It's hard to be objective about our own businesses. I also know that many of you worry, especially when you're just starting, that your business doesn't look like a business. That somehow potential clients will see that it's just you working on your computer at your dining room table. A little bit of imposter syndrome creeping into your thoughts. It's perfectly okay to work from home in your jammies and still be a legit business. Here are some fairly easy things that you can do to make sure that your business looks professional.Read More
Your website is supremely important to your business success. In fact, in today's internet-driven culture, it can make or break your business. I suggest allowing your business to do a lot of the work of selling, educating, and qualifying clients for you. This way you don't have to spend time doing this with each prospect that contacts you.
You should be reviewing and updating your website regularly. Your website is never "done", it should beRead More
A few years ago, I was talking to another designer and I warned her that some of the photos on her blog could be putting her at risk for copyright infringement. She was immediately defensive and responded that the designers should be happy that the photos were on her site because it was free publicity. I tried to explain that publicity or not, she was opening herself and her business to potential legal action. She reacted like I was going to be the one to file the lawsuit!
So I hope that you'll be a little more open-minded to what I'm going to talk about today. In other words, don't shoot the messenger.
The bottom line is unless you took the photos on your website or have explicit permission from the copyright holder you are infringing on copyright and can have legal action taken against you.Read More
Interior designers, raise your hand if you do not have a website. Keep it raised if the reason you don't have a website is because you're too busy, or because you aren't sure about your logo, or because it's a daunting task, or because you have enough work right now that you don't really need a website or because you think a website is too expensive.
Did I miss anything? (Let me know in the comments your reason for not having a website.)
I'm going to address those with their hands raised today. The excuses I listed above are BS and you need a website. You are losing jobs because you don't have a website. You are losing credibility. You are losing interest from press and publications. This is all losing you money.
Yes, a website is a daunting task, it's a lot of design, a lot of content and can be a lot of money. But because it is a huge project, you've probably been putting it off, but like any huge project you need to break it down into parts to tackle it.
Think that you need a logo? You don't, your business name in a font you like will do. You don't have to do an entire branding right off the bat. Don't let Pinterest tell you otherwise. Awesome logos can be time-consuming and expensive and unless you have either of those, start simply. A name and a font. It's easy to change down the road. But a fully branded business is a lot harder to change. Take a look at some of the biggest interior designers - most of them simply have their name in a unique font. Fonts are a lot less expensive to purchase than custom logos. Trust me, you're likely to not want that first logo five years anyway.
So first step done. You have your business name and a font.
Next, the humongous project of a website. If you're not ready to go full-blown website, whether it is because you are busy, have enough clients, don't have enough portfolio images or don't have the money - you simply put up a splash page. You'll need your own domain (mine is capellakincheloe.com) and a single page with the best image of your work you have and contact information. That is it. A single homepage with your best portfolio image and your name, phone number, and email address. Be sure that your phone number isn't your cell phone and that your email address is hosted by your domain (firstname.lastname@example.org) and not a free provider (yahoo, gmail, aol) - you can read more about that in my post Treat Your Business Like A Business.
I started on a free site called Weebly, which I highly recommend if you're a DIYer and don't mind a little coding. Coding for me consisted mainly of me googling what I wanted to do and following instructions. But if this is too much trouble and you're going to hire it out anyway, I would go directly with Wordpress.org. It'll be simpler to flush out your entire website from this solid foundation than switching later.
See two simple steps. Your business name in a cool font and a splash page. This could take you a day or you could hire it out for a couple hundred dollars.
At least you have something on the web - your little "open for business" sign. At this point you can take your time developing the content and the design of the website and building it out.