This week, we’re excited to speak with Nicole White, interior designer at Nicole White Designs. She puts in a lot of road time, so learn some of her tips and tricks.
Meet Nicole White
Tell us about your business. What does a typical day look like for you?
I’m an interior designer based in South Florida who designs beautiful, colorful and comfortable spaces for clients. Most of of my projects involve renovations which I also project manage.
No two days are ever the same but here’s a snapshot: I drop my son to school then head to the gym for an hour-long workout. I leave my phone on the “do not disturb” feature so I can dedicate that one hour to clear my head for the inevitably hectic day.
I then head back home, shower and head downstairs to my home office. My assistant Amanda would have already gotten started answering emails and getting our day as organized as possible so we can tackle what’s priority for that day, be it working exclusively on design details for our projects – floorplans, renderings, sourcing for finishes, tracking orders placed etc.
But since we design and manage all details of our projects, typically I’ll head out to a job site to clarify details with the electrician, plumber, tile installer, drywall finisher or painters. There are a lot of moving parts in the renovation phase so we need to check in often to avoid mistakes.
How many miles do you drive in a typical week?
I drive an average of 2,000 miles a month or 500 miles a week. Basically, I drive a lot.
Where do you drive as part of your job?
I’m in west Sunrise, and most of our projects are south of me. So, I’m on the highway a lot to cities like Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation and Miami-Dade county where most of our projects are based.
What’s changed since you started using MileIQ?
I’ve been shocked to see how much driving my career entails. It’s definitely forced me to be more strategic about my trips so I’ll cluster visits so I can see multiple projects in one area versus zipping all over town like I used.
And let’s get real, it’s also been great to get reimbursed for these miles! I lost a lot of money over the years because the thought of writing down my daily/weekly mileage usage just seemed overwhelming. Now I just take a few minutes to swipe my trips on the App and my miles are logged. Then I email it to my bookkeeper at the end of the month.
What’s your tip for other MileIQ users?
Update your miles daily or at minimum, weekly. Waiting beyond that can be stressful since it’s not always easy to remember where you drove weeks ago. Let’s just say I’ve been very guilty of the latter!
What’s the biggest challenge you face running your business, and how do you address it?
Managing my time and getting pulled in many directions. There’s so much to do, and as much as I may try to stay on schedule, one phone call about a problem with a project can unravel my day. The old me would allow the madness to take over and just wallow in the chaos, and chalk it up to being an inevitable side effect of the profession.
But now I’ve set boundaries and no longer drop everything I’m doing if someone calls with a crisis. I now force my guys to take responsibility and try to solve the problem with me over the phone. I also try as much as possible to update clients in detail via email to cut down on the time spent answering multiple phone calls about the progress of a project.
Sure we still call to check in, but we no longer get the panic calls because they’re always in the loop.
What do you enjoy the most about the kind of work you do?
I enjoy the fact that no two projects are ever the same because no two clients are the same. We get to design a personal space that exclusively reflects each client’s needs. And no matter how stressful the renovation to design installation process can be, I’m always excited to see the finished project and our clients’ reactions. It melts me every time.
When not working, what do you like to do? I love hanging out with my 5 year-old son Xavier, watching cartoons, reading, painting and just being silly with him. I’m also a foodie and wine lover, so am often plotting a dinner adventure and learning all I can about wine.
Where can people learn more about your business?
You can find me and the rest of the team at Nicole White Designs.
MileIQ’s blog does not constitute professional tax advice. You should contact your own tax professional to discuss your situation.