It's like one day someone decided that every interior design professional should act a certain way. That certain way is the only way you are allowed to act. Or else? You're kicked out of the club and off the island for being "unprofessional".
You're unprofessional when you:
Don't join the professional associations and societies.
Curse and use the F-Bomb when they said it wasn't the appropriate time.
Don't pay by their "rules".
I'll tell you what's unprofessional:
When design "professionals" behind virtual closed doors talk shit about their clients.
When design "professionals" snicker at what they deem a "low-budget" client's decor choices.
When design "professionals" can't be bothered with taking jobs that don't meet a $ minimum.
Being called "unprofessional" is such a tired and stupid insult thrown out by a-holes. Not to mention for those decorators out there who don't have the degree or certifications. Why they are one step above dog shit in their eyes.
You're really an interior design professional when you have fulfilled the responsibilities you've been contracted to do for the client. Period.
How you choose to show up in the world and present your business isn't anybody's business. Period.
Seriously, this is all they're talking about when it comes to being a "professional". They care about how you're acting. By acting in a certain way that they don't condone, they ASSUME you aren't servicing your clients properly. They assume by throwing out f-bombs that you MUST be broke because that's no one way to run a business. Their opinions don't write you checks.
A bunch of design peeps wants to be buttoned up and very professional. Or they want to be a snobby ass. And no one likes the snobby ass self important a-holes, except for other snobby ass self important a-holes.
The cool design peeps who have tons of happy clients aren't afraid of being that fun girl (or guy) at the party who'll do shots with you and have a fuck yes time with their clients! (Drinking on the job site not advised).
You could go down the boring and safe route. Or you could let your inner Lola Falana out. Outfit optional.
Lola lets her light shine! She's an entertainer. She's cool. And she's nice.
You're here for a short time. Probably 100 years max. This is your opportunity to step into the role you wish you were fulfilling.
Get bold and stop hiding. You can't be a wimp about your business. You can't conform. You can't hide. And you must show personality.
Here's the biggest and most important point you must hear, embrace and act on:
Your design business is not going to earn the money it could if you choose to follow their cookie cutter boring standards. People do business with people who are REAL. Not with a logo, not with a glamour shot, not with a degree. People do business with people who are professional by delivering what the client wants. That delivery is more that plans and furniture, it's also an experience. The experience of working with YOU.
Whether you realize it or not, someone is watching everything you do right now. No, not that stalker Stanley across the street with his pornstache and the open robe. I mean yes he's probably watching, but we're gonna ignore him right now.
There is someone right this very minute who wants to connect with you. And they are scared. Scared of the thought of talking to a designer. Even if it is sweet lil ol' you.
If you make it hard for someone to get to know you, you're making it equally hard for someone to get the courage to contact or hire you.
The greatest rewards in your business and life come from living authentically.
Not everyone in the world will like you. Personally or professionally. You can't change that.
You can change your mindset and decide that those who don't like you don't matter. You can make the money you need to without appealing to the masses.
When you choose to not hide behind a "professional interior designer" persona (aka fake) and let your business have more of YOU in it, magical things happen. Try it. Take a risk. You might like it. And then you'll become addicted to being so "out there".
I can tell you right now there is probably someone who doesn't like Lola, and I'm sure Lola don't care.
When you're ready to join us in the Society, you'll meet your Biz Besties who are taking a risk. Not doing business as usual and feeling like they are on Cloud 9!
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.