People with a creative mind are often laughed at for ‘out there’ ideas and a flair for the colourful, but the thing is, if you have a creative mind and a strong sense of business, you could be a force to be reckoned with. Working in interior design isn’t just flipping through catalogues and choosing pretty curtains to match carpets. If you think it’s all feeling fabrics and twirling colour charts, then you’ve got a hefty wake up call coming your way. You have to have a very good head for business on your creative shoulders, and if you can only grasp the creative side then you are not ready to have a business of your own. You have to be able to develop a design around what your client wants – even if it isn’t to your own personal taste – and you have to do that within a budget. While you’re busy sketching out interiors and thinking about the appropriate furnishings, you also have to be making quick calculations to ensure your client can afford the vision that you put forward to them. Some experience in design is always appreciated before you kick your own design business off, as then you can get recommendations from people that you have worked with before. Working in interior design is a tough job, but what’s even tougher is striking out on your own and working for yourself.
When you have children, going out and commuting to work and spending eight hours a day earning money for someone else becomes quite difficult. Not only have you got to think about childcare and the costs associated with that, you also have to split yourself in two and give half of yourself to your job and half of yourself to your home. It can often feel draining, especially if you are working in the interior design industry. You need to be able to work for other people, take on the vision of someone else and bring their idea under budget and before a deadline, and that kind of stress when working for someone else can become too much. So, why not consider opening your own interior design company? Interior designers need to have both a technical and creative skillset and as a parent, you have a unique set of skills in time management learned purely from within the home. You are an ideal candidate for starting up a home business in interior design, because you need to work around the children and you can do that from home. Sure, you may still need to rely on childcare from time to time, but the hours are not as rigid as if you were working for a company in the city. The education and qualifications that you have achieved combined with the knowledge of budgeting and safety give you the result of a space that can intrigue and inspire, which is exactly what you want to be able to market to your future clients.
The first thing that you need to know about starting your own interior design company, is that no one is ever completely ready to get started without risk. It sounds counterproductive, but if every business leader in the design world knew exactly the right time to start up, there would never be a failed business! There is plenty of risk in starting any business, not just in design, but there are situations where the risk is lower than at other times. For example, you are at less of a risk starting your own business when:
- Your family isn’t relying on your income, so you can start your own business at any time.
- You have a nest egg of savings to support you while you build your initial client base.
- You already work for some clients in your free time on the side of your regular job, so you can pick up paid work from them.
A lot of interior businesses take a lot of graft to get going and don’t truly get rolling until year 2 or 3, which is something that you should anticipate when you set things up. Starting a design company is stressful and takes up an awful lot of your time, and you should be prepared for that when you get going. You may have a hefty schedule, but with a lot of persistence, you can get past those initial tough months. Setting up your office, hiring in your staff and looking to http://www.designdocs.com/software for your interior design software take some time. You’ll be incorporating all of this into your business plan and should – where possible – try to follow that plan to the letter. It may be hard work, but hard work that’s for your own business comes with a flexible schedule around your family and no commute – which is always a bonus. When you work for yourself you get to work hard in a job that you adore, but you also get to play hard as you earn every single piece of time off and every dollar. If you want your design business to run from your home, then you need to ensure you’re not going to be procrastinating and wanting to spend time with family instead. Family around the home while you’re working can be very distracting and being an entrepreneur won’t be for you if you can’t manage to focus.
As a creative entrepreneur, you’ll have to inventory your skillset. You need to be sure that you can compete with the hundreds of other businesses in your industry; they are your competition and if you can’t face the question, then you need to rethink your own business. Interior design as an industry is brutal and there’s no getting away from that. Clients will be honest about whether your work is to their taste, and sometimes you can get clients that don’t even know what they truly want. It’s going to be frustrating and hard work, but assessing whether your skills are up to the challenge is a must if you hope to succeed. As an entrepreneur, you have to take every opportunity that you can to better yourself. If you see tutorials and classes available, take the chance of an education while you can. Hone your skills, gain extra accolades and accreditations and ask people you trust for their opinion on your work. A thick skin is needed in this game, and you can be a success if you open yourself to it.
To be able to dominate the industry, you have to work out what your business niche is and hone in on that. You need to be able to talk positively about your business and learn how to deal with clients that are difficult. Think about the words that you use to define your business and build your business image around that. Once you can do that, you can define the ideal projects that you would like to work on, as well as market yourself to the ideal clients (hello, money!) and plug, plug, plug away at getting your name out there. You need to work tirelessly to get your name out into the freelance world so that someone out there will pick you. For every job that you pick up, make sure that you get a reference afterwards.
Your company website has to be completely on point, modern and lean toward your design style. If you are loving the minimalist look, make your website reflect that. Your social media activity should be very heavy, especially if you are starting out, as you need to be able to be reached by everyone from every avenue. Your company needs to be on the map and the best way to reach out beyond the local community is to capitalise on your social media websites and take control of your traffic. Start a design blog and hire in a team to help you push your marketing plans to fruition. The whole goal here is to gain a positive, professional reputation while making cash. And all the while, balancing your family and your home life. Hey, no one said this would be easy.
Before you even open your business doors, you need to put together your portfolio and set your prices. You need to know what you plan to offer people before you are offering it, and that way you can answer any questions put forward to you as you get them. It’s not uncommon to feel fear when it comes to actually getting out there and gathering your clients. You’ve put in all the groundwork with social media and your business, and now you have to get up and get out there! Practice picking up the phone and canvassing for business. Practice what you may say and get confident saying it to thin air. Once you’re confident, get on the phone. You’ve put in the money and you’ve spent hours slogging over the website and the business plan; now is the time to rake in the cash. You’ve got this!