Top 5 tips on how to be emotionally resourceful as a self-employed interior designer

The lure of beauty

If you’ve ever considered an interior design career,  most likely you’ve been lured by beautiful pictures, lavish homes, all kinds of exquisite interiors, fashionable people and pretty things in general. It is a field perceived as glamorous and hip, innovative and happy.


And it is all true.

If you’re like me, you know how important it is to have a profession that fills your day with positive emotions, with the joy of great ideas and seeing your clients happy with what you’ve come up with. Like any creative field, most creativity is geared toward making people happy and that reward is great.

With all this you may find yourself thinking oh, I can get this done, I can go on my own, be my own boss and make people happy all the time because I have lots of great ideas and not only that! I know how to make them come to life!


Go for it

And so you start and get yourself worked up especially when you have your first client with fees that most likely do not cover more than 10% of your expenses and 0% of your time but who cares! You’re ready to conquer the world and show what you can do so well.


And then you may find another client and another, maybe even some with decent fees so that you actually think you make money – because, guaranteed! in the beginning, you will have no idea if you actually do – but with all that, inevitably, the day will come when you’ll have some doubts, when you will not get the project you wanted when your favourite idea will be rejected when you will be behind on many things when you will work too many hours and … when it will not all feel as happy as it should.

Me, at one of my projects (not with the best hairdo 😅)

Stay emotionally resourceful

Be prepared for when that day hits. It will come fast and it can pass as fast. The only thing you need is to stay emotionally resourceful. The rest will happen.
One design board for one of my cottage projects

There is no other way to put it: all this is just normal, if you know how to manage it you’ll succeed:

  1. Just let go

Don’t get too attached to the expression of an idea but to the idea itself. That you can sell to a client in many different forms. And if all else fails, move on to another idea – what’s the big deal? You have zillions, right?

  1. Embrace rejection

It’s all about the numbers. You have to get in touch with 100 leads to get the 10 projects. This is one piece of advice that I’ve ignored for way too long: rejection is there to stay. Rejection is actually good because it opens up other possibilities but you will not get that until you will see it happen. So for the time being, embrace rejection and collect your losses as little stepping stones. When you’ll be big and famous you can look back and thank them all for nudging you toward the path you’ve taken.

  1. If you want in, get in

You know the old saying: she/he got kicked out the door and came back through the window? Do it. Don’t think about it, just find the window and get back in. If you want in, this is how to do it.

  1. Master resourcefulness in any form, way or shape

I cannot stress this enough. There is no other skill you will need more. Practice on everything. Scheduling a trip. Buying an outfit. Organizing the best party. Dealing with Service Ontario. Source hand-made napkins from Southern France. Everything and everywhere is an opportunity to get better at this.

  1. Know yourself and stay true to who you are

The better you know yourself the better you will be able to grow professionally. From knowing what you like to know who you can or cannot work with from recognizing what you’re bad at and what are your strengths you are who you are and it will be easy to embrace that than to fight to change yourself. Unless you don’t like something of course.. but that’s a different story…

Setting up for a client design presentation

This article first appeared in My 2 cents on design

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This is a first in what I hope will be a series of useful tips for aspiring self-employed interior designers. It is a hard road with many turns on which you can easily get lost. This is my business knowledge contribution to the future of this wonderful profession and the success of those who’ll take this path

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Coming up later in the year: Technical challenges in an interior design office and how to face them

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. Very well written. Thank you for sharing.

    1. Thank you!

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