Do You Work Alone?
Are you a one woman design studio? Do you work out of your office at home? This is actually a great business model as you have low overhead expenses and the freedom to make your own schedule. You can easily choose to be home for the kids in the afternoon or take off for a few weeks of vacation. When you are working out of your home you can price yourself competitively and still make a good profit. Today many clients believe that a designer working out of her home will be a better value than a big firm - a definite advantage, however, there are some downsides to working alone.
Often, it is difficult to set boundaries and get your family to respect your working time. Some designers have told me that they feel unprofessional because their space is inappropriate for meeting with clients or product reps. Do you know what is the biggest problem that single practitioner designers have that stops their businesses from being successful and profitable? Not having anyone to talk to about their business.
They have no one to answer their questions, no one to help strategize how to profit from a particular kind of design job, and no one to run their ideas by. No support at all. They have no way to find out if they have the right answer, so they do the trial and error method. Come up with an idea and see what happens. The problem is, if they guess wrong, they lose the client. More often, they keep the client, make next to no money on the job and end up feeling used and grumpy. Either way, it is not a happy ending.
The truth is that this trial and error method results in frustration and very slow business growth. So how do single practitioner designers find someone knowledgeable to talk to?
Tip #1 - Join a Professional Organization There are many professional organizations for interior designers, ASID, IIDA, IDS, to name a few. In order to connect with like-minded professionals, designers need to attend the local meetings so that they meet new people and expand their contacts. Many of these organizations have regular groups that that are easy to join, that meet over coffee or lunch to exchange ideas and share best practices.
Tip #2 - Create Your Own Mastermind Group. Call a few designer friends, explain what you want to do and start your own group. Ask your designer friends to each invite one or two other designers and set a standard monthly time and place you will meet. Attracting designers to your group that are at different levels of experience will make your Mastermind group rich with information and sharing.
Tip#3 - Negative Energy? Leave Now! If everyone in the group is whining and complaining about their businesses, my recommendation is to leave immediately. Remember you and your business are the sum total of the five people that you are closest to. You don’t need to sit and listen to negativity as it will only bring you and your business down to their level.
Open up the space, and I can assure you, another opportunity to connect to the right people will present itself soon. Look outside for inspiration. You already know that rapid business growth doesn’t happen in a vacuum. In my coaching practice, I have a Designers Success Circle, which is open to all Design Biz product owners. We meet live every fourth Friday afternoon for a lively discussion of what is happening in designer’s businesses across the country. I do this call live, answering questions, resolving challenges and strategizing job opportunities for my members. This call is always recorded and sent out to all of our DSC members, so if you can’t make a call, you don’t miss a thing!
Terri Taylor, IDS Professional, ASID, IIDA, IFDA, is President and Creative Director of Taylor Design Group and Design Biz Blueprint. She is a frequent speaker and guest lecturer at design conferences and interior design colleges throughout the country. She speaks on a number of topics related to the business of interior design, including: business practices, sales, marketing, motivation, leadership, success and personal growth.
Ms. Taylor is nationally known as an interior design business expert and coach who teaches and mentors interior designers to help them create successful design businesses.