As a designer it was a hard Lesson to realize I could not make enough simply working for another firm. I had had a business before so it was inevitable that I start my own firm.
Initially I worked with contractors more than home owners on construction documents. My interiors projects grew in quantity as well as quality. I was busy but out of time and really can only charge so much before I priced myself out of competing for projects.
I learned the concept of streams of income as an artist, pottery was my medium. We never would have made it if we relied on only one stream. Imagine the power of all the smaller streams feeding the Amazon River. That’s what I shoot for now. We always felt an ebb and flow of income from our sources. Our retail street shows were good in the winter but terrible in the summer. Our wholesale accounts were terrific in the summers but awful otherwise. The tile was still growing. The restaurants would order plates more regularly but not enough to sustain us on their own.
The design field has so many opportunities to build on and create outreach opportunities as well as income that it’s a no brainer to just keep building them all. They require work upfront and creating good content for your clients to learn from. I always felt my best customer in my gallery was one who took the pottery class, they had been educated on the process and had a real appreciation for the effort and skill required to complete a piece. Same goes for your interiors client. The better educated they are the easier they are to work with.
Here are a few things I work with to help my clients as well as help me. If I can earn more in other areas then I won’t have to charge more for my time but can still take the time necessary to give them a great end product as well as good service throughout.
- Interior design service
- Purchasing materials
- Purchasing furnishing
- Purchasing lighting
- Selling cabinetry
- Scaling advice online
- Floor plans and house plans online
- Writing and selling a book or series of books online
- Affiliates and partnering online
- Referral fees
- Public speaking
- Blogging with affiliates
These are all the things I have used to create not only outreach to help more clients but also to fill a need for new designers to learn faster how to become successful.