If you are laboring in the arts, you already know that it takes more than talent to be successful. The line at the unemployment office is filled with talented singers, actors, dancers, painters, magicians, sketch artists, athletes, and interior designers.
Talent alone is not enough, and never has been. We know that mad skills have to be coupled with things like drive, passion, hard work, and persistence through the tough times. Let’s not forget healthy doses of luck, including the luck we make for ourselves.
There is also a matter of who you know and not just what you know. You cannot achieve success all by yourself. You have to develop the necessary social skills, or become partners with someone who has them. Business is still done with eye contact and handshakes. Proper networking is an invaluable tool. Here are a few others:
A Way to Showcase Your Work
An interior design portfolio is a crucial ingredient to your success as an interior designer. You need a reliable way to showcase your work to potential clients. Your portfolio has to display your work in the most positive light, be easy for clients to access, and a painless affair to update and manage.
Traditionally, portfolios have been large, physical, paper books. They were cumbersome to carry, awkward to share, and laborious to maintain. They were also subject to casual damage.
None of this is to say that you shouldn’t try and maintain a traditional portfolio. It is just that you have to recognize the limitations of such an arrangement. You are limited to showing your designs to one client at a time. The photos cannot be manipulated or enlarged on the spot. And you cannot just drop it off with a potential client if that is your only portfolio.
Going digital means that it is always available to an unlimited number of potential clients. You can make specialized collections that cater to specific clients. And you can be confident that your photos will be there whenever you need them, as long as you need them.
A Business Mindset
What many artists fail to realize is that they are running a business. If you want to be a successful interior designer, you don’t have to stop thinking like an artist. But you do have to start thinking like an entrepreneur.
It is vital you utilize all the same tools to promote your startup as everyone else. Your potential clients have to see you as a serious professional and not just as a person with talent. People don’t do business with talent. They do business with professionals.
Part of being a professional is setting up a proper business. Establish an LLC. Get the proper insurance for liability. Do proper invoicing. Answer your dedicated business line with a professional demeanor.
Give your clients all the things in you that you look for in those with whom you do business. If you want to be successful in the art of interior design, treat it like the business it is.
A Quality Education
An art-based business is a serious endeavor that requires both the right talent and the right education. If you want to be taken seriously as an interior designer, you can’t skip the education component.
There is a reason why an interior design degree program exists. Design firms like to hire people with at least 4-year degrees. While graduate degrees in interior design are not strictly necessary, they are available. You might also want to complete coursework in computer-aided drafting, and other related fields.
At some point, you might want to specialize in a particular area of design such as domestic design, corporate workspace, or education-centric design. As with any other career, your future earning potential will be affected by the amount of formal education you obtain. So whatever your level of education, consider getting more. It can only help make your business even more successful now, and in the future.
Talent is a part of the success equation. But it is far from the only thing you need. For maximum success, be sure to add a way to showcase your work, a business mindset, and a quality education.