Do I Need a Degree or How do I break into Interior Design and Decorating?
So many ask, “what is the most efficient way to start my own business in Interior Decorating?”
If you are considering spending approximately $80k and taking four years to earn an interior design or similar degree, it might be good to ask: “What then?” Most start out with a job in a furniture store, gift and accessory shop, or perhaps with an architectural design firm or larger interior design studio. Imagine, all that time and money to be lowest on the ladder. Sorting catalogs, rearranging displays, making presentations, running errands, and tracking shipments and deliveries. You might find yourself wondering; “When will I ever have a real client?” Or, “When will I ever really use what I learned?”
Another set of questions you may ask yourself is related to whether you might ever get to have your own business, to manage your own destiny, to fulfill your dream of being independent. They might be questions like this:
- What kind of interior designer would I like to be like?
- How do I get started?
- Do I want to work by myself or with a team?
- What kind of office or studio should I have?
- How would I learn to run a business?
- How long will it take me to set up a system to keep track of everything?
- Should I charge by the hour or make money on the product?
Perhaps the most important: HOW WOULD I GET CLIENTS?
What might you learn in college to help you answer these questions?
This could be a problem for many starting their own design business. If you are considering getting a degree first, take a close look at the list of required courses. Often, you will find only one course with a title such as “Business Practices for Interior Design” or “Interior Design Professional Practice.” One three-credit course in four years will probably tell you more about what you don’t know about running a business then giving you real help and guidance.
And, there is the cost!
If you are considering the education route to an interior design career or business, it would be useful to consider the full cost before embarking on that journey. Not just the dollar cost, which will indeed be substantial; but also the less tangible costs. If you attend school full time, you will be delaying the start of your career by that number of years. How much to live on campus? If you attend part time, you make the delay even longer. There is also what economists call “opportunity costs.” What are the opportunities you give up in order to pursue a degree or certificate?