What You Should Be Outsourcing in Your Interior Design Business
You can’t do it all.
That is just a fact of life — and business. That’s why we have teams and why it is so vital that part of your team includes outsourcing, particularly the peripheral aspects of your interior design business.
The trick is this: Look at your business from the top level down. Where is your time best spent? Check out last month's post because (surprise!) you will make more money doing what you’re best at doing and therefore being able to pay someone to do what they’re best at doing.
If you’re sitting there going, “Wait, but I can technically build my interior design business website or handle my own accounting, so why pay someone else to do it?” then consider this: People hire us as interior designers because we are pros. Could they do a project themselves? Sure, but they’re not going to do it as well as us and it’s going to cost them a heck of a lot of time and headache.
So it’s time to practice what you preach: Outsource to the pros.
Anything that is not design-related, find a way to hire someone else to do it. Because design is what you do best and what makes your business the most money.
Here are some of the things you need to look to outsource if you don’t already:
Accounting and bookkeeping
First things first — you are not an accountant. You are a designer. And guess what? Those two jobs use completely opposite sides of the brain.
Even if you’re starting out small, you want to make sure your financials are in order. That means handing the reins over to a professional accountant or bookkeeper who can do that for you. They’ll be able to handle your monthly sales taxes and prepare your annual tax filing.
And take it from me: Do not go cheap when it comes to bookkeeping. You need to make sure they understand the business of interior design because there are a lot of nuances. I had a bookkeeper who wasn’t the best and I ended up with a sales tax audit, which is just about as fun as going to the dentist.
For submitting your actual tax filing, I highly recommend you get a CPA, especially depending on how your business is registered. This will save you time and money in the long run and help you avoid hearing from the IRS.
Another thing to outsource — payroll. Good news, though, your bookkeeper should be able to do this, especially if you’re small enough. If you grow your interior design business a lot, though, you’re going to want to look at a professional employer organization, which can offer HR and benefits to your team members.
Website development and branding
Finding a professional to design and build your website is imperative. They know how to format a site and understand what helps sell your interior design services. Just like interior design itself, there really is an artistry to website design.
You also want to make sure you tie in SEO — search engine optimization — from the start. This will set you off on the right foot with Google’s algorithm and save you extra work later. Again, find a specialist — someone who knows SEO like the back of their hand. They will help you set it up and maintain it, helping your website rank high on search, which really does help to drive traffic and therefore potential clients.
Finally, branding. This is important but not something you need to necessarily look at from the beginning. Keep branding in back of your mind, though, especially as you grow. It can even be one of your interior design business goals.
Social media and blogging
As you grow and inevitably get busier, as a result, you need to find someone who can translate your voice and brand into social media posts — whether it’s Instagram or Facebook or whatever new thing comes along next — as well as blogging.
You may even need a couple of people — someone who is a social media specialist and another person who handles the art of writing your blog. Find pros who can embody your voice and (magically) translate your thoughts into words that sound as if you were the one doing the writing, which is just plain time-consuming for those of us who aren’t great at it.
And if you think I’m writing this blog, well let me tell you: The ideas are mine, but I have a genius behind the words. It also makes me sound smart. And yes, those right there are my own words.
Bonus: Copywriting and email management
Copywriting is another specialty you want to look at when you can afford it, and it might not be the same person who is handling your blog or social media posts. That’s because copywriting is it’s own art form, centered around writing text to market your interior design business. Copywriters are particularly great for when you are updating your website or if you’re creating monthly email newsletters.
And, finally, if you’re anything like me, your inbox is constantly overflowing and you laugh at people who talk about reaching inbox zero. (Seriously, what is that? Is that really a thing?) Finding someone to help manage your email will allow you to prioritize better. I'm actually looking for somebody right now for myself.
So how on Earth do you find and hire these mythical, magical people who are going to make running your interior design business about 1,000 times less stressful? It depends on the specialty you need.
Some basic tasks you could use a virtual assistant for, such as data entry or setting up client files — basically administrative work. They could be local or they could be overseas. There are companies who specialize in pairing you with the right VA or even VAs for these business tasks.
You can also find VAs for some specialty services, like procurement, which is another great thing to outsource because it’s not a major profit margin. There are interior design business virtual assistants who can do this. And if you’re not good at rendering, that’s another more specialized service you can find someone else for.
Need more business insights and advice? Join me in my Interior Designer's Business Launchpad — my free group on Facebook where I offer weekly coaching sessions to help your business thrive while creating beautiful spaces.
And oh yeah, catch my Designed for the Creative Mind: A Business Podcast for Interior Designers & Creatives wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.