Tammy Hart, I.D.D.P, CAPS is a graduate and tutor of QC Design School, as well as a Certified Aging in Place Specialist from the National Association of Home Builders. She is the owner and award-winning designer for the Designer Chick Co., and the Past Director on the National Board for DDA (formerly CDECA).
Through their dedication to higher learning, and their collaboration with real industry professionals, QC Design School has created extensive courses aimed to help build many of the essential skills required to be successful in this industry.
Whether your passion is interior decorating, home staging, Feng Shui, color consulting, professional organizing, or aging in place – you’ll be guaranteed an education that will set you up for years to come!
How do they achieve this? By teaching you all the essential tools to be able to:
- Work with scale and proportion
- Create harmonious palettes and distribute them in a cohesive manner
- Understand color theory and trends
- Work to improve the energy flow of a living space
- Increase the bottom line of a sale, through neutralizing a home to appeal to the most buyers
- Improve the functionality of a home in which one can grow old gracefully
- And so much more!
I know that for most of our students, you’re making a career transition. This can be exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Trust me, I’ve been there! You’re likely either building upon existing skill-sets, or creating brand new ones. Maybe it’s a little of both.
I couldn’t be more thrilled for you!
I also know that for most, your short-term goal is to get through your Design course; to gain those important skills to help make your next career remarkably successful. That being said, I’m willing to bet that your ultimate, audacious goal is to create your own successful boutique firm. One that aims to help your clients create spaces they’ll love coming home to.
The best way to properly work towards this goal is to acquire proper business training! I happen to be a mentor for QC Design School’s Interior Decorating program. Within this course, the final unit (Unit G) is entirely geared towards the study of Business.
I was recently having a conversation with a colleague of mine. I told her how I strongly believe that understanding the business behind the business – regardless of whether you want to open your own boutique firm, or work for an existing one – is vital to your success.
Though you have option of completing this specialized business unit or skipping over it, I STRONGLY advise all of my students to consider working through it.
I’m here to share why the Business component of your course is so beneficial to your interior decorator certification. Because I’m also a graduate of this program, I’ll tell you first-hand how it personally helped me.
Unlock Your Entrepreneurial Spirit
Firstly, the Business unit will teach you how to launch your dream business and become your own boss. It’ll give you the tools to help you develop a strategic launch pad and execute your business plan.
You’ll gain the know-how needed to build a professional business portfolio, which houses your work. You’ll also discover various marketing strategies, and how to utilize them to best present your business to potential clients.
Business knowledge is vital to your interior decorator certification (and any other Design certification, really) because it’ll empower you with the opportunity to start building a solid foundation for your business!
Full disclosure: before enrolling with QC, I already had previous experience in running businesses and handling finances. However, because of this course, I learned to create a comprehensive and strategic business plan.
This plan helped me to meet AND exceed my first-year goals. In turn, I was able to reflect on my goals, and adjust them accordingly to make them loftier going forward.
Know Your Audience with Marketing 101
Next, this unit will teach you how to begin attracting your clientele – and who doesn’t want more clients for their business?
The course material strongly pushes you to start thinking about:
- Where and how to attract your clients
- How to price your services to reflect your target market
- How to conduct market research
- And more!
When I look back and think about how I originally started pricing my services, I can’t help but laugh at myself. Most days, I couldn’t make heads or tails of how I actually structured my rates.
One of the biggest challenges this industry faces is the lack of ‘best practice’ for pricing structures. Part of that may be due to the custom nature of every job. This Business unit taught me the different methods of structuring my pricing, and varying price points. I also learned about the liability of the work I perform.
Over the years, I’ve refined what works for my business. But I wouldn’t have known how to do that without this Business training!
Get the Right People (AND the Right Tools) for the Right Job
This is an industry of partnerships. I always say, “My vision is only my vision. Without my contractors, all I have is a fancy drawing on a piece of paper.”
Business knowledge adds to your interior decorator certification because it teaches you how to choose key partnerships throughout the course of your career. These are the people you need in your network, as they’ll help take your project from point A to point B.
Further to that point, you’re also going to need to understand which tools to have to bring a project to fruition. Rest assured, this is also information you’ll receive in Unit G!
When I first started taking the Interior Decorating Course, I didn’t realize the number of moving elements required in order for a project to be successful. There are lots of factors to consider, such as clients, contractors, orders, suppliers, budget, etc.
My Business training gave me the insight needed to start effectively structuring my business. This way, I can always stay on top of those moving targets.
The Art of Communication
You will talk a LOT in this industry! Whether you’re networking, discussing a project with your clients, or speaking with contractors – communication is critical to the success of your business!
Your Interior Decorating Course’s Business unit explores the importance of communication in every scenario you may face. You may be:
- Speaking directly with a client
- Making use of change order forms
- Developing the contract
- Building strong business relationships, etc.
No matter the situation, you’ll always know how to approach the matter to achieve maximum, beneficial results!
I’m sure my students get sick of hearing me say, “This is a detail-oriented industry” or “The Devil’s in the details!”
But there’s a reason I repeat this; just as there’s a reason I applaud them whenever I see a great amount of detail go into their projects. It’s because in Unit G, I realized just how many details go into each and every project!
You positively must have a solid plan in place. If you don’t have those details laid out in a manner that makes sense, you can quickly lose control over a project. This is why it’s so important that all communication be clear, concise, and formalized.
Unit G gave me great customizable tools to help manage this!
Managing the Bottom Line
Last, but certainly not least, is the bottom line – the bottom line of your business, your employer’s business, and the project’s budget bottom line. Learning how to properly structure your business for financial success is important.
Why? Because, well, let’s face it… You don’t want to be in the red!
An adequate understanding of Business is integral to your interior decorator certification because it’ll teach you the elements you need to consider when planning for both your firm’s budget and its ultimate success.
Not to mention, you learn how to budget for your clients’ projects. Sometimes, you’re going to need to sit down with them, and have those tough discussions that can serve as reality checks. There’s no way to successfully face this challenge if you aren’t properly prepared!
By completing the Business unit, I discovered that it isn’t good enough to just wing it. You can’t buy as you go. Instead, it’s important to develop a purchase structure for your clients. Then you need to do a weekly budget ‘temperature check’. This will help you and your client avoid any financial surprises.
At the end of the day, you’ve invested your time and money into building new skills for your new career. By completing Unit G, you’re only going to strengthen your overall interior decorator certification.
Yes, you’ll need to invest a couple more hours into your schoolwork. But I prefer to think of it as building a powerful foundation for which you can build your dreams on.
Happy studying, designers!