One major mistake interior designers make when creating their business, is to undervalue the importance of professionalism to their business success.
The cork board wall for ideas, dreams , brainstorms, projects at hand and just stuff you don’t want to forget.
When you’re building your new brilliant interior design business, your initial instinct might be to worry where to find your first design client.
Sure, if you’re going to be an interior designer you’ll need a design client. But before you tackle that amazing remodeling project that lands you on the cover of Elle Decor, you’re going to need an office.
Beautiful dining room / office combination by HGTV designer Genevieve Garder
I’ve found that an organized, dedicated, work-space is so important to your success as a designer, that you should make it a top priority when you’re building your new interior design business.
If you feel more like a professional, you tend to act in a more professional manner.
Professionals earn the admiration and respect of their clients and therefore can demand higher fees.
A dedicated work space to perform your day to day activities can prevent common paperwork mistakes.
Notice, I never said a fancy space reflects your level of professionalism, it merely needs to be organized and dedicated.
Your space doesn’t need to be large, or filled with expensive equipment.
You won’t feel very professional with your latest project blueprint covered by the breakfast dishes, newspapers, or coloring books.
It’s difficult to concentrate and work efficiently if I feel my desk is in disarray.
What types of works-paces are we talking about?
An office (spare room, home office)
A designated work-space (corner of a room in your house or a converted closet)
A storefront or studio
And A website
Which of these you need depends on a few factors.
If you’re just starting out at the beginning, you’ll simply need (and should only worry about) a designated work-space and a simple website.
If you’ve been doing this awhile, you will need a slightly larger area like a home office, a desk, or a corner of your house that is strictly designated as your work-space. You’ll also want a slightly more impressive website than the beginner.
You’ll need an organized way of keeping your records and paperwork, as well as your checklists, contracts, and client intake forms.
Photo courtesy of Centsational Style.com
If you already have a storefront or studio you know how much extra time it can add to your workload (not to mention extra costs).
Unless you are tied into a lease or have already established a solid place in your community, I don’t ever recommend designers renting a retail space. It is simply not necessary to make money and is a huge added responsibility.
Don’t obsess or spend too much time on this, simply carve out a niche for yourself with a place to keep file folders, a computer or laptop, and an all-in-one printer\scanner\fax machine. (Even this can wait until your first big paycheck.)
It’s worth it to spend a little time getting organized, and then get to work making money!
Take one afternoon to personalize your space and make it organized, clean, and comfortable.
I love how this office is literally made up of white cubby shelving on the wall, a counter top and 2 sets of drawers.
Take Action Steps to Build Your Work-space:
1. What space will you use for your new office?
2. What organizational tools do you still need to acquire? Do you have file folders, a way to capture contact information (spreadsheet system), and your forms and contracts?**
**You’ll need a basic contract or letter of agreement before you meet with your first client, so do take some time to prepare these critical documents.
If you’d like to take a short-cut, keep in mind that all of my training programs include easy, fill in the blanks examples of a Letter of Agreement and a Client Contract, New Client Checklists, Team Building Worksheets, and many many more.