The Four Phases of a Design Business
Phase 1: Discovery
Income Level: 0 to $50,000 (from design jobs)
Benchmark Decision:Do I go into business for myself?Or do I try to find a job in the industry.
Questions:Will people really pay me to do interior design?How can I charge for something I love to do?Should I do it for free to get started?How do I find product at wholesale to sell?
Actions:Explore online, read magazinesRead books, attend free callsInvest in trainingStart working with a clients (perhaps even a few paying clients)
Prevalent Emotions: Tentative skepticism followed by super optimism
Primary Learning: How to listen to, and work with, a client
Primary Reward: Personal and professional growth through trial and error, and finding out what you are
Phase 2: Client Acquisition
Income Level: $50,000 to $250,000
Benchmark Decision:I am a designer; this is my life’s work.I want to be very good at my craft.I want to be acknowledged as an expert in my community
Questions:How do I sign up good clients?How do I get paid what I am worth?Can I really make a living at this?Am I really good enough?
Actions:Learn how to market your businessFind referral partnersTalk to lots of potential clientsInvest in coaching/training
Prevalent Emotions: Excitement followed by intermittent self-doubt.
Primary Learning:How to find your good clientsHow to establish a scope of work and a budgetHow to establish wholesale source accountsHow to price yourself and make offers
Primary Reward:Discovering that you are worth itDiscovering that clients believe in you and love what you do for them.
Phase 3: Mastery
Income Level: $250,000 to $500,000
Benchmark Decision:Seek out better clients and more challenging jobsLearn how to hire a team, and who to hire.
Questions:How and what can I delegate?What is my “genius” time?How do I work less and produce more?How do I get published?How do I connect with more upscale clients?
Actions:Perfect your marketing effortsAttract and hire your teamSetup systems for your businessFind the right coach to help youCreate your celebrity status in your community
Prevalent Emotions: Tired, followed by proud
Primary Learning: How to build a reliable, long-term income stream
Primary Reward: Personal confidence and power, knowing that you can achieve what you want
Phase 4: Legacy
Income Level: $500,000 to $1M+
Benchmark Decision: What is my next big goal and how do I make it happen?
Questions:How do I reach more of the right people?Who are the key players?How do I create passive income?How do I keep what I have while moving into the next part?How do I find the right coach to take me there and create stability?
Actions:Soul searchingAttracting and finding new team membersPublishing your work nationallyUsing your celebrity to market new ventures
Prevalent Emotions: Peace and gratitude
Primary Learning: What am I going to do with the rest of my life?
Primary Reward: Being challenged after winning and mastering the game, knowing there is little risk and much more fun.
What Phase is Your Design Business In?You cannot judge these four phases on income alone. Everyone’s personal financial situation will affect the numbers. As an example: If you have a family of four increase the numbers by about 25%. If you are single with no debt, reduce the numbers by 10%
Recommendations for Each Phase
Phase 1: Discovery – You may want to consider these resources to help you move through faster.
The Design Biz Tool Box:The Professional Interior Designers Letter of Agreement trainingThe Project Time Estimating SystemForms and Facts for Setting Up Your Interior Design Business trainingPurchasing Product and Selling it for Profit training
Other ways to find this information:Internet researchTalk to other designersTalk to other coachesRead other books
Note: The Design Biz Tool Box is very outside the mainstream business building thinking. It is interior design industry specific, so you may miss out on some of the “real truth” about the design business by doing the research on your own, but you will still find a lot of great information that way.
Phase 2: Client Acquisition – For this phase I highly recommend the Good Clients Great Money group coaching and training program. This program focuses on identifying your ideal client, finding your potential clients and converting them into actual paying clients. For more information about this program go to www.GoodClientsGreatMoney.com
Other ways to learn how to sign up clients:There are hundreds of sales training programs on line www.Google.comKeywords: sales training, learn how to sell
Phase 3: Design Mastery – For this phase I recommend the Platinum Design Mastermind Coaching Group.
I personally lead this heart-centered group of experienced design professionals with one-on-one coaching and group interaction to help designers grow their businesses, increase their celebrity, and attract challenging jobs and more up-scale clients.
To learn more about this program, please visit
Other sources for this type of training:Research marketing training programs www.Google.comKeywords: marketing training, learn marketing, how to marketPublic relations training programs:Keywords: Public relations training, media trainingBusiness training courses:Keywords: Business training, business training courses
Phase 4: Legacy
For this phase I recommend that you look for a great coach that can guide you through the beginnings and into stability. If you are in this phase congratulations! You may be an ideal one-on-one client for me.
For you, I recommend that you visit my private coaching page and fill out the assessment, and schedule a business breakthrough session with one of my coaches, or me, to see of we are a good fit. Our hearts will know in just a few minutes.
Other places to get this support?
I am not aware of anything specifically for this, but there may be something out there. If I find it I will share it with you.
Beauty and Success,