For those of you wondering how to become a professional home designer, you’ve likely done your research on the various services you can offer. Such services would include:
- Interior Decorating
- Home Staging
- Professional Organizing
- Color Consulting
- Feng Shui Design
- Aging in Place Design
- And more!
Chances are, when visualizing these for your career, you’ve always pictured physical, in-person projects with your client, haven’t you? Here’s the fun truth, though: you have a LOT more options at your disposal! There are just as many – if not more – things that you can do remotely as a designer.
As you’ll quickly discover, working remotely as a designer is both practical and flexible!
Option 1: Provide Virtual Consultations and Appointments
The smartest way to start any project is by having an initial consultation with your client. Before moving onto any hands-on work, you first need to discuss the project together and make sure you’re a proper fit. For the most part, consultations are usually held in-person. But it’s just as effective to have them electronically!
With platforms such as Skype and Google Hangouts, you and your client can meet, regardless of where you’re located. The outcome of the consultation should still be the same: your client should learn who you are (and get a better idea of whether you’re the best designer for the job), and you should learn everything you possibly can about the project, its budget, etc.
If you’d like further guidance regarding the best questions to always ask during your client consultation, keep reading here!
Once the project is in motion, you can then hold all follow-up appointments electronically as well (if necessary).
Pro tip: Never start ANY work until you’ve drawn up your design contract and have had it signed by the client. Here’s a great breakdown on writing a strong contract. If you cannot meet in-person to have it signed, you can always email the contact and have it signed electronically. DocuSign is a great tool for this! Just remember to always print out a physical copy afterwards to keep for your records.
Option 2: Offer Virtual Design Services
The most obvious way you can work remotely is to offer the exact same types of design services you normally would – just virtually! Many designers provide this service in order to expand their business beyond the limits of their geographical location.
It’s particularly handy in the event that you have long-distance clients who’ve discovered your business and wish to hire you, but live outside of your typical area of operation.
Technology has advanced leaps and bounds in the past few years. We’ve reached a point where practically anything can be done online, without two people ever needing to step foot in the same room!
So long as both parties have the means to conduct a video conference call, speak on the phone, and send emails, you can provide the same general scope of your design services to your clients.
Stay tuned for our more in-depth look at e-services – as well as how to best utilize and provide them to clients – coming later this month!
Option 3: Revisit Your Marketing Strategies
One ongoing way to work on your design career/business remotely is to make sure your marketing strategies are both up-to-date and optimal. Make sure to frequently visit your website, and go through each page with a fine-toothed comb.
Are all the links still intact? Is anything outdated? Do you have an email campaign set up? If not, maybe you can start one!
Basically, if there are ever places on your site that can be improved, do it. This is your business we’re talking about, after all. It’s not enough for it to be ‘just okay’ or ‘good enough’. You want it to be the best it can possibly be!
The same goes for your social media channels. Here are just a few questions you can ask yourself:
- Which platforms are you currently utilizing (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)?
- Are there other platforms you can branch out onto?
- Can you improve your content in any way?
- Can you experiment with different publishing schedules?
- Would it be beneficial (and within your budget) to spend a little money to promote content on selected platforms?
- Would it be beneficial (and within your budget) take out online ads for your business?
Option 4: Start Your Own Design Blog
As a professional designer, we’re willing to bet that your mind is a fountain of industry knowledge! Aspiring designers, students, and those simply interested in the craft would ALL benefit from learning what you can help teach them. The most effective way of imparting your wisdom is through blog writing.
A blog can be easily incorporated into your design business by adding it directly onto your website. You can even offer clients the option to subscribe to it, so that they get notified whenever new articles are published.
If you’ve never written a blog before, starting your own can appear a bit of a daunting task. It’s nothing to fear, though! While there is a bit of a learning curve, the process can be relatively simple. Once you get the hang of it, it’ll be as easy as riding a bike!
That being said, don’t hesitate to look around online and do some research on tips and tricks to blog writing. There’s plenty of useful information at your disposal! One example that you may find particularly beneficial is this article here.
The most important things to keep in mind when running your own blog are the following:
- Try to always write relevant, interesting content
- Publish this content FREQUENTLY
- Spell-check is your best friend
- Self-edit more than once before publishing any article (a little tip: we find reading the article aloud at least once will do wonders!)
- Have someone else edit your writing, too
- Add images (and if applicable, videos) to break up your text and make it easier to read
- Try to keep your articles relatively short (anywhere from 800-1300 words is ideal)
- Learn about SEO – it can help people find your website when they search online!
Whenever you publish a blog article, you can even use your business’s social media channels to market it and target wider audiences. Doing so means more readers, which can lead to more clients!
Option 5: Further your Design Education!
If you don’t already have any professional design certifications, this is hands-down one of the BEST things you can possibly do for your career. Firstly, it’ll help you stand out from the competition, and really strengthen your resume.
But even more importantly, it’ll expand YOUR skill-set and expertise! There’s absolutely no better way to become a pro designer than by receiving formal training from professional instructors, at an accredited design school.
As someone who’s passionate about this industry, you’re probably more than eager to soak up as much information as you possibly can, so you can achieve the best, most successful career you can have!
Reputable, accredited online design schools provide the same quality education as their physical counterparts, but are typically way less expensive. Plus, you can do them from the comfort of your own home, entirely at your own schedule.
Pro tip: The best online design schools out there will also ensure to teach some sort of Business component as part of their course curriculum. That way, should you wish to start your own design business, you have the proper tools to get started!
The sky’s the limit when it comes to the different kinds of remote work you can do as a designer! Whether you’ve got free time at home, want to expand your services and/or clientele, or simply wish to take your business to the next level – there are more than enough options to keep you busy, and your motivation high!
Can you think of other ways to work remotely as a designer? Tell us in the comments!