Starting a new business can be daunting, even if you’re a talented designer. Design experience does not always equate to experience managing a business, and you might find yourself a little overwhelmed at your growing check-list and unclear on how to prioritize it.
There are plenty of things that you can do and pay for to validate your expertise and advertise it to the masses, but there are a handful of quality investments that should be made on the front end that will put you on the right track for growth. This is where you should invest first in your business, in order:
1. Professional Photography
For an interior designer, photos are everything. It’s proof of work and the first touchstone a potential client has with your brand and style. Once projects start rolling in, it’s important to find a professional photographer that you love. If possible, find one that is local to you so that you can call on their services regularly. You want your photos for your portfolio, site, and social media to be as consistent as possible.
Even if you don’t have any completed projects yet, style a shoot at your home or the home of a friend. Source multiple pieces that showcase your aesthetic and rotate them into different scenes.
Don’t wait on branding and do not compromise on branding. If you’re just starting out, it’s probably safe to assume that you don’t have a huge portfolio. That means you will need to rely on your branding and brand imagery to communicate with would-be clients. If you can swing it, professional branding is an investment that will elevate every single aspect of your business and will provide a foundation for future investments to build on.
3. Web Design
If you’re following these steps in order, then this investment should be relatively simple. If you have beautiful photos and custom branding, all you need is a quality website and a little polished copy to create a stunning web presence.
In 2023, a website has to be a priority as most people will look online first for an interior designer. Social media is important and so is word of mouth, but neither can replace or replicate the impact of a branded website.
4. Outsourcing Technical Drawings
If you aren’t able to create them yourself, outsourcing technical drawings can really level up your work. In our experience, having this extra reference for more precise planning and more accurate renderings sets you apart from the competition. Having the capability to produce these drawings just makes you look more polished and professional.
You might have expected to see marketing closer to the top of the list, especially with the prevalence of social media use in the interior design community. The reason is that without all the other items above, you don’t have much to market. When you start investing time and money into marketing, you need to have something to back it up for it to be effective. Photos are supremely important in marketing your work. On top of that, you can’t market your business consistently without branding and brand guidelines. And when you do put your marketing out, you need somewhere to lead potential clients (i.e., a website). That said, it is a priority.
Just remember, these aren’t steps that all have to be taken in one day. Start with photos and invest in quality services to build your business. The rest will follow.