When it comes to taking the plunge to start an interior design business to make money – whether a nicely paying side hustle or a full-time gig. I know very well the thing that stops brilliant, wise, talented women like you:
The “F-bomb” and the terrible “C-word” that makes our stomach sink.
Fear and Confidence.
YES. When I ask my amazing community, “WHAT’S STOPPING YOU from going for your dream?” I see bright, beautiful faces dim. Then, a look of longing and resignation surfaces.
And they tell me in 7 soul crushing words:
I don’t have the confidence.
Not acceptable, girlfriend. Let’s turn this around!
What NOT TO DO to turn your love of interior design into a paying side gig or full-time business:
- Compare your beginning to someone else’s middle
- Decide the playing field is too crowded for you to join so why bother
- Decide you’re too old so why bother
- Jump in with enthusiasm instead of a strategic plan that you pair with enthusiasm! 😊
Girlfriend, before I boost you, by addressing the “What Not to Do’s,” let’s dive into the simple what TO DO’s!
They will put you on course to tackle your dream, grab hold, and pull it down from the clouds right into your life.
AND…following the What To Do list will also extinguish FEAR while BOOSTING CONFIDENCE, FOCUS, and SUCCESS!
What TO DO to successfully and easily launch your design biz:
1. Get Design-Creative Know-How That is Systematized.
The importance of a rinse-and-repeat, systematized, creative design system or process cannot be overstated.
Unlike the popular misconception, the creative side of interior design is not nebulous, imprecise, hazy, vague, or unclear.
SOOOO, a paying design side hustle or full-time biz cannot launch or sustain itself on “the shapeless,” the general, or the “running only on instinct and the design gods.”
Design is super strategic when you learn to do it the right way. It’s logical. It’s reliably formulaic.
The beauty of this one tip – Get Creative Know-How That is Systematized – is that strategized creative, meaning a rinse-and-repeat design system you can use from project to project, allows you to lean into the system, on the design gods.
A rinse-and-repeat creative process relieves tons of stress and uncertainty.
A creative design system supports you; it guides you – no guess work.
A rinse-and-repeat system means you will
- Use time precisely and well,
- Know exactly what to do and when to do it,
- Make great things happen,
- Create super happy clients because of consistently beautiful outcomes.
Repeat: Design done wisely is very strategic, when you learn to do it the right way. It’s logical. It’s reliably formulaic which is what gives you your know-how.
2. Get the “Business of the Business” Knowhow:
Unlike another common misconception, not all businesses or start-ups use the same standard business practices.
Sure, setting up things like logos and biz cards, selecting your business name, setting up your business entity, or getting your sales tax ID license – these are the same across dozens of industries.
BUT for example, within the design industry, JUST selecting your business name not only to do with what you want to do today, but also what you MIGHT want to so in the next year or four. But that’s a deeper discussion.
For now, here’s a shortlist of some of the “Business of the Business” know-how that will lead you to the success you want: the fastest and easiest way to set up YOUR ideal business and all the moving parts that go into that.
- Marketing & Social Media
I like to teach a good prelaunch strategy to get the crowds pumped and waiting for you to open your doors.
Having a solid prelaunch strategy AND once you open your doors, a doable, ongoing social media and marketing plan that will keep you moving forward is essential for Year 1, Year 2, and beyond.
Making it up on the fly or stumbling around it the dark means staying alone and IN the dark.
- Filling the Pipeline
From dining the right clients and being creative in the way you go about this, to setting up strong collaborations, screening clients, and tracking client inquires. This is an ongoing process.
- Selecting & Setting Up your Service Offerings
There are a few terrific models that can be used, but no matter what you decide you want your business to be, setting up your offerings, your pricing, and your packaging will put you light years ahead of the competition.
- Learning How Selling Product Works IF You Want to Sell Products
You don’t need to do this, but I honestly believe you’ll see greater income if you’re willing to sell certain products, and some are easier to sell than others.
You can surely decide you want to be “design consulting” only, but if you do want to grow your revenue and selling product is on the horizon, then you need to learn what that means: purchase, orders, RFQ’s (requests for quote,) invoicing, trade accounts, and workrooms to name a few.
Having a solid “Business of the Business” foundation and support behind you makes things SO much easier, from launch to rollout to running your awesome business.
And like all things, you can do this in pieces and chunks… but you need to know where to start and what pieces are more important than others for YOUR business.
So far, we’ve identified 2 key areas that make all the difference in launching an awesome and successful business. To recap, we talked about 2 key areas where you need some know-how and some muscle:
- *The Business of Design
- *The Business of the Design Business
Here comes the last piece in the trifecta! Ready????
3. The Business of Mindset & Confidence
Oh. My. Gosh. How much easier life gets when you have a support system for your mindset, for how you feel inside – every day on any journey.
Sure, a great spouse is awesome, but a support system of people who understand what you’re doing and you’re facing is PRICELESS.
But, until someone has walked the path, it’s not always fair to expect others to understand or for them to even be able to understand.
Here are some helpful things to think about:
- We have tremendous potential and power locked inside, but knowing how to unleash that positive fuel while quieting that negative voice is the difference between getting there and staying stuck.
- There are amazing tools to manage our mindset – and I speak from experience having launched my own design business at the start of the Great Recession!
- Staying motivated and avoiding being overwhelmed are key.
- Some days are easier than others, but with the right support system and mindset, you’ll have the fuel you need.
- Your money mindset is critical; you’ve got to get comfortable with the numbers, charging for your services, and asking for what you’re worth – for the value you provide.
In the end, starting and running a business can be so thrilling and so gratifying. It can also be very lonely at times, so having a community to lean on and who can keep you going makes all the difference.
So there they are, the 3 golden pillars to stack the deck in your favor when you want to start and run your own amazing design business – whatever size you want that business to be.
Those pillars at a glance are:
- Design Know-How Strategy, so your creativity is fully pumped up and strategized with a fail-proof, rinse-and-repeat design system you can lean on for every project – the only way to keep your confidence high and stress low.
- The Business of the Business Strategy, so you are stealth when it comes to the business details – from pre-launching your business to running your business – that can cause you to crash and burn if you’re not out in front of them.
- The Business of Managing Mindset, so that you are anticipating the Mindset Road ahead to get pumped up, above and beyond, with the best energy possible to help you consistently sail into your new chapter with your head held high and your heart happy, excited, and open!
There’s so much more I could share with you on this topic, lovely. I’m just bursting at the seams with it.
I hope this post helps get you focused, excited, and ready!
As ever, I’m cheering and rooting for you every step of the way!