When studying design, it’s easy to become engrossed in the minutiae of your projects and lose sight of the business side of the industry. If you want to go beyond interior design as a hobby, I recommend you start thinking about it seriously. Remember that an interior design business with no income will fail.
How many times have you walked away from a design thinking, “I could do that!” or “I could do better than that!” Despite this, someone else was able to secure the job. While it may be difficult to remember while in the midst of your studies, your success as a designer is inextricably linked to your success as a businessperson.
Developing your business abilities
Starting your own business entails taking risks. You must test different methods for locating and approaching clients, analysing their projects, presenting a proposal to them, and securing their work. I recommend making a list of approaches to each of these phases and analysing their strengths and weaknesses. Of course, if you have income from outside your business, you can take more risks in your approach than if you don’t.
What kind of work should you take?
The type of work you should accept is an important consideration. If you work on projects that aren’t right for you or your company, you might get less out of them than you expected.
When you’re first starting out, you may want as many clients as possible to build your portfolio and experience, but even if you’re desperate for work, there are times when you should walk away from a project. For example, if you believe a client will be difficult to work with, if you do not believe your skills or style will be best utilised by the project, or if you believe the work is not appropriate for your overall business plan, it may be a good idea to decline the work.
The important thing is to always consider these factors and not simply accept whatever comes your way. Of course, this will be difficult at the start of your business journey, but it will become increasingly important as you progress.
Specialization in your field
You will have to decide what area of business to specialise in at some point. “Oh, but I can design anything!” it’s easy to say. And you most likely can. However, you will be more skilled in one area, which means you will be more efficient and enjoy your work more. By specialising, you can better tailor your supplier list and meet the needs of your projects. When you leave your usual field, it will take longer to find products and materials, and you may also find yourself scrambling for knowledge.
Clients are also more at ease with someone who can demonstrate expertise and a track record of success in a specific field. While they may like you and your portfolio, they are looking for someone who can contribute creative ideas to their project. Being able to demonstrate variety of solutions to a similar problem will help build their trust in you.
Make a plan for your future success.
While there will undoubtedly be difficult times, having a solid plan and keeping worry to a minimum will lay the groundwork for your success. Recognize that your design abilities will provide you with a living. Examine these abilities thoroughly. Think about your cash flow. Consider where you live and who your potential clients are. Consider your ideal job and how it compares to what you can actually accomplish. Don’t limit your dreams; instead, make sure you have a viable path to them.
We’d love to hear any advice or insights you have on starting your own interior design business.
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