So you want to see an increase at your bottom line but (and it’s a biggie) your frugality is killing your design profits. You’re not willing to invest what is necessary in your interior design business to get better clients, bigger projects, and more rewarding work. That sucks. Here are 5 ways frugality is killing your design profits.
#1 Failing to Invest in Quality Photography
This is one of the biggest ways designers sabotage themselves and their ability to attract better clients with bigger projects and more investment in design. Please stop DIYing your photography, don’t hire that friend with a knack, and do NOT hire a real estate photographer, no matter how good they are. They shoot real estate, not interiors and use lens that distort to make rooms appear larger. They focus on walls, floors, ceiling and trim, not the furnishings.
From my very first project, even when I was still in design school, I got quality photos that led to my next client and so on. I invested heavily in photography because I knew then, what is still true today, a picture is a worth a thousand words and it takes one fabulous image to capture the client of your dreams.
I worked with the best photographer in the Southeast when I was just getting started, it was an investment that paid off hugely. An average shoot in and around Atlanta, GA, for a full day was $3-5k. Today there are excellent quality photographers for half that. But not for $250/day, your frugality is killing your design profits.
The quality of your photography will show up at your bottom line in the quality of the clients that you attract. Bad or mediocre photography means lower end clients. Who do you want to work with?
#2 Neglecting to Use a Photo Stylist
You’re an interior designer, not a photo stylist. And believe it or not, there is a big difference between styling for lifestyle and design and styling for the camera. A poorly style interior shot won’t attract or capture better clients with bigger project investments. Your frugality is killing your design profits.
The first time my photographer had me look through the lens, I was shocked at “the holes” I noticed in the interior I’d designed. When I looked away from the lens, they disappeared. HUH? That’s curious. And I allowed my photographer to style on my behalf.
That’s a very bad idea by the way, stylists have a unique talent and skill set to bring your room to life and make it it’s best in front of the camera. A photographer’s skill is to capture that. I still have a couple of shots on file that look like a veritable jungle because my photographers answer to filling “the holes” was to grab a plant.
And in case you want to spend all day with your photographer to do this yourself, take a close look at the numbers. You should be earning more in a day than your stylist because you can work on multiple projects, connect with new prospect for new business, and grow your business. Hanging out to watch not the highest and best use of your time.
#3 Failing to Update Your Portfolio Regularly
While you may want to think your work is timeless and enduring, the reality is that everything moves in and out of style, sometimes slowly, sometimes more quickly.
Many of my interior shots have been retired or archived as I replaced them with more current projects. If you fail to do this, your brand, website, and social media will start to look like a permanent ode to #throwbackthursday! Your frugality is killing your design profits.
#4 Neglecting to Capture Testimonials
Today, you don’t have to sell yourself beyond your portfolio, let your clients do that for you, in the form of testimonials. If you don’t want a testimonial, why on earth are you doing the project?
I know, I can hear you complaining now “but Melissa I’ve asked and they didn’t send me one.” That’s why you want to use MY SECRET WEAPON, to get them for you. (Tell her I sent you, it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling! She’s gotten mine for 25 years in design.)
Clients want to say great things about you, but they’re busy and they don’t know what you want then to day. My Secret Weapon makes that easy. And if you’re thinking it’s not worth paying for, remember than a single testimonial can deliver hundreds of thousands of dollars in business to you. Is your frugality killing your design profits still?
#5 Failing to Outsource and Delegate
There is no badge to earn for being busy. You don’t get a gold star for being overwhelmed. And you won’t impress clients when you drop balls because you’re trying to do it all yourself. There is a lot of highly skilled and very affordable assistance available to keep your business on track and profitable. Your frugality is killing your design profits, stop it!
Research your local market or nearby for a great interiors photographer (I do this for my clients as I know what to look for.) Research your local lifestyle publications for a quality stylist to make every image it’s absolute best (check your local lifestyle publications.) And there’s an added bonus since stylists know the local editors, if they think your project is a fit, they may ask if they can pitch it for you.
Keep your portfolio updated instead of becoming a vintage designer by accident. Get testimonials for every project, and don’t wait until the end of the project to do so. Catch your client on a high note and deliver them to My Secret Weapon so you can capture their rave review. Oh, and once approved, the testimonial will be sent back to your client with your links to Houzz, Google, Facebook, and anyplace else that you can’t post so your client can. DONE!
And stop sabotaging your design success by being cheap. Do you like working with cheap clients? I didn’t think so, then behave the way you want your clients to behave and watch what happens. For expert strategies and guidance, apply for your complimentary Design Business Diagnostic here.