10 Steps for Starting A Successful Interior Design Business

Yes! You can start a successful interior design business.  Here are some fundamentals to get you off on the right foot!  #interiordesignbusiness #cktradesecrets
  1. Don't Ever Treat Your Business Like a Hobby - This means that you set it up properly from the get-go with proper business licenses, insurance, and legal structure.  It also means setting up a website, a branded email (no gmail.com or yahoo.com), and a separate phone line.  Businesses have separate bank accounts and credit cards, hobbies don't.
  2. Get Yourself a Contract - Always do work with a proper, legal interior design agreement.  This is to protect both you and your clients.  You're opening yourself to a world of trouble working without one.  Learn more: https://www.capellakincheloe.com/blog/anatomy-of-an-interior-design-agreement-2
  3. Know Your "Why" - So often people start their business but never take the time to figure out WHY they started a business and it can lead to unmet expectations, disappointments, confusion, and hard decisions later.  Your path to a successful design business starts with your why.  Learn more: https://www.capellakincheloe.com/blog/why-are-you-in-business
  4. Be the CEO - If you're starting an interior design business, you're going to be the CEO.  Probably for a long time, if not forever.  That means that it is your job to do business development - marketing, advertising, financial growth, client acquisition, legal stuff - in addition to client work.  The majority of running an interior design business is not going to be spent doing interior design.  If you're not prepared for that, consider working for someone else.  
  5. Know what you're getting into - Read What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Interior Design Business.  Running a business is hard.  Running a design business is extra hard.  Maybe it's because it is such a personal job being in someone's home, up close with their life and family.  Maybe it's because interior designers are generally creative-types that aren't especially gifted in the left-brained business-running tasks.  Whatever the reason, go into it eyes wide open.  
  6. Create an online presence up quickly.  Unless you have some other channel, this is the best way to start getting clients.  Be as visible as possible and as helpful to potential clients as you can be.  Being visible online is the cheapest, fastest way you can start marketing your business.  Learn more: How to Grow Your Instagram to 10k+
  7. Invest your money wisely.  When you are first starting a business you must walk the line of a professional appearance and being conservative with your money.   Unless you have a large budget, a $10,000 website is not spending money wisely.  Don't spend thousands of dollars on a branding package, you'll need a few projects and clients under your belt before you can really flush out your brand.  Don't feel like you need to buy all the things when you're first starting.  Read more about the first year costs of starting an interior design business.  
  8. Get a killer website.  Websites are super easy to create now.  Start with a platform like Squarespace or Wix and it's all drag and drop.  To begin, start with your best interiors photo and your contact information.  Careers are made on excellent photography.  You don't have to make it complicated, but you do need to get something online.
  9. Take care of yourself.  This means taking time off.  Spending time with family and friends.  Making time to go to yoga or Crossfit or whatever it is you enjoy.  It also means being kind to yourself and not comparing yourself to designers who have been in business for over 20 years or even 2 years.  You're designing and building your business, it'll take time.  Watch out for burnout and overwhelm.  Read more about Business Retreats and Why Busy is a 4-Letter Word.
  10. The Golden Blueprint - This is my 7-week signature course on business training for interior designers.  This course takes you through the fundamentals of starting a business to marketing, clients, running your business and building your brand.  It a comprehensive course designed to set you up for success.  
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