In this installment of Mileage Monday, we talk to Gina Gutierrez, founder of Gina Rachelle Design. Learn about how hectic the interior design business can really get.
Can you tell us about your business and your typical work day?
My drive and passion for interior design propelled me to launch my business in a 650 square foot one bedroom apartment in the Presidio of San Francisco. Over the years, I have built an interior design studio that specializes in both residential and commercial spaces.
I don’t know if I ever have a “typical day” as I wear so many hats and can often be found running around for my projects. However, a day may look like something like this:
- 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. Wake up, make the bed, make tea, meditate, get ready for the day listening to a podcast.
- 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. Email, Instagram marketing and project organization.
- 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Meet with Team GRD to discuss project progress. Our meetings may also include running to a client’s home, jetting over to a vendor, grabbing lunch, and visiting a prospective project.
- 3p – 5p Design development.
- 5p – 6p Email, marketing and business ops tasks.
How many miles do you drive in a typical week? Where do you drive as part of your job?
Living and working in San Francisco which is 7×7 miles, my mileage is small but there tend to be frequent stops. I typically drive 36-80 miles per week.
I drive to client projects. Most of our projects are in the city but we currently have one client in San Carlos.
We also drive to a lot of vendors and makers when sourcing + shopping for clients. We like to see things first hand, talk with other business owners, and really understand where our product and designs are coming from.
Other driving takes place when we have collaboration opportunities and prospective client visits. You may also find us making multiple visits to the hardware or paint store as we are a very hands-on team.
What’s changed since you started using MileIQ?
My financial confidence has changed since using MileIQ. I feel organized and on top of my business. I know I can get the best tax deduction possible.
In the past, I would start a spreadsheet to track and then forget to fill out. I would write notes down and then not have in one place. I was missing a lot important information when it comes to mileage.
What other apps do you recommend to other small business owners?
We have so many! But not too many to overwhelm us. Our favorite platforms that we use on a daily basis include:
- Ivy – Specific to Interior Design
- Asana – Team/Project Organization Platform
- Toggl – Time Tracker
- Evernote – Keeping track of notes
- Acuity – Scheduling Calendar
- PaybyPhone – Parking
- Amazon Business
What’s the biggest challenge you face running your business, and how do you address it?
My biggest challenge in running a business is making time for myself and striving for that so called “balance.” I love what I do and because of that, I can work all day and night if you let me.
However, I often get overwhelmed with the many details and tasks that go into running a polished, high end service business. It is easy to forget that time for yourself, with friends and family, physical activities, and sleep are critical to being successful.
The best way I can address this is by utilizing others. I have slowly built my own team that works with me and I also outsource where needed. I am not afraid to delegate and ask for help. Often, that “help” is seeking experts in areas that don’t excite you. For example, I am so grateful for my bookkeeper that invoices, strategizes and organizes all financial data with me. Even more, working with a business coach to keep you on track and optimistic is priceless.
What do you enjoy the most about the kind of work you do?
I love the creativity of the design development phase. I often have a vision of how I want a space to come together. I can see it perfectly through my eyes. However, when I begin to source and start to pull together a digital look, I often ride the wave of excitement when I find an amazing piece to the next wave of challenge when I have missing pieces to the design puzzle. It’s this constant up and down of highs and roadblocks.
It’s easy to get caught up in the challenging moments and question your design. However, I have learned that it is often the third, fourth, or fifth iteration of a room where EVERYTHING comes together and there is pure joy. All of sudden you’re filled with this confidence and satisfaction and you’re reminded that this is why you do what you do.
It’s THAT part of design that I love.
What tip would you share with other business owners?
It takes a lot of trust in your vision and dream to keep moving forward. Typically when there is that internal negative talk and you’re ready to give up, you have to remind yourself that you’re on the brink of something amazing. Believe in yourself and just keep going.
When not working, what do you like to do?
My partner, Max, and I love traveling. We try to escape as much as possible whether it be just 2 hours away or overseas. Our most recent vacation was to Wales and London. We’re also getting ready to visit family in my hometown Milwaukee, WI at the end of April.
I also LOVE going to yoga classes. Being a gymnast at a young age, yoga takes me back to that physical challenge and it also keeps me grounded.
I also love running, hiking, reading, snuggling with our cats and entertaining friends in our home.
Where can people learn more about your business?
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.