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Entrepreneurs

Teaching Adds More Shades to Palette

Self-employed interior designer networks, keeps up to date on trends with part-time college gig.

September 13, 2000|KAREN E. KLEIN

When Edy Rose decided to start her own business, her parents and friends all counseled her to keep her day job. Three years later, Rose is glad that she listened. Her work as an instructor at Santa Monica College and at Learning Tree University has afforded her the luxury of medical benefits and reliable cash flow, as well as lending credibility to her company and helping her hone her presentation skills. Rose was interviewed by freelance writer Karen E. Klein.

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After I got married and remodeled my home, I got so much wonderful feedback on the landscaping and the interior design and the colors I had used that I decided to turn my expertise into a business. I loved design and art anyhow and had studied both in college, so I thought it would be a natural extension for me.

At that time, I was teaching at Santa Monica College, West Los Angeles College, and part time at L.A. Unified. I gave up most of my teaching to concentrate on the business, but I stayed at Santa Monica College because I liked the atmosphere, the pay is good and I have health benefits, which is nice for a self-employed person.

I've found as my business is getting started that teaching at the college level has been important for my credibility. I provide interior design services, specializing in the use of Aura-Soma color therapeutics and energy applications in the home and workplace.

It lends a lot of credibility with clients, or those with whom I'm networking, when I tell them I teach a college class on this topic. And some of my best clients find out about my service because they attend the class or hear about it from one of my students.

Another important aspect of teaching is that it has provided me with presentation skills. I'm so used to speaking in front of groups of people, after years in a lecture hall, that it is easy for me to give seminars, workshops and classes in my industry and to promote my business.

Knowing how to project my voice, keep eye contact with my audience, encourage group interaction--all these skills are helpful and they segue over to one-on-one communication and sales also.

I've given several classes for department stores, professional interior design associations and other groups, and I always get a good response. These courses or workshops give me opportunities to find new clients and to educate people about what I do. What I'm doing with color therapy is new to a lot of people.

I've found that when you teach, you learn how to be organized and you learn how to present information in a very effective and timely manner. This is a great help in business, especially when you have a one-person small business as I do. Without organization, you can't survive, and if you can't get your message through to potential clients, your chances of success are slim to none.

Another teaching benefit is the access I have to research materials. The college library is a wonderful resource for information that helps me with planning and offers reference materials that help me keep up with trends and information I need to keep current in my field.

The added income and the benefits that teaching provides are vital. It's so nice to know that every month my health benefits are taken care of, and there's a reliable check that comes in with a fixed amount of money to back me up. This takes some of the pressure off the monthly cash flow and allows me to be more creative and maybe even experimental with the directions that I choose to take my business in.

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At a Glance

* Company: Color Magic Design

* Owners: Edy Rose

* Nature of business: Color therapy and interior design

* Founded: 1997

* E-mail: clrmgcdsgn@aol.com

* Employees: 0

* Annual revenue: $25,000

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If your business can provide a lesson to other entrepreneurs, contact Karen E. Klein at the Los Angeles Times, 1333 S. Mayflower Ave., Suite 100, Monrovia, CA 91016 or at kklein6349@aol.com. Include your name, address and telephone number.

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