I have always shared my knowledge about the business of interior design with my interns, my interior design friends, and recently I had the wonderful opportunity to be a guest on a podcast, "A Well-Designed Business" created by my wonderful friend, LuAnn Nigara of Window Works and sponsored by Kravet.
LuAnn reached out to me because she thought her listeners would like to learn about how I rebuilt my business in Atlanta after being a successful interior designer in New Jersey.
She has created a wonderful podcast and interviews many interior designers and other people in the design industry.
Whether you are a seasoned veteran of interior design or new to the industry, every guest on this podcast will inspire you to create a more successful design business.
She zeros in on specific topics, like being published, starting a second career in the design world, being in showhouses, online interior design, transferring the skills you already have to your business, or the guests share their knowledge about how they run their interior design business.
Consider this podcast to be Design Business 101.
At this writing she has interviewed 16 interior designers and design industry professionals.
I have learned many new and useful ideas that I can incorporate into my interior design business.
I will share the podcast link at the end of this post.
My interview was about starting over in a new city and how I used digital marketing to gain new clients.
Starting over in a new city is just like starting up a new interior design business, except I had knowledge of 13 years in the interior design business.
I needed to use the internet as my new source to attract my clients because I had no one to refer me and I had only been published in New Jersey and New York. I was a new designer in a small city with a HUGE pool of talented interior designers. I needed to swim to the top quickly or drown..
Marketing in overdrive, is how I did it to get the clients I have today. I have now regained the profitability and number of projects per year that I had in 2012. I am now a busy designer bee.
As a wonderful Atlanta Homes and Lifestyle publisher told me 2 years ago while having coffee with me, "Robin, Atlanta people don't care that you were a wonderful NJ-NY interior designer. Your new clients want you to be a HOT (read popular) interior designer from Atlanta."
He changed my whole perspective on how I needed to capture clients in Atlanta. His advice was that I needed to do showhouses in Atlanta. (read expensive)
I had the honor to be one of the decorators chosen for the 2015 Atlanta Symphony Decorator's Showhouse which gave me the clout, but I still needed to reach a larger audience in Atlanta.
How I relaunched my interior design business:
If your phone isn't ringing or no one is sending you an email for your design services, look at your activity and see which 5 photos are added to ideabooks. Make those photos the 5 for your profile. The landing photo should be your most popular.
If the magazines are not interested in your photos, send them to the editors at Houzz for their considerations. Remember Houzz is national and competes against the magazines. If you want to get published in a magazine, don't put your work on Houzz.
I have been featured in 2 articles on Houzz at this writing. I always submit my design projects to the editors at Houzz if the magazines are not interested in them.
The Basement of the Week
The showhouse kitchen was also a featured story.
Also make comments on the Houzz stories and show your work of the same subject. Show the readers how you did the same thing for your client.
I prefer to stay away from Design Dilemmas because I get paid for my professional advice.
Let the Houzzers give each other ideas. Have you ever read some of them?? Yikes!!
Listen to the interview to hear another great way I went to the front page on Houzz.
Clue: My first photos uploaded onto Houzzer's ideabooks in October 2012 were "Ho Ho Ho" spectacular!!!
Selfies belong on your personal page.
Shoe selfies are also a "no no" in my book, not unless you include what you're standing on and who the manufacturer is.
If you have a really good reason why you posted a selfie, make it relevant to your design business. (If you're a well established interior designer, and have a huge following, by all means post selfies of yourself. Your followers eat it up. They love it when you post anything. Period. Otherwise stay away from selfies..)
I make quick videos for Instagram, which became a selfie by accident when I was talking about the television behind the split mirrors at the Cloister hotel in Sea Island. Videos are very popular on Instagram.
If you're lucky you may have a very popular Instagrammer post some of your work.
You want someone with more followers to repost your design work.
This photo I posted from a holiday showhouse I did in Atlanta was used on Traditional Homes Instagram site.
They wanted to use it for their Christmas campaign last year.
The magazines love our photos and watch us. Keep posting your work on Instagram!
Clients and followers like us because we show our work on social media.
Magazines will also see our work and ask to use it on their social media.
Absolutely sprinkle in family photos once and awhile to create a warm and fuzzy, but if your Instagram account has your business name on it, stay focused on your business.
Create another Instagram account for personal use.
I have another Instagram account for my fashion and lifestyle blog, "Hello I'm 50ish" and it really is about fashion over 50 selfies, travel, and my bucketlist.
I also repost from one account to another because I have a different audience for both.
LuAnn and I had a lot of fun and it is apparent on my guest appearance but so many wonderful designers share their wisdom and I really want you to hear all of the wonderful interviews!
Drop me a comment if you have any questions about your interior design business. Or send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would love to hear from you!!
Robin LaMonte is the acclaimed interior designer behind her company, Rooms Revamped Interior Design based in Atlanta, Ga.