Have you thought about how your business can build a social media following, but maybe didn’t know where to get started? Our guest today, Kevin Kamali, shares with us how he and his business partner went from an average local contractor to a local household name with more than 200,000 social media followers! Kevin and his partner have been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo News, and many other publications.
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LINKS FROM THE EPISODE:
- Check out Kevin’s website: https://eahomedesign.com/
- Follow them on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ea_home_design/
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ABOUT OUR GUEST:
Kevin Kamali and his partner, Ali Meshksar, are two interior design entrepreneurs with 20+ years of industry experience in the home design renovation space. Having founded their company EA Home Design in Sterling Virginia, Kevin and Ali quickly found a growing need for their services as the home renovation space began to evolve. Offering bespoke design solutions to homeowners that want to take their interiors to the next level, the two entrepreneurs have become leaders in their field, creating transformational designs including kitchens and bathrooms that have luxurious finishes.
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Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (00:00):
Welcome to the Multiply Your Success podcast, where each week we help growth-minded entrepreneurs and franchise leaders take the next step in their expansion journey. I’m your host, Tom DuFore, CEO of Big Sky Franchise Team. And as we open today, I’m wondering if you have ever thought about how your business can build a social media following, and not just you personally, but your business build that social media following, but maybe you didn’t know where to start. Well, our guest today is Kevin Kamali and he shares with us how he and his business partner went from an average local contractor to a local household name with more than 200,000 social media followers. Kevin and his partner have been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, Yahoo News, and many other publications featuring their work. He shares such great practical advice on how to get started and some of the steps that they took to build this following and build the reputation of their business. So let’s go ahead and jump right into my interview with Kevin Kamali.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (01:01):
My name is Kevin Kamali. We are a design and remodeling company in Northern Virginia. We have been in business for about… this company under this name, about nine years, and we have been very successful in this past nine years.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (01:15):
Great. Well, and one of the reasons why I was interested in having you on the show is what you and your partner have done in using social media to not only grow your business, but to also disrupt your business. So I’d love for you just to talk a little bit about where you started with social media, just in terms of followers and engagement and such, and where you are now? Just to give us a scope of how you’ve grown with that.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (01:42):
Sure. Of course, we started with very traditional marketing advertising, like anyone else, the old school way, but little by little we found that as time changes, the technology, everything is changing. The society is changing and you always have to catch up. You got to be up to date and we started going strong at social media. Right now on Instagram we have over 200,000 followers, which is rare for a remodeling company. Remodeling companies don’t focus that much on social media, but it is very important. It is very important and that was one of the big steps that we took in our business and really helped us. We have dropped all other ways of advertising and marketing. It’s all about social media.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:36):
Well, and look I know I can speak for myself and probably someone who’s going to listen in here and says, they hear drop all other marketing and advertising channels and rely on social media. That seems a little scary.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (02:50):
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (02:52):
So, talk to us about that and how that worked for you.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (02:56):
It’s working for us, but its hard work, don’t think it’s going to be easy. You got to be there all the time, 24/7, you got to be active. You got to post. You got to be interactive. We get so many messages coming through. We answer people’s questions. We post new pictures, new videos feeds and reels. And everything we are just always there active. You got to keep it interesting for people, otherwise people are not going to come back and look for you. I have really people, clients, we meet, they say every morning they get up, they first, they check our Instagram. See what’s new on there. They’re excited in the morning. That’s the first thing they do before even they check their families Instagram, but I’ve been told by people. I’m not just making this up, but because we make it fresh, we make it always interesting. It could be informative. It could be pictures. It could be little videos, you got to work on it. It’s hard, it’s not that easy to post these things on Instagram. There’s so many limitations there too.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (04:03):
Absolutely. And you talked about before we started the interview and some of the information you shared, you talked about using social media to disrupt an industry and how just about any business would be able to do that. I’d love for you to talk through what you mean by that and maybe some steps someone could take.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (04:24):
Yes, every business can do that. You got to make more of a personal connection with people and social media allows you to do that. You cannot do that the old school, I told you, cliche advertising marketing, like send all this flyers, hundred-thousand piece of paper out there. People put in the recycle bin. And it’s more, they connect with you. Social media allows that to connect with you. They see you, we have all videos. Again, we go to people’s house, say, “I know you, I watch your video. I’ve seen you”. That connection, you have gone half the way, if you’re in sales, 50% of sales is done, because they already know you. They feel more comfortable with you.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (05:09):
Breaking the ice is very difficult, in the beginning, in the sales, in any business, but this social media really helps you. Of course, you got to work hard on it. You have to spend a little money. You got to invest in it a little bit at the same time. Hiring somebody however, there are different ways of doing that, but you got to always updating it, spending money, if you have a website linked it to your social media, all that. And just make yourself more known, make people be feel more comfortable with you. And social media helps a lot with that.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (05:47):
Well, and for you Kevin, and your partner and what you’re doing, and as you start using social media to grow, do you have recommended social media channels that you prefer or have found work better, or maybe some suggestions on how someone listening in might be able to help with their find the right one for their business?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (06:09):
Well, the best is… to be honest with you so far has worked for us is Instagram and Facebook, but we are on Pinterest in our kind of work field, Pinterest helps a lot of people go check a lot. And we just start a little bit on TikTok on Twitter, all of that, but Facebook and Instagram, they on top of the list. And I mean, you can do advertising with Facebook, you can do it with Instagram and all that. After that, of course Google, if you work hard for your business, if you have like, we have five store reviews everywhere, Google helps a lot there too. But that’s kind of a supplement that comes on to support the rest of it. These are the best, but everything is online nowadays. You got to really get into that.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:04):
Do you do the management of this? Are you and your partner managing this yourselves? Do you have marketing people? Do you outsource some of this? How, how does that work?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (07:13):
My partner, Ali is more on top of it. He does manage it, but we have some people, we have hired some people to help us with, of course this. We have few people, they help us, every one of them and Ali manages them. He’s more on that side.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (07:33):
Sure, sure. I see. And a lot of this, especially you mentioned Instagram, Facebook, this is very image driven with pictures and videos and different things like that are required. How are you taking these images, photos, or editing, doing all of that? Is there anything special or anything you might recommend?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (08:00):
Well, it is like in the process of whatever we do, whatever we do, any in projects, we always take even short videos. Even everything that could be a little interesting. All of this little tiny videos. It brings, it draws people’s attention. They look at, they don’t know, they don’t do this. We do it. We see it every day might be not that… I mean, it’s normal for us. We see that every day, but every little thing in one accessory in one cabinet, for example, we take a short video. We show that, people say, “Wow! We didn’t know this is possible”. At least it’s going to draw 30% of your followers attention, every little one of them. But you got to keep showing, making people familiar. Knowledge is very important. People nowadays, there are people who sell just their knowledge out there. They’re making money by just talking about what they knew, but we provided for free, just keep our follower and we get, of course customers leads and all that.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (09:06):
It’s interesting how you mentioned that taking images or pictures or videos of things that do not seem that interesting to you and your partner because you see it every day. So I’d be curious, could you give another example or two of that? Because I’m thinking in my mind, whether it’s something for our business or even clients we’ve worked with where they might be able to say the mundane things that you do every day that you take for granted, because you know very well could be interesting for someone that doesn’t do it every day. So I’d love for you to talk a little bit about that.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (09:42):
I mean, like I tell you, people don’t know, for example. In the kitchen, you can have a pantry that the whole shelf comes out. You can reach your pantry, not the inside. The pantry comes outside to you and you can have access from both sides. And some people don’t even know that’s possible. There are accessories that you can have a small appliance in the kitchen that totally is spring loaded. It goes and hides inside your cabinet. You open it and pops up and you use it. You push it back away and it gets hit and cover the game inside the cabinetry.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (10:20):
We show these things and it’s very, very interesting. We see how get people get excited about it, because they don’t know what is available. What is possible in there, or what we do in bathrooms. But it could be very little, sometimes it’s very little. Like all of our project, many of them see, I give, I recommend people, this bathroom fans that they have Bluetooth speaker and they have nightlight, two color nightlight. It’s something simple. It’s not expensive either, but all this little things, people love it. After we install it, they love it. And they say, “Oh my God, I can’t believe I enjoy staying in this bathroom”, taking showers and not get out. You got to make it fun at the same time. You got to make it interesting and exciting for people. You got to get people excited about it. You can’t be that same boring old, salesperson. Let me put it that way.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (11:19):
It has to be something different, it has to be. You got to… of course educate yourself. You got to learn. Every day we learn. I’ve been in home improvement for 25 years now. It started very early in flooring and came up little by little. It was like 20 years ago. I was scared of ceramic tile, “Oh my God, what kind of species that?”, but now it’s a piece I tried. I went to so many training, so many things to learn about it. I learn and learn and learn. Now, when you learn, you have the knowledge, you have the confidence to talk about it. People see you’re knowledgeable, you know what you’re talking about. They trust you. And it’s all about the trust. To trust you, to know you and then will be a popular going out there. That’s how it is. And it’s sort of nowadays, it’s more about personal connection, that communication, that connection you make with people. Networking of course again, not like the old networking. There was all this BNI meetings. I don’t know if you’re familiar with BNI meeting.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:27):
Oh sure. Absolutely.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (12:30):
Used to go to a lot of them. 15 years ago, 20 years ago when I was working for another company and it was something really boring, connecting and all that. But it’s different now that social media has brought it to a different level. We connect directly to the people out there to your clients.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (12:50):
So you’re able to use this as a medium to connect directly with them. And I think it’s interesting how you stated, it’s really starting to build that relationship with your client or perspective client before they even meet you. So when you walk and I’d imagine in home improvement, in general contracting construction industry for people in their homes, that they’re always worried. I know, let me rephrase. That you if you don’t know, or haven’t worked with a contractor before, you’re nervous. You’re not sure is this person going to show up? Are they going to charge you a fair price? Are they going to do a good job or quality job? How is that all going to work?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (13:32):
That’s important. Of course that’s the first part. After that, you have to be catered. You got to be good at what you’re doing. You should have a system in place. You got to be organized. You got to be on top of it. As I told you, we have five star reviews everywhere on house, home advisor, Google. It’s very difficult for past five years, we keep a five star review, very difficult. And with people hearing about all these horror stories about contractors, they’re scared.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (14:00):
Sometime in beginning, some people even have an attitude towards us until we prove to them we are not like that. I have a good example right now we’re doing a project, a big bathroom. The very first week we haven’t finished the project. The very first week, the homeowner, he said, I have had horrible experiences. You guys are the first one. And I’m going to right now… by end of first week, we have three more weeks of work, but he says, “I’m going to give you five star reviews. You guys are amazing. Communication level, the way you guys work, your system, your setup”, they’re happy with it. And he’s already telling me even though I’m not done with the project and it’s very amazing. And the first day he interviewed me, he interrogated me instead of interviewing me to start working with us. But it’s all, you got to be consistent. You got to have a system. You got to have… dedicated to what you do. And of course you got to love what you do. You got to have a passion for what you do, otherwise you get organized for it.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:10):
And I really like how you said there that the social media can draw some attention. It can bring people in and get a following, but that’s just the first half. Right?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (15:21):
That’s the first step.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:22):
You got to follow through with your service or your product, whatever you’re selling.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (15:26):
Or you’re doing.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (15:29):
That’s an important one for sure. Well, Kevin, what I’d love to do is take a little bit of time here and ask you the same questions we ask every guest before they go. And the first question we ask everyone, is, has there been a miss or two that you’ve had along the way and something you learned from it?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (15:53):
Yeah. Well, goes back two years ago. One of the things as we talked was we started social media, we think a little bit late. I wish we have started that a little bit even earlier, sooner than when we started. In early career, wherever you were don’t let anyone else to make decisions for you. Sometimes you listen too much to family, friends and all that. Everybody says something, do this, do that. But you got to look into your heart and see what you love to do. What you like to do, and then go for it because you put all your effort into that. You are going to be no matter whatever you do, you want to get into art, drawing, whatever are going to be successful if you love that.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (16:38):
You got to like, we enjoy what we do. I’m giving an example. We can’t wait to finish a project and take pictures. We get excited about it. We keep just bugging the customer. When can we come and take a picture? When can we come and take picture with you? And we are done. We love it. It’s how we treated it like it’s our own home. It’s like a creation by us and every project. Everyone who goes to our website will see what we talk about. It’s pretty in our website, but that’s one thing. Of course in the first few years of my very early days, I will listening to this and that, and I made a mistake and I just switched and said, I got to do what I like. I got to do this, go for what I have passion for.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (17:29):
And how about on the other side here. We talk about a miss. You’ve shared already some makes with us, but is there another or two you’d like to share?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (17:40):
That’s when I started having making connections, network, relationships, building relationships. I really sometimes get surprised when people call me after five years. That impression that you leave is very important. You don’t need to run after people, people come after you. Just keep all this keeping good attitude, communicate people, always smile, no matter what, no matter how much you’re under stress. You got to always give you the happy face. You got to be problem solver. Problem solver always, always look for solutions for problem solver. People won’t forget. They can’t even work with someone else. I have clients. They can’t. They say, “Oh, I don’t have the money, but I’ll wait. I’m not going to work with anyone who’s cheaper than you. I’ll wait for you until I can save more money”. That trust you build that connection you build. People will never forget.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (18:40):
And thank you. And how about a multiplier that you’ve used to grow personally, professionally, the business?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (18:48):
Multiplier business wise? I think the biggest multiplier for us was the social media, to be honest with you. Back to that again, it just was a big jump for us. It really helped us and going all digital. We do not use a piece of paper in our whole business. Everything is digital from signing signature contract, everything is in system. Even floor plans, drawings, everything is in computer, in our servers. And that helped us a lot to be organized and systematic. And you never lose a paper, doesn’t matter. We won’t lose anything because there is nothing on paper. We have no filing cabinet. That is being organized.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (19:35):
Personally, I recommend everybody eat healthy, exercise. Don’t let the work drive your life. You need to have a life too. Of course, you need to be relaxed. You need to rest your mind and body to be fresh enough to be able focus and work better. I know if you make money right now and you work 24 hours a day in one or two year, you can’t last very long. You are human beings. You got to give breaks to yourself and start again.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:10):
Great advice. And the final question we like to ask every guest Kevin is, what does success mean to you?
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (20:20):
In short, I can say, first, health then prosperity. You got to keep a healthy lifestyle, then work hard. Hopefully, these two hand in hand could be success. You can have one without another. You need to have, if you have both, that’s the absolute success in life.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (20:39):
How can people learn more about what you’re doing? Follow you on social media and take a look at what you’re doing so that they could emulate what’s working for you.
Kevin Kamali, EA Home Design (20:49):
Sure they can follow us in social and Instagram would be the best, which is EA_HOME_DESIGN. That’s also our Instagram and our website is amazing with the galleries, all pictures, videos of every project before and after. You can see the transformation and that’s EA homedesign.com. We have, I told as far as information, we have our online calendar. People can go on our website and make appointments. They don’t even need to talk to us. And it just pops up, pops on our calendar and we see it and we’ll go to their homes. But our website and Instagram are the best and it’s impressive.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (21:41):
Kevin, thank you so much for a great interview and sharing your insights on how you and your partner, were able to build a social media following and growing your business through the use of digital technology. So let’s jump into our three key takeaways. Takeaway number one is when Kevin talked about needing to make a personal connection with other people and with your customers and he and his partner have done this through the use of social media. And they’ve been able to grow to over 200,000 followers.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:11):
Takeaway number two is partially how they built those followers. And he said that they post things that seem mundane to them, but their followers enjoy because it’s new to the followers. And so while something mundane to maybe you or something that you see ever every day in your day to day work may be of interest to your perspective customers. What are you doing? It might be worthwhile to be talking about it or sharing that.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (22:40):
Take away number three, I really like this. This came from when he talked about a miss and he said, “Don’t let other people make decisions for you”. I thought that was really profound, a great statement, a little just nugget of gold sitting in there. Don’t let other people make decisions for you and enjoy what you do. So I thought that was a great takeaway. And now it’s time for today’s win-win.
Tom DuFore, Big Sky Franchise Team (23:07):
So today’s win-win is when Kevin talked about the social media and growing your followers to be the first step in building that initial trust. However, the second part is that you have to follow through. You have to do great work, be organized, do what you say you’re going to do. So it’s the social media and the following helps build the trust and build the relationship and get that customer maybe to sign up or get them to move forward with you. But then the rubber meets the road and you have to follow through. And that’s the episode today folks. Please make sure you subscribe to the podcast and give us your review and remember if you or anyone you know might be ready to franchise their business or take their franchise company to the next level. Please connect with email@example.com. Thanks for tuning in. And we look forward to having you back next week.