I had the pleasure of meeting Seema Sahni who is a Sydney based Interior Designer. She creates beautiful interior designs for her clients that are both inspiring and unique. She puts her creative energy into every project she takes on giving her clients the care and attention they deserve.
Seema has pursued her passion in interior designing while working in corporate as an IT professional. At the same time she lovingly manages her family and home life. Seema is a woman who inspires other women to achieve their passion for creativeness as well as fulfilling other demands of a working woman.
Seema’s motto in life is “You don’t need to do great things every day, but you need to do something towards your dream daily” In this interview, we discuss her inspirations, creative process, her projects and key of success.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your work?
I am an IT Professional working in corporate for over 20 years now. My most recent role being the Project Services Leader for Singapore Airlines Account with IBM. The concept of interiors was born in Dec 2016 while I was on still on my assignment in Singapore. I since then started to work towards an ecommerce business solution and in July 2017 I launched my online store “The Interior Designer”
I have always had a flair for style decor and fashion in the most elegant way. The way you see me today is my style, this does not come overnight and an educational course does guide you in strategizing your business but your niche is created by who you are and how you present yourself.
My DNA is creativity and my IT background helps easy understanding of backend systems.I am enthusiastic, optimistic and a future oriented individual with passion and determination.
I believe in success and I am willing to take risk. I have the capability to recognize and pursue opportunities and possess strong persuasive, negotiating skills.
I am proactive in my approach and ready to improvise as needed to deviate from initial plans and strategies. These qualities and my self-confidence allows me to stand out from the rest.
I also have this inherent quality of giving along with having empathy and treat my staff and people who work for me with a lot of respect. My giving is of many forms whether it is knowledge sharing, information sharing, coaching, hands on tasks with team or if it is giving in kind.
I always believe in giving back and this finds me surrounded and supported by good positive people who are always willing to help resolve challenges and reach our combined goals.
What is your insipiration behind perusing your passion in Interior Desgin?
The Interior Designer has been the culmination of a life-long passion for Interiors.
I’ve always had a flair for interiors / style and an eye for elegant unique designer pieces for the home.
I also have a natural affiliation on positioning things correctly in the space available and my choice of furniture, homewares and colours used was always appreciated by people around me.
Three years ago, I ventured into re-designing a Townhouse for a couple who put their faith in me to re-design their place.
I completely re-designed the entire home and gave it a new face lift.
From kitchen to a semi re-build of the living area and bathrooms inclusive of getting flooring, tiles and new fittings to getting furniture in and styling it prior to sale.
The townhouse went on to sell 250K over reserve price. That was a huge motivator to recognize my inherent talent and I started thinking again on interiors while still working for IBM.
However, I had to leave for Singapore shortly after and interiors had to be put on hold. It was when in Singapore that gave me the mind space to think and I mustered the courage to make the switch to start a small online business and the timing seemed perfect.
What challenges do you face in this profession?
It’s been just over 4 months since the start of my online business venture and I do believe I have a long way to go so there is bound to be challenges on the go.
The major challenge a small online business faces is promoting yourself on the internet which is a competitive marketplace, where only some ideas may enjoy long-term success.
As a small business competing with big giants in Furniture and homewares where your potential consumers still prefer to touch and feel items in person requires a viable niche and positioning the product well.
Secondly, Internet marketing including everything from email mail outs to social media postings and Ad campaigns to website promotions is a highly technical and competitive process in this space.The Internet offers the possibility of reaching a huge global customer base but also the danger of wasting your content and budget on people with no real interest in your product.
However, the internet marketing space grows year by year — crafting a cost-effective and targeted Internet media campaign will prove vital to the success of small online businesses.
What are your plans for the future?
In the first year, I plan to be fully focussed and concentrate to grow my online business, ensure high level of customer satisfaction, network with small business associates and partner with other interior designers, attend as many design events and keep myself up to date with latest styling trends. Down the track, I would like to get my foot into real estate which means to do property styling in partnership with some real estate agencies.
How do you manage professional and personal life?
As an entrepreneur and business owner, my life is a continuous juggling act that needs to be readjusted in route. What worked well one month does not necessarily work well the next.
There are times when all is going well at home and I can devote long days to the business. But there are also times when issues surface in your personal life that require you to drop everything at a moment’s notice to be there for your family.
I always try and develop the emotional flexibility to cope with these changing situations.
I ruthlessly manage and prioritize my time but at times I do fail and end up in procrastination mode. There are only so many hours in the day. You can’t do it all, so one must prioritize.
I start every day with a to-do list and I have found I am more successful with my time if I finish one thing before going on to the next versus working a little in each. But sometimes I end up doing the latter and feel overwhelmed and frustrated that I have achieved nothing. I am a firm believer that if you want something, it’s up to you to make it happen.
You have to work smart, it’s not how many hours you’ve spent sitting at your desk working—it’s all about what you have achieved with the hours you have.I try to be proactive. It’s not always easy when your time is split, but figuring out your goals, keeping them in mind while mapping out a plan of action and proactively taking steps to meet goals will further your business.
I plan and prepare ahead to accomplish what’s needed. I have realized you cannot do it all even if you want to. I found myself spending so much time initially on tedious tasks that take valuable time away from you. I always look at what items I do not need to handle and have outsourced them like I now schedule a mail pick-up from my office. This helps me be much more efficient and able to hone in on the larger tasks at hand.
What do you think are the key to your sucess is?
I believe you need to have passion, focus, and persistence if you want to be a successful.Drive is absolutely essential for making a go in any business. It will help you conquer obstacles, get through long hours and setbacks, and keep moving and improving your products and services.
Self-discipline is key keep yourself on task in face of distractions, challenges and the tempting knowledge that you can technically do whatever you want, whenever you want without getting into any immediate trouble.Women need to be as flexible as possible. As entrepreneurs, you will need to wear many hats and be willing to dive into all aspects of the business from the creative to the mundane in order to create something with traction.
Women should have the willingness to learn, adapt and change course and tweak their plans to align with their circumstances and to the ever changing and evolving business platforms. In other words, perform the balancing act.Successful business women need to know how to walk the line between stubborn self-confidence and humble realism. They are clear on what is most important to them and they use those priorities to assess whether or not it’s the right time for whatever possibilities are out there.
What advice would you give to readers of Sakhi Online who are thinking about going into business?
I would encourage and recommend our women readers to assess their individual situation, research about the type of business they are getting into and ensure they are not only ready to take on the stressful and challenging world of entrepreneurship but also be able to strategize, know and understand their competition, be financially strong, allow to sustain for long term and have a good business plan in place.
The timing has to be right when they are planning to start up. If you want your business to be successful long term, please design your work with the rest of your life in mind. If you start that way, it will become your norm and you will know your parameters from the outset. When you design your business and your life in a way that really works for you, working in the business and living in that life will be definitely more enjoyable. Creating a business that reflects your authenticity is the very best way you can think of to be on your way to success.