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How to Survive as an Interior Designer

“I’m almost ready to give up my dream of being an Interior Designer, because I haven’t made any real money yet and I’m running out of time.”

You’d be surprised how often I hear this from designers and it’s heartbreaking. They need to stop wasting time and go into survival mode.

I’m going to give you some great advice based on my 24 years of experience, which will help you get your business off the ground and make money FAST!

​STEP ONE: Establish a PLAN to find the "Right" clients.

First things first, you must have a clear understanding of who it is that you want to be searching for you. This means you need to dig deep and decide who your ideal clients will be, how you’re going to find them, and what it will mean to you once you do.

Make sure to clear and honest with yourself. Remember, this is to find your IDEAL client. Until you’re clear on whom it is you’re looking for, how will you ever find them?

STEP TWO…Selecting Your Ideal Clients​

I commonly see designers neglecting this all too important step and it can be detrimental to their success. Here’re just a few reasons why:

40 % ​You’ll be wasting precious time and money marketing to the wrong people.

You’re creating your dream business, so why not be determined to fill it with your dream clients?

Don’t worry about who you’ll be leaving out of your practice. There’s plenty of work to share, and by choosing who it is you want to work with, you will be graciously leaving those clients to another designer who is a better fit.

Know who and what you want, and go after it!

STEP THREE: Find a Constant Supply of Clients​

Just as if you were trying to survive on a deserted island, you can live without food for a while, but you absolutely must have clean water.

Your clients are your fresh water. You’re design business will not survive without a constant fresh supply of them. Finding one client is helpful for a very short time, and will quench your money thirst, but wouldn’t discovering a whole stream of fresh clients be fantastic?

  • Make professional relationships to feed you leads: Cabinet makers, Home automation experts, painters, professional organizers, real estate agents, and contractors all make great lead generators.

  • Find a complimentary business that you can partner with: Look for a retail store that needs a designer to recommend to their clients. Display a design board and have flyers or brochures available for shoppers to easily see.

  • Find an upholstery shop or window treatment workroom that doesn’t have an in-house designer. You promise to sell their products and services and they will send you out to meet with their clients. Look for true win-win situations.

Steady client streams can come from a multitude of places, and it’s easy to find them if you really open your mind and get creative.

​​Back to that original desperate designer who felt that she'd tried everything and had exhausted all of her resources?

It was heart-breaking to think of her possibly giving up on her dream, so I took her question very seriously. I did my own research, some evaluating, and a little soul searching, to come up with an answer that would help her out of her deep designer despair.

I asked myself, “If I had to do it all over again, and build my business from scratch, knowing then what I know now, what would I do first? What framework would I put in place, and what steps would I take to quickly make money and get my business on solid footing for a long and sustained future?”

Now, I’ve been teaching many of these same techniques to designers for years. I’ve coached both large design firms and independent designers. Some of them take my advice and run with it, and they’ve had huge success almost immediately. Others take a little more convincing.

I knew if I was really going to help this designer who felt she had “tried everything”, then I was going to have to use my very best powers of persuasion to make her see she really hadn’t tried everything, or she wouldn’t need my help. I was going to have to find a way to deliver my advice in a way that would really sink in.

The Interior Design Business Survival Guide is only a piece of the greater plan to build your business the smart way. It’s a step-by-step system to organizing and prioritizing your time, so that you’re only focusing your energy on those actions that are most important and will lead you to immediate success.

Great news! It's one of the free bonuses in my Brand New Interior Design Business Success Studio.

There are definite areas of your business that you must focus on, and specific actions you must take to keep your new business strong and sustainable. This is critical to your survival.

Other tasks are important and will be necessary eventually, but we are focusing on using your time to the utmost efficiency.

It’s really not any different than being stranded on a deserted island. I know that may sound crazy to some of you, but after you work through the Survival Guide, I promise it will make perfect sense.

What if your life was at stake? What if the actions you took, made the difference between life and death? For many people right now, there is a direct correlation between making their business work, and survival.

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