Wondering if the interior design career path is the right one for you? A lot of times we think that this is just what we always wanted to do only to find out it wasn't really what we wanted at all.
Do you want to create the spaces that people experience their most important moments?
When I was a kid I wanted to be an architect, until I got to high school and realized there was too much boring stuff and not enough creative stuff.
I first fell in love with the design field by thumbing through house plan magazines. I always used to imagine what it would be like to live in those homes and how I would decorate and design them. So I thought that as an architect I could shape people's lives by creating the spaces for their moments.
But now looking at it as having followed the interior design career path I realize that you can really create positive change in people's live by designing and decorating the spaces that they live in.
It doesn't matter all that much what type of walls are holding the moments in their lives, but rather the colors, the textures and bits and pieces that really touch people's hearts.
Of course that isn't the only thing that goes on with being an interior designer, that part is the icing on the cake.
If you want to change the world, one family at a time, shaping the stage for moments is an incredible experience
If you are like me, you get your first chance to shape people's lives by working for a company. You follow their design formula and their lead. You get to learn the ropes from the pros.
And this type of work is really important for you figuring out how a real interior design firm works, because it sure as hell isn't very much like anything they teach you in college.
But it isn't for the faint of heart
You'll find that working for da man involves of lot of patience. I encountered lots of different personalities - clients as well as fellow designers. And just like any other job you encounter those people who are meh, those who are great and those who are inspiring. The meh people seem to outnumber the greats, but if you keep your eyes open you learn to follow what the greats are doing and get inspired by them.
Working for the man can be a stifling bitch
When you are working for the man in a design firm you find that being creative isn't usually on the top of your to do list. There are so many other things that are more pressing that just picking out the most perfect fabric for a sofa. You've got to work on budgets, space planning, purchase orders, scheduling installations, revisions, etc. All the really fun stuff seems to be but a fleeting moment when you look at the entire process of being a designer.
Yet, you develop these relationship with fellow designers that inspire you and get encouragement when you knock it out of the park. You can squee together over some new chair or fabulous throw. You build relationships that you'll have forever.
Working for yourself isn't any easier, but a lot more rewarding
At some point a lot of interior designers decide to go out on their own. Most find that doing the side hustle of being an independent designer on the weekends along with their full time job is just enough to allow them to get their creative juices flowing outside the workplace. Then there are the designers who go at it full tilt. They are so ready to build their interior design empire that they go full bore into making that dream happen.
And I can tell you, being your own boss is a great thing, but it also can be effing overwhelming. You don't have anyone to tell you what to do and if you're not disciplined enough to keep yourself on track, you're going to get sucked into a vortex of confusion and despair. Having a plan from the beginning and sticking to it is something you really need to have in place. And it's not to say this will be the plan forever, but you need somewhere to start so you can refine it.
And you'll have to deal with everything - invoicing, bookkeeping, inventory, delivery, installation, plans, problems, pissy clients, deadlines, marketing, social media, processes, technology, and the list goes on.
There will always be tough times, but you need to ask yourself this important question
If you work for da man or yourself, it isn't going to be an easy road. But nothing in life worth fighting for is.
As designers our emotions are tied to our work, so your heart will get broken when someone doesn't get your design vision. You'll have days where you wonder why you chose to do it and wonder if it wouldn't be easier to work at Target stocking their wine shelves. You'll have other days where you look around and wonder if it shouldn't be illegal to be an interior designer because your job is so kick ass.
If you can't imagine yourself doing anything else in this world, go for it
Most designers I know couldn't imagine doing anything else. Designing interiors comes so easily to them. It's their God given talent. Being an interior designer doesn't feel like a job at all and they wake up excited to do it every damn day.
When you know deep down that there isn't anything else you want to do in this world, then you know you've found your life purpose. If that's interior design for you, you'll make it work and love every minute of it.
Want more help making your dream come true?
I work with interior designers who are building their design empires and need guidance. Join us in the Society.
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.