Biz Diaries: Courtney Schrank Design Studio
Welcome to Biz Diaries!
We’re going behind the scenes of women-owned businesses. One at a time.
Your Name: Courtney Schrank
Location: Chicago, IL
Business Name: Courtney Schrank Design Studio
Describe your business in a sentence: Chicago's only interior design firm and lifestyle brand that caters exclusively to the working woman and female entrepreneur
Tell us about your journey to start company: Interior design has always been my passion. I knew that if I really wanted to create the impact and career I truly wanted I would need to start my own firm. Chicago has a very saturated interior design market so I knew I had to stand out... It got me thinking - what is the industry missing and who needs my services the most? I decided that working women and female entrepreneurs don't have the time to design their homes and offices though most of them wish they did. I was also incredibly excited to enhance and elevate the lives of amazing working women everywhere!
What's one thing you wish you knew when you started?: Since I just recently started I don't know that I have a great answer to this question. I definitely did a ton of research beforehand and reached out to other designers for advice. Being a creative and running a business isn't always easy, but it is so worth it.
Tell us about your work day!: I make myself a to-do list for the day and have my coffee. I am also on the celery juice train and I have to say, I'm hooked. Then I answer emails, find other amazing women I can connect/collaborate with, and then I focus on design work!
How many employees do you have?: Just me right now technically, but I work with a bookkeeper and have a team of sub-contractors that help with measuring and installation.
What legal steps do you take to protect the business?: When I wrote up my client contract I had a lawyer look over it with a fine tooth comb to be sure I didn't leave anything out. I also have insurance to cover anything that may come up.
What’s the best business expense you've made?: Deciding to hire a bookkeeper to file my taxes each month alleviates so much stress. I still know how everything works, but I like leaving things like this to the professionals.
What’s your favorite accomplishment from the past year?: I spent most of last year working on my business behind closed doors and built my website all on my own (I have to say I am incredibly proud of it!). I officially launched my business in January of 2019, so my biggest accomplishment of 2018 was getting my business ready to rock!
What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made in the past year?: Since my business is relatively new, I don't have many mistakes to speak of, but I do wish I would have sped things up when launching my business. I wish I would have started earlier so I could have started changing women's' lives sooner!
What's your favorite part of running a business?: I absolutely love meeting amazing women and knowing I can change and enrich their lives! I am my business and my business is me. When women visit my website and feel connected to me and chose to work with my company it is so fulfilling. Knowing that I have the power and resources to change their lives for the better makes me feel like I can change the world!
What’s next for the business?: I plan to grow my business and add more amazing women to my team. I also want to design homes abroad and work with working women and female entrepreneurs around the world.
Share your favorite business resource: conferences, podcasts, books: I love listening to podcasts like Glambition Radio with Ali Brown and How I Built This with Guy Raz. I also love Boss Bitch and Rich Bitch by Nicole Lapin. I love Create Cultivate and Girl Boss for the information they share as well.