All this month I’m interviewing real-life designers about what it is like to run a design business. As you’ll see these ladies have all different backgrounds and experiences, but one thing they all have in common is that they have taken my course, The Golden Blueprint.
About Courtney Moss: Despite being passionate about design, it wasn't until Courtney graduated with a degree in Marketing and Communications, did an interior design opportunity fall into her lap and her career in interior design began. Then 5 years ago, she started her own design business and hasn't looked back, infusing bold pops of color into southern charm.
In this business, it takes perseverance, confidence, and willingness to keep trying even if you hit hurdles.
What traits or talents have made you successful? Being creative and wanting to play a part. Even when I was little, I picked out the fabric and paint colors for my bedroom. I have a passion for art and love collected, gathered spaces. My passion for discovery and travel has also helped me as it has opened my eyes to many different styles and types of beauty. I think the best thing I have learned is that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" so it is best to do what resonates with you and for your client. The best philosophy is to stay true to your design aesthetic and try not to be persuaded by what you see in the media. Be original!
How do you charge? By the hour
What has been your biggest sacrifice in running your business? For me, time is the biggest sacrifice. To really do a project right, it takes dedicated time to come up with a plan and execute a strategy. Time is so hard to get, too! I think this is why it is so important to treat your time as your best asset and to show your clients why your time is so important.
What is the biggest lesson you've learned running your business? The biggest thing I have learned is that things don’t happen overnight and you have to be truly dedicated. In this business, it takes perseverance, confidence, and willingness to keep trying even if you hit hurdles. Being able to keep pushing and continuing to develop, as an interior designer is also very important. The interior design business is always evolving so as a professional you have to be willing to evolve with it.
What does success mean to you? At the end of the day, success is being happy with what you have created and giving your clients a place that feels like home. Success is such a broad and encompassing term because success can change daily depending on your goals. For me, success is following my heart and doing something I love on a daily basis. Being able to be creative but also helping people feel comfortable in their spaces makes me feel like I’ve accomplished my goals.
The best piece of advice I have been given is to be honest and always follow through no matter how hard it is.
When you stumble how do you pick yourself up? As with everything in life, stumbling is part of the process. This is where you learn. Some of the toughest lessons come from roadblocks but also help you develop into a better person and better designer. There are always going to be points in this career when you stumble. There are definitely days I just want to have a glass of wine and not confront the issue but my best advice is to confront the roadblock. If you have an unhappy client, a deadline that wasn’t met, or a sofa that was shipped defective, the best thing you can do is go head first and figure out how to make it better! The best piece of advice I have been given is to be honest and always follow through no matter how hard it is.
Do you have a favorite quote, motto, mantra, affirmation? Without risk, there is no reward. I think this resonates with me because it took me a long time to follow my dream. At the end of the day, it has been so worth it! Quotes are a great way to stay motivated. I keep a box on my desk so that each day, I can be inspired.
What drew you to interior design? An opportunity fell into my lap right out of college to work with a wonderful Interior Designer in Atlanta, Ga who taught me the nuances of design. She had a very successful business on Miami Circle and she is who introduced me to the love of design. She believed in me and threw me right into a project when I was very “green.” I still remember doubting I would be able to stand up to the challenge but she gave me confidence. This is so important in design! Throughout the years, we have stayed in contact and I have always admired her style. I think what she did for me is open my eyes to a profession that I knew very little about but was immediately intrigued and drawn to. The great thing about this profession is that there are so many different avenues that you can take and be involved with design. I have loved going to markets, attending design conferences, listening to leaders in the industry, and watching as my skills and knowledge have evolved. Not only does this profession allow me to be creative but it also allows me to flex my business background.
How do you wish the design industry was different? Because the industry is becoming more internet based, there is not as much opportunity for clients to feel the differences in fabrics, sit on the sofas and chairs to get the right fit and enjoy the process of comparison through the actual product. There are becoming less brick and mortar small businesses that provide that custom, one of a kind look. Because of the rise of the internet for shopping as well as social media to advertise, it has becoming increasingly important to protect your work but also not get caught up in it. Creating a unique space is best accomplished by getting to know your clients and developing a relationship.
Deciding to start your own business is scary but looking back, I wish I made the leap sooner. The best thing to do for yourself is to take the leap even if all the stars don’t align. It’s not easy, but if that is where your heart is, it is worth a go!
Looking back, is there anything that you wish you could've done differently running your business? Reflection is always good, but like the saying goes, hindsight is a genius. Like anything in life, it is always good to look back and think about what you could have done better. If there was anything that I would have done differently, it is that I would have decided to take the leap into design much earlier. Deciding to start your own business is scary but looking back, I wish I made the leap sooner. The best thing to do for yourself is to take the leap even if all the stars don’t align. It’s not easy, but if that is where your heart is, it is worth a go!
What are you most proud of? I am most proud of the fact that I have had the guts to start something that I have always dreamed of pursuing. My degree in college was in Business but I’ve always been creative. Having this degree and my creative background has made it easier to start my own business. It takes strength to step into the unknown and it is definitely not easy, but it is so worth it!
What is your biggest struggle in running your business? I think the biggest thing is holding myself accountable. When something doesn’t work quite right, being able to go back and self-examine is huge! Sometimes it may mean small tweaking and other times it may be completely re-thinking the direction of a project. Most importantly, you want your clients to trust you to take the lead but also get to know them well enough that you are creating their dream home and not yours. Being a one woman show, delegating is not always an option but it is important to prioritize so that you make the most of your time.
Any sage advice or words of wisdom to fellow designers? My best piece of advice would be to network! There is so much opportunity to learn from fellow designers. What I have found about this industry is that people are very willing to talk about their careers, share advice and give tips on how to get better. If you can find someone that you admire, buy their book, go to places where they are speaking, follow them on social media, and learn from them!
What is on the horizon for your business? The next thing on my list is opening a brick and mortar store. With my background in marketing, I would love to be able to sell design goods but also offer design services. I am currently looking for the best spot to set up business and am super excited about pursuing this part of my career dream. To continue to learn and refine my skills is a top priority as well.
How has your business changed since The Golden Blueprint? The Golden Blueprint allowed me as a designer to take a step back and examine how to run my business better. It made me think more about my processes and goal for the future. The opportunity to network with other designers has also been huge and I love the inspirational quotes and info that is added daily to our Facebook group. It has helped me develop a lot as a designer.
You can contact Courtney at firstname.lastname@example.org or Instagram
THE GOLDEN BLUEPRINT WILL LAUNCH AGAIN SOON, BE ON THE LIST TO START YOUR BUSINESS OFF RIGHT.