Episode 20: Ask us Anything

In today’s Q&A style episode, we are answering listener’s questions about setting client expectations when they have never worked with a designer before, the benefits of professional organizations, and asking when is the right time to move into your own commercial space.

Episode 20 Show Notes

Key Takeaways:

  • What is your advice for setting expectations for clients who have never worked with an interior designer?
    • If clients don’t know what to expect, you can’t make them happy
    • People are usually exposed to the idea of “fast, cheap, easy” design services. Those who have never worked with interior designers often don’t know that the timeline is much longer 
    • Focus on the results you will be achieving such as time and money saved, high-quality services, long-lasting pieces
    • Let clients know that you can’t predict everything that will happen – things can go wrong but that you are equipped to handle it
    • Include a specific step in your design process dedicated to resolving deficiencies and errors
    • If you don’t have a design process yet, put it down in writing it so that you can include it in your welcome packet because clients get value from knowing what the next step is and what to anticipate 
    • Set expectations early, remind the clients of them often, make sure you have the process outlined and there’s something for everyone to refer back to
    • Always remind them of the value that you’re bringing
  • Are you members of professional organizations? Why or why not?
    • Professional networking, professional development/learning, and credibility are some of the top reasons to join professional organizations
    • Professional organizations such as the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers), IIDA (International Interior Design Association) and NKBA (National Kitchen and Bath Association) are the most common.
    • It can be a very valuable way to dive deep into the industry, to connect with designers you may not get to meet otherwise, and to be exposed to knowledge and information sharing and learning
    • If you’re self-motivated and already taking courses or working with a coach, these may not be of much value to you
    • Regardless, ongoing learning is essential and professional organizations provide a great space to grow as a designer
    • Looking at their calendars is a great way to gauge what kind of value you’re getting out of joining
    • Ultimately, decide what you’re in it for and research if there’s a strong organization in your area
  • How do you know when you feel financially comfortable enough to move out of your home and into a commercial space? Are there financial percentages to meet?
    • For Kate, her financial decision was based on the fact that she had three months of savings that could cover the cost
    • Take into account how much it may cost to furnish the space or other renovation expenses 
    • Moving out is a great step if you have a lot of employees and working from your home is getting too crowded
    • Working in a legitimate office can improve employees’ perception and attract more clients 
    • It also helps with providing work-life separation as you have a dedicated space where you can hold all client meetings and presentations
    • A big part in making that move has to do with how comfortable you are with having people in your home and if your home is presentable at the level that you would want your clients to see
    • There are other options out there too such as co-working spaces or subleasing desk spaces
    • It’s all about seeing if the move is worth it depending on where you are in your career

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