Episode 47: Are Your Design Services Energizing – or Draining You?

Let’s be real – some design projects leave you energized and wanting more, and some leave you feeling exhausted, resentful, and straight-up cranky. Today we’re breaking down the 6 most common interior design services out there, and weighing the pros and cons of each. Spoiler alert: you’re the boss, and you can say no the ones you hate doing!

Episode 47 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • [3:27] We’ve talked about all the different kinds of services you can offer and as we got into the topic, we uncovered that there are some services we love to do and others that are extremely draining
  • [5:06] You need to design a business that is in alignment with what fills you up and gets you excited
  • [6:38] Before we get started, here is a rundown of the most common services. If you feel inspired by some of these then that’s great! But don’t feel pressured to add everything to your business
    • [6:45] Full service is in-home and involves a lot of custom design, purchasing, and installation
    • [7:13] “Design only” is when you put together a design for a client but they will be the ones to do all the purchasing and execution
    • [7:27] E-design is similar but more limited because it’s not in-person. The client would take all the measurements, purchasing, and putting it together
    • [8:51] Designer for a day is when you spend one day with your client and you can offer a number of different services that day (shopping, rearranging)
    • [10:04] Design consultation is a 90-minute to 2-hour session with your client that can be a standalone service or the leadup to a project 
  • [11:13] With services you don’t necessarily enjoy, remember it’s still helpful to make exceptions – for example if you really want to work with the client and they are willing to pay premium, if the client can bring value in terms of connections, etc. You can decide when something feels like the right fit!
  • [14:25] Lesley’s favorite service: Design only or design masterplan
  • [14:35] Same level of design and involvement as full service but at the design presentation, you hand your clients everything they need to pull it off successfully (specs, drawings, resources, tools)
  • [15:10] Lesley enjoys it because she’s fast at design and she can help people get over decision fatigue or figuring out where to start 
  • [15:28] But without the troubles of going through purchasing, tracking and dealing with all of the issues within that
  • [18:16] If there is a certain aspect of a service that drains you, consider hiring someone who can manage those kinds of issues and are more suited for it 
  • [18:53] You also have to be able to read your client – will they be able to do all the steps to see the project to its completion? A lot of it has to do with their personality, commitment, and time 
  • [20:40] On rare occasions,you can’t always assume clients are not willing to pay for full service. It’s all about how you frame your proposal and make it worth your time
  • [24:27] If you’re going to let your clients do their own purchasing, remind them that they can run things by you if they want to change things – this can possibility save a lot of headaches
  • [25:59] You also have to remind clients of their responsibilities should they do their own purchasing
  • [28:00] One of Kate’s favorites is designer for a day. That covers six hours, includes in-home consultation (plus lunch!) and notes at the end of the day full of links, ideas, and recommendations 
  • [29:13] However, it is tiring at the end of the day – it’s a lot of talking, thinking on your feet, and presenting all your ideas at once
  • [29:37] If you struggle with this service, set your clients expectations. First, tell them there is thinking time that happens when you’re putting the notes together where you can come up with even more ideas you might miss on the spot
  • [30:30] Second, you’ll spend the day throwing around ideas to see what sticks but it’s part of the creative process and you’re welcome to hearing their feedback
  • [31:07] Third, after talking and brainstorming, you might need to take time to sit down quietly, sketch things out, go on Pinterest to develop your ideas further 
  • [33:05] Designer for a day is not for everyone, especially for introverts who don’t get their energy from other people and do better with more quiet time for design
  • [36:41] You don’t have to offer it all. You don’t have to do things because other designers are doing. It’s okay if someone comes to you with a service you don’t do and you just refer them to another service or designer altogether
  • [40:23] If you are experiencing burnout, get to the heart of where it’s coming from. It could be a bad client or policies in your business, but it can also be that you’re offering services that are not energizing you and are not a good fit
  • [41:02] Ask yourself these questions: What lights you up? What aspects of the whole design process do you love the most? What were your favorite projects? Who were your favorite clients to work with? 
  • [42:14] Then do the opposite: What are aspects of the design process that you absolutely hate? Are there any particular personality types that rub you the wrong way? Do you dislike working on specific projects like kitchens or bathrooms?
  • [43:25] Take what you love and figure out how to do more of it. With the things you hate, try to do less of it or outsource it
  • [46:15] Don’t be afraid to flat out draw a line. Say no to projects or personalities you don’t love
  • [46:51] To summarize, you get to pick what packages to offer because you’re the boss
  • [47:14] Niche is rich and broad is broke – specializing in certain services can actually help expand your business!

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