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Karen Gastle

Managing a business is hard. Every field has a unique set of challenges and obstacles to face on a daily basis. Interior designers however, have a list that can feel like a mile long. Not sure what you’re missing? Here are the top 10 unexpected challenges interiors designers face on a regular basis.

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1. Managing Time

For interior design firms, time management skills are a must. There are only so many hours in a day and dozens of things need to get done. Organizing your time allows you to budget your hours effectively, prioritize projects, and stay on schedule to meet your forever looming deadlines.

2. Selling Your Big Ideas

One of the biggest challengers interior designers face is selling big ideas. Often times, you only have pictures or a floor plan to try and express the feel of an entire room. It’s hard to sell something that doesn’t physically exist. Do whatever it takes to get your ideas across. From fabric samples to mood boards, your clients will always appreciate the extra effort to help them understand the vision.

3. Handling the Books

Yes—even designers have to handle the books. From invoices to purchase orders, accounting can get overwhelming. However, many interior designers are opting to use accounting software created specifically for designers. It streamlines the process of bookkeeping, helping turn a grueling task into a ten-minute job.

4. Maintaining Client Expectations

More likely than not, you’ve worked with a client with sky-high expectations. Being an interior designer is all about working with people and managing expectations. Don’t get discouraged. Set boundaries, work within the budget, and don’t forget the timeline.

5. Working Within Fast Turnarounds

Maybe your client wants the project done next month—or maybe next week. Whatever the timeline may be, interior designers often find themselves working within tight turnarounds. This is where time management and organizational skills are really put to the test.

6. Introducing Trends and Timeless Style

One of the hardest roles of interior designers is introducing the latest trends, while maintaining a sense of timeless style. You don’t want your client to feel frustrated when a space is outdated after a few months. Staying on top of trends and knowing how to tastefully introduce them is one of the greatest creative skills for designers to master.

7. Managing Costs

Interior designers have to monitor budgets very closely. If a client changes their mind or a project runs longer than anticipated, you can find yourself in a tight situation. Every aspect of a firm needs to run efficiently in order to ensure no money is wasted in the process of creation.

8. Handling Self-Promotion

From Pinterest to Instagram, there are endless outlets for self-promotion. However, knowing how to master them for designers can be tricky. Get online and see what other interior designers are doing and how they showcase their designs. Remember—your social media is your portfolio. Make sure it looks great!

9. Working on the Go

Just because you’re not at the office, doesn’t mean work stops. Without the right software, interior designers can find it difficult to manage business functions while on the go. Consider cloud-based business management software that gives you easy access to your documents no matter where you are.

10. Remembering Breaks

Interior designers or business owners in general are extremely hardworking. Nothing is ever less than 110 percent. But for the betterment of your health and business, it’s important to know when to take a break. Many designers find it hard to know when to step away from a project and take a moment to breath. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Know when it’s time to take a breather.

How to Grow an Interior Design Business

Karen Gastle

As an account manager, Karen has experience working with design firms of all sizes to integrate DesignDocs to streamline business processes, increase administrative efficiencies, and deliver higher profits.
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