How to Start an Interior Design Business
If you’re passionate about the world of interior design, you might consider building an entire business around it. Not only would you get to engage in your hobby on a daily basis, but you’d get to make money from the experience.
Of course, starting an interior design business isn’t always straightforward or easy. You’ll need to follow some important steps and strategize carefully if you want to succeed.
Understand How to Start a an Interior Design Business
First, you should get an understanding of what it takes to start a business. Resources like this can offer a great, top-down view of the business creation process, guiding you through the steps of idea generation, research, business structuring, and registration. You don’t need to follow all these steps as you read about them, but you should get a feel for what’s in store for you as a business owner.
Set the Right Expectations
Next, set the right expectations. The prospect of starting a business around your hobby is exciting, but you need to remain in touch with reality.
- Starting a business is hard work. It’s fun to think about starting a business but doing the work of starting one is another story. As an entrepreneur, you’ll have to spend long hours establishing your business, working with clients, and dealing with financial uncertainty. It’s not always fun (though there is plenty of fun to be had, too).
- Turning your passion into a business can kill the fun. It’s tempting to turn your passion into a business, but once it becomes your primary source of income, the fun may disappear. Eventually, interior design may begin to feel like a chore, compromising the joys of your passion.
- Few businesses are successful. Only half of businesses survive past the 5-year mark, and even fewer make it to 10 years. The sad truth is that even well-researched and well-planned businesses can fail.
- The interior design world is competitive. Lots of people love the idea of being a professional interior designer. That means you’re going to face a lot of competition. You’ll need some way to be competitive if you want to survive.
Write a Business Plan
If you still feel confident, you can move onto writing a business plan. You can’t rely on your abilities as an interior designer to carry you to success; you need to have a solid, well-researched strategy in place.
Pay particular attention to:
- Operational/profitability model. How is your business going to make money? Will you charge your clients a flat rate or an hourly fee? How many clients will you need in order to be profitable? Do you plan on hiring employees? How much will you pay them, and how will they affect what you charge your clients?
- Target demographics. Who are your primary customers? Are you going to target young adults who are first-time homeowners? Or older people living in a dream home? How are you going to cater to them, specifically?
- Competition. There are probably many interior design businesses in your area. What are they like? How much do they charge their clients? How do they tend to operate? What do their portfolios look like?
- Key differentiators. Think about your key differentiators. What are the factors that will make your business unique? Will you offer lower rates than your competitors? Will you harness the power of a certain design style? Will you provide more service and a hands-on approach? You need some way to be unique.
- Sales, marketing, and growth. How is your business going to grow? How will you reach a wider audience? How will you close sales? Content marketing, social media marketing, and referral programs are all strong options here, but how will you tie everything together to ensure you achieve a consistent rate of company growth?
Come Up With a Brand
With a business plan in place, you can start building your brand. What are you going to call your business? What kind of imagery do you want to present in your logo and on your website? How is this going to appeal to your target demographics?
Gather Funds and Execute
At this point, you should be ready to start your business officially. Depending on the nature of your business, you may not need much in the way of startup costs – just enough to register your business, start a website, and get some initial marketing in place. Tap into your savings, raise capital from investors, or get a loan to close the gap here; there’s no shortage of ways you can fund a business.
From there, you’ll need to learn as you go. Landing your first clients may be difficult, but once you build an impressive portfolio and start getting referrals, you can begin building the momentum you need to succeed.