The real reason you want to start a holistic interior design business isn't for the money. It isn't so you can be the proverbial starving artist. Nor is it so you can be laughed at by the industry. Because, if we're honest here, there is a lot of people in this industry that have no problem in mocking their clientele and colleagues when they're soaking in negativity. When you decide to start your holistic interior design business, know its rooted firmly in your desire to help others. Not for the accolades, you could find from the industry, or by being published in a magazine for your work which was just a notch on your virtual headboard.
It is for you to do business on your terms and whether you were aware of it or not, your purpose is to use interior design to help your clients transform their lives on their terms.
The Intuitive Designer
The scary, or exciting thing depending on your perspective is that I've discovered through working with my clients that a large percentage of them have intuitive abilities that manifest in different ways.
I was born with the abilities to see things in my mind's eye, clairaudience and to sense spirit but I kept this to myself until recently because obviously, I didn't want people making fun of me. The funny thing is that so many interior designers also have these gifts and I don't think I would've heard about them until I opened up about my abilities. Now I am finding through conversations and emails that maybe we're not that rare.
Better yet, we're finding that it is indeed safer to come out and share these gifts at this time. Not sure how those design organizations that 'certify' designers will find a way to monetize these gifts, but I'm sure they're pondering it 😉Your intuitive gifts help your clients transform their lives. Think about it, how many times have you been on the job and realized that you just hosted a therapy session with your clients? This happens to a lot of intuitive designers who, if you don't take care to shield yourself from becoming entangled with your client's energy, can be depleted. The deeper connection you have to energy helps you to read the vibe of a home; it’s contents, the flow of energy and the people who live there. It allows you to see that holistic interior design isn't about only the aesthetic, but the intention and power behind it all.
Holistic Interior Design Therapy
The stories of your client's lives matter. The trauma they have suffered, and the path of their life now needs to be addressed throughout their home to allow them to heal, to let go of those things that don't serve them anymore so they can flourish.
We've all seen the home that's cluttered, and we know it's a physical manifestation of something else going on within them. Or the house that's too organized, and it's keeping the client from escaping the chains of perfection. All of this is at the root of why you started a holistic interior design business - to help them feel free enough to express their individuality in their home.
When it comes time to start a holistic interior design business, you need to be honest with yourself and what your gifts are and how they can help your clients. Your talents don't just lie in your ability to create a beautiful home, but to also tap into your client's energy and desires. That means your clients aren't going to be looking for a blog post on how to pick the perfect white paint either.
Your clients are going to be interested in all the things related to holistic living - natural solutions like essential oils, crystals, sound therapy, Reiki for their problems. They also may be interested in spirituality and how to bring that into their home. They're a lot like you, and you can incorporate any of the holistic healing modalities that you want with your design services.
Stepping Out Of The Woo-Woo Closet
This also might be the time for you to work on your intuitive abilities so you can access them, share them and take care of them through spiritual practice so you can create a unique interior that enhances your client's life and their goals. As you step into your spiritual self, you'll start to shed the person the world wanted you to become, and it doesn't require anyone's permission.
Also, I want you to know that when you pop out of the woo-woo closet, you may be a target of ridicule. This will require you to be comfortable with fear and knowing that being who you indeed are is more freeing than hiding who you are. The alternative is that you will shut down and never realize your soul's purpose.
But hasn't it all been done before?
There are so many niches in the field of interior design that you will not be the only one offering holistic interior design services. This niche is small as of today, and I only see it growing exponentially in the future. That's why I encourage you to start your holistic interior business now. What you will bring to the niche will be different than what anyone else brings because of the way your unique gifts manifest when you design.
No one who is here now invented Feng Shui, crystal healing, aromatherapy, chromatherapy, energy clearing and anything else that falls within this niche. You are allowed to contribute to the healing on this planet, and we need you to do so.
It's Still Work
No matter how magical doing this work truly is, it's still work and there’s no shortcut to success. The work can be draining and monotonous at times. At some point, you may even get where you smash into a wall where you can't find the motivation to continue as it seems you've done it all and you feel like you're reliving the same design projects over and over again.
You have permission to change your business in any way that serves you. This is why I don't want you to model your services on anyone else's. Just because someone offers X, Y and Z doesn't mean that you must do the same. Only offer holistic interior design services that excite you and allow you to do your best work.
Holding Space For The Healing
Your work is about holding space for your client's transformation in whatever form that takes. Your job is to be open, non-judgemental, present and let go of control. So often we want to control the design process down to a gnat's ass, but that doesn't always allow for the best solution to arise.
While I'm in no means advocating for you to enable scope creep to become a part of your holistic interior design business and you do need to have firm boundaries in place for your work, know that some clients will require more attention during this process of transformation. You may want to account for that on the front end by padding your fees for this or make your client aware that if you've set a flat fee what that includes and if the scope of the job (or their demands on your time) increase that you will need to bill them accordingly.
Just because you're doing this work, doesn't mean that you need to do it for free when you find out that individual projects are more extensive than you anticipated.
Don’t Sell Yourself Short Because You’re New
If you’re starting your business or shifting gears, do not sell yourself short and decide to not charge for your work. Also, do not sell yourself short if you don’t have the “right” certifications. You can read my thoughts on that shit here. You need to own your expertise and gifts - even if this is a second or third career - because the past experiences you have earned and matter to the work you do. You will use those skills in this work.
Your business is run on energy. The energy you expel is replenished through the client's money paying for your services. If you’d like to work on your processes and gift someone a service for this process, limit yourself to a certain amount of “freebies.” However, once that period is done, charge accordingly for your work.
How To Start A Holistic Interior Design Business
This guide doesn't include obtaining degrees, certificates, licenses, insurances, DBAs, setting up accounts, etc. that you will need to start a holistic interior design business because that is unique to where you're located and the laws of the land. You can do your research on that by searching online about starting a business in your state or country.
What is your intention for this business? It isn't only to make money, but for transformation for both you and your clients that are mutually beneficial.
What problems can you help your clients solve? Because your solution will be a combination of design deliverables and intuitive gifts, educate yourself on how your solution is beneficial for your client. You may also want to learn more about green design, feng shui, sacred spaces, sacred geometry, color therapy, symbolism, energy, and space clearing.
Delve deeper into who your dream clients are. Go beyond the basic demographics of their life and dig into who they are, what they believe and how they live. Then figure out what their emotional needs are and how you can help them satisfy those.
Determine what your service packages will look like how you'll deliver your services. The benefits of your unique design process should aim to be a transformational experience that your client can't wait to be a part of.
Determine a fee for your holistic interior design service that accounts for your time PLUS your gifts. You're not the patron saint of interior design, and you need to charge. You can see what others charge, but I'd encourage you to find out how long it takes you to deliver your service and then add on to that fee.
Research complementary fields of holistic interior design to see how you can adapt strategies to market your business to that similar clientele.
Set up your website and brand that will attract your dream clients and appeal to their desires.
Come up with a marketing plan that you feel comfortable doing. If you're not a fan of Instagram, don't do it. The key is to show up on social media where you feel comfortable enough to be there consistently to connect.
Start communicating your thoughts on holistic interior design so your tribe can find you. It's going to be scary at first but know that there are people out there you must help, and they need to be able to find you. Use their words and tell their stories.
Meet business owners with complimentary holistic endeavors to collaborate and network with. Tip: You're probably not going to find holistic designers at the association meetings, so you can probably scratch that off the list now. You may want to start checking out online communities on Facebook.
When you start your holistic design business know that its success depends on you knowing your why. When you understand why you're doing this work, your next job is to connect with your dream clients.
There's not one "guru" strategy that will ever take the place of the spark one feels from another person. Your online presence should be a very close representation of what it would be like to know you in person, and that message you share has the power to call in your tribe while the rest (deliverables, services, the prices) should always come in second to the service you do for others.
Why can't it be Happy Hour 24-7?
You're cordially invited to join the Society - an online community where you'll get the support, help and education you need to build your interior design empire online. Mai Tais not included - the Society is BYOB (Build Your Own Business, that is!)
Alycia Wicker is an interior design business coach specializing in helping soulful interior designers attract clients with clever marketing strategies. Celebrity gossip whore.