Start an interior design business and put your sense of style, imagination, and creative decorating to work in your new business.
If you love to decorate your home and help others to make their home feel terrific, this could be the perfect opportunity for you to move into an exciting business.
Your clients can range from clients who are buying new homes, businesses leasing new space, folks wanting to re-model or re-decorate existing spaces, or realtors and property managers who are selling or leasing properties. There is a lot of latitude with this business to work with a variety of clients.
Become an interior decorator by continually training your eye on the art of space, light, design, fabrics, and paint textures. Also, you may be interested in taking courses in feng shui to learn about the “flow” of energy – this is a very interesting field of design.
Take the techniques you’re seeing and learning about and apply directly to your home or a friend’s room to develop your skills and your portfolio. Remember to take BEFORE/AFTER photos to share with future clients.
Develop a good quality checklist for discussing the needs of your clients along with their likes/dislikes -- what part of their room do they want to emphasize, what do they want to improve, which colors do they find most appealing, and which colors are like nails on a chalk board? All of this information will be important as you create a space they'll love to spend time.
Resources: Computer, internet, decorating supplies, small hand held tools, inventory tracking software (if you have decorating inventory for sale), inventory, storage, CAD program if you work with commercial clients, suppliers/contractors who can help you with your design ideas.
Time Required: 15-20 hrs/week; can work full-time 30-40+ hrs/week
Training: Continue to train yourself on a variety of styles, fabrics, paint techniques, window treatments, up-to-date furniture pieces, art work, etc. Determine if working as an interior designer with another company would be valuable for you or if a certification might help build your skills.
Market: New Home Owners, Businesses, Realtors, Property Managers, Architects
Home Based: Yes
Location: Local, Regional
Start-Up Costs: $2,500 - $10,000
Minimizing Start-Up Costs: Keep your initial costs to a minimum as you start an interior design business by reading industry magazines, websites, going to free or low-cost home interior shows, attending open houses, and visiting local furniture stores. Train your eye to look for the small things such as space, lighting, fabrics, paint techniques, etc.
Determine what types of decor can be obtained for your clients on a tight budget which will give them the effects they’re after while minimizing the expense of new decoration.
Develop relationships with suppliers and contractors to deliver terrific quality products/services while providing you with discounted prices. Use word-of-mouth advertising and work with your family/friends to provide very low or no cost services to remodel an existing room (or two?) to help with your portfolio.
Work with your suppliers to have a wine tasting party -- showcase your interior design work and your suppliers products. Offer specials during the party on your services.
As you start an interior design business and begin working on projects, document both the BEFORE/AFTER of your work with pictures and be ready to show new clients your
work and how you achieved results.