Whether this is a Second Act Career, or you're just starting out as a designer, building a strong foundation is critical to your future.
The number one mistake entrepreneurs make is mismanaging their time.
As I coached these designers in building a strong and profitable business of their own, I noticed that they struggled with which actions to tackle first.
Even though my systems are laid out in a specific order, they were choosing to act upon only those which they felt most comfortable tackling. Even though they were technically doing what I had suggested, they weren’t grasping why I suggested what I suggested, and why the order was so important.
I needed a way to demonstrate the importance of the “system”, and to get through to them why they needed to focus their time and energy on certain areas of their business, even though it didn’t appear to make a difference what area they focused on.
I also needed them to understand that these steps were important to their survival. Just as if they were fighting for their life, they were fighting for the life of their dream.
So what is the most important step to take first? Let me tell you, the first and most important thing you must do isn’t to set up vendor accounts, or advertise, or have business cards printed, or even to find your first client.
Those steps will of course get you started as a designer and are incredibly important, but they’re not where you need to start.
I want to help you to build a business and a reputation that you’ll be proud of and that will bring you true continued success. I’m sure you would guess that finding clients is at the top of the list, but do you know how to find quality clients in a way that will bring you consistent income and career security?
I’m going to provide you with the specific steps you should take to build the design business of your dreams, and it will lay out for you the areas of concentration necessary to create a solid and sound foundation for a business that will bring you lucrative success year after year.
This is the Business Success Check-list that I share with all of my private coaching clients. It's a great framework for building your foundation.
When it comes to building a design business, regardless of how big or how small your endeavor may be:
Don’t make things harder than they need to be.
Have your systems in place: for scheduling your clients, your first house call walk-through, your "Commitment talk", your follow up appointments, and of course your presentations. You need to know exactly how you're going to handle each of these situations First! It will save you hours and hours of headaches and heartaches, I promise.
Be strong, make a commitment to succeed, and get pumped up! Use this new knowledge and motivation to build-up a powerful momentum and get started right away.
Know what your ultimate goals are, and what you want to achieve with your life. Make sure your goals Big, Clear, and Visible.
Be clear with yourself about the type of designer you want to be. Are you a product driven designer or a consultation type? Do you feel more comfortable simply re-designing or do you want to work with a contractor and go all out design? There's great money no matter where you specialize, so be honest with yourself, have a plan, and commit.
Understand what type of clients you want to work with. Know who is searching for you, and who it is you want to attract.
Find simple yet consistent streams of fresh clients. Where can you find large pools of these people, and how will you collect them?
Take care of your clients, and value them as the lifesaving treasures they are. Make a commitment to work with integrity, be honest and open, and understand that you are really helping them to create their own dream space, not yours.
You need to have an office or a workspace specifically designated to your business. Not only do you need a place to keep your paperwork organized and easily accessed, it will help you feel like the talented professional that you are.
You need to have a business website that's clear, informational, beautiful, and ad free. Somewhere that’s easy for your clients to find you and SEO friendly. Create a space that reflects your design style and abilities.
Have it linked to Facebook, Twitter, design blogs, designer referral lists.
Make sure your website is professional looking, even if you design it yourself (unless you’re extremely proficient, get some help).
Know where you're going to get your resources. Do you plan to shop locally or are you going to custom order one of a kind pieces? Both have their ups and downs, and of course your income streams will need to be adjusted to maintain your income.
What is your follow-up and referral program? This is key to keep your business flowing and growing.
In a nutshell, keep it simple…remember your goals…and understand that you are “building” your business and this doesn’t happen overnight. Just because your business isn’t up to full steam yet, doesn’t mean you aren’t going to make incredible money.
To learn more principles for building a successful and lasting interior design business that you love, join us at my upcoming Passion to Profit Virtual Bootcamp.