Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tips to Surviving the Design Business

The designers, decorators, DIY gurus and savvy stylists amongst us knows that it takes a certain level of creativity to be successful in this business. But it takes a whole lot more than being an ace at selecting the best floor plan, colors, furniture, accessories etc..You need to also dig deep for some other virtues. Here are just a few I turn to frequently:


I think this virtue speaks for itself.


Balls of Steel

Lawd help me with this one on a daily basis. Sometimes, just sometimes, clients, vendors, carpenters, electricians, contractors, painters et al will come at you with some issues. And I mean some crazy stuff. Like the trade who is prone to lateness aka Caribbean time, or the one who thought it was okay to show up to work in socks and slippers (er, no) or to not clean up when they're done working.  Or the guy at Home Depot who can't believe you when you ask him where's the compound, thinset, caulk gun etc...because you know, you're a girl and why would you want to know where that stuff is? I could go on and on with this one....

The shamelessness of a bill collector

Just like the clients you serve, you too have bills to take care of. And while we know some folks have a hard time placing a value on what it is that we do - until of course they try to make a million trips to the stores, paint shop, spend hours revising an entire kitchen design because one cabinet is out of stock etc.. - getting paid for your service is a must. At the end of the day, don't be a afraid to place a premium value on your service. If someone could do it themselves, then they wouldn't need you. So be clear about your fees and your payment schedule. Clients strapped for cash? No worries. PayPal and Square should also be your BFFs.

The listening skills of a Psychiatrist

You're in your clients lives for weeks, months, sometimes years, so you'll hear and see a LOT. Yep, those psychology classes you suffered through in college will come in handy so listen well, but not at the expense of getting the job done on schedule. Remember, you're there to provide a service first. A friendship afterwards is a bonus, but maintaining a certain level of professionalism is a must. Always.

Okay, for a really good and thoughtful approach to how things work in this world check out my girl Dayka's recent post.

Can't wait to see what Debbie has in store for us on Friday. Not that I'm going anyplace special. At least not yet. But it's the start of a glorious four days off from the 9 to 5 job. Hooray! Fun times will be had with the lil man, Xavier, the hubby, and of course a chance to get some major work done for the biz.

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