So, you decided to start your own home decor business online and everything was hunky-dory for seven minutes.
Then the panic sets in. You don’t know what you're supposed to be doing. Who in the hell would let you become a CEO? Did anyone else think this through?
The last thing you completed with absolute confidence was that series on Netflix last Saturday.
And here you are. You told everyone you were going to start your own design business and now you’re quivering in your boots wondering why you decided NOW to make this scary ass leap into the wild world of entrepreneurship?
Good thing I’m here to remind you why. You know you were born to change this world. You know that you have a gift that needs to be shared with the world because you’re freaking awesome. And you crave freedom.
Not that bullshit “laptop lifestyle” that these fake fuckers online show off. You actually don’t mind doing the work. It’s your purpose and passion.
Looking towards the future you plan on the ways to work less, make great fucking money and have the freedom to live life on your terms.
Now that we’re both clear on why you’ve decided to forgo some kind of “certainty” for definite “uncertainty” I’m about to take you through the nitty gritty that you need to know about getting your baby design business off the ground and into the land of milk and honey.
You’re a running a design business and what you sell is a SOLUTION. If you don’t understand what problem your design business solves, you will have a really hard time trying to market your business profitably. Which is what marketing is all about.
Here are your 5 steps to get started today...
Decide what type of design work you want to do and who you want to work with
Yeah, I get that you've never had a client before but you do know the type of people you like. This is key. The people you want to work with aren't just some anonymous dollar bills. They have emotions, hobbies, families, favorite TV shows, etc.
When I came up with my first ideal client, it was basically me - but I added on the part of needing the help of an interior designer. I imagined how a young mother could be overwhelmed and the thoughts that came to mind when she'd think about decorating her home. Do a little role play here to imagine her pain points - ask her problem.
Get down to the dollars and cents
You're starting a business to make money. Now decide how much money you'd like to make this year. Then break that number down into how much money you will need to make each month to hit that goal.
Now, figure out what you need to sell to hit that goal. (We've got a spreadsheet in the Society to help you out with this).
Buy Your website
Don't come out of the gate with a free website. When people come to your free website, it says that you're not committed to this business and could be a total flake. First impressions matter.
I'd recommend you go with either Squarespace (that's what I run this site on) or go the Wordpress route. Both have a learning curve, but Squarespace is definitely easier. You can buy a domain and get the website all in one place.
Wordpress (the .org version - more on that here) requires you to buy a domain and hosting. I recommend Bluehost for that (it's where I've got the Society hosted). You'll probably also want to buy yourself a theme. I've got a handy-dandy goodie to help ya with that here.
Start building an email list
I will shout this from the rooftops for the rest of my life. Your email list is that thing that will keep your profits more stable and you won't be screwed anytime some social media platform screws with their algorithms. Find a service, like Mailchimp, and get the thing started.
Run through your process
Your process will become your signature design service. The unique way you do things and you will want your process to be smooth as silk.
Make up a client or do a free job for a friend to run through the entire process from onboarding to delivering. You'll quickly find out what software or processes you're missing. Boom! Now you can implement it for your first paying client.
Lastly, make some goals for yourself. This all takes time and none of it will ever be perfect. You will make mistakes that you will learn from as you go on this adventure. Be realistic, but don't underestimate yourself either.
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.