Keisha Gilchrist is no stranger to unpleasant work experiences. During her first career in marketing, she took on side gigs in the service industry to supplement her pay, faced workplaces that operated like old boys’ clubs, and muscled through monotonous day jobs while carving out time to foster her true passion: selling and designing homes.
Once she finally made the career pivot, however, Gilchrist found herself facing many of the same problems. She often completed projects for little or no pay to gain traction on her portfolio, and, working at the intersection of real estate and interior design, faced yet another male-dominated industry—this time in the construction sector. The only way out, she decided, was through.
While establishing her own interior design firm and real estate business, Gilchrist added another skill to her toolbelt by becoming a certified general contractor. Though it took some time, her signature work ethic and home industry know-how have not only earned her the respect of other contractors but also netted new clients drawn to her customer-facing approach—at every step of the process.
“I let them know from the start that real estate and interior design are roller coaster rides: I’m the seat belt; I’m going to be right there with you holding you in, managing the process—but expect the bumps,” Gilchrist tells host Kaitlin Petersen on the latest episode of the Trade Tales podcast. “My job is to smooth out the bumps and keep you safe while it happens.”
In this episode, Gilchrist shares her journey as a woman working in construction, the client exercise she uses to manage sticker shock, and why she’s building in a cushion for the what-ifs.
Homepage image: Keisha Gilchrist | Courtesy of Keisha Gilchrist