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Archive for September, 2010

Sorry – Grateful

Posted on: September 8th, 2010 by halewilliams No Comments

Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer: The Business of Interior Design

Three years ago, almost to the day, I started this blog to create interest in my upcoming book, Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer.  At the time it wasn’t quite finished and I knew I would be looking for a publisher.  As many of you know all that came about and I published a second book with Allworth Press in June of this year.  All in all a very successful use of the internet, social marketing and a desire to share the knowledge I have gathered over the past 38 years. I have enjoyed the comments I’ve received and the response to both of my books.  The second book, Interior Design Clients  The Designers Guide to Finding and Keeping a Great Clientele, has done very well in sales and was just reviewed by the Library Journal of America.  Starting Your Career was named on of the ten best “how-to” books in America in 2009 and I hope The Designers Guide will be as successful with them.

Now, however, is the time to stop this blog.  I’ve found writing once a week a challenge and very rewarding.  I will continue to teach, mentor and offer my services as a private consultant even though I will no longer be blogging about the business of interior design.

To all of you my very best wishes for your continued and future success. I continue to believe now is the best possible time to get into this business.  The numbers can only continue to increase.  Get out there and show them how it’s done in a professional and exciting manner.

If, at any time, I can be of help just email at design@hale-williams.com and I’ll be happy to talk with you about whatever you want.

Good Luck

Tom Williams

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Tell It Like It Is

Posted on: September 8th, 2010 by halewilliams No Comments

Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer: The Business of Interior Design

It happens to all of us at one time or another.  The fabric we had on reserve and just ordered is now on back order and will be delayed for another eight weeks. What to do?
A – reselect and hope the client doesn’t notice
B – Don’t say anything to anyone and pretend it hasn’t been delayed
C – Notify the client of the change and offer to help them reselect should they decide the wait is too long
I certainly hope you selected C.  This is not the time to put your head in the sand.  It is a great opportunity for you to strut your stuff.  As a professional we know there is always more than one solution to our design challenges and the re-selection of fabric can, in some instances, improve your already beautiful design. And it’s not just fabrics.  Furniture can be delayed because of cutting schedules.  Accessories delayed because the vendor runs out of a certain trim or finial.  All the things that can delay the delivery of goods to clients.  This also points out the need for your office to maintain some sort of process of follow up and management of goods on order.
During our weekly staff meetings we discuss the status of each client we’re working on at the time.  We run through all open proposals, take a look at each and let the other staff members know what the status is of each order    attached to that proposal.  Should we discover a delayed shipment date or some other reason for delay it goes back to the designer to decide how to handle the problem.  It’s important to inform the client as soon as possible.  It’s also a great time to make contact with the client in this time we call “the twilight zone” of the process.  We contact our client once or twice a month with a status report on the goods ordered.  A great way to touch base and an opportunity to find out if other items might be needed and give you a chance to create an add-on sale.  So, there are those times when being upfront with your client is the best choice.  Actually, it’s always the best choice.

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On A Clear Day

Posted on: September 1st, 2010 by halewilliams No Comments

Starting Your Career as an Interior Designer: The Business of Interior Design

What is it about running your own business that keeps you on your toes?  I kept thinking about it and decided it’s all about how to keeping focused and ” clear of thought” is what separates the winners from the has beens.
One of the keys to running any successful business is being able to maintain a clear thought process at all times. This may look easy from the sidelines but in the heat of battle you will find it harder than you think.  Clarity of mind (and it’s partner, clarity of action) will help you at every stop in your design career.  From objectively seeing when a job has been done right (or wrong) to knowing when to bring in outside help to improve business, a “sharp eye and a sharper mind” are two killer designer attributes that will never, ever go out of style.

But contrary to what some of your professor’s may have told you, “success” isn’t determined by how many “attributes” you have on your dossier.  It’s more mysterious than that.  Of all the intangible factors out there, the four that will weigh heaviest in the early part of your career will be: staying sharp, being resourceful, playing to your strengths and knowing how to compensate for your weaknesses.

How does one go about doing all this?  Begin by developing the clarity of mind to see what you do well and what needs work.  Once you know the holes in your game, you can address them through self-improvement or by partnering with other design specialists who are experts in areas where you are not.

For example, if you find you aren’t very good at organization, partner with someone who is.  If you can see you’re having problems with color, bring in a color specialist.  If you’re a control freak, learn to delegate.  This is (frankly) the reason why so many of us designers go the partnership route.  Smart designers are aware of their limitations (before starting their practice) and know that, to succeed, their business must be able to do it all, even if they (as one person) cannot.

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