Someone recently reached out asking for general advice on getting in the “industry”. I always take these emails so seriously because 2-3 years ago I was a flailing girl emailing every person who said they were an interior designer. The subject line was usually something like “please give me all your wisdom!!!” (I’m still flailing. I don’t know how to not flail.) I was desperate for knowledge and information a few years ago and just wanted to know their secrets. I’m curious if there are any designers or decorators reading, what is your advice for someone wanting to get in the industry?
Go to school? Don’t go to school? Work under a seasoned designer? Work for free? Don’t work for free? Focus on a portfolio? Spill the secrets. This is such an interesting topic to me.
Something I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is having different sources of revenue. In the beginning, in the end, in the middle, just always having different outlets of income as a business owner. I’ve been thinking about it a lot because it’s something I’m really focusing on right now with my own business, but it’s also something I was doing (not by choice) when I first started. When decorating turns from a hobby to a “i want to really do this” thing, it’s hard to know what to do first. You have a passion and people have told you you’re good at it, and now you just wait for the money to come in. But it doesn’t come in. You sit and watch all the famous decorators on Instagram announce that they’re hiring AGAIN and you wonder if you can just get ONE person to pay you for your talent.
At this point (2ish years ago), I knew I wanted to be a decorator but I didn’t know how. I had to bring in money in ways that weren’t what I wanted to be doing because the money didn’t start coming in instantly after I decided to “really do it”. It was embarrassing to tell people I was working this job or that job (nothing that was really contributing to my career). (Silly to be embarrased of that but I remember feeling that way.)
Fast forward two years later and I still have revenue coming from different outlets. I actually really like the idea of it now that I’m doing it by choice. I have my design clients through CBD, I work with brands through my blog & instagram, I think I’m going to teach a workshop soon (!?) and I work for Homepolish.
If you’re on Instagram, I know you’re familiar. Best account ever on Instagram. Some of the similar concepts out there (a platform that matches client and designer) are either really good for ONLY the client or ONLY the designer, but Homepolish is best case scenario for both the client AND the designer. The idea is that if a client is in need of a designer, they head to Homepolish and the platform matches that client with a designer who is a good fit for the project. From there, everything happens just as if you were hiring a designer straight from their personal website. Designer comes over for a consultation & listens to client’s needs/wants, designer comes up with a proposal, client approves/declines and from there the pair start designing together. I said it works just like hiring a designer from their own personal business, but actually it’s better.
As a decorator, I love Homepolish because of the ease of the platform. It streamlines the process and also takes care of the not so fun aspects of the client process (ex: contracts). Working as a Homepolish designer means you get access to a TON of resources/forums/general knowledge that is helpful to know.
I had to apply to be a designer with Homepolish a couple of times, but I really like that about them. They only accept designers who are a good fit for their platform and I respect that. I don’t think I was ready when I first applied (I had no portfolio), but after photographing a few projects, I applied again and was so excited to join the team.
What are your thoughts on different sources of income as a business owner? And what I really want to know: what is your ONE piece of advice to someone wanting to jump head first into the industry??
(This post was sponsored by Homepolish: a brand I work for and really admire.)