Want to work as a professional color consultant? Then there are a few surprising skills you’ll need to have in order to succeed!
Christina Kittelstad is a tutor of QC Design School. She is also an accomplished color consultant, home stager, and painter whose work has been featured on HGTV’s show, “House Hunters”. Christina is the proud owner and lead color consultant for Spiral Design Color Consulting. She is best known for creating beautiful, functional spaces through the use of color. Her goal? To create a sense of style and personality that’s as unique as each of her clients.
Becoming a Color Consultant
When embarking on your color consulting career, there are many obvious skills that are required to do the job correctly. For example, you’ll obviously need to get professional color training. You’ll also need to understand best business practices and possess strong networking skills.
What you don’t always hear about, however, are the less unexpected – but just as critical – skills that’ll take your projects from good to GREAT! These skills, albeit surprising, will help you to create strong relationships with clients, stand out from the crowd, and ensure that you have what it takes to be a happy and successful color consultant for years to come!
5 Unexpected Skills You’ll Need as a Color Consultant
Skill #1: Patience
Yes, patience is truly a virtue! As a color consultant, you’ll quickly discover that some projects will not always go exactly as planned. For example:
- Clients will sometimes forget about your appointment. As a result, they might not always be home when you show up for the consultation.
- Phone messages and/or emails won’t always be returned right away or when needed.
- Color swatches might get lost in the mail.
- Homeowners Associations could potentially run you in circles as they narrow down paint schemes and work on coming to a consensus.
- Clients won’t always know what they want… or don’t want.
Many times, you’ll find yourself being more of a color therapist than a consultant. This is a big reason why having patience is HUGE! Remember to go with the flow, stay calm, and always remain professional. This will ensure that your projects stay on track.
Skill #2: Color Confidence
Your clients are coming to you because YOU are the expert! They are hiring you because they’re hoping you can tell them what will work best. Often, your clients will be stressed out and nervous about making expensive color mistakes. The same goes for making the wrong color decisions. As such, they want you to confidently guide them towards a color plan that they can be excited about.
Demonstrating your confidence and knowledge of color is key! Assure your clients that you know exactly how colors will look, which colors work well together, the colors best suited for specific spaces, etc. Showing color confidence will put your clients at ease and let them know that they can entrust their home project to you.
Now, obviously there might be times when you feel be confident in the process – but are unsure of the exact solution. In this case, focus on the steps your clients need to take to find the best solution. Such steps might include:
- Color testing;
- Asking detailed questions;
- Reviewing more color swatches;
- Having your client pull together a design board on Pinterest, etc.
Gently guiding your clients through color selection will help them to be more at ease and more relaxed. As a result, they’ll be able to genuinely enjoy the process! As a color consultant, you are the expert. So, don’t be afraid to speak up and share your professional opinion – especially if you think your client might be making the wrong color decision.
Skill #3: Passion
This one might seem obvious, but if you want to be truly successful, you’ll need to genuinely LOVE working with color. If you don’t, this probably isn’t the career for you.
Nothing is more gratifying than getting to do what you love – and sharing that love with others – every day. Your charisma and excitement will be infectious! Your clients will feel it and get excited about their project, too. In my opinion, it’s the best feeling in the world to work on an exciting project that sparks your creativity, especially when it’s a big success in the end. There’s something so special about getting to witness your client’s gratification and pride in a project well-done, and a home well-loved.
This is how you create clients for life. So, always remember to make the process fun, easy, and simple! To keep your creative tank full, take the time to focus on meaningful activities that keep you motivated and excited. Maybe for you, that’ll be finding inspiration at home events or on social media. Perhaps it’ll be through browsing Pinterest, design magazines, or art galleries. There are also tons of hobbies (such as painting and/or engaging with local design groups) that can help keep you inspired and on trend.
Skill #4: Being Business-Savvy
Having a successful color consultant business requires a great deal of organizational and detail-oriented skills. This is especially the case if you’re self-employed. Running a successful business involves a lot more than completing client projects. There are also the more mundane tasks for you to take care of, too.
Such everyday tasks could include:
- Keeping your office systems in check;
- Staying on top of emails;
- Responding quickly to potential client inquiries;
- Following up with current projects;
- Invoicing in a timely manner;
- Paying bills;
- Ordering supplies;
- Managing social media platforms;
- Keeping your website fresh;
- And many other important tasks.
While these tasks aren’t always the most fun, they are extremely necessary to maintaining a successful business. They’re also important for maintaining a good reputation among your clients and demonstrating your ability to run a business. Moreover, being business-savvy demonstrates that you are a professional who can meet clients’ needs in a prompt and courteous way.
That being said, if you’re able to delegate some of these administrative tasks to business partners who can assist you, then definitely do so!
Being detail-oriented can also mean focusing on the more fun and exciting aspects of color consulting. For example, you can use your natural talents to note the specific decor, design style, and unique features of your client’s home. These might very well be things that the client didn’t even notice – but they could allow you to create the PERFECT color solutions!
Designers have a natural gift for seeing the details that others may not. So, use it to your advantage and enjoy the process! Find a balance between the necessary, everyday business tasks and the more fun, enjoyable tasks that keep you loving what you do!
Skill #5: Resilience
Things are constantly shifting in the world. To be a successful color consultant, you’ll need to be able to shift as well. For example, many designers are going virtual these days. After all, clients are looking for safer, more convenient ways to connect and work with color consultants. E-design services provide this from the comfort of home (and eliminate the need of having other people in it).
So, how can YOU be resilient and flexible to every potential curveball? Make sure you have a solid process in place! Whatever this process is, it should work well for your lifestyle, unique skill-set, experience level, and strength. Just remember to stay open to the possibility of adjusting your process whenever appropriate.
For instance, if a client uses a different brand of paint, can you be open to that? If a homeowner lives outside of your target area, can you be flexible enough to work with them? If a painter unexpectedly moves the starting date up sooner, can you do a rush on colors?
Keeping your priorities in check and focusing on what works best for you is definitely key. However, showing that you can also be flexible, resilient, and pivot when necessary will take you far – and will certainly impress your clients!