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Recession Prep 101

As inflation hits record highs, the stock market sinks, interest rates soar, crypto crashes, and new project inquiries become increasingly less frequent, you might be experiencing some uneasiness. We’re all wondering: "How will this impact our businesses?

The best thing you can do for your interior design studio during a time of deep uncertainty is to take preparatory action – that means making a plan and refining your processes before the industry potentially feels any negative effects.

That's why we’re walking you through actionable steps to safeguard your business from a recession. We might not be able to predict the future economy but we can predict this: If you follow this five day plan, no matter what happens, you can move forward feeling calm, cool, and collected.

Sounds good, right? Let's get to work.

Day One

Think Before You Speak...Or Spend

It’s simple: We need to get strategic about how we’re using our marketing resources. Before you spend another minute or dollar on creating social media content, sending email newsletters, running an ad, or drafting a blog post, you need to identify who you’re trying to reach and what you’re going to say to them.

Our number one tip is to niche down, cultivating a specialty that helps you stand out from competitors and allows you to identify a specific target audience. If the number of people looking for interior design temporarily decreases, it’ll be more important than ever to be attracting the right people.

Today's To Dos

1. Refresh your website.

As soon as people land on your website, they should get an immediate sense of who you are, what you do, and if they're your people. This might be as simple as updating your imagery to feature a stronger curation of your portfolio or giving your copy a look over to make sure it's clear and compelling. Pro Tip: Read it out loud to catch errors and ensure the tone matches what you’re striving for.

2. Overhaul your hashtag strategy.

3. Tidy your Pinterest.

Day Two

Where Do You Hang Out? It Matters.

Now that you’ve defined who your ideal client is, you need to show up where they’re spending their time. It’s important to realize this is likely very different from your go-to accounts or where your design network is gathering online.

Today's To Dos

1. Create and schedule two pieces of social media content per week for the next three weeks.

We’ll do the math – that’s six pieces of content. Is your ideal client tapping through Instagram Stories, watching Reels, or scrolling through TikTok? Get active where they’re at. Use each piece of content as an opportunity to share who you are, what you do, and how you can solve your ideal clients’ pain points. As you begin to tackle outbound engagement, it’s important that your account is active when they click back to discover more.

2. Identify five Instagram accounts your ideal client is likely following.

3. Respond to five comments on each of the accounts you just identified.

4. Brainstorm five geotags to focus on.

5. Like and comment on 10 interesting posts from each geotag.

6. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Now that you’ve got a few pieces of content scheduled on your social channels, keep the momentum going. Often people turn to social media to find community, solidarity, or even creative outlets and escapism during stressful times. If creating regular social content is something you struggle to fit in your workflow, it may be time to outsource.

Day Three

Tidying Your Processes Sparks Joy for Everyone

Day one, you niched down and identified your ideal client. Day two, you got your marketing plan in place, and now you’re hard at work attracting your dream clients. Today, it’s time to make sure you can serve those potential clients well, and serve as many of them as possible, as they find you and start their projects. How? By establishing or refining your processes.

No strategy is more important to an interior designer than a seamless client process. From initial inquiry to the final goodbye, I walk you through how to impress every step of the way on Episode 2 of The Interior Collective.

Today's To Dos

1. Assign all tasks to the appropriate team members.

The number one reason why things fall through the cracks is confusion about whose responsibility it is. As teams grow, clearly defining roles is imperative – we always say you need to hire for a specific role, not just an additional person. When shifting from a solopreneur to a team it can be easy to pass off tasks as they come. As soon as you delegate roles (Instagram management, blog writing, client on-boarding, etc), the more efficiently your processes will run.

2. Turn your client email communication into templates.

3. Decide how and when you will return client calls and emails.

4. Brand your process to create a comprehensive experience.

5. Update your contract.

Day Four

Diversify Revenue Streams, Avoid Panic During Lulls

As designers, everything you’re paid to do requires your hands and eyes on it. In a service-based business, it’s particularly important to diversify your revenue streams, because sometimes, especially in a recession, projects are delayed or there is a lull in your billable hours as you’re waiting for product to arrive. Multiple streams of income act as insurance when business is slow in one area or another.

Today, your action list is simply to look into some of these options and consider which might be the right fit for your business model.

Today's To Dos

1. Design Consultations

As an example, you could consider offering hourly design consultations for one-off services like selecting countertops, paint colors, or fixtures for a client who isn’t ready to commit to full design services. These consults will be billed at a 3x your rate. For example, if your hourly billable rate is $200 on a standard design project, these calls should be limited to 60 minutes and billed at $600. Keep these calls limited to a single day a week and limit yourself to no more than three so it isn’t eating into your other work.

2. Affiliate Links

3. Mentorships

4. Boutique Rental Properties

Don't forget to share about your new service. Talk about it on Instagram Stories, announce it in a newsletter and reference it again later, share case studies or examples on social media, dedicate a blog post. People need to know there are ways to work with you aside from full-scale projects in order for these other revenue streams to begin generating income.

Day Five

Turn Your Clients Into Forever Fans

One of your most powerful tools – especially during a recession – is client retention. While it’s easy to get caught up on making sure we have new projects coming down the pipeline, it’s essential that we serve those who have already entrusted us with their homes to the best of our abilities. Today, we’re going to address how to create trust while surprising and delighting your current (and former) clients. In short: Loyal, repeat clients are more profitable than acquiring new clients.

Today's To Dos

1. Mail physical, handwritten notes.

Handwrite notes to previous clients (on branded stationery, of course), checking in on them and asking them how they are doing in their homes. Mailing something tangible is a thoughtful and memorable way to follow up and see if there’s anything you can do to help. As a bonus, it keeps you top of mind – you'll be who they recommend when their friends ask.

2. Send an end-of-week check-in email.

3. Identify one way to go above and beyond your current clients this week.

We’re so proud of you for investing time in your business and implementing what you’ve learned throughout this mini-course. You’ve laid a solid foundation, so no matter how this economy turns, we’re confident you’re prepared to not only survive, but thrive. We’re cheering you on.

If there's something we can partner alongside with you on or help you dive more deeply into, we encourage you to reach out – as always, we’re here to help.


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