Running a profitable and rewarding design business isn't all about picking the perfect chandelier and exquisite Persian rug. It isn't about choosing the ideal fees for your service. It's not even about having the most talent.
Talent can only take you so far. Fees can only differentiate you so much, and even if you think you've picked the perfect chandelier on the planet, your client may have other ideas.
In my totally non-scientific research, I'd say about 99.874% of the designers, decorators, stylists, and other professionals in our industry are lacking this secret sauce:
Imagine you're heading to the hottest bar in town. You walk up all shy and the squinty-eye 900-pound bouncer slams the door shut on you. Leaving you feeling totally uncool on the sidewalk as the "cooler" people get in.
The same thing is happening on the inside of you. Your fear keeps you from exploring and sharing your greatest gifts with us.
You know what's even more interesting about this confidence bit? Your clients lack confidence, too.
They kind of know what they like and how they imagine their home to look like when it's all done. Except, they can't pull it all together.
They've got a million choices, and some of those choices could turn into expensive mistakes. That’s why they need you. No matter if they need you for an hour or the entire project. You need to be confident in yourself, so they can feel satisfied in hiring you.
Because there isn't only one perfect formula to a profitable design business, you're going to need to dig deep.
You can't look at Bonnie's website, model it and think that it will work for you too because you think she's successful.
You can't price your hourly rate at $150 because Josie did.
You can't offer the same services as everyone else because you blend in.
All of those options are "safe" and allow you to feel somewhat comfortable because you're not standing out in the crowd.
And that's not what you truly want. Deep down, you know that you are here to serve your clients with your gifts.
Finding the Courage
Your fears are opportunities. I'd dare to say the things that you are resisting most are the exact things you need to be working on.
If you weren't afraid what would your design business look like? Knowing what this business looks like, you can start shifting the energy of life to create an aligned endeavor that encompasses all that you enjoy about design.
1. Confidence isn't about being a bitchy wench.
We all have run into those wenches who think that their shit doesn't stink and that they are God's gift to interiors. Don't be like them. Confidence can be kind when you can stand up for yourself and your beliefs while respecting the other person's beliefs.
2. Know your shit.
Focus on what you're an expert at and share that knowledge. People can smell bullshit a mile away like most of the shit on the Goop website. If you're not a lighting expert, don't pretend to be. If you a color picking motherfucker, share that talent with the world like you're the magician of color.
3. Confidence is a muscle.
You're going to need to do some work every day to believe in yourself, too. Believe in your talent, your ability to help others and get extremely passionate about your work.
4. Get habitual about a ritual.
Rituals help you get into the zone. Whether it's 15-minutes of quiet meditation or a routine of lighting candles, saying a prayer and journaling. Do it every day so you can produce your best work, consistently.
5. Mistakes are okay.
If you're open to making mistakes, you're open to learning from them, as well. That's what will allow you to make progress towards sharing your talents with the world.
The most exciting part about being confident for me is getting that tingly sensation that runs up and down my spine when I'm in my zone, collaborating with another soul who feels it, too.
Getting there is going to require that you get vulnerable. You'll feel uncomfortable and feel like the entire world is just holding their collective breath, waiting for you to fuck it all up.
Seriously... so the fuck what. Anyone who can laugh at someone who tries is an asshole who probably is secretly wishing they dared to do the same. Show them how it's done, tiger.
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in online marketing strategies.Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.