We had the good fortune of connecting with Katie Falcon and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Katie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
It all started pretty organically but not fully realized until later in life. Like some, when I graduated from college I did not leave with this direct path to follow. I just knew that I wanted to travel more and loved being creative. I never wanted to be in a cubicle. My dad tried to convince me to get my contractors license and become a home builder…I thought he was crazy. The company that I had worked at throughout high school AND college was starting to grow. So when they offered me the chance to create and design events, it just fit. But after many (and I mean many) years, I was still yearning for more. I wanted to design and create daily. I wanted more time with my kids. I wanted to be a business owner. I purchased and renovated my first condo in 2009 when I was 25. When I put it on the market a couple years later, it received several offers within the first day. It made me want to flip houses. There was just one little thing missing…start up funds. My husband and I did it again with our second home to get us to our third. With every home we purchased, the worse condition it was in, the better for me. I loved creating our own space that was uniquely ours. I loved every tedious step when doing a renovation. I loved breathing new life into a home that had become so run down. Throughout these renovations, I would post what we had done on my social media pages. From there, friends would reach out asking if they could hire me to remodel their house. I laughed it off thinking that it could not be a reality. It wasn’t until one day, after returning from an inspiring vacation and a long day at work that it just clicked. I LOVE working on homes…I could start an interior and home design business. So I did it. I told my husband and within two weeks I staged photos, built a web site, created social media pages and enrolled in an online interior design course. All while still working full time. Within two weeks of launching it, I had my first client booked (to my surprise a complete stranger) and it just kept going from there. With the help from referrals and returning clients, in less than one year I was able to quit my job and become a full time entrepreneur. Looking back now, it still amazes me that it took so long to get here. As a kid, I loved walking jobs with my dad on his construction sites. I would rearrange my room any chance I could. As I got older, I used to go to model homes just to look at them… for fun. I truly believe that if you have the passion, you have what it takes to become the business owner you want to be. It sometimes just takes detours, learning and risk taking to get there.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Being creative has always been a part of who I am. When it comes to designing homes, whether it’s one room, inside, outside or an entire house, the possibilities are endless. I pride myself on the fact that every job I have completed is different. That comes from the fact that every client is different. I love being able to help each one get the space they envision. A space that is all their own. Something I have learned along the way is to never stress about one little thing. In one of my very first jobs, the client was helping my husband unload the coffee table. When I looked at his face, it was in utter disgust. He looked as though he hated it. I panicked. I wanted to go home. It made me second guess everything in that room. My husband looked at me and said “Calm down, it’s just one coffee table. If he hates it, return it and get a new one”. It made me take a deep breath and realize that this is art. What people like is completely subjective. As it turned out, once the coffee table was in the room with everything else, he loved it. What didn’t make sense to him as one piece, came together in the end. They later hired me again and we still joked about that life changing coffee table. Luckily, I have not had to return too many things, but that one sentence my husband told me has stuck with me. It made me have thicker skin but also hold strong to my decisions. The reason people hire me is to think outside the box. Give them something unique. One piece may not be good on it’s own, but in the big picture, the room would not have worked without it. I believe that I bring authenticity to every project. I listen to what the clients want. Sometimes that may be two different things. So I work to get that common ground because the goal is the same even if their paths are not in line. My joke to clients is that I also part time as a marriage counselor during the process. I genuinely love what I do and I want the clients to know that we are in this together. I want the end product to be just as perfect as they do. I let them know that I have been through many home projects of my own, so I understand the stress that comes with them. My job is to take on a lot of that stress for them. I want the completed project to reflect them with my finishing touches. I am excited with every new client I sign. I know it brings on a new challenge, design and vision.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The best part of living in Southern California is the endless options. Being able to snowboard and surf in a single day (which I have done) can be quite the adventure. Born and raised in Orange, even attending Chapman University, the Orange Circle will always have a special place in my heart. Now a Tustin resident, I will say Old Town Tustin is starting to catch up with some great new places to eat. Next up would be spending a day in Newport Beach. It would involve hitting the beach, cruising the bars and restaurants on bikes to finally ending the day on a boat cruise through the harbor. Next would be wine tasting in Temecula followed by a couple days in San Diego. It would finally end at the happiest place on earth…Disneyland.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I would not be here without the love and support from family and friends. Those that posted about my company on day one and believed in me. To the very first clients that took a risk on someone who had no experience or portfolio in hand. My husband always stands by my ideas and decisions no matter how crazy they get. He has also been my go to assistant/helper/handyman for many projects. He is my voice of reason when I start to stress out. Working nights and weekends with me has been the biggest support I could have. Knowing that we are in this together is so comforting. My kids have been so excited, patient and supportive with me following this dream. They are my biggest cheerleaders. I never would have expected them to be so understanding at such a young age. Working from home while home schooling has its challenges but the reward of being with them more is worth all of it. They have literally been along for the ride, which includes many car rides to check in on projects or shopping trips. And on that note, I have to give a special shout out to the happy meal… Finally, to my family and friends that have jumped at a moments notice to watch my kids. I have greatly appreciated the clients that have understood when I have had my kids with me, but the demands of owning and growing your own business cannot always allow that. To my family, it’s quality time. To my friends, it’s a playdate for their kids too. To me, it has been the support I have needed to grow this business, especially during a pandemic when school and childcare is not an option. I would not be where I am now without those that offered or said yes immediately when I asked.

Website: www.lacolinaliving.com
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lacolinaliving/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lacolinaliving/

Image Credits
Work Photos: Me and my iPhone. Personal Shots: My talented sister Adriana Means.

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