How to run a successful interior design business: what you won’t learn at design school
“I started seeing a pattern — women going back to study interior design, following their dreams, but then freezing and not doing anything with their studies once they finished. These we amazingly talented designers who lacked the confidence and know how to get started,” says Kylie Tyrell.
“When I first started my interior design business, I had no idea just how hard it was going to be! It’s one thing to be creative, it’s another to know how to run a successful business on your own!”
Here are 10 things Kylie believes you don’t learn at design school, but you will need to succeed in the industry.
1. Your mindset and self belief will ultimately drive your success — you need to be a lifelong learner, you need to work on your mindset every single day and surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers who will help you grow and succeed. For me this means finding my tribe, networking, listening to podcasts and lots of reading. I am very careful who I surround myself with.
2. You will need to know how to price your services — there are no industry standards and this is not really shared in the industry — this is one of the biggest hurdles facing all new designers.
3. Be a lifelong learner and don’t sweat the small stuff — this means being the CEO of your business from day one — this is not a hobby — this is a real job! People need you in their lives.
4. How to put your offer together — it’s one thing to be good at your craft, but you are going to need to be able to communicate this to your clients — you will need to be clear on the services you offer and what they cost.
5. How to use Instagram for your business — social media is huge and can drive up to 80% of your leads — you need to know what to post and who you are posting to!
6. How to say no! Setting boundaries for yourself and your clients is a must. You will not survive otherwise.
7. How to brand yourself — today your brand is so much more than just your logo — you are going to need a website, brand fonts and colours and a style guide to keep you consistent and on track. You are also going to be the face of your brand – you will need to show up and show your audience who you are.
8. Where and how to network in the industry — your peers are your support network — the sooner you get a support network happening, the easier your business will flow. In my experience this can be really tricky as the industry is not known for sharing.
9. How to communicate and attract your ideal clients — as you get more and more experience you will better understand the jobs and clients you enjoy working with. Communicating and attracting them is a real skill; a lot of this job is about relationship building and creating trust early on.
10. The templates and legal documents you need to cover yourself and your business — legally you are going to need to know how to protect yourself and your clients — from the very first consultation, you will need to be insured and have the supporting legal documents on hand.
After spending 12 years building and driving her own design business, Kylie decided it was time to get the industry talking and working together. She decided to start mentoring newly graduated students and women wanting to start their own interior design businesses. Early last year, she created the Interiors Insider course; a 12-month experience to help you set up and grow your own business. You get direct access to Kylie, all her intellectual property, spreadsheets and documents that will help fast track your success.
The next round start on 7 March 2022. Doors open on 28 February.
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