Frequently Asked Business Questions Answered

Our Work | September 14, 2011

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!