How to start an interior design business without a degree
So, are you wondering how to do interior design without a degree and start your own business? Here are five steps:
1. Choose the services you’re going to provide
Interior design offers so many service and specialty options, so it’s important to narrow down the services you feel most skilled at and that will be markable for your business. The possibilities go far beyond this list, but this will help get you started:
- Full-service design (from design to purchasing to installation)
- Design only (no obtaining furnishings, materials or installing)
- In-home consultations
- Virtual design
- Types of design: residential, commercial, retail, event, exhibition, lighting, set design and more
- Color consultations (as a standalone service)
- Specialities such as eco-friendly design, feng shui, restoration, hospital or classroom design and many others
- Specific/niche rooms: kitchen, bath, children’s rooms, meeting rooms, hotel lobbies, etc.
2. Create your mission and the focus of your business
After you’ve determined your services and specialities, it’s vital to hone in your mission statement and the focus of your interior design business. What will set you apart? What makes your business distinct from others? Who are the types of clients you want to work with? How can you uniquely delight these clients with your services and specialities offered? Start brainstorming and also check out How to Write a Business Plan for Interior Design for more great tips.
3. Price your services
It’s important to price your services for profitability and competitiveness in your local area, so make sure to do some analysis and number crunching before deciding your prices. Here are just a few pricing models to consider:
- Charging by the hour
- Charging a flat rate per project
- Charging by the size of the space
- Charging retail pricing vs. cost plus pricing
For more advice, take a plunge into How to Charge for Interior Design Services.
4. Obtain, practice and develop interior design skills & knowledge
You’ve got to have the skills (and know-how) to pay the bills. Here’s what to do:
- Take classes online, at local community college or art school; sign up for interior design seminars or workshops.
- Develop your interior design practice and build a portfolio of work by selling your services to family and friends, taking on contracting work and marketing your services within your community.
- Stay up-to-date on your field and with trends by frequenting design websites and blogs, listening to podcasts, subscribing to popular email newsletters, reading magazines and trade publications, following influential social media accounts and attending trade shows.
5. Market your business
Create your marketing plan, budget and start exploring all the possible ways to market your business:
- Email marketing
- Online advertising
- Social media
- Video marketing
- Print mailers
- Trade shows
- And much more
Get the inside scoop on how to find new clients to work with in our guide, 20+ Ways to Get Interior Design Clients in 2022.
The choice is yours as to which path is best now that you know you can become an interior designer without a degree. If you’re a beginning designer and the non-degree route is one you’re considering, check out How To Get Started as an Interior Designer with No Experience to learn more.