By: dittoddt On: June 28, 2017 In: Interviews, Success Stories Comments: 0

Interview with Nader Kawas - Norman Michel Designs

Because we work with Artists and Entrepreneurs we at LiveWork Denver are very accustomed to clients with highly unique needs. Given the state of Denver’s current real estate market; extremely limited inventory, great mortgage rates, and intense buyer competition, we have successfully employed a number of non-traditional methods to help our clients be successful at buying and selling their property. Alternative methods such as visualization and manifestation can be powerful tools in creating success no matter the goal.

Nader Kawas, owner of Norman Michel Designs, is one of the most efficient manifesters I know! During the more than 15 years I’ve known him, Nader has envisioned the life he wants, laid out loose plans on how to achieve the goals he sets and then rapidly brought them into reality. I sat down with Nader back in January to chat and learn more about how he works this magic.

LA: Your journey as an entrepreneur has always fascinated me. Remind me how being operating your own business started for you.

NADER: When I graduated in 2008 from Metro State with a degree in Industrial Design more than half of my friends had lost their jobs as a result of the Great Recession. I’d put myself through school working as a handyman and when I could get an interview for a "job-job" it became clear that I could make a better living by expanding my handyman business than going to work for someone else. Then that led to me moving into a 96-unit property at 13th & Penn as the Super which allowed me to lower my living expenses while I built up my handyman/design work.

LA: NICE! Smoothly navigating that transition can be the make-or-break for many entrepreneurs. When did you shift into full solo-preneur status?

NADER: 2013 - The Super job had become crazy stressful. So much so, I was experiencing blindness in one eye. But my living situation was tied to that job so after some number crunching and research I decided to raise my rates a bit and, without the responsibilities of the building I could take on the needed new clients to allow my numbers to work. So I made the leap.

LA: I know sometime in this period you were making art furniture too. Share a bit about that if you would.

NADER: Sure. The Industrial Design bug from my degree was still really active at that point. Tenants moving in and out of the building would leave all kinds of interesting things in the alley behind the building. Everyone once in a while there’d be a piece that would inspire me. I flirted with trying to make an income stream of it but the timing was wrong. We were still deep in the recession and furniture takes up a lot of space so when I left the building gig I also lost my work space for that. I’d conceived the pieces as art and people perceived them as art. But no one was BUYING art. We were still deep in the throws of the recession.

LA: What does your business look like now?

NADER: In 2011/12 the job market started to come back but by that time I knew companies could hire kids straight out of college for less than I was making. I had expired! So I continued adding to my skill set and got my Master Gardener certification at Colorado State University and landscaping to the services I offered. That lead to adding Holiday design & decorating to keep work all year round. Now I serve about ?????? clients here in Denver Metro.

LA: Great! You mention “Denver” clients you now serve three cities, right? The way this occurred, is to me a beautiful example of just what a powerful manifestor you are. Tell the story.

NADER: Yeah, 2012 was a rough rear. I felt like my social life falling apart, lost some friends and really felt like I was in the wrong place. I allowed myself to dream about where I might move. I’ve got skills, no-one to tie me here really … why not move to Brazil or Chile? Then in the spring of 2013 a friend who had moved to San Francisco invited me to come visit. I blossomed there, felt really alive and like I’d found a tribe to belong to. I saved $10K and took a month long drive up the coast, spent some time networking to see what business I might be able to build there. But the cost of living was really high and then my dad got sick and that required a lot of back and forth to the Twin Cites. That’s where I’m from. That back and forth created a little business there and that’s how I came to work in three cities. I get to bop from San Fran to Denver - Minneapolis/St Paul and make people’s homes beautiful!

LA: I must confess I’ve experienced a breath or two of envy for the life you’ve built for yourself. Let’s get practice for a second - Nuts and bolts; how have you built up your client base and how do you track your business?

NADER: New clients come primarily from referrals of happy clients, word of mouth. I’ve got a website, but it’s more of an online portfolio. And I’ve never been nervous meeting people. I was more nervous about this interview than meeting a new client. Tracking is something I hope to evolve this year. Now I’m still doing paper receipts which I hand off to my accountant who does my taxes.

LA: In wrap up - What was the most difficult issue you faced in 2016 and how are you feeling about the entrepreneurial climate these days?

NADER: The Election was the most difficult but we won’t go there. I’m feeling good about the business climate. I make an effort to keep my joy in life. And my work allows me maximum flexibility to fulfill my need to create, design, and offer clever solutions to the challenges my clients offer up.

LA: Thanks Nader!!

How to find Nader