Do what you love and be more profitable

Written by Sarah Daniel, CEO of Mydoma Studio
Have you ever heard your client say “I’ll put a check in the mail next week”, and started work on the project anyways? Have you found yourself working overtime on the weekend for hours you didn’t bill for? Have you ever frantically searched through emails for confirmation your client did choose that particular fabric? I personally have done all these things in my design career.

It was somewhere between being overworked and not making enough money that I decided to do things differently in my design business. I didn’t start my design business to feel this way and knew there had to be a better way. After researching design management software for my own business I was unable to find a solution that met my needs - so I opted to build one! I’m not suggesting you follow my same entrepreneurial path and build software rather I will save you 5+ years and share the single handed most important lesson I have learned along my journey and how you can apply my lessons to your own business.

“Productize your services and create a repeatable process”

Perhaps you’re wondering what that means? It sounds fancy and complicated but in actuality it’s simple and very effective.

Look at your services and determine how you can package them together and sell them as if they were a product. Essentially this strategy is a flat fee structure. If you’re a decorator, determine how many hours on average it would take you to furnish a room. Consider all the touch points and add in overage to account for unforeseen circumstances. In this model you’re collecting payment upfront the entirety of the project. Pricing is key. You don’t want to under value the service you’re providing.

The next step is to layout the process of delivering the service. What steps would you take from the initial inquiry through to the final reveal? The goal here is to be systematic in how you would approach delivering the service. By writing down each step prior to delivering, you are creating yourself an accountability partner. Did you skip any steps? Did you add any in?

It’s essential you evaluate after a project is complete to understand what worked and what didn’t. By writing it down you can easily make changes. The goal here is to create a process you can repeat and iterate on.

If you’re beginning your entrepreneurial journey in interior design this may seem like a daunting task. Don’t start with a full home renovation, rather start small and create a consultation service package.

Here are some questions to consider:
How many hours is your consultation?
Do you bill for travel time?
What will you provide at the consultation itself? Verbal advice or a physical take away?
Do you have a questionnaire prepared? Will you provide it beforehand or at the time of the consultation?
How will you book the appointment?
How will you handle appointment changes/ cancellations?
Do you have a contract?

The business of design is not for the faint of heart. As designers we are creatives but running an interior design business requires us to exercise the business (right) side of our brain more frequently than the creative side. If you’d like to control the chaos and build a thriving interior design business that allows you to do what you love and be profitable than I highly recommend you consider productising your services and creating a repeatable process. Your left brain and business bank account will thank you!

Sarah's Bio

CEO/co-founder, Sarah Daniele is an industry leading design expert with 10 years of residential design experience. Sarah understands how to important it is to have systems and processes in place to effectively manage and grow your interior design business. Sarah and her team are passionate about building tools and technology to allow interior designers to grow their businesses. Sarah and Mydoma Studio have been featured on the popular A Well Designed Business Podcast, in Home Accents Today, Editor at Large, and Kitchen & Bath Design News. Learn more here.


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