Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Frequently Asked Business Questions Answered

I feel like weekly the same questions pop up in my inbox. A lot of people are venturing out into their own design businesses and there are a lot of unknowns out there for them. So I do get a lot of questions when it comes to running a business and how it all works for me. 

I thought I would answer a few of the most frequently asked questions here! 



1. When do you work and how do you balance it with being a mom.

This is a great question that I get a lot. As Jett has gotten older my schedule has shifted but for now I have a pretty good routine. Jett wakes up around 7:30. I let him watch cartoons while I shower and get ready. I usually read my blogs and get on Pintrest while I am drying my hair or doing my make-up. (Isn't multi-tasking great?) After I'm ready for the day I try and find fun things for Jett and I to do together. playgroups, the park, the pool, riding his bike outside, sometimes we run errands but this time is usually just our time.  I try my best not to work or check emails during this time. Then from about 1-4 ish is Jett's nap. This is when the magic happens! This is when I'm at work. I bust through emails, work on client projects and write my blog posts. Nap time is very precious to me. When Jett wakes up we get ready for dinner, maybe run some more errands or just hang out with friends or family. He goes to bed around 8:30 or 9. After he goes down I get some more work done. 

As far as client meetings I schedule all of those for days when my husband is home. My husband is a pilot. So  this means he is gone a lot. He is also home for 3-4 full days at a time. Most of this time we are able to just spend together as a family. But every now and then I'll use this time to schedule meetings, run to fabric stores, shop for clients etc. I really try hard to minimize my time outside the home. My interns have helped with this significantly.  Because of my husbands schedule I pretty much never have to get a babysitter for Jett. I'm sure everything will change once we have more kids but for now this  routine works great for us. 



2. How do you put together your mood boards?

I get this question all the time! I do not consider myself to be amazing at graphic design or Photo Shop but I am pretty efficient at using Power Point. I've always found it very user friendly and you can create almost anything on Power Point. Since switching to a Mac I no longer have Power Point on my computer so I use a similar program called Key Note. I do have Photo Shop on my computer but I can only use one thing on it. I use the Magic Extractor tool to remove backgrounds from images I want to pull onto my boards. When I am done with a board I simply take a screen shot of the page and it automatically turns the image into a png. file on my desktop. So there you have it! 




3. Where did you get your degree and do you recommend getting a degree in Interior Design?

I started my degree at Mesa Community College in Arizona and then when we moved back to Utah I finished my degree at LDS Business College. The decision to get my degree in Interior Design was a decision I thought out carefully. Right now I feel like a degree is not necessary to become a successful designer. But then again you need to decide what "successful" means to you. For me, a stay-at-home mom/blogger/designer, a degree probably wasn't necessary. However, I wanted to get a degree in something and I wanted to go to college so it made sense for me to pursue Interior Design.

The lessons I learned in school were priceless. Not all of them have been relevant to my day-to-day business however they have been useful in feeling confident, motivated and knowledgeable about my chosen career field. I also REALLY loved school. I loved the feeling of comradely I shared with my classmates who had a passion for the same things that I did. I loved being challenged in new ways. I learned how to present and sell my ideas to a client. I took away a lot of good skills from my color theory class that make me more confident when picking color schemes and paint. 

But I also studied a lot of things in school that aren't as useful to me now. I have never used AutoCAD for a client or been asked to create a tangible mood board. I rarely create floor plans. I've never created a perspective drawing for a client.  I've never even had a client ask me about my degree or schooling. 

So the bottom line is a degree is not necessary to become a successful Interior Designer. Some of the best designers never got a degree in design , (Kelly Wearslter for example). But I am very very glad I went to school and I would recommend it to anyone who has the time and means. 

4. How do you get your clients?

I would say 80% of my clients come through my blog. There are probably about 5% from referrals and 15% from Studio 5. My blog is my #1 marketing tool which is why I spend so much time on it. I had my blog about 6 months before I started my business which was great because by the time I started my business I already had clients. Since I started my business over a year ago there has never been a time when I didn't have a steady stream of clients. I feel very blessed that this is the case. But it has also come through hard work. I work hard on my blog and I am constantly trying to get the word out about my blog and business. 

If you work from home a blog is the best way that I can think of to get clients.

I hope this helped answer a few of your questions on how it all works behind the scenes!

28 comments:

  1. Thanks for the helpful post! There are several tidbits that will be helpful including the magic extractor tool! Thanks for being willing to share your experience!!

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  2. My boy goes for a nap at the same time, and as you say it is PRECIOUS!! I get all my work done at that time too ;)

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  3. Thanks for the great advice Kristen! And your little boy is precious :)

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  4. Great insight Kirsten - thanks!

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  5. Kirsten, I love your blog and really enjoyed this post. But I do have one question. I'm also an Interior Designer, although in Commercial not Residential. My question: do you plan on getting licensed and what are your views on licensure??? I'm not sure what your state laws are, but here in Oklahoma its becoming almost necessary for Interior Designers to get licensed. Just wondered what your POV was. Thanks so much!

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  6. It's not necessary in Utah to become licensed so luckily I don't have to think about that right now. If it came to a point where that was the law here I would definitely have to look into it.

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  7. Thanks for your valuable insight. It's been extremely helpful especially to someone like me who wanted to start a future online decorating service! :)

    Have a great week!

    Jessie
    www.mixandchic.com

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  8. these are great tips! i've debated so many times about going to school, but you're right, do potential clients really care?! You have a fantastic blog & yo'ure so very talented. I'm glad you've had such great success!

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  9. I love the advice you give. I hope to be able to be a stay at home mom and do design on the side. I am happy you shared your thoughts on school. I have been up in the air about that myself. There is only one school around me that offers interior design and it is crazy expensive, also they only have day classes. So instead I pursing a bachelors in business, interior design is a business after all :)

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  10. You always have such great advice, thanks for sharing this helpful information. You do a great job on your blog and it shows! It makes sense that a lot of your clients come from your blog. You are very talented!

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  11. Thank you for taking the time to share. You have always been an inspiration to me. I stop by every day. So impressed with how you have followed your passion.

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  12. Fellow MCC design grad here! Thanks so much for so generously sharing this advice. I'm going out on my own soon and really appreciate the bit about your blog being such an effective marketing tool. I'll definitely be putting more time into mine from now on. Continued success to you! Love your blog by the way!

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  13. Thanks for all the insight. I am dabbling here and there in design work as well. I am presenting my first design board tomorrow and used PowerPoint to create the board - works like a charm. BTW, I have a Mac and bought Word/Excel/PowerPoint for a Mac. Cost about $100.

    Good luck and may your business continue to be a success!

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  14. Great post! It's always helpful to hear what others have learned.

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  15. Wonderful advice! Your words have given me the boost of confidence I've needed to get things done. I'm even convinced I can do it with my little one in tow! :)

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  16. Great advice. You are very inspiring and I always love when you post about the business side of design.

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  17. Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! They were very helpful and really inspiring as well.

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  18. Thank you so much for all of this info!!! So helpful!

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  19. Thanks for the post! Such helpful insight. Great to know that you use Powerpoint for your boards - I've been playing around with different options but think I was making it more complicated than it needed to be - powerpoint here I come!

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  20. Great advice, love this post. Very helpful! I live in Lisbon, Portugal. No kids yet but being a tv reporter takes me all the time! that's why i'm blogging at 2.00 am!!
    visit my blog, kiss
    Lisete Reis
    www.white-glam.blogspot.com

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  21. Kirsten, you have addressed all of the current questions / issues I've been dealing with! Thank you soo much! This post was perfect. I did two semesters at LDSBC and then had my baby and now I'm working part time and we don't have the means for me to finish my degree up currently so I've really been struggling figuring out what to do. Thank you thank you.

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  22. Good stuff! You say you don't think your degree is necessary, and with the licensing up in the air (in Florida at least) I have to admit I find myself wondering if I am killing myself at school all for not since I have a pretty nice budding decorating gig on my own. What are the benefits you see? For instance, are you able to purchase certain items, fabrics, etc that the public can't get to? Or does your business license alone get you those perks? Thanks for being so open!

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  23. Thanks for posting this so honestly. I read your blog often and it's obvious that you put time and effort into it because it is so fabulous and fun to read. I love that you aren't afraid to share your thoughts and opinions and I think you'd be so fun to work with too. Good luck!

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  24. Wonderful Site, Kirsten!

    Thanks for sharing so much of your great business. Just keep up the great work--so impressive (hope I am not being prejudiced here).

    Hugs to you, Josh and Jett,

    Great Aunt Jane in Boise

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  25. Such great advice Kirsten! Would you consider doing a little post or directing some of us on the guidelines of setting your costs and contracts (if any) that you use for clients? I think that is my biggest hang up; determining how to price oneself: per hour, size of project, etc. Thank you so much for any insight. Your blog is a wealth of information.

    Thanks, Michelle

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  26. Kirsten-Thank you soooo much for sharing your knowledge and experience. I think that talent probably trumps schooling when it comes to interior design. I find that you are one of the few designers whose work makes me smile. You definitely have what it takes and are a great example for those of us trying to make the leap into the world of being an interior designer/blogger.

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Thank you so much for taking the time to comment. It means a lot. I try and answer any questions directly in the comment section so if you ask a question come back to look for my answer. However it is much easier for me to answer questions through email at kirstenkrason@gmail.com.

Have a Great Day!

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