I’m becoming a huge podcast fan.
You see, if you live in a metropolitan area, where the entire city is spread out far and wide, and bumper-to-bumper traffic is always getting in your way, you spend a lot of time behind the wheel, wasting precious time, wishing it was being spent doing something more worthwhile.
Yeah, well, I’m happy to say that after years of mind-numbing motoring, I’ve finally figured out how I can transform all of those miles per hour into something that lifts me up instead of slows me down:
More specifically: Podcasts about, and by, interior designers.
Yeah, I’ve done the whole audiobook and talk radio thing. And when I’m really at a loss for something to occupy my mind, I’ll turn on some music.
But these days, now that an iPhone with a strong 4g connection can provide you with just about any type of mental stimulation imaginable, I’m all about streaming — that's right — interior design podcasts.
I first became aware of how great interior design podcasts are when interior designer Tammy Cody invited me to appear on her podcast, The Honest Home. As soon as she pitched me on the idea of being interviewed I instantly became fascinated by the medium.
Prior to the interview, I listened to some of her past interviews to get a feel for how mine would unfold. I found each of them to be really intriguing. I loved hearing fellow designers dish dirt on how they navigate their way through this tricky business we’re in.
Ever since my Honest Home interview went live, I’ve been indulging in as many interior design podcasts I can find.
Nick’s criteria a designer must meet in order to appear on his show looks like this:
- They must have at least two employees.
- And they must work in more than one state.
Nick wants to learn how his guests became successful in the interior design industry, and which best business practices they worked by to reach the top. Each podcast contains interesting pearls of wisdom.
While soaking in all this info I’ve also begun to spot some commonalities that indicate which business practices prove to be most effective, on a consistent basis, for the designers being interviewed. It’s these instances, when a group of successful individuals each share the same types of advice, that you begin to wonder…
Hmm… If (insert business practice) is working for that designer, that designer, and that designer, too, then I suppose I should also give it a shot!
So do you want to know what I’ve learned from all this listening I’ve been doing?
Do you want to learn what successful interior designer after successful interior designer is doing to make sure they never fall off the industry leader ladder?
Well I’ll tell you. That’s right, I’m going to share this wealth of information I’ve driven whoknowshowmanymiles to collect and bring back home to you.
And the trends—they read a little something like this:
◆ Each designer interviewed places their team in high regard. Acquiring the right people in their business seems to be key in building and operating a successful firm. While this should be obvious to all of us, I think you'll agree that, sometimes, it's good to remind ourselves.
◆ Most of the designers rely primarily on referrals to obtain clients. Although they all do mention the need for social media and polished websites (which, by the way, is something I, a designer who puts myself out there online in a big way, wholeheartedly agree with), I would say most of the designers interviewed do not rely on web traffic to gain leads for big, luxury projects.
◆ Each designer has a different story about how they entered the business. Some came into the industry as second careers; others in a random, roundabout way; and most entered with BFA degrees (which, btw, I find totally interesting; because I, too, came into the biz after earning my BFA degree! That’s right—I’ve thought it all along—Fine Art is exactly where colleges need to be cultivating our industry’s future designers! ;-)
◆ All of these designers design luxury interiors. That means that they have projects with higher budgets. These days the term “luxury” is widely tossed around and means different things to different people. As a designer of mid-range budget interiors, I can confidently tell you that they are, indeed, luxury designers. What does that tell me? Well, what do you think? It tells me that successful designers work on high budget projects. Yes, perhaps we could debate that all day. All I know is that I’m still struggling to make mid-range budget jobs profitable, and I've used an infinite number of approaches trying to do so.
Lesson learned: If you’re a designer who has the opportunity to go luxury… do it!
◆ All of the designers sell product that’s associated with their projects. In other words: Being in the business only to consult, never selling any products along the way, doesn’t seem to be a popular business model for this crowd. They want their name stamped on every stage of their projects. Sure, they may do some consulting here and there (some of them), but almost all of them want, at the very least, their biggest projects to be self-branded from beginning to end.
If I remember correctly, during one interview I recall hearing the expression... “We put the candy in the candy dish.” Actually, yeah, I definitely remember hearing that; which leads me to believe that they know — like I do — that the only way you can guarantee a profitable outcome is had by all involved in a project is to make sure you, the designer, remains in control of a project in its entirety, from beginning to end. Oh, and what do you need in order to afford such a professional luxury? A large, luxury budget.
◆ All of these designers have developed operational processes they can always rely on and trust to successfully get them through a project. Personally, I’m a huge fan of business processes. I integrate them into my operations as often as possible to make sure my business' processes are structured as perfectly as can be. There are processes for hiring, for navigating projects, for operating internal business affairs, and so on and so forth—and I strive to work by all of them, religiously.
Oh, and here’s one more trend I discovered among the designers I listened to:
They’re all extremely passionate about what they do.
They love this business, as well as the people they meet and work with. They love design. And if I was one of their clients, I imagine I’d love them, too. ;-)
Do you have any favorite interior design podcasts you listen to on a regular basis?
If so, please rec away in the comments below!
Oh, and don’t forget to listen to Tammy Cody’s The Honest Home. You’re going to love it! ;-)