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Articles.
by IAHSP®
Articles.
by IAHSP®
Every business has a story. We want to share yours.

The International Association of Home Staging Professionals is proud to highlight business owners and companies in an around the business of Home Staging, Real Estate, Design, and Short-term Rental, though our IAHSP Articles Features. 

Our goal is to highlight and explore the various business models and services that are offered throughout our ecosystem and community, giving both the public and our membership the ability to learn more about the businesses and services available through our vast network of service providers and businesses.

Let's dive right into our latest IAHSP Article.
Q. Thanks for taking the time to sit with us to share your story with our readers. Can you start out by sharing a little bit about you and your company?

My name is Dave, and I own a freelance writing business called SolutionsDH that helps small and medium-sized companies generate professional content that gives their brand confidence.

My back story is that I come from a varied business background, almost into its 4th decade; I am very lucky to have been at this for a long time. My career got rolling when I got into the suburban and daily newspaper business in metro Denver (a million years ago). Back then, it seemed like every day was "the college of hard knocks" of being in a competitive sales and media fire-fight.

Some days you win, some days you lose, hopefully, you racked up more victories than losses. When I think about those times, I laugh about the crazy and varied characters I met along the way. It makes you tough as nails. I have some interesting stories with villains and heroes.

Anyway, I then parlayed those experiences into working as a road warrior traveling four days a week in 37 U.S. markets for a large newspaper group based out of Irvine, CA. I managed the digital real estate marketing-sales category for the entire group. After that, I worked with over 400 agents for Trulia, a Zillow Company, helping them attract more qualified lead action.

Soon after that, I joined Cars.com for almost five years helping local dealer franchises digitally market new and used vehicles. What an unbelievably great company; they are still around today.

Where am I going by telling you all of this? All of us are the net sum of all of our experiences whether you like it or not. My varied experiences got me into the freelance writing and marketing business as a boot-strapped start-up. I wouldn't have it any other way.



Q. Everyone has a story about how they got started, what was the inspiration or the catalyst for you starting your business?

A business partner and I co-founded an ad agency four years ago that we currently operate today called Align2Compete. Anyone knows that when you start a business, you are wearing a lot of hats like all of them. And during the Pandemic, we thought it was a great time to build a solid content footprint for our agency because we did not have one, not much else was going on.

So I was doing a ton of writing, editing, and image curation. I had fun doing it. I was also doing a lot of research to back up our story arguments with evidence. When a business decides to add content you also have to spend the time to decide what you think your audience wants to hear about from you? It's kind of a project.

It was my baby to build this content, it really was not my business partner's forte. He was great with ideas but I was excited to polish our ideas into messaging we would be proud of.

The consistent feedback I got on our stories and layouts were fantastic and then it hit me that I could turn content creation into a side hustle for other business like ours. This is not everyone's cup of tea but I enjoy the process.

So about a year ago, I launched the SolutionsDH brand and website helping new clients.

Q. What services do you offer? And why did you choose to offer those particular services?

I do ghost-written blog articles from 700 - 1,500 words that businesses can post on their websites and LinkedIn and Facebook. I build eBooks and infographics that tell a more visual story. I do website copy, landing page, and email script copy. I will even do a deeper dive with a full-blown White Paper that is 15 pages with proper sourcing, images, and plagiarism complete checking.

I chose those things to offer because they highlight my skills in page layout design, image curation, and generating emotion based on the ideas you see. I do a bunch of reading each day about a variety of topics and I take note of those that do story telling well and those that don't.

There is a lot of crappy writing out there and poor story composition. Open A.I. and ChatGPT is not going to change that...at least not yet. You need an editor and human fact-checker no matter what smart high-tech tools you are using.

Using pure A.I. generated content without an editor looking over it for context or nuance could damage your business's reputation or worse yet, get you in a high-dollar lawsuit.

Q. Did you ever have a project or customer, where everything was going wrong or the project was challenging? Can you share about that time, and how did you find a solution, or over-come the challenge?

Oh yeah, I had a guy once that wanted me to do a makeover his LinkedIn profile. He wanted it to look kind of like mine as far as having meaningful content and how it was organized. So we got to work but he did not give me a lot of meat to work from. It's not that he was not a polished professional, he actually was very good at what he did and was respected by his company.

I really like this client, but the creation process was draining because we had to do it as a live interview, as was his style. He did not want to feed me any written bullet points (it's really helpful), everything was coming fast as he spoke.

It was like a 2.5 hour meeting, my head hurt but together we hammered out what makes him unique and I was able to log onto his LinkedIn profile, make the changes and make him look like the rock star that he was.

I also had a full-stack software company I worked with that needed to take his blog footprint on his website from zero to kick-ass in a short time. The challenge here is that he had some great stories to tell and examples with client case studies about a topic I did not know much about (software development). He had specifics in very technical terms and it was my challenge to tell his story in an understandable business context that most can follow.

I got past this by asking him a lot of "why" questions about the industry buzz-word terms he was using and how his bullet point ideas related to the core idea of the story we were writing. Many times you write a connecting narrative around the idea and get collaboration that the context is correct with the client. Our joint collaboration gave him several fresh content articles he got many compliments on.

brands that every home stager should know

Q. Running a business is not always easy. What have you learned about yourself and your business, since launching your company?

Running a business is all about confidence. Confidence that the solution you sell really does improve someone's situation. When you start out your business, you think you know exactly what people need and the core service you are going to deliver. It always changes though because markets and situations change. Therefore what people need from you evolves.

My favorite question to ask clients is why did you choose me and what is it specifically you value the most about what I do? The answers sometimes surprise me in that you learn new things.

The other thing I have learned is that it takes time to hone and refine your business's unique brand promise. Can you define it in one sentence and message it simply? And the flip side to this is that you cannot be all things to all people so are you as a business able to identify your unique customer prospects as if they were a cardboard cutouts in your office?

Q. We've all had either an employee or a customer that makes what we are doing worth it all. Can you share with us a story about an employee, vendor or customer that really impacted you and touched your heart?

I have a full vendor team of seasoned pros. Meaning that they do what they say they are going to do, are transparent, and there are no negative surprises. I do not have employees, I have to count on my vendors to deliver on time, it's important.

Q. If you could go back in time and give yourself some advice on how to manage or grow your business, what advice would you give yourself?

Get involved early in a variety of local networks so that you can interact with people face-to-face. You learn a lot from each other, even from friendly competitors. I love talking with other marketing agencies and content people. In many cases, they do things you do not do, and vice-versa, it can be a source of business.

Q. If a potential client were reading this article right now, what would you tell them about you, your team or your business that would convince them to choose your company?

I would tell you that my specialty is writing about marketing, consumer buying experiences, advertising, business trends, and sales. If you hire me as your freelance writer, know that there are most likely very few business scenarios that I have yet to experience first-hand, and I will provide an outside, fresh perspective to your content.

Here’s the thing…you save money because instead of hiring a full-time employee to grow your content, you can hire me to make your brand shine only when needed.

I write from a place of knowing; I have been in hot meetings in the corner office and solved problems on the retail sales floor; I properly source and conduct research and am skilled at finding facts to back up core ideas.

Q. What is one fact about you or your business that most people might not know?

I love to laugh at stuff, and I always watch out for where the humor might be; you have to keep things in perspective. Let's face it, most of us are not out there saving lives every day; it's just business.

Q. Where do you see your business going in the next 5 or 10 years?

We live in a fascinating time of disruption with A.I. right now and it's getting more prevalent fast. Anyone, and I mean anyone, can generate a 1,500-word blog article on fly fishing in the Canadien Rockies. A.I. is just another tool; do I use it? Hell-yes! It can be a fast research aid.

But watch out, some A.I. content generated needs to be corrected, is under copyright, lacks nuance, and can be lifeless without emotion. That could damage your reputation.

With robots running around we are still going to need humans to keep them in context. You still need a head coach.

Q. It was so great sitting with you to learn more about you and your company. How can people find out more about you and your business?

Visit my site at SolutionsDH.com

Google me.

Get on my calendar at
https://calendly.com/dave-hiebeler/discovery-call-quick-meeting

Q. Thank you so much for sharing your story with IASHP Articles!

Thank you, great questions; this was awesome!

Articles.
by IAHSP®
Every business has a story. Articles by IAHSP wants to tell your story.

With Articles, we highlight the many businesses that make up and surround the business of Home Staging and Real Estate. We feature local businesses to learn how they got started, what makes them unique and where they are heading. Share the stories you read with your social network and help others discover local businesses that are doing amazing things, globally.

Every business has a story. We want to share yours.

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