You are the chosen one. You've been invited to sell your soul to the devil for just $99 on one of these new interior design services websites that connects you with a homeowner who needs your help. (Should someone be cueing up the angels?) Yay?
Cheap interior design services are what they are selling and tons of interior designers are down to be apart of it.
While starting your own business is hard and takes a fuck ton of effort to make it successful, there's only one reason to put a middleman in the way of your success. You need experience.
I get it. Starting a new interior design business from scratch isn't the easiest job in the world and when you see these other sites come online promising you a connection with your dream client it seems like a shortcut to the land of profits. It might be, but I'm not so sure.
The Problem With $99 Interior Design Project
Let's just say you sign up with a website that connects you with a homeowner for a room design for just $99. I'm pretty sure you aren't going to get the full $99, but let's just say you did. How many of these $99 designs are you going to have to create to make just $50,000 a year? Did you do that calculation? Yeah... you better have a meth addiction and a process that is down pat to make your way to that 50k.
The Problem With The "Bid For The Cheap Ass Design Project" Model
There's a room design that the client is going to pay $299 for. 8 other designers are bidding on it. You all submit your design ideas via a mood board and one lucky designer gets selected at the end of the competition by the client. All 8 of you are vying to be the prom queen and sadly, you didn't get selected this time. Womp, womp, womp. But damn, that sure was a delightful mood board you created for nothing.
The Only Time You Should Work With These Sites...
Is if you are brand new, need to build a portfolio and need to refine your design process. Almost every designer I know has done work for free. Free to build up their portfolio, refine their process, figure out which tools work best and so on. Usually they do this type of work for a friend or family member. Then they stop. They've achieved their goal and then move on to getting paying clients.
Doing free design work isn't a business strategy, ever.
You Shouldn't Sell Yourself To The Devil
These websites aren't out there for your best interest. It's even more infuriating to me that some of these sites are backed or started by interior designers (who may be well intentioned), but are selling out their colleagues in the process.
You've got to get allergic to cheap ass clients. Cheap clients don't give a rat's ass about the food you need to put on your own table, they just want to get the design for cheap so they can buy the more expensive sofa that they really wanted.
If you want to do this business as a hobby, great. But if you want to build an empire - do not make it a part of your business plan to work for peanuts, line someone else's pockets and hang on to a hope and a prayer that someone will choose you.
You are enough. You're awesome and you can do this without selling your soul to the devil.
What do you think? Do you think I'm totally off base? Tell me in the comments, I'd love to have your thoughts.
Alycia Wicker is a business coach for creative entrepreneurs. Her clients land more of their own dream clients and make more cash, period. Celebrity gossip whore. Elvis-obsessed.