If you spend your day dreaming about interior design, and it’s all you can think of, now is the time to start an interior design business. Why? There has been an enormous surge in demand for interior designers. Our focus has turned to our homes and working from home.
Becoming a freelance interior designer and starting an interior design business is one of the easiest, low-cost and creative businesses you can set up whilst working from home, so it’s no surprise you’re seeing people becoming interior designers left, right and centre.
When I started my design business, interior design had already been forecast to grow as a profession. Since then, I have seen (and helped) hundreds of interior designer’s start an interior design business. But is it right for you? If you’ve been thinking about it or if the thought has been haunting you for a while, here are ten good reasons you should start an interior design business now:
Of course, it depends on the type of interior designer you want to become. Still, if you’re starting, I always suggest providing design-only services rather than full interior design services or those that require on-site installation. That means that as long as you have a computer and an internet connection, you’re all set!
But don’t you need software and equipment to start an interior design business? For example, SketchUp (software that I teach my mentees) is entirely free online (it’s also popular software used in design offices worldwide, so it’s well-known and trusted in the industry). Yes… and it’s free!
What about presenting your drawings? Canva allows you to create stunning presentations, and it’s free. What about a website? You can create a free website using WIX, and they even have a load of free stock photos that you can legally use to show your style. Marketing? You can get clients organically and without paid ads (yep, still at zero).
You lie! Nope. I prove it every day with my mentees. I can tell you that starting as an interior designer working for yourself is an asset and not something you should be ashamed of, and it could be the way to land your first client too! Most people think that because they have no experience, people will think they’re a fraud. Well, yes, if you’re aiming for that ten-bedroom house and say that you’ve been a pro for 20 years, people are going to expect that from you. But if you say you’re just starting, you’ll get projects to suit your experience. A one-bedroom interior decorating project? Perfect!
But what if I still want to create a portfolio? In that case, I give you fifty (yes 50) ideas on how to do that here: How To Build An Interior Design Or Architecture Portfolio (When You’ve Never Had A Client)
Think about it. Interior design and decorating is something that anyone who lives in a property can do for themselves, so why can’t you start working on projects straight away?
Suppose you’re simply providing interior concept designs. In that case, there is absolutely no reason why you can’t start straight away (assuming, of course, you have a computer, can sell your services, create a concept, follow a brief, receive payment, create a binding contract and deliver the service you’ve promised on time and budget).
In most places around the world, you don’t need a degree or formal education to become an interior designer, stylist, or decorator. Yes, that’s right, you can start calling yourself an interior designer right now if you like. In a few places, you will need a degree, check this post if you think that applies to you: Quiz | How To Become An Interior Designer
Of course, most people study an online interior design course to learn how to run projects, create design schemes, price projects, and create interior design services before they feel ready to start providing services as an interior designer. Still, technically, you don’t have to, and many interior designers in the past (and thousands on Instagram do it every day) started their business off the back of decorating their own home.
In the same way that graphic designers, web designers and architects can provide services over the internet whilst working from anywhere they wish (typically from home), interior designers have a multitude of services that they can provide virtually.
E-Design, online design and virtual design are all interior design services that you can provide over the internet, although all these names describe the same thing; a design service provided over the internet rather than face to face.
You don’t have to do a course to be an interior designer, but of course, many people do choose to do one, and there are thousands (if not millions these days) of courses online to choose from! The best thing about studying interior design is that you can study on your phone, laptop or computer from anywhere in the world. Nothing is holding you to a location unless you need something specific.
If you’re wondering what courses are out there and which ones are right for you, check out this post: What’s The Best Course To Do To Become An Interior Designer?
I’ve seen people run successful businesses for years without anything more than paper, pens and a drawing board, but I’d say that all you need these days is a computer to start an interior design business. I say that because you do need to be found online somehow unless you live in the 1700s and get clients through word-of-mouth…
If you know how to choose furniture, fabrics and colours accurately online, you don’t need to purchase or store large sample libraries (and they go out of date so quickly these days, too!). You also don’t need that much space. I spent the first few years of my business growing my sample library to recycle it (and give much of it away to my mentees) a few years later.
I love being an interior designer, and I love working for myself. That’s why I used to work quite a lot of hours a week. It didn’t feel like work. I loved my clients, I loved my projects, and I lived and breathed interior design. Now with a 5-month-old baby, however, my world (and the hours I can work) are very different, but I find that I can still get more than a full day’s work in EVERY SINGLE DAY! That’s because I can work the hours I want.
Being an interior designer is flexible, and every day is different. One day I can be on holiday sourcing furniture on my phone. The next, I can be sketching layouts on a napkin at a lunch meeting.
As everyone is working from home, demand has grown for interior designers, including interior decorators, interior stylists and interior architects. Demand isn’t going down; it’s going up! More and more people appreciate good design, and they want a beautiful, functional and aesthetically pleasing home that works for their family.
Everyone requires creative thinking and design input to rethink or solve a problem. Our workplaces, restaurants and bars have all changed, and these are perfect design services that a start-up interior design business can offer.
Many bitter and twisted old-school interior designers will tell you that interior design is difficult. It’s a horrible, demanding career. It might have been for them, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Let them be bitter, twisted, and jealous that you find it fun, creative, and easy.
And if those bitter old sods have gotten to you, check out this video. It will get you back on track: Myths About Becoming An Interior Designer
I know that you have one question before we finish up, don’t you? How hard is it really to start an interior design business? My honest answer is that people with no experience do it and succeed. Others are experienced professionals from other more technical sides of the industry (like myself), and we are thriving too. What makes starting an interior design business difficult are is your insecurities or bad experiences (typically from other interior designers who are negative and compare themselves to doctors, architects and even God).
Changing careers and becoming an interior designer was one of the best things I ever did. I followed my heart, and it brings me so much joy and self-expression every day. If you wish you could leap but want someone to hold your hand and help you step by step along the way, check out our mentorship program here: Online Mentorship Interior Design Program