindsight I should have done before signing the contract) and spent three months fighting to get my manuscript back. Eventually, I won and was able to go on and print my book with an amazing publisher. The lesson for me from that experience - always hire the expert to help you avoid costly mistakes.
What is your approach to business banking and accounting?
I’ve always lived in fear of the tax man after a mistake with my very first accountant who miscalculated my tax my first year in business.
I’m fastidious about saving GST and tax payments each month, so I’m never caught out again.
I use multiple business saving accounts as well as an everyday banking account. I also have a business credit card that earns me Qantas points.
I track my incoming revenue in a spreadsheet each week against my weekly expenses so I can foresee any potential gaps. I also have an amazing bookkeeper who keeps everything in check.
Have you ever made a business decision you regret?
I often don’t charge if my hours go above what I’ve quoted. This is something I still need to work on improving in terms of quoting and invoicing.
Some clients try to haggle me on my service feed. I regret it when I do discount - they always end up being the most difficult clients.
What is it that makes negotiating difficult?
Negotiating is often uncomfortable. Factor in wriggle room with the quotes you provide, so you aren’t resentful if you decide to discount your services.
Have you experienced imposter syndrome?
Ha! All the time. I never formally studied interior design but have written two decorating books.
I’ve been in the industry for 10 years and still feel like an imposter some days.
How do you celebrate your successes?
I’m a firm believer in celebrating your wins in business. I’m not married nor do I have any children but have attended (and decorated) my fair share of friends’ personal celebrations.
So, I decided that business wins were just as important to celebrate as a wedding or baby shower. I get together with business friends regularly to celebrate business wins.
Who has taught you the most about knowing your value in the workplace?
I’ve always been a reader. I read a lot of female business owners’ books. They resonate with me and help me implement new systems and strategies in my own business. I also have a group of girlfriends who run their own businesses who all inspire me endlessly.
Who do you draw inspiration from?
Other female business owners for business strategies. For creative inspiration - travelling and seeing new cities and countries inspires my design work.
Do you have a routine or habit that you practise daily?
Discipline. I find this is key. Every day I get up, shower, get dressed and put on make-up, whether I’m sitting at home at my desk or I’m out.
If I don’t follow the ritual, the quality of my work suffers.