I had a workshop for a group of Interior Design student some weeks ago and we talked about the business side of running a design company. I’ve noticed that many new designers don’t really understand the value of investing in your business. Now, I’m not only talking about the monetary investment, like investing in tools and an office space. Even though those parts are also important if relevant, I talk about these three components:
First, let’s talk about investing MONEY
Many people seem to believe it’s possible to create something valuable (=lots of money) out of thin air. This might work for some (haven’t yet met any though), but the reality is that you need to put in XX, to get out YY. In order to have a successful business, you need to invest money in building it. This can mean that you invest in having a mentor, courses and programs, team members, tools and technology. You need to have an attractive online presence, either a website or at least a landing page where you can direct people to.
I think it’s interesting that so many people seem to want their clients to invest in them, yet they are not ready to make investments in their own businesses.
To excel in anything, it takes time. It takes probably much more time than you ever thought in the first place, but if it was simple, anyone would do it, right? Make sure you sharpen your tools; your knowledge and skills, continuously. Reserve time to build your business.
I often receive this question:
“I’ d like to build a brand but I feel it’s too expensive, is it expensive to build a brand?”
My answer is always the same: YES and NO.
It really depends, you basically have two options: Invest MONEY or invest TIME. If you have a lot of time (=no clients) then you should invest your time. If you have a lot of clients, then invest money. Sure, building a memorable brand is a continuous work to be done every day, and you cannot outsource all bits and parts of it, but, if we solely focus on the visual elements, you can have someone to build it for you (requires money) or build it yourself (requires time). In a case where you outsource your brand building you still need to invest time to work with the brand development team!
Many of us are lucky enough to work with our passion, but having passion alone is not going to be enough. You need to build up your skills all the time. Develop your methods, get better. Success is never an accident, it’s a choice and once you decide you will become successful, you need to work for it, every day, every week, year after year. It helps if you are genuinely passionate about what you do!
How do you invest in your business? Do you invest in your own learning? How often do you sharpen your tools?