If creating beautiful spaces and changing people lives is your calling, there is hardly anything that sounds more rewarding than having your own design firm. And for those who take the leap of faith, it is the most challenging and fulfilling move they have ever made.
If you are ready to take the leap, there are a few things that will help your transition into the design leader you will need to become in order to be successful. Hopefully you have had several years in the business to cultivate your style, self-awareness and industry knowledge before you take on entrepreneurship. Here are 10 things you should know or be consciously striving to define for yourself as you start.
- You will work your tail off: This means that you will need to work at keeping a healthy life/ work balance, especially if you have a family. Do not dive into the deep end of the pool unless you are ready to work really hard for a prolonged period of time. Make or get yourself ready for the mental and pressure you will endure working in Nigeria environment.
- Financial security will be something of the past: This doesn’t mean that you won’t do well financially, but it does mean that you need to be in a situation that will afford you the flexibility you need financially, as income streams and expenses fluctuate. Especially in design, revenue ebbs and flows even during the lifecycle of a project. Project volume can also see peaks and valleys as the season change. Be ready for a roller coaster ride.
- Know that you will have to be an effective CEO not just an interior designer in Lagos Nigeria: The most important factor in your success in the ability to function well as a business leader is not the quality of your design. You are building a company so the game expands from being a great interior designer in Lagos Nigeria to being a business person.
TRANSITION INTO A BUSINESS LEADER
- Understand that you are building a BRAND do some brand development work early in. Figure out the look, feel, vibe and characteristics of the brand you are creating and then build everything in your business to be congruent with those characteristics, from logo, website and social media to the outgoing voice message, email, signature and the experience you provide your clients.
- Figure out if you are going to be a chameleon interior designer or a signature designer , both work valid and work well, but you need to know if you are creating a signature look that you incorporate in each project somehow or if your signature is becoming one with your client and being invisible in the end product. The signature approach is the best.
- Know your sweet spot, know what you do and what you don’t do. Know what you are best at and when you get business on what you are not so good at call on expert in that area [good business people are not greedy] form your business modules and your massaging around your speedily. It is more difficult to excel in design business when you try to be all things to all people. Figure out what you do better than anyone and cultivate that and be known for it, Find the niche that aligns you with your power.
- Identify you ideal client early on this means know who your most profitable, enjoyable and photographable client is and then target them. Figure out what association, charity events, clubs etc. they go to and then go there even you club school events.
- Establish your company’s basic infrastructure early on here are some tools things that will save you: make your first; hire a receptionist and office manager/ expeditor. These two alone will save you years of struggle and make you come off as a professional from the get go. A strong foundation leads to a better energy which leads to better clients.
- Be fearless, be strategic, but be fear less! Center yourself in your vision and calling. If you do indeed know that this is what you were put here on earth to do, then you are in for a ride, and you have something really powerful on your side, your calling!! When you align with all that is authentic to who you are, the universe will conspire to help you. Be aware of this collaboration and be open to the multitude of ideas, chance, meeting and other resources that will present themselves to you along the way. You are not in it alone!!
- Create a support structure, because you will need it, get the help at home you will need it. Find a small group of designers, consultant, decorators or association of designers that you can collaborate with. This industry can sometimes feel very isolating, so make sure to build your circle of comrades, artisans, fabric sellers it will keep your sanity and help you navigate your business as you grow. Being an entrepreneur is probably the most challenging/difficult things you will ever do but at the long run it will be incredibly rewarding. And when you are as driven and passionate as you are, what else can you do? For you to have an important purpose in this world.
There is hardly a more powerful medium for transforming the World than design. And yours is a noble calling!!
NOW GO AND ROCK IT!!!