Request a Demo

Karen Gastle

Entrepreneurs are a resilient type, and this is especially true when it comes to designers. With the drive for success and spunk of creativity, it can seem like the owners of design companies are actually secret superheroes. However, that isn’t always the case. In fact, there’s a lot no one tells you about what it’s really like to run your own design company.


Download our free guide about how business management software can help design  firms stay organized.


From the good and the bad, here’s what no one tells you about running your own design company. 

The Days Are Long: Sometimes Really Long

The sign on your office door may say 9am to 5pm, but in reality, you’re there much later. And sometimes, much earlier too! Depending on the day, you could be there from 7am to 9pm. You heard it right: sometimes your workday will be upwards of 14 hours long. In fact, 19 percent of entrepreneurs reportedly work more than 60 hours per week.


What drives many business owners is the fact that they’re working for themselves. As your own boss, you’re doing something you love, so the extra hours may not seem that bad. However, for interior designers that are feeling the stress, sometimes using the right business management software is the secret to success no one’s telling you. While you still may have to work late, getting organized and staying on track can put you in a better position to leave on time every now and then.

Your Social Life Will Miss You

When you run your own design company, things like your social life unfortunately start to take a back seat. Wave goodbye to drinks after work and bid farewell to weekend get-togethers: running a business is now your biggest concern. Soon your afternoons will be spent buying clients dinner and your meals will be eaten in front of your laptop while you scroll through Pinterest boards on the seasons latest trends. Not as exciting as you thought.


But at the same time, it is exciting! Running your own design company is one of your greatest accomplishments and you’re working extra hard to grow your business. What no one tells you is that your friends will be there when you have some time off. It’s okay to have your sights set on success, as long as you carve out some time for yourself every now and then, too.

You’ll get discouraged

Whether you work for yourself or for a company, sometimes you’re going to get discouraged. The downside of working for yourself is, it seems to happen a bit more often. When a prospective client doesn’t return your emails or your invoices get sent out wrong, it will start to seem like the world is working against you. It’s a natural cycle all business owners go through, no matter how much you work to avoid it.


The best thing you can do for yourself and your business is having the right tools in place to make the discouraging situations a little easier to carry. You don’t have to do everything completely on your own. Do some research and get the right resources in place so you can handle anything the world throws at you.

You’re Incredibly Brave

One of the most powerful traits of a business owner is bravery. It’s important to know that venturing into the world of running your own design company is scary—but you’re facing it head on and you’re doing great! Unfortunately, it’s not something everyone is going to tell you: so its important you tell it to yourself.


Go easy on yourself and remember that you’re doing something a lot of people never accomplish. While some days may seem long, impossible, and hard, you’re not letting yourself give up. It may seem scary, but business owners are brave people.


Don’t get discouraged. Running your own design firm may be full of surprises, but with time you’ll learn the tricks to handling them with grace and success!


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.
Find Karen Gastle on: