My interior design business began when I used to style and assist clients. I would do fittings in my home, which I’d got in the habit of redecorating practicaly weekly, and my clients started to ask me to do their homes. The rest, as they say, is history. When I think about how long ago I set up shop—nearly 20 years ago—I think, “If I only knew then what I know now…” I thought I’d share the most important things that kept me grounded and focused as I launched my own business. I imagine these do’s and don’ts would apply to anyone who’s starting their own business. Take my lead below.
Owning a business may feel like you have a child at times: You are protective and extremely attached. Just like children, business grow at different rates, and this means, you have to learn and respond as you progress—not get beat down by people’s opinions. Instead, take everything as a lesson.
Working for your goal is imperative. You cannot fail if you keep trying. It’s important to stay positive at the outset of a new venture because even when you work extremely hard, having a poor attitude can be the killer for you.
Friends and family are important, but sacrifices and trade-offs have to be made. Anything worth having requires old-fashioned hard work.
Beware of developing personal relationships with clients. When setting up a business you are in constant contact with people. It’s important to treat everyone kindly, but sometimes it can really work against you to build a personal relationship as expectations change.
Who you know only gets you so far. It is crucial to learn from every professional expert in your field, to learn specialties, and to make it your own. I never went to interior design school but I made sure to learn and sit on construction sites to expand my knowledge on the job.
Be conscious of your time and avoid drowning so you can stay true to the core of job, which is to create. Sometimes it is easier to say yes to every facet of a business venture, but stay true to your skill set and talents and delegate accordingly. Otherwise, you’ll find yourself in a sea of stress.
Did you have a conversation or come to an agreement on the phone or in person? Sadly, it may as well not have existed. In the world of business, words mean nothing and paperwork is paramount.
Business is not always pretty so walk away classy. However fired up you may get with a client or anyone in your field, stay strong, bite your tongue and move on. It’s not only not worth your time, it can also redirect your energy in wasted areas.
Again a dangerous path to take, do not be responsible for your friends. Instead, just go for drinks with them on the weekend.
Setting up a business is about enjoying it and letting it become your career and not a job. It is exciting to be able to build something for yourself. Don’t forget this.