I get emails every week from readers wanting to know more about my blog and business. I answered a few of the most common questions on this post. A few weeks ago I got an email from a reader named Kelly with a long list of questions and as I started answering them I thought maybe I should write up a post so everyone can read it!
I started working on my blog in about October of 2009 and I started my business that following June right after I graduated from college. Starting the blog was essential to building up clients. By the time I graduated I already had done a few consults. My blog and my wonderful readers gave me the confidence I needed to start my business. I wasn't 100% sure that I was going to start an Interior Design business after college but once I started getting inquires about design services I thought I might as well give it a shot!
Yes! I definitely do. The only project I've ever shot myself was this one. It was one of my very first projects I ever did and at the time i didn't realize what a difference professional photography makes. So far I have used three different photographers and they have all been amazing to work with; Jessica Kettle, Britta Anne and Jylare Smith.
If you are serious about your business then I think hiring a professional photographer to shoot your work is a must! It makes such a difference. I've been able to work out trades with all three of these ladies so that has helped to keep cost down. Also don't underestimate the importance of styling your rooms the day of the photo-shoot.
Mood board from this post.
I wrote a little bit about this question on this post. I do all of my mood boards in Keynote which is a Mac version of powerpoint. It does the job. I use one tool in photoshop elements called magic extractor to remove the backgrounds of objects that I want to put on my mood boards. Other than that I don't have any software specific for my business.
Interior Design companies are actually not that expensive to start up. If you are working from home there is hardly any start-up costs. Occasionally I will purchase products for my clients and get reimbursed so it's nice to have a good savings account built up I can pay for those items.
The only unforeseen cost was due to a client I had who ended up returning a bunch of items that I couldn't return so I had to come up with the money. Every now and then you might run into a client like that but most understand the way things work and will be really good about reimbursing you for things. And we always discuss upfront what they can and can't return. Luckily I had the money in my savings account to cover it. Otherwise I would have been in HUGE trouble since it was thousands of dollars worth of stuff.
screenshot from this Studio 5 segment
I would say most of my business is generated from my blog. Whenever I showcase work I've done in my home or for other clients I always get a lot of new clients. I try to promote my work on other design sites such as Design Sponge and Apartment Therapy as well. I've also done a few segments on a local t.v. show called Studio 5 and that has seemed to generate a lot of clients as well.
I love interacting with other bloggers as often as possible. It's such an amazing feeling to connect with people that just "get you" and totally understand the whole blogging world. In Utah there are always blogging events being thrown so I'll try to go to as many of those as I can. I also like to email bloggers that I've never met and meet up for lunch if we can. It's really important to meet as many people in person as possible. For the last 2 years I've attended Alt Summit which has enabled me to meet a lot of new bloggers and Etsy crafters.
Doing my Etsy roundups has given me the chance to get to know new Etsy crafters through email. Whenever I feature a shop on my blog I always email the store owner to let them know.
I don't have an PR work done for me behind the scenes. That sounds amazing and I so wish that was happening! I have to work really hard to get noticed and get my name out there. I will often email other bloggers and websites projects that I've worked on and usually that results in me getting featured on their site which generates more readers which generates more clients. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to dedicate to promoting myself as I would like.
I get a lot more inquires about e-design services but I feel I end up doing an equal amount of local projects vs. e-design projects. A lot of people are interested in e-design but maybe expect the process to be cheaper than it actually is which is why the inquires don't always turn into projects that I actually end up working on.
Jessica Kettle Photography
Ahhh the magic question! I get asked this all the time and to be honest each week varies. A blog post typically takes me an hour and Feature Friday posts can sometimes take even longer than that. Feature Friday posts take me FOREVER to do! Luckily people really like them so it's worth it to me.
The amount of time I spend doing design work honestly depends on how many clients I have at the time. I try to only take on 3 e-design projects at a time and I typically have about 4 local clients and projects that are ongoing that I'm working on.
If I were to take a rough guess I would say I probably spend about 15-20 hours a week blogging and designing.
At the beginning I came up with my own layout and header. You can see it pictured above. As you can tell it isn't anything special. I eventually hired Jenna Rammell to design the header and layout that you see today. And in the coming months I'm teaming up with Kelly to debut a whole new look!
I try to write most of my entries a few days before but every now and then I find myself finishing up a post the night before. If there is ever a day I just don't have anything to say I just won't post. I'd hate to write something just for the sake of posting something. I have come to terms with the fact that if I miss a day most of my readers will still stick around!
I hope this post helps any of you who are thinking of starting a blog or design business!