257 | Creating Freedom With Structure: An Entrepreneurial Case Study With Jessica Risko Smith

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  • 257 | Creating Freedom With Structure: An Entrepreneurial Case Study With Jessica Risko Smith

Client Case Study:

Before launching her business, Jessica Risko Smith had a long career at Gensler where she worked with Fortune 500 companies. Jessica was able to gain a full range of experience at the worldwide corporate design firm, especially in business systems and processes. She eventually took what she learned and opened her own firm in Santa Barbara, choosing to specialize in residential interior design.

Jessica was a one-woman show for a couple of years as she built her clientele and residential portfolio. She didn’t have the support of a large team but drew on her background at Gensler who had a well-defined team for everything. After she had her second child and moved to a new office space, Jessica decided it was time to grow. She first brought in a bookkeeper then kept adding others to her team. As a budding business owner, Jessica was a natural but as a lifelong learner intent on honing her craft, she constantly attended conferences and listened to podcasts. Over a decade and countless satisfied clients later, Jessica was still doing a lot of listening and absorbing but she had gotten to a point where she couldn’t implement what she was learning in a way that felt supported. She recognized that her team, although awesome, simply didn’t see the business the way she saw it and they couldn’t help her navigate her biggest challenges:

  • Hiring

  • Being the kind of boss she wanted to be

  • Deciding when to wear each of her many hats

  • Knowing what tasks to prioritize each day

  • Managing self-criticism

  • Celebrating her wins in a compassionate way

  • Recognizing her own capacity

  • Creating efficiency systems

  • Her all or nothing attitude

So… Jessica took action and entered my world as a coaching client. I commended Jessica for investing in herself. I also let her know that in order to see the changes she desired, she’d have to be brave and vulnerable. And boy, was she ever! Jessica willingly poured out her life, business, setbacks, and ideas during our sessions which allowed us to deep dive into limitless possibilities for positive changes. Together, we continuously reflected on what she already accomplished… is in the middle of… made decisions on already… tried that hasn’t worked… tried that has worked… and discussed how her wins can empower her to make decisions on what’s next and where to invest her time. Now equipped with a sounding board and supportive strategies backed by a coach who understands the intricate challenges business owners face, Jessica began investing her time more intentionally. She even dug more design time into her foundation which paved the way for more joy-filled work and higher profitability.

According to Jessica, I gave her the hard truth in areas where she could improve but with empathy and compassion that set the stage for determined action. Jessica is now working more efficiently, touches things less, judges herself less, systemizes more parts of her business so they can practically run themselves, leads her team more confidently, moves through decision making more quickly, and is no longer kicking the can down the road indefinitely because she creates realistic goals for how much she can get done. Instead of setting impossible goals and feeling bad about the 80% of her tasks she couldn’t accomplish as planned, Jessica now schedules only 20% of her work - her most important work that moves the needle forward - and if she is able to accomplish more, great!

Jessica absolutely loves owning her business because it merges her passion for interior design which allows her to be creative and her passion for business which challenges her to grow. She especially loves owning her business now that she’s ironed out many of the challenging kinks. Jessica’s journey to become a better, more impactful business owner has been remarkable to watch - and this chapter of growth all started when Jessica realized she couldn’t go farther on her own and took action to get support via private coaching.

What You'll Discover In This Episode:

In this episode of Productivity Straight Talk, I sit down with Jessica, the owner of Jessica Risko Smith Interior Design, to pull back the curtains on her business and discuss what wasn’t working, how she’s managed to overcome those challenges, and how embracing structure has been surprisingly freeing and empowering!

  • How Jessica Built Her Team & How It’s Serving Her
  • What She Had A Hard Time Recognizing
  • Why Jessica Sought Additional Support & How It’s Helping
  • The Time Management Skills She Utilizes Consistently 
  • How Jessica’s Relationship With Structure Shifted
  • So Much More!

Episode Links & Resources:

Hear A Clip From Jessica Risko Smith:

About Guest:

With a sharp eye for creating relaxed, natural, California-inspired interiors fused with high-end style, Jessica Risko Smith creates transformative residential and commercial environments that are functional, curated, and sustainable. Jessica is highly collaborative during the design process, allowing each client’s personality to take center stage while manifesting their vision of how they want to live. Her projects are layered in materials, textures, and colors, while remaining comfortable, cohesive and livable. Jessica and her skilled team handles all aspects of the design process from concept to completion, ranging from space planning, project management, concept design, and consulting with architects and builders.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Productivity Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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