How to Start an Interior Design Business

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One of the businesses you can start with little or no capital is interior design, but as you build your portfolio and grow in the business you will need to add some necessary equipment and items to your portfolio. In this article, I am going to work you through a step by step guide on how to start an interior design business.

What is Interior Design?

Interior design is the act or process of arranging or decorating an interior of a property to enhance healthy, serene and a beautiful environment.

Who is an Interior Designer?

An interior designer is anyone who has the skill, creativity and the knowledge required to design or create a functional and aesthetically pleasing space.

What is the different between an Interior Designer and Interior Decorator?

The only difference between Interior Designer and Interior Decorator is that an interior designer requires a degree from an accredited university while an interior decorator can work without a degree

How to Start an Interior Design Business

There is no need re-inventing the wheels when it comes to how to start an interior design business. As a rule of thumb, if you want to be successful in any business you wish to venture in, you need to learn from the success stories and mistakes of those who are already doing the business, then draw up a strategy that will help you grow your own business.

Here are some steps you can follow when planning to set up your own Interior Design Business

Choose your business name and structure

You have to choose a unique business name for your interior design brand and be sure of how you want to structure your business. Having a brand name will give you the leverage to engage professionally with prospective clients and investors.

Know your target audience

You need to know your target audience. Your target audience can come in many strata; your friends, your colleagues, referrals from your friends/colleagues, business people, politicians, etc., So, it’s important to define who your target audience are and how you intend to sell your ideas to them.

Develop a business plan

One of the first thing you should do before starting any business, is to develop a clear business plan /model that will guide your business goals/purpose, day to day running of the business, financials and much more. Having a business plan will give you more focus and information for engagement with potential donors.

Offer free/Subsidize services at the initial stage

When you are trying to establish your brand, there is need to develop a strategy for your brand penetration in the market. One of those strategy is offering free/subsidize service to your friends/colleagues. This will help you to build your initial work portfolio that you can use to apply for other jobs.

Create your brand portfolio

This is very important, you have to document all your designs/job through pictures and short videos that you can share on Social media, your website or send to property owners for considerations.

Put your business online

In this era of social media, you can easily create a Facebook page, Instagram account, a YouTube Channel, etc., free of charge for your brand if you cannot afford a website at the initial stage. This will improve your brand visibility and help your reach more potential clients.

Your duty is to share your interior design portfolio and client’s feedback on your brand social media page as often as possible.

Build relationship with Suppliers

There is need to build relationship with the following set of suppliers:

  • Cabinet suppliers
  • Appliance distributors
  • General contractors
  • Countertop suppliers
  • Textile suppliers

This will help you get supplies at subsidize rate for your potential client thus building trust which is good for your brand.

Find a mentor and expand your network

There are many other people who are already doing the business, you have to find out the one that inspire you and build a work relationship with the person. Having a mentor exposes your brand to another level of visibility, because your mentor can surcharge some of his/her brand contract for your brand to do.

Be Passionate

I don’t know how to say this, trust me, without passion you will struggle as an interior designer. Let me share a little story, a friend employ the service of an interior designer to assist him set up his lounge. The pay was low, but the delivery was a masterclass, because of that, the brand that did the design got so many contract out of that masterpiece via my friend’s referral.

Interior design is one of the business that thrive more on referral and this cannot be possible without passion. Passion will inspire you to build some meaningful connections via subsidize service as you build your portfolio and grow your brand.

Final Thoughts

If you are thinking of how to start an interior design business please have a good taste for beautiful design and be interested in the craft. You will get to a point in your business that you will need some certification in order to get contracts from big firm. It’s important to build relationship with your friends who are architects and frequently share your portfolio with them for referral purposes.


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