Ever have a slow month?
Ever have your full service projects get bogged down with indecision or client travel?
Ever just have a dip in the local economy so that the phone is just not ringing for the big, luxurious, whole house projects that you have built your business to handle?
And the one thing I found that helped me out of a tight money situation was this…..
The One-Time Interior Design Consultation
Is this the best money to be made in the business of interior design? No.
Is this great for long-term stability? Probably not.
Is this EASY? Not really (but you get better with experience).
However, this happens to be the fastest way to make money in interior design.
Full Service Interior Design Projects Are The Most Highly Coveted
Most interior designers covet the big, juicy, whole-house projects that we see splashed all over our shelter magazines and websites.
I do too. That is a goal for any interior designer.
These days, however, those projects seem to be fewer and fewer to come by. More people want to do the design themselves. With more options to buy products online, many homeowners only might want some advice from a designer.
Many interior designers are looking to diversify their income with options like affiliate marketing, designing a product line, becoming a brand ambassador or doing sponsored content on their websites, or developing an educational product to sell.
These are all great options and are worth investigating. The problem with most of these is that they really require you, as a designer, to have a significant audience or following from either a blog or social media profile or prolific and published work.
You gotta be “someone” in the biz in order to really have these options work for you.
No furniture manufacturer is going to want a designer who has no following or who hasn’t been published, to design a furniture line for them.
You can’t make affiliate dollars via your blog if you have a really small readership.
You won’t get many sponsored content opportunities if you don’t have a social media following of some significance somewhere.
You can’t sell an educational product from your website if hardly anyone is visiting.
You have to build a career, a following, a readership, an audience...something, in order to make these options work.
What you CAN do though, to make money fast in interior design, without almost any of that noted above is this....
A one-time design consultation.
It’s the lowest threshold of entry into design services for an end user. It’s the most appealing and most popular for the majority of homeowners out there, therefore the easiest money for you to get.
If you have a website, you can dedicate a page to this service. Describe your process, create parameters and state them, assign a price. Add a few pretty pics and maybe a pic of you, so people will see who might be coming to their door.
Take that link and put it on Facebook with some inviting copywriting, a pretty pic, and a promise to solve someone’s design dilemma. Then put some money behind it.
Okay, so I know I said this could be for lean times and maybe you don’t have any money. Well, I’ll bet you have $25.
Targeted Facebook ads can get your “offering” seen by locals who live in your area, fast. You might have to do this repeatedly and with some strategy (there are hundreds and hundreds of tutorials out there), because you need to be seen more than once before people will actually act.
Don’t ask me how to do targeted Facebook ads, I don’t do them. I’ve boosted posts before, but I, personally, haven’t done one. I did have a marketing person I worked with before develop some targeting for me on Facebook, but we really didn’t use it. I wasn’t really focused in on my goals at that time and didn’t really know who I wanted to target.
However, I do think they work. I’ve talked to other individuals who have seen success with Facebook ads. And I think that is the fastest way to get the word out about this service.
Here's the advantage of getting this all set up and ready to go......
It's there when you need to turn it on.
Let's say, you don't need this filler type of work right now. That doesn't mean you might not want to have the option six months from now, or next year.
However, if you set it up now, build your offering, get the Facebook ads thing figured out, etc., then it can be sitting there ready to turn on when you need it.
I get a steady stream of these, because of my visibility online, etc., and have priced them to where I get not more than 3-4 a month of my in-person, local consults. I've gotten as many as 8 in one month before, but then I raised my price. ;-)
You can raise your price when you start getting more than you want.
I've even gone so far as shut them down, by putting up a note underneath the buy button that these are currently not offered, but will resume next month, etc.
I do that during the Christmas holidays or at a time when I am really busy and don't have time to do them. (You'd be surprised how many people want consultations right around the holidays, because they are off and thinking about projects for the new year. #carladesignertip :-)
I've even done sales on consultations when I needed to turn on the faucet, reduced prices for a month, etc.
The nice thing is that it is there, in place, and I can manipulate these offerings as I want.
Local, In-Person Interior Design Consultations
For my local in-person consults, I love these advantages:
The possibility of booking an appointment and then doing the consultation all within a week’s time.
I like walking away from that home with a check in my hand for that time spent and not having any homework or follow up tasks.
I like giving that homeowner just the right amount of help they wanted and getting paid immediately for that service.
Here's an example of one of those local consultations I did last fall. She sent me the after pictures which made for great blog fodder for my other blog. :-)
(I've already done five of these this month! A little too many for me, while doing full service too, but nice to have.)
Interior Design Consultations Via Email
I also really enjoy my quick Q&A type consultations done via email, although you do need to have some traffic to your site for these. Here are the advantages I've experienced.
They can be done in my pajamas at home. :-)
They can be done over the course of a few days, I can start one and then come back to it later.
I get paid before they are done, so the money is in my pocket before I even open their email.
I've had a total of eight (8) of these consults this month, February, so far, and we have another week left in the month. At $175 each, my rate right now, this totals $1400.
I try to just keep it at around 3-4 a month, I don't want it to interfere too much with my full service work. (Guess it is time to up my rate.)
Some designers think this type of work is distracting to their full service projects and to their main sources of income. Some feel it is dead-end work or work that won’t get them any real project images for their portfolios.
These are valid concerns, especially for many well-established interior designers.
If you want to diversify your income without having a big following
If you want to earn some money fast as a designer
If you don’t have time to spend a month wooing a client into a big project situation, if, in fact, you are lucky enough to have one on the hook
If you like having "no homework" when you finish the consultation (that's my fave)
.....then the one-time consultation just might be the service to add into your business.
I have lots of tips, advice and info assembled in this value priced guide (only $15), Tips For Interior Designers Offering Design Consultations, if you’d like to learn more about how to work these into your business model. It’s 19 pages full of best tips, practices, case studies, and goals for this type of service. I only preach what has personally worked for me. :-)
I also have a few examples of some of the consultations I’ve done via email with homeowners from all over, linked below. And I’m proud to say, my ligit Trademark for my name for my online consultation service, Designed in a Click, has finally come through!! YAY!