I would guess that many of you entered the interior design profession because you loved the creative process. Whether it was the space planning, immersing yourself in selecting fabrics and furniture, designing cabinetry, or maybe all of the above. Then there is that sense of wonder on a client’s face at the final reveal, when they tell you it’s even more spectacular than they imagined possible. This is what many of us may have naively envisioned as the life of an interior designer – great clients, coming up with perfect solutions, being sought after to be published. In other words, the ideal profession to fulfill your creativity and love of design.
Putting the “Business” in “Design Business”
How long did it take you to realize that there was much more to running an interior design business than just the creative part? If you followed the advice of those already in the field or of many who teach interior design, maybe you did not immediately go out on your own. Perhaps you worked for someone else first. If so then maybe you were exposed to at least some of the other aspects of running a business. You may actually learn not only how to run the business end of things but how not to run a successful business! Even if you attended a design school, the few that offer a business class usually only offer one class.
Consequently when your entrepreneurial spirit kicks in and you decide to open your own interior design firm, your initial excitement may quickly turn to frustration. It doesn’t take long to realize there is a great deal involved in running a successful firm. One that is profitable, attracts ideal clients and garners constant referrals. You are suddenly in business as a solopreneur with enthusiasm and a great vision but may not know how to make that vision a reality.
You didn’t plan on being a financial expert, or a marketing expert, or the leader of a team! Suddenly you ARE the firm – you need to manage the finances (both for the firm as well as your client’s budgets!). You need to keep building a pipeline to be assured there are jobs coming in. And how do you make sure they are “ideal” jobs with “ideal” clients? You don’t want to work from desperation and take any job from any client who wants to hire you. You want to be in control of choosing the jobs you will take. And the “solo” of “solopreneur” is a rather lonely vision. One person trying to juggle all the aspects of the business. Many areas in which you may never have had any training, nor have any idea where or how to find help. You may quickly realize you can’t do it all. But how do you know when to hire, who to hire and where to find the people to start building your team of experts who can do it all?
With a Little Help From Your Business Coach
All of these challenges can be solved by working with a qualified interior design business coach. For one thing it takes the “solo” out of solopreneur as you will have someone to work with you and guide you toward making your vision a success. The Pearl Collective has had great success in working with its clients to solve challenges, help them grow their businesses, multiply their profits and once again find that joy for design that they had begun to lose. Whether it’s making your financials fun, or learning how to judge when to hire, who to hire and in what order, The Pearl Collective can help educate you on these issues. They can help you understand how to use your time (and that of your team) more effectively and efficiently to give you more available billable time and/or more time to spend on marketing.
What if you had access to a cash flow tool, an easy client budget calculator or a marketing tool? These are just a few of the tools that The Pearl Collective offers and that your business coach can help you incorporate into your business. They also can help clarify why you don’t have to have the lowest prices and how to direct the presentation of your design concept and the contract toward a positive result.
Join the Community
A valuable added bonus offered by The Pearl Collective is the sense of community that our clients feel. Whether connecting at events in person or developing connections online, they are a group of designers, no matter how successful their business, who are always willing to help each other, share ideas, resources, etc. and cheer for each other.
So now the questions you have to ask yourself are:
- Are you willing to admit you can’t do it all?
- Are you ready to seek and ask for help?
- Are you ready and willing to do the work necessary so that you can once again fall in love with your interior design business?