What Do I Do For A Living?

I posted a short online survey asking people what I do for a living. I only got 4 (heart-warming) responses:
Maker of fine tea bags, interior designer and space planner, freelance autoCAD or technical drawings for other designers
Drafting design
Beautiful interior/deco design
I wasn’t too surprised how few people responded. I am glad to see “design” appeared in every answer. (A friend wrote ‘guardian angel’ on my Facebook. That was so sweet! But I can’t do it for a living.)
I had been struggling with explaining my job. “Designer” sounds very vague. I have not perfected my “elevator speech”. After all these years, my name has been going around as this “good CAD drafter”. I am uncomfortable being defined to by the tools I use. I am not just a CAD technician/operator. I am a professional designer skilled and experienced in the art of drafting. CAD programs are tools I use to enhance my presentation and documentation.
My blog article back in 2012 ‘MICHELLE CHIANG’ is A Brand still describes how I feel about what I do. My job titles depend on what I want to “sell”. It’s time to rework my business mission statement and “menu”. It is more about what I want to do, rather than what I can do.

My Recipe for Successful Job Hunting

Job hunting is a form of art that requires planning and preparation. A job is not hard to get. But one needs to be a good hunter to get a job that encourages growth and builds a bright future.


  • Phone Number (with an answering service)
  • E-mail Address (keep professional)
  • Resume
  • Business Cards
  • Portfolio (in different formats)
  • LinkedIn Profile (with a professional-looking profile photo)
  • Website/Blog
  • Ever-growing Network of Industry Contacts


  1. Analyze strength and weakness; figure out target positions and company types.
  2. Adjust ingredients listed above to showcase strength and to appeal to target employers.
  3. Search online job listings and send resume with cover letter/message tailored to each job.
  4. Research potential employers in desired area. Houzz.com is a good website to check out local professionals.
  5. Connect with professionals on LinkedIn if possible; Always add a personal message when sending LinkedIn Request.
  6. Prepare “Elevator Speech”
  7. Always look good; smell nice, and SMILE.
  8. Attend trade events to horn social skills and adjust your appearance; Always have business cards ready.
  9. After each event, review business cards collected and make notes on back of cards.
  10. Email new contacts as a follow-up of the event.
  11. Allow more-than-enough time before each interview; Never be late
  12. Be prepared to ask questions at each interview.
  13. Follow up after each interview
  14. Repeat above steps (in any order) as necessary.


  • Good English is the key. Practice speaking clearly and write with correct spelling and grammar.
  • There is only one chance to make the first impression, so always look put together.

  • People in the business talk to each other; Always be on your best behavior.

  • Avoid any form of business communication when feeling angry, sad, depressed, irritated, sick, or tired.

Social Media Coaching – August 13

Our third and last Social Media Coaching workshop took place on August 13, 2013. We want to thank once again Archer Weiss  for providing the space.

Social Media Coaching

It is important to provide some refreshments to keep the attendees going!

This time, we took on Facebook. My personal social media experience started with Facebook. I believe it still has the most users compared to other websites. Facebook has a lot to offer for businesses. Susan Leinen explained to the class how Facebook works, clarified some privacy concerns, and offered some tips on how to plan our time for social media marketing.

Social Media Coaching

Ready to start!

Social Media Coaching

Marc Weiss welcomed the class and briefly introduced the company.

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We concluded our 2013 summer series on a high note! Our attendees were satisfied what they took away from the workshops. We are looking forward to continue to grow and expand our Social Media Coaching program.

Grow Your Design Business

Over two years ago, as I was trying to manage and grow my business, I discovered that Hunter Douglas has a series of CEU (Continuing Education Units) seminars on business management and development and all the topics were what I was interested in!

The speaker for my area is Shelley DeVall. She is absolutely wonderful! Shelley is passionate about the program. Having owned a successful business before, Shelley really knows the in’s and out’s of managing a business. Besides business fundamentals, the program also incorporates utilizing technology for business. Susan Leinen is the speakers for subjects covering the Internet and Social Media. After meeting Susan, I have had the pleasure to work with her on designing the website for Conejo Association of Professional Interior Designers (CAPID), an organization I belong to. We are now partners for the Social Media Coaching program.

To date, I have attended most of the seminars at least once. The contents are constantly updated, so I always learn something new. My business is always changing, so I get different inspirations even when I take the same class for the second or the third time. This program pushes me to constantly think about my business and examine it from different aspects. Knowing information and resources are available to me, I am no longer afraid of or stressed out about the business side of design. For a small business like mine, it is truly beneficial to have such a program available. There are so many classes on products, but most designers also need help on business management and development. The classes are tailored for design businesses. Since most of the attendees are designers, we support each other by discussing problems and offering tips. I highly recommend this Design Center Program to anyone who wants to thrive in business.

I take most of these classes at Drapery Affair – Floor to Ceiling Interiors in Ventura, California. They have made a great effort to make the showroom a learning and support center for designers. The classes are very affordable. Everyone at the showroom is helpful and knowledgeable.

Just to clarify, I did not get paid from any business mentioned above. I am thankful for the program and want to have more people be aware of it so it will stay around and continue to be better.

Social Media Coaching – July 9, 2013

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Our second Social Media Coaching workshop was on July 9, 2013. We want to thank Archer Weiss again for letting us use their beautiful conference room for the workshop.

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Our focus this time was on Houzz.com. This website has become a great way for design professionals to showcase their works to and interact with homeowners. Professionals can also interact with each other. Reviews are a big part of the website. Clients can review design professionals, and professionals can review other professionals.

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By the end of the session, our attendees either created their professional profiles or added photos and details.

A Way With Designs

Catherine S. Grasso, Design For Living

JA Design

Joan Larson Interior Design

Joann Baker Interior Design

Westside Remodeling

Ventura Builders

Our next workshop is on Tuesday, August 13. CLICK HERE to get details and register!