Starting a Home Design Business After You’ve Retired - QC Design School

There are many reasons to want to start working again after you’ve retired. Maybe you’re looking to earn a little extra cash to contribute to your nest egg. Maybe you’re just finding retirement to be not all it’s cracked up to be and want a new challenge.  Or maybe it’s finally time to embark on a career that you actually love.

Whatever the reason, you’re ready to grab the bull by the horns and try your hand at entrepreneurship, and becoming an Interior Decorator can be a wonderful career choice that is perfectly suited to a retiree!

  • You’ll be able to choose the clients you want to work with, and specific jobs you’re excited about
  • You’ll set your prices in a growing and competitive industry
  • You’ll work on projects where you see your vision come to reality
  • You can use your experience in business to your advantage!

All those benefits don’t make the prospect of starting your own business any less scary, though. Here are a few things you can do to make sure to start your second career with the best chance of success!

decorated coffee table with candles

Do something you love

Whether you’re in it for the money, for the excitement of making it in the business world, or for a deep-seeded passion, life’s just too short to start a SECOND career that you don’t love. So, take some time to make sure Interior Decorating is the right career path for you.  You might be passionate about decorating your own home, but find that you have a difficult time applying that energy to different styles, clients, trends, etc. So it’s worth doing a little soul-searching and making sure it’s the right career choice for you before you dive in.

And don’t forget! Interior Decorating isn’t the only avenue in the home design industry. You might find that you’re more suited to Home Staging, or Professional Organizing, or even Feng Shui Design!

Get the training you need

You’ve been around long enough to know that education, training, and certifications actually do mean a lot and help professionals succeed.  Sure you have experience in business; you’ve been working for the past 40+ years! But you’re smart enough to understand that you don’t know everything, and that you should never stop learning.

So go find yourself a good interior decorating course and additional certification courses on top of that one, and soak up the knowledge and skills you’ll need to become the best home design professional you can possibly be!

retired hands on a keyboard surfing the web

Use your network

Once you have an established business, don’t be afraid of getting the word out and promoting yourself effectively. As a retiree, you have the advantage of a solid professional reputation following you into your new business. So even though you’re new to the field of decorating, you’re not new to business. And you have a whole network of people who trust you, your work ethic, and your vision.  Reach out to that network with your business card and website.

Don’t risk too much

The great news is that starting an Interior Decorating business won’t cost you much capital at all. Maybe it’ll cost you a few thousand dollars to get your business off the ground, which includes getting certified and getting your business materials (website, business cards, promotional materials) in order.

But sometimes when you’re investing in a business, it’s hard to look at it objectively if things don’t go according to plan.  As a retiree, you’re on a fixed income whether you’re living off a pension or savings or other means. And the last thing you want is for this new business to jeopardize your retirement lifestyle.

So right from the start, set yourself some clear red lines. Be realistic about how much you’re willing to invest in order to get your business up and running, and don’t blur those lines. If you want to expand your business, make sure you’re paying for those expansions with profit from your business, and not other capital. After all, the goal here is for a business to help contribute to your income, not the other way around.

old woman studying home design online

Smell the roses

A second career should be fun, exciting, and something you look forward to participating in on a daily basis. Sure it’ll be stressful at times, but it’s a stress you should look forward to.  So keep reminding yourself that your second career should be helping you enjoy your retirement MORE, not less. If you find yourself dreading your workday, or wishing you were still fully retired, it’s probably time to take a step back and listen to those instincts. Try working fewer hours, taking a vacation, or doing whatever you need to do to make sure you’re enjoying life to the fullest.

Looking to start a second career as an Interior Decorator? QC’s online courses can help you get started!

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