Interior designer Shaynna Blaze: “How to succeed in business”

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She is famously known as the ‘sassy’ judge on The Block and the lovable co-presenter on The Lifestyle Channel’s Selling Houses Australia. Shaynna Blaze established a media career while also running her own small business.

Her second choice turned into a winning formula
Shaynna started out as an interior designer over 20 years ago and has travelled all around Australia designing showrooms. With a passion for design, Shaynna transforms commercial, private and retail properties from modest projects to multi-million dollar projects via her business, blankcanvas INTERIORs.

Interior decorating was always Shaynna’s second choice for a career as she wanted to do fine arts. However, Shaynna was interested in interior decorating as a teenager, and earned a degree in design after completing high school.

She adds, “I was twenty-two when I realised I wanted a change. I left my design job and contracted with them giving me the freedom to work on other projects as well. It was a big step but I knew I needed a challenge.”

On phone call changed everything
It’s not every day that you get a call asking to be on TV. Well that’s exactly how fame found Shaynna. It all came from an opportunity to try new ways of marketing her small business. She says, “It was just a newsletter, and a tiny little ad, and I responded to it. I just thought I’ll give it a go, I really wasn’t expecting anything to come out of it. And suddenly I got a call and it just went from there. I honestly thought it was going to be harder than I expected, but it wasn’t.” Entering the realms completely changed Shaynna’s life. “If you asked me 10 years ago if I would be here right now, I would’ve laughed. There is no way I expected to be here in this position today.”

Shaynna Blaze passion for business began at just 22

Be organised and financially savvy 
There are many women who grapple to either start or maintain a small business. Shaynna says, “Many creative women struggle to realise that when using their talents in business, most of the work they do, will actually be on running the business rather than doing the work. You have to be incredibly organised. That is one of the key things in small business especially if you are working as a single mother or alone. Always sort out your finances. Do not rush into anything if you are in debt. Never begin a business knowing that it will lead you to debt.”

She continues, “Many small business owners take out loans in order to fulfil their business dreams, but sometimes that falls through. You will only work your way backwards. Start by doing things for minimal costs. Getting the money side of things sorted is probably one of the biggest things in a small business. Women should get involved in networking with small business groups of like-minded people.” Placing yourself amongst people who are in similar positions strengthens your courage to improve your small business.

“Getting the money side of things sorted is big for small business” Shaynna Blaze

Dealing with sticky situations
One of the biggest issues impacting the small business community is late payments. Majority of Australian small business owners experience both business impacts and personal challenges due to late payments. Shaynna advises small business owners to always be organised with their finances.

She says, there’s no harm in establishing a connection with the organisation or client that you owe or that owes you. “Call them up and explain your situation and try to come to a mutual understanding about your position. I used to check my bank account several times a day thinking that something will magically appear. But it never does.” It’s always best to get to the bottom of the situation by going in head first and not avoiding it,” she adds.

Despite becoming a household name, Shaynna admits that she still faces challenges as every other small business owner. She says, “I think getting the money side of things sorted is one of the biggest things in a small business – you have got to keep control of that.”

Cash flow was a big challenge for Shaynna and her small business. But ensuring that you are on top of your invoices and addressing your time management is something every small business owner should do. “Make sure you have people you can trust, that’s one of the biggest things that’s taken me a long time. But I’ve got an amazing team now, and having the right team, being able to get your finances flowing properly ensures business success.”

Business Builders spoke with Shaynna Blaze who was in Sydney to promote Intuit Australia’s ‘Organise Nation’ campaign for their QuickBooks Self-Employed App.

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