You’ve probably been asked this question at some point in the past “what do you love so much you’d do it for free?” Your first answer might have been interior design but I”m proposing a new question for you to consider, “how can you make more money in your design business that you love?”
There’s a myth that creatives aren’t able to run successful businesses because they are right brained. Creative, emotional, intuitive and innovative are all great characteristics to have as an interior designer. What if you could be those things and still manage to run a successful 6-figure business? That sounds more appealing!
IT IS POSSIBLE TO MAKE MONEY WHILE DOING WHAT YOU LOVE!
5 WAYS TO MAKE MORE MONEY IN YOUR DESIGN BUSINESS
At the beginning of my design career I had no idea how much money I was bringing in and if I’m being serious, I didn’t care. I was so happy to be doing what I loved.
At some point I gained confidence in my work and I started to see myself as a valuable asset to my clients. That’s when things changed and I started to treat my business as a business.
If you’re not making money, or enough money, you can change that right now. Really, who wouldn’t want to be well paid for doing what they love? Isn’t that the absolute ideal? Let’s do it!
1/ TRACK EACH PROJECT
Don’t worry about whether you’ve been doing it in the past and definitely don’t beat yourself up about it. Starting today, track your projects. You need to know these basics:
- HOURS – how many hours did you spend working in total?
- DAYS/WEEKS/MONTHS – how long did this project last?
- FEES – how much did you earn?
Use a time tracker for a while. It’s annoying to have to turn it on and off but it will be revelatory to see the truth about how many hours you’re spending on tasks.
2/ CREATE COMPANY STANDARDS
Even the first time you track you’ll be amazed at what you find. There’s a good chance you’ll be shocked at how many hours are unaccounted for in your fee when you obsess over getting things just right.
How many hours did you spend finding the perfect table lamp?!. That’s a great deal for your client but not for you as a business owner.
Now that you know the basics, you can reverse engineer future projects. If you just spent 50 hours on a project and got paid for 30 you know you need to change something.
Are you going to charge more or are you going to speed up your work?
3/ CREATE SYSTEMS AND STICK TO THEM!
The best way to avoid losing time is to automate tasks that are being replicated on each project. Either create or purchase templates and be super strict with yourself about using them. Keeping notes on pieces of paper that you can’t find when you need creates chaos but it’s also a time waster. Some examples that will help to automate you are:
- Client Questionnaire, Welcome Package, Email Templates
- Furniture Schedule, Design Schedule, Tile Tracker (you can download my freebie here)
- Budget Tracker, Expense Tracker, Payment Schedule
- Time Tracker
4/ GET HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS
There’s zero shame in not knowing how to run an efficient business if you’ve never been taught. If you want to make more money there are loads of places to get help. Figure out where your issues lie and address that point. Maybe you need a bookkeeper or maybe you need a business coach. Reach out and get help and watch your business soar!
5/ read more books on business
I can hear you saying “but I’m already too busy. I don’t have time to read.” If you buy some fun books that don’t feel like you’re trying to earn an MBA you’ll have an easier time carving out the time. Try books on productivity or mindset or biographies on other successful creatives. Just start reading. And if you want any book recommendations, hit me up. I love reading and I love talking about books so I”m more than happy to chat.
Maybe most importantly, be patient. It takes time to change habits and behaviours. The changes will be the most rewarding when they start to convert to dollars in your bank account and that’s something to get excited about.