What are the essentials for starting my own business?
Like any enterprise, the essential ingredients to starting up your own interior design business are to have a proven, successful track record of your work. In addition, it’s good to have a bit of financial backing to tide you over while you’re getting established and to pay for unseen expenses that you might not have anticipated at first.
When do I know I’m ready to go it alone?
Whether you’re working for a company or just starting out, you’ll know when you’re ready and see the signs. If you’re working full-time for a reputable company and are beginning to feel you have outgrown your role and won’t necessarily gain any new experience, just capitalise on what you already have, that’s one sign. The other, is being in demand for extra work, and third is having a good client list. The final element is that you’re itching to go it alone. If signs feel familiar, you’re ready to take the leap.
How difficult is it to start up your own business?
It’s always a good idea to start small and build up from there. Often, budding solo Interior Designers start from their home to save on the expense of an independent office area. This is fine, you just need to be sure that your home is suitable with a separate area, enough space not just for the work itself and storage of products, and somewhere to welcome potential clients. Then there are the technical and administrative elements, such as a having the correct business accounts and services in place. Essentially, you should do your homework before taking on too much.
Is networking important?
Yes, both in terms of getting your name out there and establishing a client base for future projects, as well as meeting reliable contractors who can work with and help you achieve the look you want.
Where are good places to do this?
Big design shows such as Design Week, Decorex and Top Drawer are great places to mingle with other professionals in the business.
How do I expand my business?
If you’re getting more projects than you can deal with and are considering taking on more staff, expanding is the obvious solution, but it’s good to be aware of the issues that involves.
Things to consider
Points to consider include finding premises to accommodate more personnel, furnishing an office, setting up the technology (computers, phone lines etc), insurance, security, hiring personnel and the legalities this involves. This can often mean that the creative side of things have to take a back seat for a while until all the logistics and finances have been dealt with. Also, because this work is often completely new, it can take a lot of time to research and implement.
What are the benefits of having your own business?
The main one is that you are in control of your own work and the flexibly this allows. Once you’re totally established, you could even have the freedom and luxury of choosing your own clients and the doing the projects you love most.
What are the downsides?
The problems with having your own company are that you are totally responsible for your team and the success of any given project – essentially, the buck stops with you. You are also responsible financially, so it’s good to be aware of the initial monetary outlay that’s necessary.
Should that put you off?
Not if it’s what you want. If you have a passion for interior design and you have set your heart on achieving the goal of setting up your own company, you should go for it.