Written by Stuart Foxman

When Jessica S. Carter was a child, she had a habit of redecorating her house while her mother was busy at work.

“I wanted to surprise her,” says Carter. “Rearranging furniture gave us new life in our home. I became very creative, repurposing items. As a child it gave me joy, hope and dreams.”

Carter already realized how much décor can affect your mood. That comes into play every day in her job running Spotlight on Style, a home staging company.

Real estate agents across the Greater Toronto Area hire Carter and her team to put the best face on homes for sale. Her services can run from helping current homeowners to declutter, to complete showcasing.

She started Spotlight on Style in 2009, after working as a design assistant for an interior design firm.

When highlighting a home for prospective buyers, there are certain tricks of the trade. Some are obvious, like removing family photos, and re-painting the walls neutral colours. Carter also like to take away clocks (“I want you to get lost in the space,” she says), and put a mirror in the foyer (“So you’re thinking of yourself”).

She says every room has to have the right flow, with a focal point in each. “Every time your eye stops, it’s a decision-making moment,” she says.

For example, when people see a comfortable dining room table, they can picture their family and friends around it. “It’s all psychological,” says Carter.

She recalls a time when she staged a home so well that the homeowner took it off the market and decided to stay. It shows the power of some simple decorating steps.

One of Carter’s own best moves was working with One More Woman about a year ago. A friend recommended the organization, which is run by Jennifer Love.

One More Woman is an educational, training and consulting platform, which works with female business owners. The organization helps its members to grow as leaders, better manage money, and take their ventures to new heights.

Carter had a goal of making $1 million. The first time she talked to Love, Carter said “I don’t know anything about you.” Love replied, “I help people make $1 million.”

It has been a perfect fit. Love has helped Carter build her confidence and understand her worth. Through One More Woman, Carter also gained a network of fellow female entrepreneurs, who connect regularly.

“We’re all sisters,” says Carter. “Being an entrepreneur is lonely. We get up for battle every day.”

Her best advice for entrepreneurs who want to grow: “Set yourself up with a support system, and hire yourself a really good business coach.”

 Photo credit: Zlatko CetinicImages Made Real