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When is $5000 in Monthly Revenues Not Enough?

By 08/17/2016January 23rd, 2017142 Comments

A year ago, I launched Interior Colour Solutions which was basically e-design and colour consulting. We were charging per colour, so if you needed a bedroom colour, or a main floor colour, or you needed some help with a backsplash or hardwood flooring, you could purchase what you needed a la carte.

So far I’m not making any money providing this service. If I didn’t have other, more profitable revenue streams I would probably be very happy with the $4000 – $5000 per month that we make, but if I focus only on this area, it simply pays for our time and we pretty much break even.

One day I even received an email from a reader who said it was too cheap and asked how I could possibly profit from providing this service. Eeeek, she was right!

When is $5000 in Monthly Revenues Not Enough? | Maria Killam

A smart business owner would look at this element of my business and say ‘Just drop it, focus on other areas of your business that are making a profit’, but the reason why I can’t just kill it is because I can’t have an entire blog of almost 1500 posts, ebooks and courses that introduce people to the world of understanding undertones and then if they need help with colour, well suddenly, you’re on your own?

That didn’t seem like the right thing to do either.

So I consider it to be more like a public service than a profit center.

Here’s my problem. At the beginning of this month we switched up the a la carte menu and created ‘packages’ instead.

Most people needed more than what we were offering and it was confusing for Tricia to manage, so we decided to create packages instead and test it out.

So basically, if you need help with colours and tiles, countertops and want to have a classic kitchen you would buy this package.

We also introduced a package that we called ‘Inspired Room Refresh’ because I get so many questions and have conducted countless phone consultations with clients who need to re-decorate but they’re stuck. They don’t know where to start, don’t know which colour sofa to buy so instead of going shopping, they do nothing.

We wanted to keep it affordable so instead of charging $2000 and up for a room design like other sites, we priced it at $750.

Guess how many we have sold?

Zip

Zero

Crickets

Nada

When is $5000 in Monthly Revenues Not Enough? | Maria Killam

image source

So I’m reaching out to you to get your feedback because obviously we need to change the offering but I’m just not sure what it should be.

I want to continue providing this service on this site  as well as keep my talented virtual designer employed!

So I’d love your feedback. If you don’t feel comfortable posting a comment, just hit reply and let me know!

What do you need? What kind of design/decorating services would work for you?

When is $5000 in Monthly Revenues Not Enough? | Maria Killam

image source

One idea I had was from Mariana just this week, she said:

I am writing with a suggestion for your interior e-design services. Include a “save me from myself” review where the client would share her plans for a space and you would either approve it or suggest that some items/colors/finishes not be included. Sometimes just removing the offensive object(s) or following another suggestion would be enough and the consultation would be done. Other times the client may need additional advice, which would fall outside the scope of a simple review and that would mean additional consultations not included in the “save me from myself” review.

Here is the anecdote that inspired this suggestion. A couple months ago I partially remodeled my attic and purchased an interior paint color consultation from you. I wanted to add a color to a couple walls to highlight the geometry of the room because the slanted attic walls do not accommodate art. Tricia was extremely helpful and called me on the same day to let me know that I really should not break-up my small space with one more color. We talked briefly about my other choices for the attic and her confirmation that the color scheme (mascarpone walls, birch plywood, and tunsgate green on the floor) was not a horrible idea gave me the confidence to move ahead with the project.

This time the “save me from myself” consultation just happened and it was exactly what I needed. I would be surprised if many of your readers could not use it too. I will send you pictures of the attic when it is actually ready so you can see the outcome of your helpful advice. The construction is done but I still have not found the perfect kilim rug and am making pillow cases and remodeling some old ikea furniture to make it look less ikea.

So if you have clicked around, considered purchasing one of the e-consultations but did NOT. I would like to hear from you!

What were you looking for? What questions did you have that did not get answered enough so that you could make a decision?

What would you like to see instead?

I have successfully conducted literally hundreds of one-on-one consultations with so many of you over the years and this part of my business model I teach in my Specify Colour with Confidence workshops.

But there’s only one of me and my time is very limited especially when workshop season kicks in. I’m not even in my office for a full two week stretch until the end of November.

This week I’m at the Old Mill Inn in Toronto at another very expensive and intense training through my mastermind group which I will be sharing about in my upcoming workshops this season.

You’ll definitely want to spend three days with someone who’s spent literally $50,000 in on-line marketing courses in the past two years (me).

My colour workshop seems like a bargain in the end really.

The other area where you’ll save money when you spend time in training courses, is in areas you learn you shouldn’t be focused on.

I was about to spend $10,000 – $15,000 on analyzing analytics (and more) for my new website (coming up very soon), until I spoke to someone who said “No don’t focus on that right now, work on this instead, that’s more important for your business”.

To be able to narrow your focus and eliminate something off your ‘to do’ list that you thought you should be doing is almost as valuable as learning a new skill like mastering colour.

Which you can do at a Specify Colour with Confidence workshop near you! You’ll get instant colour confidence plus learn the business of colour and the easy way to see colour online which will be a game changer to quote many of my participants who come to my events.

Register here.

When is $5000 in Monthly Revenues Not Enough? | Maria Killam

Thanks in advance! xoxoxoxoxoxo (source)

And please help! I want to keep this e-consulting service alive on my website so any feedback you can give me would be soooo helpful!

Another piece of feedback that I would love is, if you remember, what were you looking for on the web that had you discover my site? 

Basically I would love to hear how you found me, was it through a friend, something you searched? What was the first blog post you read? How long have you been following me?

I am in Toronto until Friday night writing for my new website and this knowledge would be super helpful too!

Thanks so much for your support, for following me, for being so engaged! Your comments are like oxygen to me and I appreciate every single one that you take the time to write!

Related posts:

Before & After Online Colour Consultation in Texas

“What do you think?” Is not Advice that Helps

3 Steps to Finding a Mentor in the Design Industry

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142 Comments

  • Cynthia says:

    I discovered you in Oct 2012 when I was wanting to paint oak cupboards white. Have followed you ever since! Think of myself as a groupie
    Re your other question, I hate to say my money always seems to have to go somewhere else. For example right now I am in Austrlia as the oldest daughter just got married and is moving to Australia. All my decorating money will probably go to airplane tickets.

    • Chris says:

      I found your blog about a month ago and have read many posts because I like the way you clearly express your design aesthetic, your advice is so practical and I learn so much from you. You are an excellent teacher/communicator.
      I purchased your Core Collection to learn more about why. Choosing paint colors for my home was driving me crazy and to help a friend choose paint colors for her family room and to choose a color for my kitchen and living room. The boards are fun to consider but honestly they have provided me with a puzzle not a solution! I know I need help. I’m an instructional designer not an interior designer. Interior design has always been a hobby and a major interest of mine, but I know my limitations.
      Because of that I’d like to purchase your Room Refresh but the description does not provide me with enough information to move forward. I’m wondering can you really help me without a floor plan, the dimensions and colors of my existing furniture. My stone fireplace and hardwood floors are bossing (I love that expression) the design around, but will you make a recommendation on just that? Will you consider the art work I have and love? Will your recommendation work if you never see the effects of the SF Bay Area sunlight bathing my walls? I wish I could talk with your team before I pay $750 so I can determine if I feel comfortable and can establish a rapport. I would be happy to pay for thetime to determine whether to go forward.
      I think the description of the service would work better you delete the top section and begin with “Most people want….”
      Also the descriptions for the 3 rooms seems very limited. What if I don’t want drapes?

  • BillP says:

    When I saw your recent post I wondered how it could possibly work. Sourcing materials is such a challenge it seems to me impossible to make it an online business. Have you considered just focusing on kitchens and baths? Leverage your relationship with a national chain and get your revenue from the retailer (10% of sales?), Get a retainer from the client, (less than $500). The furniture chains all offer free design services so I would avoid furniture.

  • Rory says:

    I discovered you 7 years ago while planning my remodel. Your white kitchens spoke to my heart, and I’ve been following you ever since. You did a color consultation over the phone with me about 5 years ago and I am still content with those choices. It was money well-spent. I didn’t check out your a la carte options as I haven’t changed anything lately. If I were doing a big project, budgeting $750 for design help would be worth it. On just small jobs of redoing a room, it would depend on how much help (paint color, bedding, accessories, etc). I value your advice, but might not be able to afford it every time. I do take advantage of your blog and e-books though!

    • Kay says:

      My story is pretty much the same as Rory’s. I don’t think of a room refresh as including the purchase of major pieces of furniture, so $750 seems a lot. I loved being able to schedule an hour or half hour consult with you at your $250 an hour rate but understand how much your business has changed in the past few years and how busy you are. I would guess that most of your readers aren’t wealthy enough to remodel or redecorate very often. Most of us try to figure it out ourselves as much as possible (using your principles and color system) but need an okay or have you considered rather than complete sourcing.

  • Jane Austen says:

    I have purchased some of your a la carte offerings and have been very pleased with the results every time. I was sad to see the packages replace the a la carte options since I think those are more accessible to people. I love to look at your redesigns and something I’ve noticed that I’m always wondering is how did the ‘after’ turn out? You sometimes show a photo of the room before and then a mood board of what you’ve chosen after. I want to see the new stuff in the room and know how you figured out how to lay it all out. You often change the space planning, and I think space planning would be a hit with people. Not just the elements of design but exactly how to put it all together. Hope that’s helpful, and I love your work!

    • Noel Bostrom says:

      I agree with the above, “I have purchased some of your a la carte offerings and have been very pleased with the results every time. I was sad to see the packages replace the a la carte options since I think those are more accessible to people. ” I understand you need to make the business work financially. Your title was in $5000/mo enough and I relate as that is what our income is so I would choose an a la carte option. I’m not a designer so your ideas/experience are interesting and Your work with vulnerability and Brene Brown sounds important to your growth. Maybe you could delate work. Thanks.

  • Nichole says:

    I am a past purchaser of exterior and interior consultations and I’ve taken your e courses and the three day seminar. The only thing that I saw that might turn people off are the limiting descriptions in the Refresh package. What if my living room needs two sofas and one chair? What if I need more than 3 throw pillows? I think I understand why the limits are there. And they make sense in your other packages when you are talking about wall colors or exterior finishes. But the e-designs I see on other designers blogs seem to cover the entire room. If a limit needs to be placed, maybe it could be by square footage and not number of pieces chosen?

  • Kathi says:

    Why not offer all 3 choices, the one that you have been doing for 60K a year, add the one with packages and the last suggestion, Save Me from Myself- There has to be, something for everyone- You could name it No E-grets-most of your original readers were just average gals trying to improve their homes-that is why Color Me Happy was so wildly successful- the typical reader is not a designer and really won’t need your fabulous courses, so you are smart to keep your blog readers coming back and offering something affordable for them-I have great faith that you will figure it all out- I am proud of all of your success.

  • Susan S says:

    It seems to me that being less than one month that you’ve been offering packages really isn’t enough of a time span to say they don’t work. Also, the timing of this introduction may just be a little off as this time of year, everyone is “coming off of” summer vacations and gearing up for school to resume. I’d give it a little more time because I think the packages make a lot of sense and once the holiday season gears up and people want to spruce up their homes, the packages will offer them the perfect “jumping off point”!

    • Lauren T. says:

      I agree with Susan. Give it time. I think the pricing is great for the average person. My only suggestion would be under “Classic Kitchen,” the 2nd to the last paragraph, last sentence (“We do colour . . . “) is confusing. Consider editing for clarity. I would take you up on the Room Refresh now, except I’m divorcing and probably will be moving (ugh). You’re do great work.

  • Lynette cronin says:

    My issue is I’ve been enjoying your blog and looking around my home of 23 years with new eyes and seeing color mistakes I was previously oblivious to. There are so many things I would like to update that I can not find a starting point. I would like to see you continue your a la carte e-color consults because someday when life settles down I will need your help!

  • Julia says:

    I stumbled on a post of yours on Facebook and loved your commentary on colour. As a marketing communications professional myself, your rationale as to why an investment in in colour consultation up front spoke to me. My husband and I have been wanting to repaint the front of our house for a couple years now. But every time we save up for the project something comes along to sideline us (like two new babies) :). I also feel a bit stressed about committing to an exterior because I’d like to do an overhaul of our interior which would be a bigger reno project. And feel a bit like I can’t choose an exterior until we do the interior as well. ( I know that’s silly). One thing that would be great would be to know if you have some suppliers that you might recommend so that we might be able to feel as though not only did we get your expertise, but you may also be able to point us in the direction of trusted suppliers who provide good value for money. Love your work and follow your posts regularly. Working with you is on my wish list for when we can make home improvements a reality!

  • Judy Jensen says:

    I still have the email of when I signed up with you-12-15-14! I am not a decorator so I could never justify going to a workshop. Perhaps you could add the a la carte options for simple questions and have the package program for those who want more help. For me I would like your opinion on what color for kitchen walls that goes with existing fixtures and a fabric that I already have. I do my own painting inside most of the time. The pkg price doesn’t fit for me.
    I love the before and afters, the tests of what is the undertone and other articles that have little to do with color i.e. how many lights do you need in a room???
    Am I the only one who thinks that you don’t need any more training??? Save your money and continue helping all of us.

    • Cathy says:

      I have been following your site for years and have purchased many of you’re e books I found them helpful and affordable. My daughter moved into a 10 year old house in Austin and I was very happy to purchase the alacarte 1 color option for her main living spaces. I was glad you reccomended a gray but in the end it looks great in the south entry but rather dull in the rest of the northern light space. It is half painted and when I visit her in a month I am going to try a different gray. I still like being able to purchase a single color option. A mistake in one room is not a big deal but when you are talking about a high ceiling living space it is not something you want to have to redo. I love your blog and refer to it often.

      • Maria Killam says:

        Hi Cathy,
        thanks for your comment, if the gray looks dull it’s because you haven’t finished decorating yet. A greige will give you a fresher look and feel than a beige but it will still feel dull before you get a look and a feel through decorating! A colour can’t do all the heavy lifting! Thanks so much for your comment! Maria

    • Maria Killam says:

      The reason I don’t have more before’s and after’s of my on-line consulting is because I’m not there to take an after picture, I get a lot of emails from happy clients though 🙂 Thanks so much for following me and for taking the time to post a comment!
      x
      Maria

  • Scott in Seattle says:

    I like the package idea because it gives the option to hold to a budget/scope-of-work or negotiate for additional services. Here in Seattle, for the equivalent of some of your services, I’ve happily paid much more than you charge. Maybe I’m not typical.

  • Laura says:

    Maria, you once designed a white kitchen for me through an e-consult. Before you did it, I hated that room every time I looked at it or walked past it. After we implemented the changes the beauty of that kitchen saved my marriage (we had been fighting over the way we had remodeled it for years)!! 😉 We have since moved and I want to ask for your help with the whole house–but because it’s 4,000+ square feet, I know I can’t afford to do it all at once. When I purchased your package a long time ago, your fees were much lower (though I am not here to tell you to lower your prices in the least–I was just fortunate at the time).

    I think one thing I did not realize was how expensive a one-room consultation was in person! I appreciate your package pricing being more affordable, but I also know it would be nice to have less involved options. I remember awhile back you were charging per question–for me that would be a perfect starting point because I would be happy to pay you just to tell me what color to paint the hallway and stairwell in my house (I know something is wrong with the way it looks next to the trim and carpet but can’t figure out what that is).
    I realize that is a lot to keep track of–it may be that you have to limit it somehow with scheduling only so many per week or month, or increase the price of the a la carte options. Another thought might be to charge by the hour (have no idea what your rate would be), giving a client the ability to ask a few questions in one area of the home but move to another once those have been answered….
    I loved what you did for my old kitchen, and first found you when researching white kitchens.
    Also, wanted to say I agree with another reader–you don’t need more training!! If you are going in order to build clientele, that’s one thing. But perhaps you only need a refresher/inspirational course once in awhile?
    Thank you for continuing to offer online consultations! You have so much talent to share!

  • Mary says:

    For me, as just a homeowner, I love your ebooks. I am a paint addict, and frequently change the color of a room for no other reason than I need a change. Not sure I would ever like the finality of a house being “done.” The ebooks fit within my modest homeowner budget and empower me to be creative. I will gladly purchase each and every book you release.

  • Koel says:

    If you follow the Lean Startup mode, why not try different stuff and see what sticks. Online purchases, clients are pretty difficult to manage. I believe a huge number of your followers are homeowners like myself and hence may be attracted to the earlier options. In case they need more than what the single color, etc is offered then the new packages could help. And you could tweak them till you get them right.
    Your blogs and books have been a huge help. I wish I could send you pics of my new flat. I followed your concept of undertone and believe it worked beautifully for the paints I finally chose after trying several shades. It helped me and my husband to look at colors in a different light and we keep using it for any buy.

  • Julie Davis says:

    Maria, I found you on line in 2010 when I lived in Seattle and was googling for help with paint colour for a new house. We had hired an interior designer who dropped off of bunch of red paint chips when we told her we wanted to paint our dining room red. It turned out orange. Sigh. I love your blog and would hire you in a New York minute if I lived near you. I’ve followed your blog through moves to Australia, Singapore and now Switzerland and it has inspired me with each new location as I try to make a rental house a home. I actually would use your new service if I were living in the US, but I’m assuming sourcing furniture etc in Europe is out of the question. But when we move back to Seattle I do plan to get in touch. You are amazing! I hope you find the balance/solution you are looking for. Thanks for all the great ideas, advice and inspiration.

  • InfoDiva says:

    Just checked my old emails and I’ve been following you since December 2012! I found you when I was looking for ideas on how to stage my kitchen for resale. I found lots of advice, but yours was so concrete and useful–grounded in reality, with ideas that I could follow with just a few trips to my local HomeGoods.

    I think you’re conflicted because you want it both ways. You want ordinary readers like me, looking for inspiration without cost, and you also want to grow your business of training other professionals. We’re two completely different markets.

    The online design world has become so confusing! Anyone can blog about design and frankly, 80 per cent of design bloggers haven’t a clue and their ideas can be downright painful. Thank you for being a truly professional voice in this wilderness. You have saved me from many a costly mistake.

    • colleen says:

      I agree with InfoDiva, and I have been following you for about the same length of time. Let me say that in my area of the country and this small town few families could boast and income of $5000 a month. Including combined incomes.
      I read through both ‘package’ offerings and neither appeal. I especially wasn’t interested to know what others charge, a marketing technique I particularly dislike.
      For those of us with tighter budgets and lower incomes the a la carte offerings are more accessible.
      Maybe it’s time to have a two stage website. Professionals enter at one door, everyone else at the other.
      Thank you for the many wonderful posts and suggestions over the years. As InfoDiva says, you are truly a professional voice in the wilderness.

      • Maria Killam says:

        Hi Colleen,
        Just to be clear, once 3 people ‘handle’ the e-design service, the customer service person who emails it to Tricia who discusses it with me, then compiles it, does the work of sourcing if necessary and then shows it to me again, the money we make pays for our time thats it. It’s not a clean $5000 to one person so that’s why if I didn’t feel like it was an important service to offer, I would just take it off the site. I so appreciate your feedback! x Maria

      • Vee says:

        Hi Colleen,
        While I agree with your comment about $5,000 being a large income, you have to remember Maria has a business with employees. She is not only paying her mortgage but two others that she’s mentioned on her site. So while $5,000 seems like a lot, for a business owner, with employees to pay, it isn’t.
        I agree with a few previous posters about giving the new set up a bit more time as it is summer and many people are vacationing and getting children back to school.
        The other comment I read said to offer both services, the a la carte and packages. That seems like a great idea. Something for everyone.

  • Paula says:

    I discovered you through a link from the Decorologist. It was a game-changer.

  • Susan LaRose says:

    Hi Maria.. I’m a bit perplexed and discouraged why this service isn’t working for you. The way you repackaged is VERY affordable and who wouldn’t love to have you advise them on their decor struggles. I am fairly new to following you. Can’t really remember how I found you, but I am most glad I have. I have been working as a color consultant with a Benjamin Moore dealer in New York for 3 years, advising and mixing. I am in process of securing funds to attend your class in Tampa and I was so looking forward to learning from you and being able to back what I see with real confidence. I was and am still interested your e – design training as I have connections in Florida where I was hoping to offer this service. I guess that’s why I am discouraged and sad for you at the same time. I know first hand how it feels when no one is getting it. Non the less… so looking forward to meeting you in November. Best, Susan

    • Susan, I’m looking forward to meeting you at Maria’s class that I have volunteered to help with in Tampa. You will never regret it! Definitely a business game changer for me. It will change the way you think and look at color forever. A must-do on anyone’s bucket list. See you soon…Julie Kay

  • Nancy says:

    Maria, I AM going to purchase some of your services, but we haven’t closed on our home yet. Decorating is something I will have to do in stages as the remodel of a 1970’s place is extensive and expensive. I would like the a la carte service and start there. There is a designer I like right here but I don’t trust her color sense as much. But it is much harder to spend a LOT on an online service. I thought your affordability was the way to go. If you raise your prices too much, then folks will just stay local instead. There is a perceived difference having someone come to the home. Perhaps you could try to convince us that online is as good. Personally my pictures haven’t produced reality for me, so I don’t know how it could be reality for your team.

  • JaneBIVL says:

    I found you after you when you spoke at a Lisa Sassevich event from the audience and have taken an on-line class with you. I was just about to buy a “what color should my cabinets be?” consult, so I wish they were still there. I can’t change backsplash or counters, so a package doesn’t help. You’ve trained a lot of people; can you have one of them assist with this area of things?

    • Tricia says:

      You can still get your cabinet colour a la carte under paint colour 🙂
      Thanks for your comment!

  • Mary-Illinois says:

    I have been following you since the end of 2008. I was re-doing my master bathroom at the time & must have been looking for something (I don’t remember now.) and somehow found you. I consider that day one of my best days.
    Since I’m not a professional I’ve never taken any of your courses. I get all my advice just from your blog.
    I painted my entire house back in 2008 & it hasn’t been painted since. So I haven’t need a color consult. Where I struggle is finding fabrics that work with what I have currently going on in a room. Since I do all my own sewing, I’m always making new drapes, pillows, & upholstering new headboards.
    I REALLY like the idea of offering a “Save Me From Myself” option. That way I could run my ideas & fabric selections by you & see if I get a thumbs up or not.

  • Angela N says:

    I found your site when I was building my current house and wanted to make sure i was choosing the correct finishes. That was 5 years ago!! I know I have the hardest time with pulling my rooms together and the finishing touches. I also struggle choosing finishes in fixed pieces or pieces I will have for a long period of time. I like the idea of having a sounding board for making these decisions. What about the idea of a forum that would cost a fee to belong to for such small items? Sometimes just confirmation that you are making the right decision is all you need.

  • Barb Grinter says:

    I found your blog while looking for help decorating a challenging layout this year. You literally saved a marriage and I’ve archived every blog. I was looking for a fun accent chair and POP! Here comes the email on accent chairs! It’s like you’re reading my mind. I threw out my favorite green rug and went red even though it’s not my favorite based on photos you had posted. I agree with InfoDiva. I think your heart is in 2 places. Your taste is impeccable. This isn’t a house I’ll stay in long but I’ll be using your ideas in future. For me, the paint color palette wasn’t the issue, the room layout and decorating ideas were a Godsend.

  • CJ says:

    I have been following your blog since 2011 and have your e-books as well. I do like the suggestion of a “Save Me from Myself” type of online consulting. I am just an average person looking to improve my home when I can and when I have the money to do so. I have ideas on what I want but sometimes I just need a little help in the decision making process. Sometimes I just stop and don’t go forward with what I want to do due to fear of making a HUGE costly mistake. So to add an option like this and to make it affordable is a great suggestion. Keep the other options you have.

    • elle says:

      This pretty much says it all for me. I like your style! I’ve a limited budget but your great blog gives direction with good ideas I can try. I’m selling and then buying and if I get stuck I’ll need saving!!! thanks for all you provide, Maria!

    • Stefanie says:

      I found your blog in 2008 back when it was “Colour Me Happy”. I was researching several Benjamin Moore paint colours online (I always track down photos to see instances of the colour in real life rooms) and stumbled here. I totally relate to the comment above.

      I took a look at your consultation services for the first time this morning. To me, your ‘refresh’ package is more of a room overhaul! My budget for a room refresh covers paint and some new accessories, not new furniture as well. The odd time I do replace furniture, there are so many excellent online resources that I’m able to easily create a decent mood board myself.

      What does intrigue me greatly is the “Save Me From Myself” idea. My kitchen renovation was featured in an “Ask Maria” post 2 years ago and your advice was very helpful. I needed affirmation on my choices- the kind of thing that would fit well a “Save Me From Myself” kind of consultation. That’s the kind of thing I could see myself purchasing in the future. For this average homeowner, I sometimes need confirmation my choices (for big ticket items like tile and counters as well as smaller ticket items like fabric to recover a chair) are right and this kind of service could provide that.

  • MinneapolisWhit says:

    I found you a couple years ago when trying to find the perfect gray wall paint for my 1975 home full of metallic wallpaper and varied tiles, carpets and hard finishes.
    I love your site and taste and your thinking about subway white tiles makes me think we could be soul-sisters! 😉
    I purchased one of your e-books about undertones and the perfect whites (If memory serves). I have ALMOST bought (several times) the Exterior Door consultation.
    Why did I purchase one and not the other? The first was on sale and lower priced and could use for multi-uses/keep for reference later.
    Why not the second? the cost. Like others I’m just a homeowner on a budget….with a spouse that doesn’t quite get it. Funny, he also won’t be the one that paints the doors either… hmm.. And we haven’t yet because we don’t really HAVE to change that today anyway/yet.
    I will say I have really appreciated your more affordable options for us laymen and layladies and would be very sad if you only marketed to the professionals.
    Last, I have recommended your newsletter and facebook page to LOADs of friends, including one that just quit her corporate job to do home staging and color consulting so hopefully you’re making $ from my friends also! 🙂 Best!

  • MaggieS says:

    Maria, You were the very first blog I found…I don’t remember when but after I found you I went back and read ALL your old blog posts (maybe 1 1/2 – 2 years of old posts).

    I have read every post you have ever written (and loved them all)! I took your Exterior Webinar, bought both books, and did an Exterior Consultation. Also you are responsible for my new business as a Home Stager!! I found the Decorologist from your blog …and went and took her training. (Maybe some day I can add Color Consultant (wink).

    I think it is too soon to think your new packages aren’t working–I would give it at least 6-9 months. People need time to decide, or they aren’t doing their project until next year, etc.

    Maybe this service is a ‘loss leader”—are people that buy this service coming back and buying other services. How many people taking your class/or other e-design services started with buying a book or one of your other services. If that is the case then maybe it is OK if you just cover your costs for this service because they become repeat customers. I will bet that most of your clients are “repeaters”.

    I think it is good to have as many different packages as possible, to appeal to a broad an audience as possible.
    Do I need a new front door color or help picking out ALL the finishes for an exterior?

    The other thing that I think services providers should do is raise their prices (a small amount-10-15%) every year, instead of waiting 3-4 years and making a big jump. That way you keep up with your increased costs.

    Sorry for making this so long …but you have helped me SO MUCH and I want to share any ideas I have.

  • Maria, I’ve always loved your honesty about anything and everything. This is a big reason why I have been reading your blog since 2011 where I was introduced to you by my very first client!

    EDESGIN – I was on your site a while ago and looked at the online services you offered. I really did think to myself “Wow, these are pretty cheap, is this even worth Maria’s time?” I’m not sure if you’ve changed the pricing since then though.

    I currently do not offer edesign services and here is why:

    1) I would think (or did think) that in order to offer this service & have it be a big seller, you need to have a big following and a well built up email list as that is how you are going to reach your target audience. So my perception was that this was a big seller for you.

    2) People looking for edesign as oppose to hiring a local designer, are likely to be ‘DIY’ers’ looking for a quick fix and are not really wanting to invest a lot of money in our services. So basically, they are looking for the cheap option. Some of the comments already listed on this post validate my initial thoughts.

    3) Decorating is personal and I’m a people person. I love meeting people, seeing their space and working with them one on one to offer the best advice I can for their personal taste/lifestyle needs. Therefore, I have not really wanted to pursue the edesign route and I’m very busy in my biz so I never felt that it was something I was missing out on by not offering.

    By writing this post you have alerted your readers that you indeed do offer this service and I think asking for feedback is a brilliant move. I will be following to see what other comments and responses you get.

    • Lorri says:

      I think you’re right. People looking for e-design are looking for a solution with less investment.

  • Laura W says:

    Hello dear, precious Maria! I’m so thankful I found your site and still talk about our fun evening at my house! I know if I had a photo of how comfortable you were on my reclining sectional, it would create quite the design scandal, right? 😉

    To try and answer your pleas. I found you when I was building my custom home and completely torn about exterior choices. I had remodeled an existing home previously and was able to drastically improve it, but I had never made exterior decisions from a blank slate. I was thrilled to find your exterior consult and was willing to pay, but the turn around was longer than my deadline for decisions. So I desperately read your blog and tried to do it on my own. I’m still happy with my choices from a functionality and maintenance standpoint, but it still lacks the wow factor and breaks the “will never look right” rule for windows I found when i paid for your exterior webinar. If I had found your consult in time, I know you could have helped me so much as you are quick to hear any logical and practical concerns and are such a crestive problem solver!

    Your blog confirmed so many of my existing interior choices and for the same reasons… so many people tried to convince me to use accent tile, and stained cabinets, etc. I devoured the posts and tweaked where I could that late in the building game. The most frustrating part that took so long for me was the interior paint colors. Being a mathematician, I still keep looking for a formula! Your course intrigued me for that reason. I’m not a designer, so spending $2000 to attend just for my curiosity seemed ridiculous. The only reason I did it was that you emailed the same day I was sharing with a friend that you were coming to Houston! You accepted my location recommendation and it seemed like maybe things were lining up for some reason?.

    While I so enjoyed meeting you, I honestly floundered during the course and the design heavy hands-on exercises since I was paired with ladies that have been designing for years. I felt like I slowed them down and my suggestions were viewed as ridiculous. I was pretty discouraged at the end and don’t feel like I left with any more colour confidence than I came with. In fact, I’m stuck choosing paint color for my master right now?? I should have saved that $2000 and spent it on consultations with you and this room refresh option currently. Or the course should be offered for professionals and homeowners separately, as they have differing foundations and short term goals (the whole section and materials on building your business, while extremely valuable to those in the profession, was not applicable to me at all). Hindsight is 20/20. I think maybe your teaching service is most valuable to professionals and your problem solving service most valuable to homeowners and the course, as it is currently ,should not advertise it is great for non-professionals?

    The money I have to actually finish this room now with paint, headboard and bedding, and seating is less than the $750 refresh charge. My heart leapt when I saw it and I truly need it, I just can’t spend more to justify color happiness versus function right now 🙁

    Some final thoughts since you seem to be so torn. You appear to be at a fork in the road. You grew your blog with humble, cheap homeowners like me that enjoy figuring things out and doing it ourselves. You LOVE to help and are generous with advice, but that doesn’t pay the bills. In this online world, you have to either be the best price or the best product. Traditional business says you can’t be both.

    One option might be to focus full throttle on teaching these designers this missing link with your system and charge $2000 and even more, whatever your expertise demands. Then, give back to your humble homeowners whatever you can on your blog and Dear Maria advice column as a community service that you love. Consider it volunteer work that does your heart good, but has the constraints that any volunteer work has until it can be your full time passion when you have reached all your financial goals! You are a humanitarian artist at heart, but you’ve got to pay the bills. And you’re one smart cookie. There are people that can and will pay for that. But don’t be frustrated it’s not your loyal but underfunded, not high-end homeowners? You appeal to frugal people and to professionals that can charge high dollar to other people, and I think you have more fun teaching and solving problems than designing for high-end pretentious clients yourself that don’t appreciate your true value and think they know better! That is a recipe for frustration and demotivation for people like you. I hope all of that was somehow helpful or insightful, because I really do care for you and want you to succeed. Hugs!!

    • Lorri says:

      This is an interesting comment and it illustrates something I think is true.

      People who are designers, or people who are not designers but have the “design gene”, benefit from Maria’s courses and advice and can figure it out from there on their own.

      But a lot of people don’t have an eye for color and design and never will. Design ability is hardwired in the brain. You can teach non-design brains some good stuff, but they will still struggle more than people who have the natural ability.

      There probably needs to be a disclaimer that people should figure out which type they are and purchase accordingly. I know lots of people who would benefit from a designer making choices for them and calling it a day. Actually, I think this is the majority of people!

      These people are never going to be good at color or design and should be steered in some way to consultations.

  • Ashley says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and purchased one of your e-books when I was looking for the right white to paint my kitchen cabinets.

    I recently redecorated my living room and used the service Havenly. It only cost me $200, and I got 3 rounds of design consultation that included specific colors, furniture, hardware, accent pieces, etc. I was extremely happy with the service.

    As these kinds of web services become more popular, and have the flexibility to hire many designers, maybe the consultation part of your business just isn’t going to be cost effective for you. I’ve thought you’ve always excelled at teaching people to see things in a certain way and make their own decisions. Maybe focus on your core competency? Again, I’m a big fan of your work, but myself would simply not be able to afford the prices you are charging for these services.

  • TNic says:

    I see a lot of comments, so you may have enough suggestions and comments, but here goes (I am a blog fan, not a designer by the way):

    I agree with Claire above me in #2: typically people who can’t hire an interior decorator are looking for a quick fix, not necessarily a full room change. They are people reading this blog and others, and scanning pinterest daily, and they think they can solve the immediate problem themselves. It is totally a CASH issue. We are on Pinterest and blogs b/c we cannot afford e-design services, even, AND we likely have a spouse/partner behind us incredulous that we would even think of buying such a service when there are SO many things we need to spend this money on. Maybe you can solve the problem with my personal-ish story:

    My problem is that b/f I turned to your blog, I have gone through 20 grays/greiges and a few colors in paint samples in my bedroom and still unable to choose. I have been looking at Pinterest and other blogs, and there is ONE other blog I read that I feel is truly informative about color like you. I found her blog first. She gives really thorough color reviews of really of-the-moment colors (SW Repose Gray, Sea Salt, Collonade Gray, BM Gray Owl, Revere Pewter, Stonington Gray, Edgecomb Grayetc. etc.), and she offers fairly reasonable e-design services, as well. (She isn’t as talented a decorator as you though.) By the time I saw hers, I couldn’t even justify her cheaper price b/c I had bought so many samples. I thought: with all the info. surely I can figure this out myself. Should have gone ahead with the service b/c:

    By the time I got to YOUR blog, I had already (1) painted the room BM Wedgewood Grey which I think is a pretty color but hate in the room (2) bought Gray Owl (gallon!) but didn’t like it once I started painted, and (3) bought Repose Gray at a SW paint sale (gallon), but I keep holding my hubby off from painting it b/c I fell in love with 3 other paint combos on blogs (one being your pale blue and plumb I saw the other day). My big issue isn’t the specific colors–they are all nice!–it is the limitations imposed by any color in terms of accent. Every time I think I have chosen accent colors for the room, I remember others that work with the other paint colors, but not the chosen one. And I’m back at square one! Get the idea…these are a lot of the people you are dealing with! (TElling me to choose curtains or comforters, or even throws, first doesn’t work b?C there are endless options here too!! I am a certified full-blooded procrastinator and indecisive person!)

    If I had seen this first, and had the brains, I would have bought the cheapest paint service you offer and called it a day! (I am just not currently in a financial position to choose the room refresh which I would love!) I know I would feel more confident even in the colors I have chosen thus far with a consultation with a designer/color consultant.

    So…taking from my story…you somehow have to convince readers who COULD spend the money for your services, but who feel that they probably SHOULD use that same money for something else, that they can stop the endless Pinterest/blog scroll and vicious circle of reading rather than choosing and save money. I am probably now where I was with the other blog — should choose you rather than continue going it alone–but I can’t convince myself that I can’t, or that I just AM NOT, going to get the confidence on my own!

    • For everyone trying to figure out color: please stop looking at Pinterest. Especially if you are just blindly seizing color names off of photos and trying them one after the other. Color does not always photograph accurately in a magazine. Individual lighting conditions will affect it, too.

      Inspiration room photos are helpful to get a feel for the “look” that appeals to you. But don’t expect to pick the literal color used in the photo.

      If you are serious about few limitations on accent colors, then you might consider white or off-white as your wall color. Maria has tons of good info on this trend. But a color consultant can only tell you what colors will or won’t look good together – they can’t tell you what YOU will like. That is an individual decision you must make, based on what speaks to you emotionally.

    • Pick your bedding fabrics first – then pick your wall color from that. It’s hard to pick a paint color without any reference. When I am working with clients, we pick the finishes that don’t have as many choices first (stone, tile, etc.) – paint is last because there are so many options!

  • Laurel says:

    Maria, I discovered you in 2013, when searching online for advice. I was struggling to choose new flooring. There were time limitations and I was desperate – I didn’t want to make a mistake. I read all your posts on the subject and ended up choosing a classic medium brown, which I am still very happy with! I have read all your posts since then.

  • Whitney says:

    Honestly I haven’t and probably wouldn’t be able to purchase any packages because I wouldn’t be able to convince my husband the price is worth it. I agree with a lot of the comments that were just regular people trying to make our homes look nice and love them. I’m very lucky to be getting ready to build our first,and hopefully forever home, and would have a clean slate, but I couldn’t afford to buy every package to hit every little detail and decision that building requires. I kinda wish there was one package to help with it all, mainly just the permanent things that you want to look good forever.
    I don’t remember how I found your website because when I did I read and looked up so many I couldn’t stop reading! The ones that have stuck out to me are your white kitchens and the wood flooring.
    I wish I knew what colors would be me and that I would love, without falling for the trends, and to have that timeless look. I need so much help that I couldn’t pick one package, is there a package that could include everything at once?!

    • Lorri says:

      What a great idea to offer a service to coordinate all the hard finishes in a new house!

      Some builders have design centers and people who do that, but I’m skeptical that all of them know what they’re doing. Those employees need Maria’s course for sure.

  • KAJ says:

    I am stuck down in the south where the majority of all homes are brick veneer (unless they are new and are a hideous combo of brick and mismatched stone, tee hee). The only color I can change is the gutters, fascia, soffit and bargeboard (usuaaly these are all painted the same color). We need to paint, but I don’t understand which option I would need to buy to select a color.

  • Lorri says:

    So, you were charging per color and had clients, but not enough.

    What if you kept charging per color and kept the new packages for the sake of variety, and started advertising in home decor magazines and/or home decor web sites?

    Maybe you just need advertising because many people will never make it to a blog. Can you advertise on Houzz?

  • Amy Holmes says:

    I started following your blog in 2012 when I was googling “best white paint colors” for our new home build. You may be the only blog I look forward to and consistently read. I used your Front Door color consult last year and felt it was reasonable and was satisfied. I plan to use the one-off option to choose a backsplash tile, but we have several projects going on and that one is not quite on deck yet.

    One suggestion is to promote these options more. I think this would go a looong way. Your courses are promoted in possibly every single eblast/blog post, but that is only speaking to the designer part of your customer base. I skimm right over it at this point. I did not know about the new interior refresh package until your email/blog post a few days ago. I do like the option though and think it could be successful.
    Ideas: Share some examples with before pics, boards, and after pics (I realize this is challenging since most people’s pics are probably not great, but ask and see what you get, give them $X back if it makes the blog). Talk about a challenge and how your plan addressed it in a blog post. What tip can the readers take away? Any time you can come up with a blog post out of one of these projects, highlight the package used. Have a great source you used? Maybe include an affiliate link – perhaps you can partner with suppliers for a kick-back. Share a testimonial from the client. Sell it like you do your courses!!! And give the refresh package more time. It is not an impulse purchase for most people and the timing has to be right.

    I’m sure you promote your courses bc they are your best revenue source, but trust me, any real follower knows you offer these by now. I don’t think it would hurt to use the opportunity to promote the consult services more often.

    I do like the “save me from myself” concept. I recently reached out to Ballard’s How To Decorate blog and sent them pics of my undecorated living area (bc I cannot commit) with a list of all the items I was thinking of purchasing for the room. I had a couple items I wanted their input on regarding color options, but basically I was looking confirmation on my plan. I developed a design board and everything. I would love to have this option from you as you would be less biased. I assume you have many other readers like me, who is not a designer but like to pretends I am :), who wants the satisfaction of putting a plan together myself, but needs a little reassurance and probably some guidance.

    Lastly, I do think the 2 audiences (homeowners with a passion for design and designers/aspiring designers trying to get started) may be something to address somehow. Do you know the breakdown of your readers? Do you ask them which they are when they subscribe (I don’t remember)?

    P.S. You can charge more for your ebooks, like $50.

  • maglah says:

    Hi Maria, here’s a business owner thought: you can’t really pull out one piece of your offering separately and ask it to be profitable. Breaking even is important. ..but maybe you’re asking the wrong question? ….. the real question might be: how does this (single color consult blog) service function in my overall business plan? Is it a client-feeder-stream? I.e., how many people have come through into (or stay connected with) your extended business family through that gateway? Sometimes “value” is not only monetary…hard to quantify. “What is the value of this service to my business, and how can we build on *that*? ” Good biz book: AMore Beautiful Question

  • Gail M says:

    I know Maria’s not asking, but I have a suggestion for everyone making a comment, everyone who has lurked her blog for years, anyone who has purchased a package or thought about purchasing a packaging–share at least one of her blog posts with your friends and family on Facebook. Do this monthly at the very least. It’s a great way to show our thanks for her generous free blog advice.

  • Julie Hanes says:

    I’m taking an online Interior Design course from New York Institute of Art and Design and the instructors recommended your site in an audio recording. I’m signed up for your upcoming Charlotte workshop.

    • Lorri says:

      Wow! Maria, your influence grows!

    • Susan Ansley says:

      Julie, what did you think about the NY Art & Design class? I’ve looked at that before and don’t know about the time commitment. Would love to know more. I loved Maria’s class! I took it in Dallas and she is energetic and very knowledgeable about color. Her expertise on undertones is better than any other “color pros” out there (and I’ve taken several other classes)
      Can’t wait to pick your brain about the art institute 🙂

    • Susan Ansley says:

      PS Julie, find me on FB (message me) or Twitter (@AnsleySusan)

  • Susan Nirschel says:

    I inquired about design services, and Tricia suggested the Inspired Room Refresh. My issue is I can’t change furniture, 70% of it is less than five years old and in good condition. So.. I did not purchase as the Inspired Room seemed more than I needed. I have been a fan for about 2 years, and found you on line. I have read and reread most of your blog postings, it is always great advice. I agree with giving your new options a little more time. Best of luck.

  • Barbara Fisher says:

    I have been meaning to follow up with my kitchen color consultation that I did a few months ago and now I am not sure that I will be able to do that unless I spend a great amount of money on a package that contains too many things now. I repainted my cabinets and walls (it looks great), but was going to buy a new a la carte package for window blind color and living room pillow color. I am not sure that is available anymore. Since I only have small things left to do and rely more on your services for color, I would be less apt to use the total room design services. I understand though that so many questions go back and forth just to do the small jobs that it takes up a lot of Tricia’s and your time. I found you online because my interior designer costs a fortune (like you say), I think that she now charges $200+ per hour and the hours fly by just discussing design plans before the purchasing even begins. I decided after $20K just to design and purchase furniture for my living room (and it still needed some finishing touches after that), that it was ridiculous for me personally since I don’t have a lot of disposable income. You are MUCH better with colors than any of the designers that I have previously used!

  • ruo says:

    Hi Maria,

    I found your website through Penelope Trunk’s links.

    I bought your 2 ebooks for white and colour undertones and found it to have the right kind of information to us to ‘act’ on. So far we are happy with the decorating results.

    As for the room refresh option, while I was interested, I didn’t buy anything in the end because i felt the money going towards design could be spent on more quality furnitures that fits our space better. I follow a few other designers in Toronto on their Instagram and found their style products from Home Sense/Winners/ Bouclairs are items that I can pick up myself (poorly made and cheap) and with the help of your books (frequently referred to). I don’t see paying for the refresh option as adding any new value to our decorating process. I don’t need new ideas, I just need to know where to buy them so im not on a wild goose hunt for “that” purple pillow. Some of the stores I like shopping at is crate and barrel which is ridiculous in pricing compared to US retailing. Paying for the colour/decoraing solution is the easy part… finding the time to shop for every item that we like is the hard part. as a newlywed who both work 40/50 hour weeks, we don’t have any ‘heritage item’ to feature in a room, or a painting that we ‘love’ to decorate around… most furnitures in stores are too big for our modest home. a lot of new homes in toronto don’t even have fireplaces anymore.

    As you probably know in a big metro city like TOronto, there are abundant choice options for buying furnitures. What would really be helpful to me (a 20sth newlywed with my first home that is fairly empty) is if you recommended more affiliated links for products that you like (with canadian shipping from US) or Canadian retailer stores. Your assistant can help you set up affiliate programs which can generate the passive income stream that you want. Those links would be sth i want to click to buy if they reduce my time driving around to look for items.

    the other thought I have is a lot of your featured design-make overs are for cottages/farms/large houses… we live in toronto, with the crazy real estate market, a lot of our friends and us can only afford very small homes with 15 to 20 feet wide homes, and 8/9 inch ceilings. possibly very poor lighting at the staircase/living room and definitely cookie cutter homes.

    maybe 20sths are just not your target market? Who are you targeting in the room refresh packages?

    still love reading your websites!

  • Amy says:

    I live in a more rural area in Indiana and while there are some designers around, they are hard to find, and frankly I wouldn’t trust them to provide the results I wanted. I had a friend who used a designer for a $1M+ home and it was terrible. The “designed” builder showcase homes are bland, generic, and not at all ‘classic’. Some commenters state they are better off spending money with local designers vs online, but that isn’t an option for everyone. I appreciate online consulting services for this reason. It is kind of like Stitch Fix… one of their biggest base is women in rural areas who do not have as much access to boutique clothing.

  • K Fischer says:

    Hi Maria,
    I think design is a “connection” service. Clients NEED to meet the Designer, so there is communication between each other. Each people can “read” the facial expressions, etc.
    This concept may work for a younger person, who’s communication style is thru texts, etc. instead of face to face.
    I think you may think of another path to take. If this business path is not profitable, then the people that really spend money on money are NOT spending it on e-design.
    Maria, you are so talented – pick another path to grow your business when it is clear what path you should take.
    Do not employ anyone when it is clear that you do not have the business that supports it. I have been reading your blogs for a long time and go to your page often. Sincere Best Wishes!

  • Debbie says:

    When I saw the new Package offerings, my heart sank. None of them fit with what I was looking for (updating my kitchen and attached eating area and reading nook). I’ve been in limbo for at least 2 years and was just about to contact Maria for help. Then the Packages came out and what I needed was a combination of several. And it sounded like there was no interaction, that I received an email solution and if it didn’t fit or I had questions, too bad. That seems like paying a lot and getting a little. It didn’t sound like there would be any phone collaboration or talking through questions. Or am I misunderstanding the process of the new Room Refresh? All day yesterday I was depressed, thinking I’d “missed my chance” to work with Maria because now she had other employees who would be making the décor decisions. If I sign up, I want to work with Maria. I want her talent, training and blunt style. It takes years of work and natural talent to get that experience and I am willing to pay for that. I’m just not as willing to pay for someone who’s training or talent I’m unfamiliar with.
    HOWEVER: in reading through the comments, it sounds like the a la cart options are still available, working with Maria! Hurray!! I’m not going to miss my chance again – I’ve GOT to get this kitchen/eating area/reading nook done!!

  • Elaine says:

    Hi Maria,
    I found your website when I was looking for designers in the Vancouver Island area. We had just bought a house on the island and were about to move 3,000 miles to our new home. The house needed a major remodel, including moving walls, replacing flooring, new siding… The list goes on. Also, as someone new to the area, I needed local knowledge on builders, tradespeople, and suppliers. E-consults would not cover those questions. I ended up going with a local designer who could provide those services. Her online portfolio was a good match for my taste and her initial consult was positive. I am very happy with the results.

    This job was just too big for online design.

  • Mairi says:

    I have been following Colour Me Happy since 2008. The title and original logo hooked me, as well that Maria’s esthetic is similar to my own. I purchased the first e-book-excellent for reference, but mostly I enjoy Maria’s refreshing approach to writing- both personal sharing and design knowledge. And who doesn’t love her Mom posts! As a person who enjoys design but not as a career, I have always felt welcome to post comments and have learned much from other people’s postings.
    Other blogs have come and gone but this one remains for me; I’ll always have time for it. Thanks Maria for all that you do. I’m sure with all the feedback/ insights that you will have much to work with to help clarify goals. Would love to see you on TV some day!

  • Stephanie says:

    As someone who just three days ago reviewed your e-services, I can share my thoughts as I reviewed them. I found it difficult to match my needs with your offerings primarily because details of what you need from me isn’t provided in the description. I am looking at refreshing the colors of my first floor and the bundled service seems like the best option. I realize you will need photos but what else? Do you ask me about my style and color preferences? My specific finishes? My floor plan? This information may be requested once I purchase the bundle but I don’t know that from your description. I sent an email for more clarification about this service and Tricia promptly got back to me (thanks Tricia!).

    Consultation services are ideal for people like my husband and me. We are reasonably successful DIYers so armed with sound advice on changes which will make our space more cohesive, we can execute the plan. Should we run into problems, we can always purchase additional services. Unfortunately finding good consultation services isn’t easy. I’ve worked with designers in the past and frankly their advice wasn’t worth their fees, making it difficult to convince my husband to purchase more design services. I want to be sure any advice I purchase from a designer works with my style and vision. (A blog post on how to evaluate designers from their website before engaging them would be very helpful!)

    I found your blog from another blogger and have been a faithful reader for at least 6 or 7 years. I have both of your ebooks and have learned so much from you, including when to ask for help! I truly appreciate how you share specific paint colors with your readers. When I can pull out my paint deck and see the actual color/s (not just what it looks like on my monitor) I can better understand why you make the selections you do. It’s disappointing when other design bloggers, including one that is a graduate of your course, won’t share that information. (Isn’t sharing knowledge partly why one has a blog versus solely a business website?) Thank you for generously sharing your knowledge!

  • Kari says:

    Maria, I’ve hired you a few times over the past 5 or 6 years (as well as purchased all your e-books and webinars). I paid hourly for your interior consults and purchased a package most recently for an exterior consult. I prefer simplicity and found the package options confusing. I’d rather just pay for your time and pay for that rather than whatever we end up discussing.

  • Elizabeth says:

    Hi Maria,
    I was interested in a consult with you toward the end of last year, but couldn’t do it when I found paying you would cost over half of my entire budget. I am one of those DIY modest home owners trying to do my best and get the most out of a very limited budget. I certainly don’t do all the research and work on my house that I do because I don’t think I “need” a decorator or decorators “aren’t worth the money”. I appreciate all the advice and experience you have made available through your blogs and ebooks.

    It’s really nice that you want to offer help to the average reader on your blog. But of course I understand you need to make money.
    My suggestion is to see if the process could be streamlined for your cheaper options. Is there anything that would be cost effective for you to offer to someone who could only pay, say, $250 or $500? Maybe not.

    I also would love a service just to give me confidence to go ahead with my plan or to warn me against elements in my plan. I purchased both of your ebooks and have spent way too many hours researching and coming up with a plan but am really nervous to do anything because I have no experience! A simple “yes this looks good” or “what are you thinking” would be a help. But that might not be a service you can or want to offer!
    I hope you are able to figure out what, if any, value your readers who can’t spend a lot of money provide your business. And I hope you are able to make the decision that brings you the most success! You are very talented and your blog is fun to follow!

  • Kathleen says:

    Dear Maria- Here’s an idea I haven’t seen posted. Why not take the designers that have attended your workshops (perhaps create another workshop for more intense training for the cream of the crop that you see would be terrific representing your aesthetics), give them a qualifying test (so you know they would represent you properly to your high standards), create a special diploma for these outstanding individuals, publish who’s available in each state, and take a percentage for your profit of each consultation/job they do. This way clients get the satisfaction of having a highly qualified, Maria Killam approved designer experience that’s in their local. I believe most of us would rather have somebody come to our home to see it in its environment, how one room relates to another, the overall “feel” of the place, etc.. A designer walking into someone’s home can get a sense of this immediately. A huge time saver. It would take many many pictures to achieve this and too much time to go through it all. And, time is money. Plus, the online consultations are so dependent on the pictures that are taken for you to evaluate ( the lighting, the angle the picture was taken, etc.). Having a network of highly trained designers that meet your standards would not only grow these individuals businesses, but grow your seminars (because everyone will want to be certified to be one of your exclusive specialists within your design network). And, as mentioned before, you’d get a percentage of each consultation. You’d be freeing up your time and making money. The one thing that you’d have to do to make this work is- if one of these designers got stuck with a problem, they’d have to have access to you to resolve whatever the issue was. (Now, if a designer is over-contacting you, and is constantly unsure of themselves and making bad choices, then you’d have to remove them from the list of Maria Killam approved consultants. Having a nationwide network would truly bring your name to the forefront. Your brand would expand and who knows, you’d have your own show on HGTV. Imagine being the next Martha Stewart of color and design! I see all this as the next logical step. You basically have most of the pieces in place to accomplish this!

  • Molly says:

    Maria,
    I follow you closely and have purchased your Renovate With Confidence course and found it helpful. As much as I love you I would probably not buy online consulting or a package room deal. I’m in the middle of a major remodel and the main thing I’ve learned is that there are too many variables. I have 5000 pictures and no way to translate them into reality. Things aren’t available, they are cost prohibitive, they don’t work with my situation, they don’t actually look like the picture, they don’t flow with the other rooms or the few pieces of furniture I’m keeping etc. etc. etc. I followed your advice and hired a qualified designer for a few consultations. This has been helpful but unless you can afford to hire someone to plan and source every item from the start you are still dealing with the domino effect of small necessary changes. Unfortunately this doesn’t work with a one room package deal. You asked ; )

  • Anne says:

    I had a consultation which was invaluable perhaps three years ago. The consultation was for an hour. It really was much longer than I needed to get a color for inside the house. I had many other questions answered. My suggestion would be to charge by the time spent using 10 to 15 minutes as the base something like lawyers do!

    • Danielle says:

      I like this idea too because it provides an economical way to ease into more pricey decorating consults. I am sure that more people would start buying the packages if they had been able to purchase small chunks of time with positive results first.

  • Anne says:

    Maria-first off let me say I love you! you saved me from another designer when i was in the middle of a kitchen reno last year(2015)literally we were going round and round about excitement for a pencil tile backsplash that was cream black and chrome-and i felt was too masculine for my taste-but the designer loved it for my space. enter the fantastic Maria-with her well-thought-out design vision and her explaination of “why” we pick these finishes”they relate to one another”
    Please give the packages and online consulation business more time-we average homeowners are not cheap-skates –just people with no design talent;It will work to consult from pictures and let the clients find their own similar products per your advice. Also i found you thru Houzz..

  • Hi Maria, interesting post!
    I feel your a la cart options are waaaayyy too low priced. Only $100 for a paint consult?
    To me this brings your value down, too much work and not enough compensation.
    I’d go back to your old ways, you were doing wonderfully then.
    I don’t think you need to be known as a budget decorator. You are worth so much more than that!
    xoxo

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Jil,
      My old ways are still here, haha. This area needs tweaking but I have no problem charging $100 for a paint colour, given this is my area of expertise, it’s a fair price in my opinion.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

  • Anne says:

    Hi Maria,
    Since I’ve saved all your posts, I first ‘discovered’ you in Feb. 2011. Must have been searching ‘room’ or ‘happy’ colors’ since I was forever getting bitty paper swatches from the local paint store and subsequently driving myself crazy (you can guess why!) When I found your blog it was a ‘eureka’ moment!
    Had not looked at your e-design offerings until today. When I started to read about the packages I couldn’t finish…the service descriptions and comments seemed like TMI and in a lecture format. (I say that because I believe most people looking into your services know what you are about). The page was not directly asking me/the client to convey what I need/want (or think I need/want). Perhaps it could be made more interactive – start off by asking the reader questions and maybe provide check boxes or multiple choice answers, for example.
    The name of the kitchen service is “create a classic kitchen”. What if someone doesn’t want a classic kitchen, but still believes you could help them. Have you lost them with that label? I’d be more interested if it said “Creating a kitchen you love” …
    As for your prices, they seem reasonable. I don’t know enough about online vs. onsite visits to comment to know what is common and acceptable.
    Hope this helps. Good luck and thanks again for sharing your expertise and personal stories.

  • Mary says:

    Is an appealing idea, but I can’t imagine getting the colors right digitally!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Works like charm but you have to know the 9 undertones. If you don’t know them, getting colours right digitally would be impossible.
      Maria

  • Leigh says:

    Maria, I found your website back in 2012 right before we moved into a complete reno house. I’ve purchased all of your ebooks and find them invaluable. My kids actually know your name and are fond of saying, “Let me guess. Maria Killam said it should be this color?”

    Almost two years ago you offered some kind of online class that I casually mentioned to my husband that I wanted as a Christmas present. He didn’t want to purchase it until last minute because he knew I’d see the email and the credit charge (I keep track around Christmas). The email said one more day, and he waited one more day. I’m guessing because of the time difference he missed it, so he emailed asking if he could still get in on the deal. No response. I think he sent a second one, and no response. I then emailed because I really wanted to take the class, and no response. My husband and I would have both been ok with a response of no, but I was really disappointed with no response at all. Honestly, that turned me away from your site for many months.

    I started visiting again within the last six months or so and still find your teaching invaluable. I’m an average homeowner with an above average love of decorating, and I love visiting a blog where I constantly feel like I’m learning something new. Your blog does that. I’m fairly frugal by nature and think I don’t need to hire someone (yes, I’ve read your articles to the contrary 🙂 but as frugal as I am, I would be willing to invest in your online classes for the average homeowner.

    I think you have a wealth of knowledge, and you are a fantastic teacher! Maybe more online classes would generate more revenue?

  • Martha says:

    Hi Maria,
    I found you online when I was searching to learn about underlying colors. I can’t afford any of your programs, but I was able to buy pillows that were able to coordinate with my existing colors (based on one of your articles about combining dirty/clean colors) and a plain sisal rug I had and it made me feel so much better about my room, because the rug does not look like a sore thumb anymore!

  • Danielle says:

    I would love it if you offered an economical way to just answer specific questions from a picture of a room. I really like the “Save me from myself” concept. Another alternative could be “I just need a little direction”. For example, I’ve been looking for a mirror to go over an antique sideboard I have modified and painted to look more “current”. I’m not sure what size and shape is the best to finish out the look. Very specific recommendations can sometimes help launch a person to complete a room when they are just stuck on one element. This happens to me all the time.

  • Vikki says:

    Hi Maria
    I found you after hiring a local design consultant that I had started following on Instagram in early 2015. I checked out some of the designers she was following and kept clicking around until I landed on your page because one of them mentioned not to paint anything until reading your blog. I immediately downloaded your ebook, subscribed to your blog & started diving into your many blog posts. I learned a lot! I decided that I liked her aesthetic but didn’t like what she suggested for my kitchen. As I got closer to my remodel date I was more than sure that she had chosen the wrong colors and countertops for me so I hired you for a single room consultation for my kitchen in Sept 2015 and you confirmed what I suspected. It was the best money I spent in the whole process! While, it was hard to hear some of the suggestions you made for me, they turned out to be the best choices for us. Our kitchen truly does make us happy when we are in it. I hired you for one more paint consultation in March this year and again was very happy with the 3 choices you and Tricia came back with and the suggestions for bringing the room out of the doldrums and refreshing the look. I personally plan on using your services again for paint consultations no matter the cost. I do have to say the bundle doesn’t seem to be for me, but I also trust that you and Tricia would point me in the right direction if it made more sense than the a’ la carte service. I also like the suggestion that Kathleen had about using some of your prior students as consultants around the country and taking a cut of their fee.

  • Katie K. says:

    Maria, I love you and your blog so much! Thanks for all you do for us “average” homeowners looking to bring more beauty into our homes!

    I found your blog 3-4 years ago when I was trying to learn more about design since I knew we would be buying our first house within the next year. We bought a project house a year ago, so I bought both your ebooks and your webinar course (the one you discontinued offering at the end of last year). I loved your ebooks, but didn’t get as much value from the webinar as I had expected (granted I had read through all your archives by then). I was kind of bummed about spending the money then, but reading through these comments made me realize that you can’t teach a newbie everything about design in a few ebooks and webinars, so I shouldn’t have expected to make decisions “like Maria” after such (relatively) little training and zero experience. So, as someone else said, I’m really the kind of person that just needs answers because I will forever second-guess myself and be paralyzed.

    To that end, my husband finally agreed that we needed to hire an interior designer/decorator to help us make some decisions. He was VERY skeptical of doing online consulting, but was agreeable to hiring someone locally to help us out. And upon reflection, what we needed (starting from a blank slate to decorate/furnish the den, living room, dining room plus master bath gut job plus miscellaneous advice for other rooms) probably exceeded what was feasible with online consulting. (I will tell you I am a little nervous though because she can’t be as good with colors as you are!) But when we get around to re-doing the exterior of our home – new siding, windows, shutters, trim & front door color – I will likely be beating down your door for a consult because I KNOW that you will make my house look fabulous!

  • Carol says:

    I stumbled on your blog several years ago while surfing the net for color advice. You give the most comprehensive advice in a fun upbeat way and seriously know what your talking about so I continue reading.
    My finances are limited so thats one reason I don’t buy more but if I bought your kitchen package and it didnt give me the exact brand, pattern and color for some of the selections like the countertop
    flooring or hardware etc that was available in the USA it would be a waste of money for me, as thats
    the kind of basic guidance I need.
    Im a little offended by the comment above that
    someone made that you charged too little and shouldnt be a “budget” decorator. I think a lot of
    your readers are on a budget and personally I find
    that money doesn’t buy good taste.
    Also there are a lot of the furniture stores like
    pottery barn that provide free decorator services so I think your room refresh package is up against that.
    Thats my opinion for what its worth. I love your blog and it has at the very least made me aware of why I have problems with color and combining them.
    I would like to see you do a color class for homeowners that aren’t professionals and I hope you remember that there are a lot of us that would like to colour my home happy that dont have loads of money!!!

  • Maria Killam says:

    Thanks so much for all this awesome feedback! Just to be clear, I really want this service to be useful and valuable to you all! Exchanging time for money does not scale anyway so there’s only so much one person could do and then we’d need a second person. I don’t need this portion of my business model to be a major profit center but I do want it to work and be useful for you! This is just one revenue stream but I want it to work well which is why I asked for feedback! Thanks so much and keep the feedback coming! Maria

  • Stephanie says:

    I have been following you for a few years and find your blog very helpful.
    I was thinking about purchasing one of your design packages to help with a color choice in a new house I purchased. One bit of information I would like to see added is a time frame. Once you get my payment and photos how long before I can expect to hear back from your team? (Once I have access to the house, I need to have a color picked within a week. It’s such a tight time line I thought a local person might be better.) Other than that I think your prices are good.

  • Stacy says:

    I started following you about 5 years ago when we were remodeling our upstairs and I was stuck trying to find the right white, so I stumbled on your blog on white kitchens and have since read every single post.

    I have paid for an online consult and an a la carte for my kitchen counters, during our recent kitchen remodel. I have also hired a designer for an hourly rate and for room layouts, as well as hired a landscape designer. I have learned that I have save time, money and energy by investing in this after reading your blog. I have been very happy with all.
    I’m a stay-at-home mom who loves decorating but it has taken us forever to do our home piece meal. I have also been crippled by decisions along the way because of the costs. My husband gets paid very well and we live very comfortably in a nice home in OC (worth about $850k). That being said, we still paint and try to cut costs whenever possible. We’ve never had a full-service designer for that reason. I was able to convince hubby to hire a designer.

    We are still remodeling but most decisions have been made and I know my style so I don’t need furniture/decor selection. A la carte options work best for me as we tackle one area at a time. Also, since I’m going for a classic look and people agree that’s the direction we’re headed, I’m hoping not to have to redecorate again! Maybe a paint color down the road?

    I like the idea of specializing in paint selection and kitchens/baths as they are the most costly to redo and many people choose hideous fixed finishes. I still read your blog and love your posts. Maybe post less and market your services in posts more? It seems you do that already….I also agree you have enough training, so save your money! You definitely cater to two different groups so I won’t take your course unless I go into design. But I would hire a local color specialist in a NY minute 🙂 you need advertisers! What about highlighting/marketing a designer who takes your class for a fee?

  • Maureen says:

    I think I found your blog through Houzz, in 2012 as I was looking for inspiration while building our first house. Needless to say, it was a lifesaver! I absolutely love my house including the perfect white kitchen. We have just started building our second house which I know will be even better than the first.
    As far as the online consultation goes I would like to see prices in CDN$.
    Thanks again for all the advice, i think my house may have been a disaster without it. Your blog and advice gives me the confidence to assert myself when it comes to choosing finishes. Thanks again

  • Barbara Bove says:

    I agree with Jane.
    I have used your al carte option and was very pleased with your advice and suggestions. I was disappointed to see a la carte service’s replaced. I recently want to book service’s for help with some exterior color choices and just found the package’s did not forfill my needs and was over my budget.
    Please being pack your Al LA cart options. You can count on my need for this service AL LA carte in early September.

  • Rochelle says:

    I was referred to you by a reader on Houzz probably 4-5 years ago, when I commented on an article about how hard it is to choose color, and I said that my husband had fully painted our living room 3 times and I still could not get the color right (I have been told that I hold the Benjamin Moore record of 72 color samples) — ridiculous!

    I downloaded your e-book and immediately was helped in understanding where I had gone wrong.

    And then I used your hourly consulting service to pick color for my living room and my bathroom.
    I don’t know how you did it, because you were looking at photos, but for both rooms you picked colors that were spot-on!

    I used your service again in my new home to pick color on the front door of my new home and to assist with advising on color for a bathroom. You’ve been fantastically helpful on all occasions.

    I think people like the a la carte options, including me, because they feel like they had more control over what they purchase, but perhaps each a la carte session was too low-priced? Certainly I received a LOT of value from what likely turned out to be at least 90 minutes of your time (between emails and looking at photos and talking), for $350. Perhaps it’s simply a reset of the a la carte prices?

    Based on your blog, I’m assuming that there was a good amount of business for the a la carte service. Perhaps the level of business (and willingness to pay a higher rate) also requires people to better understand that color really can be chosen by an e-consultation. Would it help to have more posts/marketing about success stories of choosing color remotely? Would it help for your fans to comment more on Houzz about how terrific your services are? I’m sure all of the fans of your site (including me) would be willing to spend a few minutes writing on Houzz to get more uptick for this e-consult offering.

    In any event, I’m thankful that your work has been available — it really helped me (and my marriage….).

    • Stacy says:

      Ditto on saving a marriage and ending endless sample purchases! I agree that you should encourage all clients to write a review on Houzz. I used to use Angie’s List but now Houzz is my primary source for finding contractors/professionals for our house. I found our cabinet maker on there too. I also think that more stories on success of an online consult could help, as is my case!

  • Check out what Carol Tuttle has done with her online service called Dressing Your Truth and her specialized website offerings. She used to do one on one classes in person (like you do with your training in color) and now she does her training online, with monthly short videos, especially on Facebook Live. Her initial Energy Profiling course is free (just enter an email address). It is so profound that people are more than willing to pay for the Dressing Your Truth Course to learn the correct colors, textures, jewelry, hair perfect for their “Type.” She has a monthly subscription service so people still get access to content but she isn’t giving it away free. http://www.CarolTuttle.com She also has referral tracking so that people who buy her program get $10 credit towards products in her store. Her program is life-changing and growing by leaps and bounds online. https://my.liveyourtruth.com/freecourse/?aff=audreycrozier

  • Ann says:

    Maria, your website is the only one I read faithfully. I don’t think I would buy a room refresh because I know what I like and my style and taste but I could use some help with small tweaks. I usually have to work with some type of limiting factor such as existing furniture, carpet, and budget. While I understand that another choice may be better sometimes, I want the room to feel personal to me. Maybe in my ignorance I am worried that hiring a designer to come up with a room plan will take away my personal taste? I like someone to bounce ideas off of. I have to admit that I moved into my “new” home three weeks ago and I’m not sure what color to paint the white kitchen with white countertops. I want a color! I don’t want any neutrals! I’m not overly fond of all the pastel coastal colors that are the rage right now. ( I love them in other people’s houses, but they don’t feel right to my home). I may need to pay for some help but I worry that the right choice wouldn’t feel “right” to me.

  • Chris says:

    Firstly, it is the end of summer and back to school preparation time. As an online store owner for the past 8 years, the end of July and the first half of August is the slowest business month of the year. This is normal and it will pick up again. Promise.
    But I also do see the wording of the packages as self-limiting. I am sure the wording is trying to keep it organized so that the home owner knows there are limits to this price and so that the design helper will not get bogged down in a million details, which take time/money to comunicate. But it may keep folks away as they can not even imagine if their problem fits any of the categories. Single questions are easier for the lay person.
    On the other hand $750 is not a lot of money today. Go to overstock or wayfair, and you will see a simple console or overstuffed chair costing as much. Surely the price for design elements of a room, or your exterior paint color, are more bang for your buck than a console or a chair. Also the infrastructure of your house, is more important than any piece of furniture for resale value.
    On another note, but that may have some influence on what is going on, is that since blogging, pintrest, instagram has hit, we are all unhappy. Seeing what is possible when you have a limited budget or no design talent can be depressing. And, seeing so many gorgous spaces, cause paralysis by analysis…it hard to more forward when afraid to make a mistake. We all doing so so much research, that many of us may just be overwhelmed. I also see people getting tired of things much quicker…the normal 10 year cycle of house fashion has dwindled to 3 or less. Take shiplap for example. It looks great, but already everyone seems to be tired of it as it is in so so many places lately. Just plain overkill of images. I just stepped back from the whole thing and went the easy route and painted by whole house white, 4000sf. and have never been happier. All my furniture fits, all my carpets fit, it looks bright and fresh. Each room still looks like it is a different color, because white will reflect the surrounding colors and light.
    Bottom line, be patient, even online things have a cycle and take time. And, keep both options open for now…single questions, and the packages.

  • Donna Pleis says:

    Hi Maria,
    I love reading your blogs and hope someday to use your services. In regards to your pricing dilemma, have you ever thought of billing an hourly rate? If you are priced right, you can’t lose whether the consultation is small or extensive.

    • Maria Killam says:

      I do have an hourly rate to consult with me but I am less and less available for that which is why I’ve added this e-design service which is done with my team.
      Thanks for your comment!
      Maria

  • Barb says:

    A very timely topic as I have recently hired a local interior decorator to help me with my design paralysis. I would hire you in a heartbeat Maria if you lived closer, (GTA of Toronto) I think most of your readers are average homeowners who want a beautiful home that reflects their taste & are working within a limited budget. I considered your refresh room package & while I am o.k. with the price I really felt I needed someone to walk through the room & help me to decide what furniture should go & what can stay. After personally travelling from store to store & endless hours on Houzz & Pinterest it occurs to me that most homeowners would appreciate the help of someone who can help them narrow down a colour choice or to trust their instincts. I would gladly pay for this service because it seems as homeowners we are always decorating one room or another.

  • Hi Maria–( it must take forever to read thru all these!) I found you I think 5 years ago while doing a search for exterior paint color schemes for my daughter’s Florida house. Yours was the 1st blog I’d ever subscribed to. From the first, I felt like I’d known you all my life! I know that so many others here will give you good business advice….as for me I just consider myself super blessed to have taken your courses in person and online, but most of all to have met YOU, Little Sparkle!
    xo, Paula

  • Michelle says:

    Hi Maria! First, let me say I love your blog. I found it about two years ago reading through a Houzz dilemma that referenced your color expertise. I’ve bought both your ebooks and they’ve helped me select paint colors for several rooms. You always offer such helpful advice and your style seems so relatable and achievabled. I’d like to see you offer a room refresh where the client sends you pictures and you critique and make suggestions regarding what would enhance the space. For example, I want to refresh my family room but really don’t know where to begin, what questions to ask, or what can stay or go. Id love to pay you to look at it and tell me what’s working, what’s not working, and what I could do to create a room I’ll love. Thank you!

  • Jennifer says:

    I have not yet purchased your services but have it as a wish list item in my budget for when I start my kitchen.

    In the meantime I’m about to do a family room from scratch, but I’m not sure about purchasing your online advice.

    Here is something that I would love that could save you time and also allow prices to be a bit lower … How about pre-assembled room specifications? For instance, if I know I want to buy a pottery barn couch, I could buy a package that paired a collection of colors with your favorite fabric offerings for PB couches? You could also include rug and accessory ideas etc. or maybe you could feature packages with your favorite countertops and then specify paint pallets etc to go with that sort of piece. I would love to get three or four design plans to choose between based on an expensive piece I’m about to buy. and you could consider updating these plans annually.

  • Cindi says:

    For me, paying several hundred for a package is just a lot when I have no experience with what I would get from you. If I start with a $100 consultation on something specific, then I expect I would feel more comfortable and then could spend more on a bigger package.

    To be honest I almost hired you a couple times for color consultations. (I didn’t know I could get advice by the hour, didn’t see that on the previous services list.) Anyway, you were an obvious choice because I really like your blog, but the thing is I don’t agree with your 100% adherence to white. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I don’t. I honestly don’t know how you would respond if I wanted something you don’t “approve” of, like wood cabinets, or tile that isn’t white subway, or ivory whites rather than gray whites. I also don’t know how much of your thought process I will get, vs just getting the “answer”. (I believe the description says we will get the answer in the mail in a few days.) So again, starting with a small project is important, and why I will eventually probably try a $100 service but would never start with a $750 service.

    Hope this helps!

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Cindi,
      The reason my mantra is white-on-white-on white when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms is so that someone who trolling online looking for THE ANSWER would read my advice and even if they follow half of it, they would have a prettier kitchen or bathroom than they would have created on their own without my advice. If I was all over the place and gave people a million options, ‘you could do this, and you could also do that’, they would just click away and keep reading a million articles. Does this mean I can’t help someone choose colours that don’t fit exactly into that polarizing opinion? No. I have yet to meet a colour dilemma I couldn’t solve given I’ve done this for 20,000 hours. And you an buy a colour for $100 so start there ; )
      Thanks for your comment! It helps everyone!
      Maria

      • Cindi says:

        Thanks for the reply. I did wonder if your blog has a very specific point of view, as it must to stand out. But that your design work is more varied. I think that would be worth pointing out on your services page.

        I totally agree with another poster that seeing an example of a consult you did for another client would be really helpful for those of us who are “on the fence”!

  • I’m chiming in with feedback because you asked, but I wouldn’t normally share this because I feel kind of mean even when I’m trying to be constructive with this kind of input! I’ve reached out a couple times for tentative consultations, but have never pulled the trigger for a few reasons:

    1) It was never clear to me what my total cost was going to be. Now that you’ve defined packages instead of leaving things up to an hourly rate or a per-color rate, that actually works much better with me, so I probably WOULD buy one of these! Except…

    2) I am just not drawn to your interior design taste. I come to your blog for color expertise 100% of the time but your style and my style differ a lot when it comes to spaces to design, and so even though I’m sure a pro is able to skew their choices to a client’s taste style, my taste is different enough that I worry the advice I get would work against my fundamental taste or design philosophy. (On that last note, I just can’t handle things like HomeGoods art and accessories and furniture (HomeSense in Canada); I need things to have more story/soul and be made of natural/authentic materials. So I’ll shop all over for a cool piece of real coral before you ever catch me buying a $29 resin coral sculpture just because it looks right with a vibe, etc.) And this kind of thing holds me back with any decorator-there is only one decorator whose taste and vibe is more my style (Emily Henderson in case you’re wondering) so I generally don’t pull the trigger with you or any other interior decorators I follow whose tastes don’t overlap with mine.

    3) I just don’t trust e-design! As an interior design layman-enthusiast who totally has a different sense of spaces in person than from photos, I can’t believe it’s the same as an in-person visit where you see the texture and get a better sense of the dimensions and the light and colors. I’m sure pros are better at doing this than I am, but I just can’t wrap my head around online only being good enough. I also used to run my own business which offered both in-person and virtual consultations, and I KNOW my in-person clients had a better experience overall because the personal connection is so much better than a purely digital one. The price you pay feels like it’s more worth it. So I’ve tried a few times to see if I could hire you when you were in Seattle, but you’ve always replied offering e-design. 🙂 I get that, but I’m just not as willing to part with hundreds to thousands of dollars for an experience I might never fully trust the outcome of because I can’t personally envision the details of a space via photos or online consultation.

    Anyway, when you combine all this, I’ve dabbled in the idea of hiring you but have just never felt 100% confident pulling the trigger. I actually think the packages are an improvement for ME as a potential customer, but I hope this other feedback is helpful and lets you better refute these kinds of concerns with other potential customers!

    • Oh and I’ve reached out to Emily Henderson’s team too but items 1 and 3 are why I haven’t ever hired her either, combined with the fact that I’d actually be working with one of her many talented assistants at the e-design price point. Which I’m sure is great but the whole draw is her specific taste so I want the real thing, and I probably can’t afford that, even if she was magically on-site in Seattle instead of two states away.

    • Stacy says:

      Virginia, I have hired Maria for a consult and it was very worth it…I am like you in that I love vintage pieces and accessorizing with items that have meaning so I don’t fill a room with stuff that just coordinates. So, my philosophy is take a little from everyone I like because she DOES have a way with color even online 🙂 My neighbors have commented how cohesive my house looks. Darryl Carter is my favorite and a few others, so in the end, I do what I like. The accent colors were up in the air for me during our consult but she helped me decide my trim color, wall color, cabinet color and countertop. All these things were giving me a headache on own. Since her direction and encouragement/advice from another designer consult (on-site) I feel much more confident in my decisions. I even did marble subway tile, not white, because I’m a HUGE marble fan despite that Maria may not be 🙂 Good luck!

    • Maria Killam says:

      The saddest part about living in Vancouver is we don’t have amazing vintage and antique stores (our flea markets are full of merchandise from China) so that’s why you don’t see that reflected in my interiors and it’s also why I talk about Homesense a lot, decorators in this town rely on that store because we don’t have a lot of options. You posted some great feedback thanks, and on-line design is not for everyone.
      Thanks, Maria

    • Maria Killam says:

      The saddest part about living in Vancouver is we don’t have amazing vintage and antique stores (our flea markets are full of trinkets and trash from China) so that’s why you don’t see that reflected in my interiors and it’s also why I talk about Homesense a lot, decorators in this town rely on that store because we don’t have a lot of options. You posted some great feedback thanks, and on-line design is not for everyone.
      Thanks, Maria

    • KAJ says:

      Virginia, you should never ever buy real coral! The people who collect it are decimating the coral reefs and ecosystems of our oceans. You should always buy resin coral. Please!!!!!

  • Pat says:

    Hi Maria,
    I’ve been following you for simply eons and when I joined I went back to the beginning posts. Love it all. Here’s my feedback on the refresh from the perspective of my particular needs.

    The refresh sounds like a great idea. However 2 pillows and a rug just aren’t going to do it for my living/dining/1st floor entry to my apartment. It’s good for the person with all the elements in place who really does want a new look.

    I’ve looked at the various bundles you offer…great idea, by the way…and don’t really see what I think I need. My bundle would answer: Which sofa/couch? Purchase definitely in the cards here. Color for sofa and wing chairs? Wall color, favoring pink until it became the color of the season, so now what? I’m not a ditto person. What to purchase and what to repurpose?

    Are answers to these questions included in the refresh? If so, you might consider a rewrite of the description. If not, where does one go next for guidance?

    The description tantalizes. I can see why you need to define and limit. However, it doesn’t help lead me to the solution I need.

    Hope all this makes sense. It is offered with love and admiration for your work.
    Pat

    • Maria Killam says:

      That can all be achieved inside the same refresh package but all this feedback has been super helpful so we can add all those options to the page. Not everyone needs new stuff picked out, just as valuable to get feedback on what should stay and what should go for sure!
      Thanks for your comment!

  • Christina says:

    This is the most informative blog I have found! Thank you and everyone who have commented!

  • Maria, I just wrote a long letter to you and when I tried to post it, it disappeared and it was such good advice. LOL. Anyway the crux of it was to get more visible. Write articles about what you have to offer and put them on Houzz, facebook, twitter and every social media sites as you can. Put them on Pintrest, women’s magazines. Home & Garden magazines etc. Take as many speaking engagements as you can. Don’t get discouraged. You have so much talent to give just hang in there! Your prices are not out of line and because it comes in ebook form the client can read it over & over so it’s not a one shot deal.

    Best of luck in everything you do.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Lucy, thanks for your comment, as mentioned in a previous comment, this is just one part of my revenue stream and personal consulting does not scale so this is not an area I’m committed to spending a huge amount of time and effort promoting it’s just that I want it to be helpful and useful to those readers who ARE looking for specific colour help from my website.
      which is why all this feedback has been extremely valuable!

  • yolande says:

    Hi
    I justed wanted to comment that for myself I would be looking for a modest priced services that would confirm or tweak the choices that I have already picked out.
    I like my taste but sometimes I am missing something and would pay for a service that would review my choices and confirm it or offer advise on how to adjust it – tweak it.
    This service would probably include a bit of work for the client- explaining the room, exposure, what they want to achieve ( questions that you could have them all answer to make your job easier), have them upload the photos of the room, load up the mood board or purchase choice they are looking at, & the colour.
    And you or your staff comfirm it or tweak it.
    Thanks

  • mrsben says:

    I believe I logged on to your blog in 2009 as noticed it on a side bar of a fellow blogger and the title of ‘true colour expert’ piqued my curiosity. (Proof that the old proverb ‘curiosity killed the cat’ is the farthest from the truth as I am still around seven years later …. ☺.) That said; as a follower and consumer I have made two purchases from you and am interested in two more, however as agree with a few other comments will contact you directly re IMHO on what you are currently offering as would like to elaborate a bit more on a few of the points already made. In closing and to quote the English poet John Lydgate; “you can please some of the people all the time, you can please all of the people some of the time BUT you can’t please all of the people all of the time.”
    -Brenda-

  • katie says:

    A couple things –

    As a previous poster mentioned I enjoy and appreciate your colour advice, but don’t align with your design aesthetic so would not hire you for a design consult

    I did reach out for color advice quite a few years back but it was well over $100 and out of my budget (not sure what your specific offering was at the tine)

    I’ve read your blog faithfully for probably 7 or so years and have used the info to supplement my own design sense which is pretty good but not professional. For example when we recently rebuilt I installed medium brown hardwood floors and timeless finishes. BM Oxford White on every wall plus white kitchen. So I’m essentially using your design advice for free- which I’m sure you know is a good chunk of your readership and you’re trying to determine the best Avenue for monetizing this.

    Agree with some commenters that your explanations/descriptions can be wordy and confusing.

    I first discovered you when I was researching painting 90s oak in our old house.

    Lastly, As someone mentioned above, it’s not that we don’t see the value of a professional opionion- it’s that we simply can’t justify adding that to a limited DIY budget. I disagree with your argument that it’s saving money in the long run by preventing the need for redoing pricy finishes, because the average person won’t redo it. It’ll just be less than perfect and most ppl will live with that because they have to. And there’s a good chance the husband is going to put the kibosh on a designer consult if attempted.

    All that to say that yours and the Decorologist are the two blogs I faithfully and consistently look forward to reading. Thanks for all the great posts.

  • Deb says:

    I would love to get some advice on my kitchen (have absolutely hideous pink-ish tile I’d like to minimize but not replace), but the thing that stops me from getting an eConsult is how can I know the color in photographs I send will be accurate? The colors looked wildly different in the online real estate pictures compared to in person.

    I’d prefer an a la carte option for purchasing, because the things I need help with are small details, not whole-room design.

    • Maria Killam says:

      Hi Deb, Real estate photos are usually taken with the lights on and that distorts the colour totally. I need photos taken without flash and in good natural light and that’s what allows me to see the colour. Even if one picture doesn’t show it accurately, by the time I’ve seen 4 or 5 pictures of the same room taken from different angles, I can see what the colour is. If I can’t we’ll refund your money. Done this very successfully hundreds of times so that’s how I know it works. Thanks for your comment! Maria

    • Mid America Mom says:

      Hi! Maybe this helps! Note on real estate and then using the e service. 1. I wanted to comment on real estate photos from first hand experience. My last home and most recently my mothers home had professional real estate photos taken. They both were off. For mine I noticed that they took multiple pictures of the same shot when they were in the house and I asked why. The camera was taking shots with different settings in light and color (and they also had lights of their own). In processing they would play with it all to get the “best”. I do not know who’s idea what best is… Let me tell you the colors were off but at least nothing became pink! Rooms with medium fresh green and medium fresh blue paint became muted. In the bath the dark green on the yellow side became more muddy looking. The yellow beige (in at least 4 rooms) at least did not turn on full yellow. I was relieved when a realtor told us the home showed much better than they expected (I took this to mean the color was better in person). 2. I take photos of used or painted furniture. Have been doing this for a living over the past 4 years – for my or other businesses. 3. So having said that – I was impressed with the instructions on taking the photos. Cameras are drawn to the bright light and take away from the rest of the photo. Natural light is needed (as bulbs give off colors from a white to a yellowish cast). The use of putting the fixed finish/fabric/art next to true white is KEY. White isolates the color(s) so the result is the “true color” that we are working with. 4. *We are pleased with our results!*

  • Laura says:

    This isn’t totally related, but one thing I would buy is a Benjamin Moore fan deck of YOUR go to colors, in bigger single chips, like the Candice Olson ones. Whether they were on your website or if you partnered with them. That way I could get a better sense of the color without committing to the set of 11x17s. And I wouldn’t have to keep going to the store to pick up individual chips, with the list from your two books I own. I always end up picking up the strips and then throwing them away as they start to take over my house.

    I found your website 1 year ago when I needed to pick an exterior trim color that wasn’t white in a pinch. Your blog post Trim Colours Not Cloud White popped up. I was hooked and ever since have been voraciously reading and rereading all your past posts. I am almost caught up. 🙂

  • Mid America Mom says:

    Thank you for your advice and time committed to this blog! I can tell you have a passion and a mission for helping people with color. I found your site last year because of a paint dilemma – I had been trying out some light blue and it was always showing up as baby blue (not good). So an internet search around blue paint lead to a number of hits but one of which was a link to your post “what everyone should know about gray”. I have been following since. What is appealing. It seems you are writing your blog. You give solid advice that I can follow. You have shopped homesense (for those in the US this is like homegoods or ross) and ikea and also share high end projects with items like custom drapes or cabinets. You do not pass judgement on brands which I like. For many people it is about the look and quality is lower down on the scale of need (for many this is due to cost limitation). This blog seems very down to earth, accessible, educational.
    Moving away from that. You are great at promoting the workshop within your blog posts or in the email blast but I feel not so for the e services. I am someone who has a very modest home and income so the tv shows, books, pinterest, blogs is about the only resource I have to work with. I bet many of your followers are the same. I am so pleased you have an e service especially around color! I had a good idea based on reading your blog / education what color would be a good overall neutral for our home but still desired thoughts on color. We pulled the trigger on your color consult this summer (with our income I had to save up for it) and guess what – the neutral was the exact one I had picked out and painted a poster board of already (yeah!) ! I was so pleased with the color choices provided as well. Now if I needed a service in regards to putting a brand new room together and bring in new furniture – rug – drapes… even if we had the funds … it is more of stretch for me to view you as a traditional designer (helping with styles, fabrics, scale, placement etc) as the majority of your information is specific to color. Color is your niche/ core – you are a color guru! Hope this all helps and again thank you for everything Maria!

  • Adeline says:

    I have considered purchasing your e-consultation many times. What is stopping me ? I feel that whatever picture I send will not be good enough, the lighting is bad, there is clutter, the colour that is staying doesn’t show true in the photo, I don’t know what I want, I am afraid that too many changes would need to be made, etc etc. Simply put I feel ovewhelmed by the scope of what needs to be done (living room, kitchen, bedrooms, basement, exterior). By the time I get half way through that the trend will have changed (I don’t want white everywhere). Where to start ? Where to start ??

  • Lori says:

    I have been following your blog and FB for approx a year. I love it.

    I have now signed up for the color course in Vancouver. I am beyond excited to meet you and learn from you.

    I would have purchased one of the packages if I could not have attended the class.

    This is a real treat for me and I am looking forward to meeting the others and chatting color for three days !!

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