Christina Kittelstad is a tutor of QC Design School and an accomplished color consultant, home stager and painter whose work has been featured on HGTV’s show House Hunters. She is the owner and lead color consultant for Spiral Design Color Consulting. She’s best known for creating beautiful, functional spaces through the use of color, and creating a sense of style and personality that’s as unique as each of her clients.
Today, Christina shares her top 6 most important secrets to increasing your color consultant salary in 2020!
1. Make It Easy For People To Find You
This may seem obvious, but if clients and industry experts can’t find you, then you aren’t going to get very far. Make sure you have a solid online presence as a professional color consultant! You’ll want to engage in social media in a consistent and valuable way.
For instance, are there local design groups you can join? Will they allow you to take an active leadership role?
By expanding your connections and reach as a color consultant, your design community and potential clients can find you more easily. This can translate into more income for your business! If you’re participating in local design groups, and you give your fellow designers a chance to get to know you, this increases your opportunities for more referrals – and larger projects to come your way in the future!
By contributing to your local design community, you become a more notable color consultant in the industry. Chances are, others will begin to seek you out for professional advice and collaborations.
Success cannot happen if you (and your business) are an island. Home design is an industry where networking and collaborating positively with others are incredibly strong assets! So, get out there and make those connections and partnerships!
Even these days, in light of everything that’s been happening due to the pandemic, there are still tons of resources at your disposal. If you can’t connect in-person, do it virtually! Zoom meetings and social media events make for wonderful networking opportunities. The best part is that they can be done from the comfort of your own home.
Make a commitment to attend networking and industry events, such as trade shows, showroom events, and workshops. They’re all great ways to be seen and make important connections. While not everyone loves attending events, they’re inarguably a key factor in getting your business out there, and connecting with the right people.
Choose what fits your business and skip the rest!
2. Have A Strong Online Presence
Online marketing is where it’s at, especially now. Here are some questions to consider:
- Do you have a brilliant website that is clear, friendly, and professional?
- Does it communicate exactly which color consultant services you offer, and how you provide them?
- Do you have a bio on your website that shares what makes you and your business stand out?
- Does your website highlight excellent reviews from past clients?
- Do you make it easy for potential clients to contact you by phone, email, or even text (when appropriate)?
If you’ve answered “no” to any of these questions, then my advice is: run, don’t walk!
Now is the time to get your website on point. That way, you aren’t lost to the competition. Increasing traffic to your website through solid SEO and marketing strategies will directly translate into more income at the end of the day – and that’s a good thing!
Be sure to post on social media, especially when local community pages offer opportunities to share your business. Your neighborhood will get to know you as the local go-to expert. This means they’ll be sure to call YOU the next time they have an important project to tackle!
3. Set Yourself Up as An Expert In The Field
There are many effective ways to become an expert in the color consultant field. Obviously, the first way is through actual field experience. That, of course, takes time. But that’s by no means a bad thing! With all that time comes experience, connections, and referrals.
If you’re just starting out, here are a few ideas to consider, so you can set yourself up as an expert color consultant:
(1) Start your own color consultant blog!
Share your blog posts anywhere and everywhere that makes sense, such as your website and on all social media. This will create a larger audience of potential clients who love to read about your design tips, color advice, current projects, and reviews of design products. Be sure to offer a sign up for clients so they can stay current, while you increase your mailing list.
(2) Write for other color consultant / design publications!
Another option at your disposal is to offer your expertise to local and/or national design publications. You can do this by writing color consultant blog articles that cater to their demographic, as well as your own target clients.
By taking the initiative, and seeking these opportunities to share your color consultant expertise with the masses, you set yourself up as a leader in your field. You’ll quickly establish yourself as someone to watch and learn from. Not to mention, people will really want to work with you! All these factors can certainly increase your potential for a higher salary.
4. Offer Flexible Color Consultant Services
The more ways you can meet your client’s needs, the more potential your business has for an increased income. The key is to find the right balance between what works best for you and your work/life balance, and the needs of your clients.
If you’re able to provide in-person, onsite and virtual services from your color consultant business, then I definitely recommend doing so! This also goes for the different areas of home design that you wish to specialize in. For instance, if you’re qualified to offer color consulting, interior decorating services, Feng Shui expertise, and home staging assistance, then go for it!
From a business perspective, there are always benefits to providing different types of services. If done right, they can open you up to a whole new world of clients.
However, I would caution you to focus primarily on what you do best. You never want to provide subpar work, just so you can increase the quantity of services offered. Start on a smaller scale of offered services, and build up as you go. If you find that you can easily incorporate more services, in a way that still provides quality and value to your clients, then do so at that time.
Providing different services, or even different mediums for a given service, requires excellent time management skills. If you provide in-person and/or onsite services, it will also require a willingness to travel (sometimes a lot). But these are all a great way to boost your salary and increase your client base!
Consider which services you’d like to add to your business that you currently do not offer. If you need to first grow your skillset in a specific area, such as virtual consulting, then I strongly urge you to consider taking QC Design School’s brand new Virtual Design Training!
This exciting course will provide you with all the tools you’ll need to move forward with confidence. You’ll know that you have exactly what it takes to meet your client’s needs and increase your salary!
5. Find Opportunities to Teach
Do you have a local paint store that would jump at the opportunity to offer their customers a color class hosted by THE local color consultant? Is there a local, online community group that would love to have you as a guest speaker, so you can offer fun color and design tips for their homes or workplaces?
Offer your color consultant expertise by helping others to learn how to choose the perfect colors for their unique home projects! The above are all examples of people who know and trust you. They can support your business while learning more about color and how to improve their space.
Now, let’s take it one step further…
Does your local city, state, or regional design organization have chapter meetings you can attend? Could you could offer to be a speaker for these meetings, or offer a workshop on a specific topic around color?
All of these are gem opportunities to share your color consultant knowledge, in a way that doesn’t scream “salesman”. You can provides high value services to your clients, as well as low cost ways to get your name out in the community. Increasing your connections will usually increase your bottom line, too!
Remember: always be authentic and friendly. Share who you are, what you do, and what you offer in a simple, professional way. Always be open to sharing ideas and finding the balance between being a contributing member of your design community, and making sure you’re compensated accordingly.
Charging what your services (and your time) are worth is important, especially when it comes to becoming an industry expert and boosting your salary!
6. Earn A Professional Color Consultant Certification
Nothing shouts “expert” to potential clients, and the overall design community, like having a few color consultant and design certifications under your belt. Although it’s technically not always necessary, it’s absolutely recommended! Proper training is a guaranteed way to increase your salary and strengthen your reputation.
If potential clients see your certifications, this translates into the belief that you are indeed a trained expert who’s worth hiring! Obtaining professional certifications will help you stand out from the competition, and give you the opportunity to increase your knowledge base. This is a win-win!
Here are a few resources that I personally recommend looking into, to help you in your journey to becoming a professional color consultant:
- QC Design School’s internationally-leading, online Color Consultant Course
- The Professional Association for Interior Designers
- The Color Marketing Group
There are many ways to boost your salary as a color consultant. Consider which of these ideas best fits your business plan and career goals, and go for it! Your clients are waiting to work with you!