Creative Genius Podcast

Season 3 Episode 4

Don’t Hold Back (Vicky Serany)

Don’t Hold Back (Vicky Serany)

What’s keeping you from growing your business and realizing your dreams?  Often it’s not a lack of skills or knowledge or resources that holds us back but a lack of confidence in ourselves.  Believe in yourself and your abilities and go for it.  You can do it.

On today’s podcast Gail and Erin talk with Vicky Serany, founder and principal designer, Southern Studio Interior Design in Cary, North Carolina.  Her projects span the East Coast, and she is particularly known for her expertise in the creation of casually sophisticated vacation homes.  Her extensive work in luxury residential construction and design has been featured in publications locally and nationally. Vicky was named 2020 Designer of the Year by Southern Living magazine.

Vicky was close to giving up on her business when she came to Gail for help.  She loved designing but found running a business challenging and frustrating.  “I just didn’t have the tools,” she said.  “I thought there must be some secret handbook that nobody gave me a copy of.”  With Gail’s guidance, she took control of her business and eventually found a way to balance her work with the things she wanted to do that were outside of interior design.

Gail asked Vicky what were the biggest lessons she learned as a result of those changes.  The biggest lesson, she said, was to learn to believe in herself.  “I wish I had gained more confidence earlier,” she remarked.  “If I were to do things differently, I would not hold back.”

Vicky also said she’s realized the importance of getting help when you need it and of having a peer group that you can trust that’s going to support you.  “Nobody understands your challenges like your peers in this business,” she said, speaking about the benefits she’s gained as a member of the first Boardroom Group.

Since she’s now run a highly successful design business for many years, Gail asked Vicky what thoughts she might have to share with designers who are not as far along in their businesses.  First, get help, get coaching.  “Our business would not be where it is today without your team,” she told Gail.  Next, implement EOS, the Entrepreneurial Operating System.  Also, it’s essential that you believe in yourself and love what you do.  Otherwise, it’s never going to work.  Finally, she said, her firm’s motto is “work hard, play hard.”  If you only have your work, then what are you working for?

Going back to her first meeting with Gail, as a closing piece of advice Vicky offered, “Be vulnerable.  That’s when you start to grow.”

Listen to the entire podcast to hear more from Vicky about how her firm is dealing with the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, her future plans, and the story behind the infamous “Interrogation Chair.”

Mentioned in This Podcast

You can find out more about Vicky, her team, her projects and read her blog on the firm’s website at

Vicky urged every business owner to implement the EOS — the Entrepreneurial Operating System, a set of simple concepts and practical tools to help any business improve and grow.  To find out more about EOS, go to

Erin asked Vicky if she would recommend any of the books she’s recently read.  She named two:

In addition, Vicky mentioned in passing the book, The Miracle Morning (more information at

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