Want a Design Career? Then Learn Design Business
That’s my advice to students who are serious — really serious — about a career in interior design.
“Getting real” means enrolling in schools, and taking courses that will prepare you for the business of design.
That, after all, is what design as we know it is: a business. It’s not a hobby. It’s not a craft. It’s a business.
If you expect to succeed as a residential or commercial design professional, expect to study business. That means learning sales. And marketing. And time management, career and business planning, and self promotion, among other things.
Most design schools do a poor job of teaching those real world career and business skills. They spend too much time discussing color and space planning and green design, and too little time teaching business.
Too many students graduate with too few sales and marketing skills. They apply to work for a firm — or start their own –without a clue how to present themselves with polish or upsell clients or overcome price objections.
In this highly competitive marketplace and with this new breed of educated customers, it’s not enough for design students to learn about furniture, fabrics and feng shui.
They should study psychology, to better understand their future customers’ behavior. They should study finance, to learn what it takes to be profitable. They should study speech and presentation skills, so they can communicate with greater confidence.
And they should study current events, to increase their awareness of the economic and business climate that awaits them.
It’s not worth getting a design degree if you can’t get a well-rounded education in the process.
Get real, students.
Or, get into a different profession.