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I'm Erika Ward

Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation.  My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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The best way to gain experience and knowledge in an industry is becoming an assistant to one of the best in that industry. Being an assistant means you are someone’s right hand man / go to girl.

Although it may seem like a lot of pressure, it can also be an extremely rewarding job. Let’s take a look at my top 10 things that design assistants should know:

1. There is a thin line between being persistent and being aggravating.

When reaching out to your potential employer, you must realize they are extremely busy. Not only are they focusing on building their empire, they have lives outside of their careers which must be given the same amount of attention. Therefore, if you reach out to someone and they do not automatically respond, then DO NOT send another message saying, “Hello! Did you receive my message?” Politely reach out again by sending a reminder that you are available to help out in any capacity.

2. Understand that you must be organized.

When you are organized this creates less stress for not only yourself, but for your boss. Allowing things to get out of hand lowers the chances of you becoming productive throughout the day. You must stay on top of things so that you are able to make your deadlines. Some ways to stay organized would be by keeping your calendar nearby, having separate folders for different clients, and write down everything. This brings me to my next point.

3. Write down everything.

There is nothing worse than ordering the wrong sofa color for a client simply because you didn’t write it down. You may believe you can remember everything, but there will be times you just may forget. Therefore, to be on the safe side and write it down!

4. Figure out things on your own.

If your boss sends you on the quest to find that specific pillow, by any means, go find it. They may send you to West Elm, but if they are out of stock, DO NOT tell your boss, “West Elm is out of stock, now what should I do?” Let your boss know that West Elm is out of stock, but Home Goods and Williams Sonoma is right down street and you will check there. This allows your boss to see your critical thinking skills and shows them that you do not give up easily.

5. Be happy.

It sounds simple doesn’t it? DO NOT complain about how tired you are, because more likely; your boss is more exhausted than you are. Push through and keep smiling. If you are feeling moody and grumpy keep it to yourself because this brings negative energy into the workplace.

6. Have a work ethic.

As the assistant, your job is to help your boss and make their lives easier. Go above and beyond what you are expected to do. Which means stay late if you need to and ALWAYS be on time. You don’t have to always wait to be told what to do, sometimes taking the initiative is the better approach.

7. Volunteer for everything.

As the newest member to the team, there is always something to be done. From organizing the office supplies room to getting a head start on next week’s blog post; you should never be just sitting around. This shows you are willing to put the necessary steps in order to help the business become more successful.

8. Be efficient.

Multitasking is a must. While you’re in the Starbucks line, go ahead and call Pottery Barn to make sure they have that 8×10 rug; If you’re unfamiliar with a term, Google it. Always think ahead and be ready for what may be next.

9. DO NOT give unsolicited negative advice.

If you are assisting in a master bedroom project and your boss places a leopard print pillow on the bed, then you should not say, “Well I don’t like that one.” You job is to assist in the vision in which your boss has and not to create your own. It’s always better to give positive unsolicited advice instead.


Listen when your boss is giving instructions to the next project. Listen to the client when they tell you they aren’t too fond of the pattern on the chair. Listen to your boss when they tell you to order the grey sectional and not the blue one. It is extremely important to listen and ask questions if you need further direction.
I believe that applying these tools will allow your boss to see that you are valuable and worth keeping. Learn as much as you can while being an assistant. The knowledge and experience that is gained will forever be with you. Wouldn’t you agree?

Share your thoughts with me down below!

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Over a decade ago, I exchanged my corporate life in building construction for an opportunity to enhance your personal home via decoration and renovation. My mission? To help busy professionals make their homes their sanctuaries.

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