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How do you start your own company?

I want to start my own interior design company after I graduate college and after I am more known for my design passion, but how do I do that? Would I need to work with other pro-designers? Will I need to start saving money soon after college? Should I work in a design company before starting my own? #entrepreneur #interior-design #design #business #after-college


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Jason’s Answer

I felt the need to respond to your question as my wife was in the same position just a few years ago. @lecleardesign. Most of my career I have spent supporting small business so there was a lot of discussions between my wife and I on when and if there was ever a good opportunity. With her skill and mostly passion of design she spent time working with friends and family first and once convinced finally took the leap of faith to venturing out on her own and starting her own business.

Few things I would consider before taking that same leap:

1- do your research and find out how many competing companies exist in the same area you're looking to do business. How are they positioned in the market and why are they successful or not successful?
2- understand the difference between interior design as well as interior decorating. Additional schooling will be needed for interior design work so certain requirements will be different depending on what you're looking to do. Spending some time in the actual industry to ensure your are better equip when you take the leap.
3- if there's a niche in the market and you feel that you can bring a value add to that segment then make sure you follow the proper steps of forming your own legal organization and also contain the proper insurance. There are costs associated in both so again continue to research what the cost would be to start your own company.
4- once the decision is made and the organization has been filed then you need to consider your marketing strategy and how you can get your brand into the market. How you're able to connect via social media, customer satisfaction reviews, digital impressions, etc.

Take each step one at a time and understand that building your own brand and business takes time, money and a lot of patience. The biggest advice would be make sure it's something that you truly love as then it will never be a job. Best of luck in the future and whatever you choose to do.

Thank you for the tips! They were really helpful!☺ Taylor A.

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Charlene’s Answer

Consider creating a LinkedIn profile if you haven't already and connect with businesses and people you are interested in connecting with. Do the same on other social media platforms like Instagram. Take time to look at how those brands move. Work on your own brand and start to test it with people you want to attract. Networking will be key in the beginning. Save money in the midst if you are in need of certain equipment. Depending on the success of the brand it will then be important to legal format your business accordingly.

Thank you for the advice!!☺ Taylor A.

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Jitendriya’s Answer

So I would like to break this up in few things for you to think about and hopefully it will help you find an answer yourself

Q1. What will be the scope of your work? Are you looking at just interior design or are you looking at end to end execution of a project? This will help you decide on investment needed to start your company, man power to execute, what partners you need to liase with, what ecosystem you need to build etc. An end to end project has lot more stakeholders than a design consultant.

Q2. Do you have any focus area? For example home interior, office space etc. This will help with Q3

Q3. What is the available market in your area (city) and how is the competitive landscape?

Q4. How is your financial security? Any business needs time to build brand, clients, references etc. Does your financial condition allow you to give yourself this much time?

Q5. Do you have mentors or advisors in this field to guide you on different things needed to start and run your own business?

My personal opinion is, it is good to have some experience especially if you dont have people to guide you and dont have sufficient financial security. It would give you time to understand yourself better on your strengths, understand the requirements in the field, build reputation, build contacts and make some money while you do. Getting a good experience at a reputed organisation would add more credence to your profile. I think this is a field where people might hesitate to experiment and would like to go with people who have a reputation. So having a good experience allows you to build that credibility.

Social media opens up lot of opportunities to market yourself and build your brand. As you build experience and do projects do not forget to update your profile/portfolio and ask your clients if you can use them as reference.

Jitendriya recommends the following next steps:

Think about the 5 points i mentioned and evaluate where you stand to start your own business
Find mentors/advisors
Social media presence - about the work you do
Look for good job opportunties
Look at a niche area which is not captured yet but has potential few years down the line

Thank you!! Taylor A.

Good One..!! Pulkit Saxena

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zach’s Answer

There are a lot of great answers here. While i think it is great that you want to start your own business, i personally feel that you should have some work experience first. Starting your own business is very tough and will take time to get established. When you are first starting off with your business, you want to make sure you that are always exceeding your clients expectations and need to WOW your first few clients to help with referrals. Getting your first client is going to be the hardest, so it's important that you really exceed their expectations.

This is why having work experience is so important as you will have some supervision and learn from others. They will be able to teach you what mistakes they made early on which can help you avoid it.

If you are looking to do interior design, you can always freelance work on the side while working for a company. There is a freelance website called "Upwork" where customers post a specific job/amount they are willing to pay, and designers respond saying they are interested with a blurb about themselves. There are some companies on this website that are responding to customers along with other freelancers. Maybe there is a way you can reach out to the companies to offer your services / intern for them for free for a few months. It is important that you build a portfolio that you can show off and it's important for you to get your hands dirty!

thanks! :) Taylor A.

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Carolyn’s Answer

i started with research and a business plan first. share it what a trusted friend for feedback, i did volunteer in the field to get the experience and contacts. to me everyone is a teacher in their own way so leave no stone unturned. To start your own business you definitely need to start saving and they do have grants available for funding so keep that in mind once you are ready. Good Luck

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Sandesh’s Answer

1. Strategy
a. Identify your niche: What is it that you have to offer different than what's being already offered by your competitors
b. Assess your competition. Assess your target market. Create a business plan

2. Finance
a. Pitch the plan and attract investors. If capital requirements are small, self sponsor but remember to keep your losses minimal.
b. Close the deal, make the capital draws

3. Capability
a. Develop your product/Service
b. Identify the target customer. Promote your product/service via website, social media like facebook, Instagram etc. (Some times your need to give out your product/service for free limited trial)
c. Execute on production, marketing, accounting, human resource, business management

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Tejaswini’s Answer

Hi Taylor!
To start a business in any field, it's important to understand the current trends in the filed. And this expertise can only be obtained by gaining some work experience in the filed first. So I would suggest you to first work with an established organisation in the field. Not only this will help you get some work experience, but you will also understand the business and managerial aspects and challenges of an organisation. This will also help you build some contacts in the industry and network with similar minds. Moreover, the savings from the work can be of great help in your initial setup!

Tejaswini recommends the following next steps:

Research on relevant organisations in the industry
Start applying to work with them
Build your portfolio based on the work experience
Build contacts
Come up with an idea that is different from the existing ones

Thank you! Taylor A.

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Saquib’s Answer

Step 1: Find a profitable business idea
Step 2: Attract top-paying clients
Step 3: Pitch them your work
Step 4: Tune the perfect price
Step 5: Invest in yourself

Thanks for the advice!☺ Taylor A.

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James’s Answer

Such a great question! The fact you are just starting out I would look at networking with like minded people who have same interests as you. Then you can work on projects - collaborate together! Then if things go well then you can look around the logistics on creating a business. The other way you can look at it is doing freelance work so working for yourself and having clients etc you connect with and do projects for. Good luck! :)

Thank you! Taylor A.

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Lisa’s Answer

I would definitely work for an interior design company before opening your own business and learn as much as you can. Maybe you could start with an internship if you lack job experience in interior design. Start an instagram/Facebook or you tube page showing off your design talents.You could also start a virtual interior design company online as a side gig without having the typical overhead expenses that comes with owning a business. Congrats on pursuing your passion !

Thank you! I definitely lack job experience because I'm in 8th grade lol. Taylor A.

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l’s Answer

I agree with Charlene's answer. I'll add that I think it is a good idea to take 1 year to work in the design field. You'll be able to build a portfolio of real-life examples, network with people within the industry, ask loads of questions, and save money to build your future brand. You'll be much better prepared to start a company in that field after having real life experience in it first.

Thank you for your input!! ☺ Taylor A.

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Carol’s Answer

The best place to start is with the Cincinnati Small Business Association. They will have a ton of information, recommendations, courses you can take etc. Good luck!

https://greatercincinnati.score.org/

Thank you! :) Taylor A.

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Pulkit’s Answer

It is always good to have hands on experience before you start your own venture. I believe you should start by working for an organization, understanding all the necessary needs and whereabouts.
Once you have a good understanding, you can utilise social networking sites for your initial work, like a page created on Instagram to showcase your work.
Uploading details on Linkedin.

By now, you should be aware of all the "if and but", and can proceed for your own venture.

Hope this was helpful.
-
Pulkit

Thank you!☺ Taylor A.

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Dhananjay’s Answer

One of my relative left the job as Architect and started his own firm in Interior Designing. Social media is correct platform to start with. However, you should also start building your contacts with supplier of building and Interior Design material. You should have some sample proposals ready and promote your ideal. Initial 1-2 years focus should be more on building the brand. Once Brand and social contacts are established till will be smooth selling. You need to be focus on local areas where new localities are coming up.

Dhananjay recommends the following next steps:

Create facebook page
Establies contact with suppliers of material for Interior designer.
Focus on having some references to being with, work with your friends and relatives.

Thank you!! Taylor A.

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Sandesh’s Answer

1. Strategy
a. Identify your niche: What is it that you have to offer different than what's being already offered by your competitors
b. Assess your competition. Assess your target market. Create a business plan

2. Finance
a. Pitch the plan and attract investors. If capital requirements are small, self sponsor but remember to keep your losses minimal.
b. Close the deal, make the capital draws

3. Capability
a. Develop your product/Service
b. Identify the target customer. Promote your product/service via website, social media like facebook, Instagram etc. (Some times your need to give out your product/service for free limited trial)
c. Execute on production, marketing, accounting, human resource, business management

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