Courtney Turk: “You can forge new paths”

Especially early on in the pandemic, we have learned to appreciate the little things in life that bring us joy. Even if it was the chance to go for a short walk outside with my family, it meant the world to us. I think we’ve really learned to appreciate the little things in life that […]

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Especially early on in the pandemic, we have learned to appreciate the little things in life that bring us joy. Even if it was the chance to go for a short walk outside with my family, it meant the world to us. I think we’ve really learned to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy that we’ve taken for granted for so long.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Many of us now have new challenges that come with working from home, homeschooling, and sheltering in place.

As a part of our series about how busy women leaders are addressing these new needs, I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Turk, CEO and founder of Courtney Turk Interiors, internationally recognized decorator, decor content creator, and mother of two beautiful children.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

With a family that has always had a passion for the arts, I grew up with a lot of creative inspiration. My mother and grandfather were both artists and my aunt stages homes and is an interior decorator as well. I had a lot of experience getting in touch with my creative side from day one. As a little girl I often rearranged my entire house and find new ways to repurpose our belongings as I moved around frequently as part of a military family. I tried a few other career paths before decorating but I always came to the one passion that is now my very own business.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started at your company?

The most interesting story thus far is being told time and time again that because of my educational background and previous job history that this dream could not become a reality. There is something about the constant reminder that you won’t rise up, that pushes you even further to prove those people wrong. Now when I am out with my family, my children hear someone at the playground stopping to commend me on my accomplishments. The fact that I can see how proud they are of their mama is one of the very examples I am trying to teach them. They can be anything they want in life, if they work hard enough!

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

At the moment I am working on a lot of E-design services for my clients. I will share some tips on my blog on how to work with remote decorating services and achieve the same results as in-person consultations. It can even be more cost effective and satisfying for some of my customers knowing they were involved throughout the production of the project. I’ve got a dozen or so projects on the go right now ranging from E-design services for a single room all the way up to a full cottage update.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

I owe so much of my success to my supportive husband. From day one, he has been my anchor in making this business a success. As an accomplished and nationally awarded marketer, he is continuously providing guidance on my website, blog content, social media engagement and more to create the brand that is Courtney Turk Interiors. Without his support and words of encouragement during the pandemic I don’t know If the business would be thriving the same way it is today. In the early stages of COVID-19, every time I felt defeated from the impact it had on my business and the sudden loss of momentum in my business, he was there with words of encouragement and the motivation to keep at it and keep going. He has never given up on me and continues to push me out of my comfort zone.

The Covid-19 pandemic has affected nearly every aspect of our lives today. Can you articulate to our readers what are the biggest family related challenges you are facing as a woman business leader during this pandemic?

I’m sure it comes as no surprise that childcare has to be one of the biggest issues. With two young children at home (ages 4 and 5), it certainly has been an adjustment trying to accomplish a day’s work with the demanding needs of young children. The balance between being present as a mother and making sure your children’s well-being is in check all while trying to keep your business afloat is certainly not an easy task. Add into that home schooling for my oldest as she finished her first year of school virtually can be a lot to handle.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

Almost every one of my projects hit pause when the quarantine started. The majority of my projects were in-person services so I had to carefully stop business until it was safe to resume, which ended up being much longer than expected.

Initially I focused on my kids completely. I wanted to really make sure that my kids mental health and well-being was taken care of first and foremost before diving back into my work.

Once I knew I had the kid’s schedules taken care of and I started allotting time for my husband to watch the kids as he was working remote, I was able to get back to business. My first order of business was to strategize and create a content calendar for my blog. My strategy was to adapt to the new realities that a lot of people were facing and take a position of support to resonate with my audience as much as possible. A lot of individuals were impacted by COVID-19 financially, including myself, so I created blogs on being budget friendly during the pandemic while still remaining on trend and looking the part. The time I took pausing from my current projects also allowed me to become more digital and create a platform for virtual/e-design services which I didn’t previously offer. This allowed flexibility for clients who were spending more time in their homes than ever, an option for decor services while remaining socially distant. This service has quickly become a cornerstone of my service offering.

As time has moved on and social circles have begun opening up, I’ve had some help from grandparents and a babysitter to watch my children a couple days a week while I rent a small office space outside of the home. The minute the economy started to open back up, my business was busier than ever with home renovations and updates. I have had to quickly adjust to the new influx of clients. I think finding a space outside of the home for me was key, It allowed me to have a clear focus on the tasks at hand rather than the distractions of the house and children.

Can you share the biggest work related challenges you are facing as a woman in business during this pandemic?

I think one of the biggest issues specifically about being a woman in business during the pandemic is the general idea that a woman must be the caregiver, the chef, the house cleaner etc. Women and mothers especially, tend to be the glue to their family’s needs. Throw in being a business owner and your plate is pretty full. I have always balanced being a stay at home mother and providing a healthy environment for my children while kicking off my business at the same time. Pre-COVID however, I would feel guilty when I had to reschedule a client due to the demands of motherhood. If anything, COVID has opened the eyes to so many of the lack of support for childcare. I now feel like the world is realizing the challenges at hand and are more forgiving of a tighter schedule, especially for those with children at home.

Can you share what you’ve done to address those challenges?

I have accepted that so many of us are in the same boat. Having compassion for someone else in the same situation almost brings us all closer together. Sometimes a Facetime call will be interrupted by a child’s demands and that’s ok, we don’t need to hide the fact that we are all juggling a family and business at the same time. We should be proud of those interruptions knowing we can tackle it all.

Can you share your advice about how to best work from home, while balancing the needs of homeschooling or the needs of a family?

SCHEDULE! Having a consistent schedule like you did pre-COVID is crucial. In the beginning I let the kids stay in their PJs all day, play and watch movies like an extended vacation, but that became old and restless very quickly causing tension for us all. The minute we reverted back to a schedule as if we were running out the door, things calmed down. Mornings when everyone was fresh was the time that worked for us for homeschooling. Sometimes the teachers had an afternoon call and for us, we opted out every single time. Just because it worked for the teachers and other families didn’t mean it had to work for us. Afternoons we spent getting fresh air and having quiet time. The quiet time for the kids was at 1pm every day. This allowed me to schedule calls with clients and e-consultations between 1–3pm. Knowing I had the same window of time each day made me incredibly productive in that short window.

Can you share your strategies about how to stay sane and serene while sheltering in place, or simply staying inside, for long periods with your family?

This was a big adjustment and truly took a minute for me. I am naturally a busy person. I crave attention and interaction with people and places. I am always looking for new inspiration and adventure in the world around me, so this part wasn’t easy at first. I had to re-create a new method for fitness since the gym was such a mental release for me pre-COVID. Sticking to a healthy lifestyle was a big part of remaining serene, but I also had to let go of a lot of control. I like things a certain way as most do and I am particular about the cleanliness and organization in my home. When I let go of the desire to control every situation it helped our entire family be at peace with one another. If a room stayed messy for a couple of days, it was ok. We were healthy and happy, and those things soon became the priority over others. Of course, we had off days, but truly being present in the moment helped us all stay sane.

Many people have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. The fears related to the coronavirus pandemic have understandably heightened a sense of uncertainty, fear, and loneliness. From your perspective can you help our readers to see the “Light at the End of the Tunnel”? Can you share your “5 Reasons To Be Hopeful During this Corona Crisis”? If you can, please share a story or example for each.

1. Everyone can be a hero

We learned a lot about ourselves and others in our community. This crisis allowed us to truly appreciate all the people in our lives. Everything from the healthcare workers to the grocery store clerks. Every interaction we have is now more meaningful and gives a lot of weight as to what we can hopefully bring to reality post-pandemic.

2. Employers are now more understanding

With advanced technology and remote work becoming the norm, we can be hopeful for a better work life balance in our lives. Employers have been forced to truly take a look at productivity and how to provide more flexibility for their employees. The new normal should be a more fulfilling and balanced life for many.

3. You can forge new paths

You wouldn’t stand under a tree in a lightning storm, you would take cover until the storm passes. The same goes for this pandemic. This storm will pass, trees will be knocked over and business uprooted in its path of destruction but there is always a rainbow at the end of the storm. It may take time to see that the path you were on before wasn’t meant to withstand this pandemic, but the new path you are on now is actually the one you were destined for. We have all been forced to change our way of thinking, fear and uncertainty creep in but nothing is worth fighting for unless there is some level of fear. I do believe we will all come out of this stronger than ever. Having a new respect for work, life balance and cherishing our loved ones and businesses we worked so hard to keep alive during this time.

4. Continued learning

Everything we go through as a person or business is a learning opportunity. We’ve learned so much about people, processes, and ourselves during this pandemic. Once we eventually come out of the pandemic, we will be wiser and more thoughtful in certain situations.

5. We appreciate the little things

Especially early on in the pandemic, we have learned to appreciate the little things in life that bring us joy. Even if it was the chance to go for a short walk outside with my family, it meant the world to us. I think we’ve really learned to appreciate the little things in life that make us happy that we’ve taken for granted for so long.

From your experience, what are a few ideas that one can use to effectively offer support to their family and loved ones who are feeling anxious? Can you explain?

A lending ear — hear their concerns and fears with an unbiased approach. Some people are experiencing anxiety for the first time and not only are afraid of the state of the world but their internal battle. Letting your friends and family know you too are anxious but remain hopeful for a healthy economy again. Invite this person for a social distance hang out or walk if it permits, send them a floral arrangement or new book to let them know you are thinking of them when they least expect it to lift their spirit.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Wayne Gretzky has a great quote “You miss 100 percent of the shots you never take”. I took a shot on myself, started a business and so far, it has turned out spectacularly. Always bet on yourself to succeed.

How can our readers follow you online?

You can follow my blog at, @courtney_turk on instagram, and Courtney Turk Interiors on both Facebook and LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

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