Interior design is a highly UNregulated industry and as a result, the barrier to entry is low. It’s a great career choice for anyone who loves decor and design. The range of designers goes from those with a 4-year degree to self taught, with all types of variations in between. So how do you stand out as an interior designer when there’s so much competition?
WAYS TO STAND OUT AS AN INTERIOR DESIGNER
1. HAVE A NICHE OR A SPECIALTY
What’s the difference between a niche and a specialty?
When you focus on serving a particular subset of the market, that is your niche. In the world of interior design it could look like specializing in renovations for families or condo renovations for empty nesters.
A specialty is a focus area. For example, you can be a kitchen designer or a media room designer. You’ll be easy to find because the space is not crowded. Your potential client will search for “kitchen designer Vancouver” or whatever city you live in and voila, there you are.
it’s possible to have both a niche and a specialty or just one or the other. You can serve families but only create beautiful nurseries or kid’s bedrooms. Focus on a niche, a specialty or a combination of both. If you want to be discovered, remember that if you’re serving everybody, you’re serving nobody.
It will be more difficult for you to be found using the generic search criteria of “interior designers”. If you want to stand out as an interior designer, narrow the focus of what you do so that you’re easier to find.
2. have a unique point of view
Have a unique point of view if you’re interested in getting your work shared. Have a strong message and unique POV and your work will be shared. Depending on your unique POV, you may create controversy so make sure you’re not too thin skinned.
Whether you want to challenge industry standards or just speak loudly about your love for the colour pink, when you say something unique, people will see you. More importantly, the people who are looking for you will be able to find you.
Some examples of having a unique POV could be:
- “I don’t believe in keeping discounts and I pass them all on to my clients”.
- “Don’t hire me if you want a neutral home. I believe colour is the key to good design.”
- “Pink is the best colour for living rooms. Here’s why…”
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3. STOP FOLLOWING SO MANY DESIGNERS
This is such a common issue within the design community. It’s common for designers to feel overwhelmed by imposter syndrome. The easiest way to rid yourself of that feeling is to stop following so many other designers on social media.
Speak from your heart. Challenge the voice telling you that it’s wrong because nobody else is doing it. This leads to copying and creating content and messaging that looks and feels like every other designer. I get it, it feels safe.
You’ll never stand out as an interior designer if you sound like everyone else. You’re actually hurting your credibility to look like all the other designers. It doesn’t showcase your creativity and that’s what you want clients to feel when they find you. That you’re creative and unique.
Look to other industries that you respect or that have a commonality to them. It could be millworkers, suppliers or web designers. Follow whoever lights you up but expand beyond your competitors.
And while you’re looking, take a look at other professional accounts. It’s going to be eye opening to see that your accountant isn’t following hundreds of other accountants. Would that instil confidence if you discovered that? Likely it would make you wonder about their strategies?
If you look at your IG or FB page and see that you’re almost exclusively following designers ask yourself these questions:
- Are there other industries I enjoy?
- What am learning from the designers I follow?
- What am I missing by following so many designers?
- Am I afraid to stand out?
- If I wasn’t afraid (assuming you answered yes above) what would I speak about?
4. TEST AND REVISE CONSTANTLY
Once your plan for standing out is in place it’s time to watch and test. Give it a a while but keep your eye on the metrics. Who’s visiting your website? Where are they coming from? And then you can revise your plan accordingly.
For instance, write a controversial blog post and share it everywhere. This can result in a stream of traffic to your site. You’ll begin to see that your voice and your opinions are respected. You’re interesting enough for readers to come visit your site to learn more. That’s exactly what you want!
If writing is successful, do more of that. Just do whatever is working and keep testing new ideas.
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