Becoming A Design Consultant

“We need to realize that our path to transformation is through our mistakes. We’re meant to make mistakes, recognize them, and move on to become unlimited.” -Yehuda Berg

It’s September!  The ‘thick’ of wedding season seems to be over and once again the pace seems to be at a more manageable place (or at least that is the sentiment amongst my colleagues, at the moment).  So many brand new projects on the go, new weddings in development, and preparations in full swing for 2015.  September has always been a month of ‘new beginnings’ for me, personally.  I become somewhat reflective at this time of year.  I think about what worked this particular wedding season, what I could have improved upon, and how I may continuously keep my level of service high to my clients.  September has always been a natural time of year for transition.

A lot has changed for me over the past year.  The most significant being the ‘beta’ year within my new business model -a brand new design process, operations model, fee structure, revamped production practices, and the diversification of my business.  Over the course of the year, I also established exclusive partnerships with some amazing event companies to increase the breadth of services I could offer to my clients.  Becoming a design consultant was perhaps the most profound career decision I made for myself.  It was the best way for me to manage my business and my personal life simultaneously. 

Given that I have been in a state or transformation and transition since the beginning of the year, I wanted to provide some clarity to all of you with respects to where my business is today and what it will become moving forward.

1). Making the tough decisions.  I began to weigh all my options in late 2013.  I wasn’t happy with the direction my business was heading and my role within it.  I began to contemplate working as a freelance designer, join another design firm, or completely change my career.  I was at a point where I was just ‘done’.  I wanted out and I felt I could no longer continue in this profession because I simply did not enjoy the ‘operations’ of running a business any longer.  The business had become much larger than me and I was feeling very overwhelmed.  I soon began a transition towards simplicity.  In fact, I made a pledge to honour simplicity.  Going ‘back to basics’  allowed my entrepreneurial spirit and passion for design to shine.  I lifted the proverbial weights I was carrying as a business owner (www.parasevents.ca/lifting-weights).

2). The Design Process.  Becoming a design consultant required me to change my design process and the methods in which I was managing and operating my business.  Earlier this year, I began to scale back my company’s operations by eliminating 2500 square feet of warehousing, selling portions of my inventory, and parting with some of my key staff (this was the most difficult for me).  I employed a revitalized fee structure by limiting my services to only design coordination and design production.  I was no longer going to operate as a full service decorating firm.  The result was a new business model based on limiting overheads and a fee structure that compensated me for my skills, education, experience, creativity, time, and overall design aesthetic.  It would take years of encouragement from my mentors to make this important change to the business.  Paras Events is now positioned as a design consulting firm.

3). Priorities.  Two years ago, I was approached with the opportunity to write a book.  Excitedly, I began work on the visual content and writing immediately.  Over the course of one year however, my business had changed, how I felt about my business had changed, and ultimately, I had changed.  I could no longer write about what my publisher had requested.  I was not the same person and it came down to my personal and professional integrity.  Consequently, I walked away from this opportunity.  I hope to return to this exciting project again in the next few years once I become more comfortable in my ‘new role’ and my ‘new skin’.  I want to write about my experiences as a designer, share my aesthetic with others, but ultimately leave a lasting impression.

I have always believed that the true test of our character and resilience in any life experience is the way we are able to navigate through it.  This does not mean that I do not have my fair share of ‘breakdowns’, emotional instability, and/or business oversights.  By no means do I have it all figured out.  I am self-aware enough today to distinguish what will continue to be a driving force in my life and what brings me the most happiness.  It is a constant exercise in editing your life.  I speak tirelessly about balance because it is essential in our profession.  Returning to a balanced lifestyle has been the single most transformational experience throughout the entire transition of my business -and my life.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

PS – I have a Twitter party coming up in November!  Stay tuned to my social channels!

www.twitter.com/paraskmehta

www.instagram.com/paraskmehta