Why you shouldn’t be bitter about all the online design websites...
What are these online design websites doing that you aren’t? They saw the opportunity in the marketplace and ran with it. It may not last, it may in some capacity.
If you don’t want to offer the DIY design solution, don’t.
I’m not saying you need to sell your creativity for peanuts. I AM saying you need to go out there and sell yourself. Beat them in a way that they can’t compete.
Here’s where most designers and decorators are falling short. You aren’t selling yourself enough or at all. Or you’re pimping yourself awkwardly. Either way, it won’t work. Show up and be you. Don’t have the private profile online where you’re engaging, funny and awesome and at the same time have your public social media profiles that are sterile because you think that’s what you should do. People want to know you and you, my dear, are pretty freaking awesome.
Stop selling the fact that you’re gonna pass on discounts to your clients. They can go find whatever you spec at a price they want to pay. They are paying you for something far more valuable.
Stop selling confusion, break down your process and make it easy to hire you. Don’t list a bunch of different design services so it reads like a college course syllabus. People have such short attention spans, that you don’t need to list everything under the sun that you can do. Make it simple to hire you. Period.
Own and Sell YOUR value.
They are paying you for what YOU bring to the table. These online design websites aren’t devaluing you. They don’t even think about you. They offer cheap design services to folks who need cheap design quickly. If that’s not what you offer, who cares?
We all know that designers have been vilified for awhile. We’ve all heard the stories. And so these new interior design websites took that narrative and RAN. So what do I see designers doing to change the narrative? They write a meek little blog post about how valuable they are and share it on their Facebook page. YAWN.
Get fucking fired up about your business and why you’re fabulous! Create a movement, a tribe who loves you and wants to work with you. YOU are the key.
Get your ass out there and SHOW them that you’re brilliant. Show them how hard you work for your clients. TALK to them. Bring them in by starting a relationship. Sell them on you being the person who can bring their dreams to life.
Share your beliefs about design. What you believe and think about design should be shared. Shout it from the rooftops. For example you could write:
I like poufs because they can add a pop of color to your room.
Fuck poufs. Poufs are the worst thing ever. They just sit there.You can’t sit on them for very long. Good luck landing on one of them successfully if you’re tipsy. It’s basically the bastard child of an ottoman. Like, get the ottoman and forget the pouf. Poufs should die.
Inject your personality into everything you share online and let people get to know who you are as a designer. Share those thoughts that you think might alienate someone. You want to turn off the wrong people and by filtering yourself, you’re not attracting those clients who can’t wait to work with you.
Sell yourself based on what people truly value. Saving time, saving money, value, experiences, customer service, relationships, easy of doing business, living the life of their dreams. Your brand is a promise of an experience with you. Sell the fact that while design can be a complicated process, YOU are the one who can navigate those tricky waters.
YOU are the biggest asset to your business. YOU are the awesome creative person who can see their space completed in your mind and bring it to life. YOU are the person who knows what your client needs and YOU are their best advocate. You LISTEN to your clients and HEAR them. Be the opposite of that villain narrative they’ve put out there. Share why you do what you do. That’s why people will hire you.
Offer what you want to offer but communicate it with the story of your clients life and dreams. You’re NOT selling the dream of what you believe every homeowner should have. You’re NOT selling the dream of affordable design. You’re NOT selling a space plan or a mood board. You’re SELLING YOU.
There’s not a single online design website that can bring the personal connection to the masses like you can. They talk to the masses, you talk to one person. The person who VALUES what you do. The person who WANTS what you have.
There isn’t a damn reason why YOU can’t build a design empire as big as you want. You need to believe in the VALUE you offer. Own it, share it, do it.
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.