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Transforming Lives and Homes with Caroline Carter

May 24, 2020

Helping Homeowners Save Time and Money While Transitioning Their Home and Life.

Caroline Carter is the Founder and CEO of Done in a Day, Inc.

Done In A Day, Inc. is a metro Washington, DC- and greater Palm Beach, Florida-based professional home transition company. Since 2005, Caroline has partnered with over 2,000 homeowners and their real estate agents using her unique approach of preparing the house to sell for top dollar while orchestrating the move into the new home.

Learn more about how Caroline Carter can help you plan your next move by listening to this episode of The Thoughtful Entrepreneur above and don’t forget to subscribe on   Apple Podcasts – Stitcher – Spotify –Google Play –Castbox – TuneIn – RSS.

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0:00
Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, we're all reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.

All right with us right now we've got Caroline Carter, and Caroline, you are the Founder and CEO of Done in a Day. And you're the author of Smart Moves. You're found on the web at CarolineCarter.com. Thank you so much for joining us.

0:51
Thank you, Josh. I'm thrilled to be here today.

0:54
So Caroline, you have an amazing story. And I'm hoping that you know for someone who doesn't know you Your story could kind of share how your journey is truly inspiring. And I just kind of want to turn my mic off and listen to you kind of tell your story of like, where it led you to and what you ended up creating.

1:15
Well, thank you, Josh. I never thought I'd be in the position I'm in today. I was married with three little children. And we decided to divorce and after 12 years of not working, you know, in the professional, you know, full time in the professional world, I found myself in a position where I had to make some hard decisions. And it was a very expensive community I was living in and my choice was, you know, how do I provide for three children as a single mother and go back to work? And I had to dig really deeply there were there were a lot of mornings, you know, a lot of coffee mornings, where I was like, Oh my god, how am I going to do this? I mean, this is crazy. I had to really dig deep and think about what is it that I naturally do best that I could potentially monetize. And I came up with, with one thing that I'm able to naturally create order out of chaos. And I thought, hmm, so what does that translate into? So I had an opportunity. You know, I was I was doing a lot of praying at that point and open to all opportunity. And my sister's college roommate called me she had unfortunately recently lost her husband unexpectedly to a heart attack and wanted to move from San Francisco back to DC. She bought a house sight unseen, had two little kids and said to me, I can't handle any of this emotionally or physically. Would you be willing to go over to the house that I just bought? do an assessment, figure out what I need to do to, you know, move in carpet. Painting lighting, outdoor landscape spruce up, you name it. And I said, Sure, I didn't even hesitate but I said sure. I had never done anything like this meaning I had done it for myself. I had moved at that point 10 times in my life and I was very, you know, OCD about getting settled in an organized fashion and so forth. So, that project amassing trades people and painters and, and pulling in landscapers and sourcing carpet, and it was a lot of fun. It was a lot of fun. I ended up moving them in. I actually pulled my housekeeper in, if you can believe it, and I said here you have to help me with this. Um, and we created a really smooth transition for this broken family with two little kids. And and I got paid to do it. And I thought, Wow, that was my aha moment. Like maybe I could do this. And I've always been a goal oriented person, a self starter. And I decided that this this might be something I could shop around and see if there's any interest in this. And when I moved this family in, they had come from San Francisco and she said to me, You need to be a home stager. I had never even heard the term. She said everybody stages their homes in California. And what you did was essentially just stage a home for me to live in. So I want you to talk to this guy who's the number two stager in in California. Anyway, long story short I call I called the guy and and he spent 45 minutes on the phone with me Josh, you and I both know how extraordinary that is? Yeah, 45 minutes for busy people is is just a gift. But it changed the course of my life. And home staging was not a it wasn't yet company. in place in the DC metro area, so I began to think I can do this. I can build a company having no experience doing that in the past, but I thought what the hell, why not. And I began to take my dog and pony show around to all the top agents in DC and explained to them what I was looking to do, how this would help their clients. I would help them educate and inform their clients how to make the most the most use of their time and money when designing their home to sell or home staging it so that it would sell faster for more money. And that's what I did thousands of houses later, here we are.

5:39
Okay, well, okay the way thousands of houses later wait around now, how do you go from the first couple of houses to thousands of homes later? How did you grow that part of the business? Well, it's later

5:52
seriously Well, well, it was all referral based. I was a one man band. Yeah. And, and I If I made a mistake in in scaling, I didn't surround myself quickly enough with other people who are able to support the mission. I literally was, I suffered from the no one's gonna care about it as much as I care about it, and ended up doing a lot of it myself with the exception of accounting and taxes and so forth and so on. But I basically focused on each client and I really, really connected I think it's one of my strengths is I'm a no nonsense truth teller, who really has the ability to zero in on someone's discomfort and lead them to a position of comfort. So I immediately create this trust by really just listening. Really just listening because everybody goes through the same thing when they're talking about selling their homes. Moving. So I had one team in place. And I had two teams that I had three teams I was running, all of which were doing different houses at the same time. And that's how we got to thousands of houses over 14 years.

7:14
So Caroline, I mean, it's one thing to be the world's greatest home transition expert. But it's another thing to make those connections and get more and more people to discover you and to encourage that word of mouth. So what I want to know is what were you doing to encourage that and get that visibility?

7:35
You know, that's a great question. I want to say that I was always a truth teller, even in difficult circumstances. I was not scared to tell someone that's a bad idea. And here's why. I think you might want to try it this way. I also found that a lot of people that I worked with, if they were pleased with our services, they told other people now I said that I never really did any advertising. And that's true. But I found that by investing in the relationships, yeah, with the person I was working with at the time, they did my marketing for me, honestly, I literally put on blinders and really just focused on who I was working with at the time, and was able to immediately turn that off when I went to the next client to check in. So I got the business to the point where my teams were doing the majority of the work. And I literally could stop in an alternate between tour leader and cheerleader. Yeah. Right. So So once that happened, and people would tell other people then media started noticing, and said, Hey, gee, will you you know, tell us a little bit about that because people think that home transitional I know how to move. I know how to, you know, I'm just going to put a bunch of black hefty trash bags together and throw them in the back of a pickup truck. Well, what if you have a 53 foot moving truck? I mean, people don't know what they don't know. And my passion is really to make sure that people understand the full scope of what happens from the moment that you make the decision to move until you unpack the last box in your new home. And there are so many different aspects to it. It's what led me to write the book. Yeah,

9:23
Caroline, when more people faster when when people see your name on the side of the building figuratively, right? And they're like, Oh, my gosh, everybody wants to work with Caroline. You can't service everyone. It's MLS. And so now you have to start creating teams. And so when people are paying and they want access to you, how do you replicate? And how were you able to successfully replicate yourself in a way so you could scale?

9:51
Well, this is this is an interesting question in the beginning. I mean, we didn't start out running free teams. In the beginning. I was on a Every job every moment, yeah, in order to be able to train the teams, right? So, so that was really important for me, even when I was able to step away from the day to day, you know, being there for eight hours a day, I was always able to check in, either in the morning or the afternoon, where I could do my 15 minute talk, you know, stop by and say, Okay, I love what you did, but I think we were thinking a little bit more like this. Right. So I am lucky because I still have the original crew with me that I hired 14 years ago.

10:37
Oh my god, really

10:38
extraordinary. Really? Yeah, I know how lucky I am. And plus, I love what I do. Mm hmm. You know, that helps

11:04
So I spend my time interfacing with a client on strategy, right focused strategy. I also come into a job when we we call it setting the template, meaning when the client has worked with my teams to do all the purging, sorting, donating, dumping, then I would come in and quote unquote, set the template of what it's going to look like after it's ultimately painted or spruced up or whatever. So I would be there with the movers where we're moving furniture around or bringing in beds, meaning set the template for the room, what do we ultimately want it to look like? So that it's going to, you know, really sell quickly and at top dollar and a lot of that is understanding who your target buyer is, what the needs are the target buyer, on my side with the seller, I have to do a lot of educating Because people will say, Well, I like my chartreuse dining room. I don't want to paint it, it was just painted a year ago. And I have to explain how our personal choices have costs associated with them. Right? And that in fact, your buyers who are looking for you know, nothing but to move in they will pay top dollar to move in and do absolutely nothing. They're looking for neutral, right? Yeah. Oh, yeah. Looking for right. Totally neutral. I can move in, you know, just give me the key. I'll write you a big check. And we're

12:32
gonna go Yeah, so

12:33
so so part of it is is just knowing exactly when to to touch these clients, and have these discussions. It varies for every project. Sometimes you'll have a client who totally gets it, and you're going to have busy executives, I worked for a lot of the who's who and they'll tell me, hey, I want to closet like Peters closet. You know, a client I did. And I'll say okay, well, Peter gay. 20 minutes in his closet, can you give me 20 minutes in your closet? Johnny, what you want to keep what you want to donate what you wanted to? He's like done. Right. So, you know, it depends on who you're working with. But I think I think the biggest reason why done in the day has been a success is because we listen, we listen, and we are able to provide strategy, that what you have to understand, Josh is this home transition. And the reason I wrote the book, is because it affects everyone in every location at every price point. Right. And so the details the 10 step process, that that I detail in the book is exactly what I'm doing every day. Exactly what we've done what I had to do myself, you know, moving to Palm Beach Gardens recently, right, I had to follow my own advice. Oh, yeah. So and when I walked out I was glad to To know that I actually didn't make any big huge mistakes in the book but but yeah, it's a process that affects us all. And essentially, what what we're looking at is recognizing the the emotionality around moving, and how we can be our own worst enemy, and how we leave money on the table, right by looking at something emotionally when frankly, your house for many people is their biggest asset. Yeah. And you need to change your mindset entirely. It's an asset. It's like, you know, any other financial asset you own, but yet because it's your home, you look at it differently. Yeah, right. I'm trying to change that.

14:41
Caroline, quick question. quick answer. What's your opinion on family photos?

14:46
Don't do it.

14:47
Oh, so hide them.

14:48
I take them away. pack them. pack them and the reason why I say that is look think about a Josh when you are looking to purchase a home. You are looking to purchase a home for your family. Right so in Washington DC I used to call it the guy love me wall. You know very often you'll you'll walk into someone's office and there is me with the current president, here's me with the I would tell them you know, take take down your I love me wall, put away all your tombstones of the companies you've bought and sold of all of the achievements. You're, you know, where you what country club you belong to where your children go to school because essentially, you are just strapping a potential buyer. Yeah, what they're there to do.

15:32
You know, I find that when when we've looked at homes and I see a lot of personal effects, I start becoming much more voyeuristic and I strike about them more so than I think about my in this house,

15:47
right so. So when you stage a home, which is only one part of the process, but when you stage it effectively, you are focusing the buyers attention on exactly what you want them to focus on. you're removing the distractions, they're there to buy a house. So they're either going to buy it or they're not, they're going to know in the first couple of minutes, so you better know exactly what you want them to see and where, how they how you want them to feel from the moment they look at the house online, right? You want that to be a calling card to say, Wow, this could potentially be my next home. Let me see the rest of the photos. I mean, you and I both know you can look online at some houses and go oh my god, seriously, there's like dirty slaps on the floor. Yeah, you know, I saw a plunger in a bathroom. In an online photo. I'm like, ooh, plumbing problems now. But but but essentially, I'm trying to educate and empower sellers to understand this process and to understand how important it is to take more responsibility for the sale of your own asset. This process affects you the most, why wouldn't you want to take more responsible ability. Yeah,

17:01
right. Great. Well, Caroline Carter, I want to thank you so much for joining us. You're the Founder and CEO of Done in a Day and you're the author of Smart Moves. I would imagine you can find that where do people find the book on Amazon? Amazon? Sure. Well, good, then it's super easy to

17:19
get a very easy

17:20
Yeah. And your website is CarolineCarter.com. Anything else that you would say? Oh, great. First place to connect with me is what?

17:30
What I would say is if any of your listeners decide to buy a book, and they have any questions, please feel free to email me directly. There's no charge. I love to engage. I love the questions and challenges that that people come up with when they're reading the book. Just email me at Caroline@CarolineCarter.com And I'd love to interact with you and see if I can help you strategize.

17:56
I really appreciate the time. Thank you so much for joining us.

17:59
Thank you, Josh. Appreciate it.

18:03
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