If you’re looking for ways to diversify your interior design revenue, here are 17 ideas to get you started. From selling products online to working with events, and speaking, to licensing, these tips will help you generate additional revenue from your expertise.
In this article, we cover 17 ways to diversify your interior design business and maximize your profits.
Offer digital Interior Design
Digital interior design has revolutionized the way people design their homes. With so many different options and platforms available, it is now easier than ever for people to personalize their space in an innovative and unique way. There are a variety of programs that allow users to create their dream home on a computer or tablet, and then print out or save the design for use in the real world. This doesn’t mean that people actually can design their homes, and wouldn’t need your expertise.
The best thing since the digitalization of design (and our lives) is this: your clients can be anywhere. You can be anywhere. You can offer digital products to your customers regardless of where they are, and deliver your product immediately at almost zero cost.
You could sell pre-made mood boards and designs to your customers. Not all your customers can afford your services, and while it’s important to stay true to your brand, pricing, and service level, you can add other products that can be sold to your customers who cannot afford your services or are in a location where it doesn’t make sense to offer your services.
Contrary to digital design work, you could package ready-made designs with a purchase list and instructions for putting the design together. If you like and can figure out the logistics, you can also send boxes with samples to your customers.
Launch an event or mini-trade show
Trade shows offer an opportunity for businesses to network with potential partners and customers. Trade shows are usually large events, but you can create your own mini-trade shows that you host at your local conference center, hotel, or any other place you find suitable.
Many designers, both service firms and product companies get together with peers and host local market or buying days, either for consumers or for trade and retail buyers. You could get together with a number of peers and create a mini trade show that attracts customers and media.
Host a digital conference
If you want to increase the reach of your brand, hosting a digital conference could be a great way to do it. Digital conferences are a great way for businesses to expand their reach and connect with lots of interesting industry people and customers. Just like with events and mini trade shows, your can take your design conference online and make it big.
During the pandemic, many event companies started hosting digital events out of necessity. While people love getting together at physical locations, touching the products, and interacting with their peers, digital conferences are here to stay due to their massive capacity to reach people all over the world and remove the need for traveling.
Get into product licensing for home decor or design products
Licensing interior design products can be a great way to make your business stand out from the competition. Product licensing can provide you with a more exclusive product line which can help you attract new customers and maintain your current ones. Additionally, product licensing can help you protect your intellectual property and ensure that your products are available to consumers only through authorized channels.
Launch your own collection of products
If licensing is off the table for you, either because your brand is not commercial enough or because you don’t want to pursue that route, you can design and manufacture your own collection and keep control of the whole supply and distribution chain.
This is a great way to expand your brand to new markets, and go international. Most interior designers work locally, or nationally if they live in countries where it makes sense, but going international with your design firm is quite complex and expensive.
Hence, going international with your home decor line is a great option. Of course, it comes with its own challenges, for sure, but selling products to different countries is somewhat easier than selling services.
If you are interested in launching your own home decor line, you should check out the Signature Collection Course.
Start a home decor e-commerce site
Starting your own home decor e-commerce store can be a great way to diversify your interior design revenue. There are a lot of ways to go about starting a shop, but here are a few basics to get you started: first, find an interesting niche to focus on. If you already serve design clients, then think about what products you often source for your clients.
For example, if you’re into antiques, start selling vintage furniture ornaments. You should also think about your long-term strategy:
- What brand do you want to use for your e-commerce store?
- Will you launch your own signature collection of physical products too? Sometimes, it makes sense to separate your e-commerce store from your design firm’s website and brand.
- If you separate them, how are they linked? What’s the red thread through your brands?
There are many different e-commerce platforms available, so it’s important to choose the one that will fit your business goals and budget. In e-commerce, images are everything so you need to have lots of them, as well as detailed product descriptions.
Write articles for magazines
Another great way to diversify your interior design revenue is to write articles for magazines. In fact, many publications are looking for authors who can provide in-depth coverage of specific topics. If you’re good at writing, this could be a great way to make money from your skills. Plus, publishing your work in relevant publications will give you the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Here’s a secret: you don’t even need to be that good at writing… you can outsource the article writing to professionals who write amazing articles based on your topics, knowledge, and skills.
Do brand promotions with industry peers
You can partner up with brands and companies that would love to be seen as one of your partners. When you promote specific brands, they can pay you a referral fee for sending customers and clients to them. You want to be sure that the brands that you promote are the ones you enjoy working with, and in best cases, you want the promotion to go both ways: they send you clients and you send them clients.
At Avenue, our growth consulting & coaching company, when we work on Power Positioning for our clients, we always define the ecosystem they are in, which of course, covers the potential clients, but also the partners, peers, organizations, and other important players in the ecosystem. Partnering up with them is one of the most important growth activators for any expert business, regardless of the product or service they offer.
Offer specialty consultations
Many companies are looking for experts in design to consult them, and their partners. To diversify your interior design revenue, you could specialize in color, ergonomy, children with special needs, lighting, or any other niche that interests you, and offer expert consultations to companies that produce products and services in that niche.
Also, companies and consumers might want to book a consultation with an expert who is not tied to a specific brand but can give an opinion before deciding about the specific supplier of the products or services.
Write an interior design book
Writing a book is a great way to diversify your interior design revenue, but it also positions you as the leading brand and business in your niche. Again, you don’t need to be a professional author to be able to write a book; many interior designers publish inspirational books to showcase their work and outsource the writing to other professionals.
You could co-create a book with some peers. Maybe get together with an interior photographer and an interior design journalist and co-author your first book?
If you want to write a book, there are several things you need to do first.
- First, come up with a good topic. Is it for consumers or other designers? Is it about your designs or design principles, or both? Is it inspiration and lots of images, or guidelines to create your designs?
- Next, start writing. Start with the outline and topics, and then write one chapter at a time. Don’t edit while you write, just let the words flow.
- Then, edit. You might want to engage a professional editor in this process. Editing is just like when designing interiors or exteriors: you remove some, you add some. You move things around, take a break, find a new angle, and keep editing until you are satisfied with the end results. Engaging a professional editor is worth the investment, regardless if you write your book by yourself or use a ghostwriter.
- And finally, publish your book! Get it out there, send it to your clients, put it on Amazon and all other stores, sell it on your website, and go on a book tour. Celebrate your amazing work!
Teach your expertise
You could team up with local, or international schools to teach design, and become an expert teacher. Also, you could package a design class or a business class for the design industry, and offer to teach that at relevant organizations. Many magazines, e-commerce stores, and local stores are looking to organize educational events, you could offer to teach your topics to their audiences which both give you an additional revenue stream and lots of new clients.
Find the best interior decor & design affiliate & ambassador programs
You don’t have to own or invest in your own store to be able to make money on products. You most likely already today make a commission on products you sell to your design customers. Well, to diversify your interior design revenue, you can start selling products directly on your website or in your email newsletters and make a commission each time your audience buys the product, or as in many cases, any product they add to the cart after they have browsed the e-commerce store using your affiliate link.
You can start this with a few items, or by creating a partnership with a brand you would recommend to your customers, and start promoting their products. You can start by checking out the most popular affiliate programs for the home design industry and creating blogs promoting those products.
You can couple this with your digital products and pre-made mood boards, just make sure you use the correct links to the products you promote and check them regularly for any changes.
Speak at industry conferences
There are many ways to make money by speaking. You can give speeches on a variety of topics, from business to personal development. You can also offer consulting services to other speakers or businesses.
Whatever route you decide to take, be sure to research the market well and build a strong portfolio before launching yourself into speaking engagements. And always remember: practice makes perfect!
Start a YouTube channel
If you want to become an influential person in your industry, starting a YouTube channel is one of the best ways to go about it. First, decide who you want to attract. Is it the industry peers? Then create content that interests them. Is it your dream customers? Then tailor your content to attract more of them.
Here’s the thing: many people fear that they only attract people who want to learn and DIY the designs, but if you start a YouTube channel, you can make money by just getting more views on your videos.
To diversify your interior design revenue, you can also start a YouTube channel that tells stories about you as an entrepreneur, which will attract other entrepreneurs to your channel and into your ecosystem. This can lead to many great deals with these entrepreneurs, either doing their personal homes, office spaces, restaurants, or any other venture they have. Karin Bohn, a Canadian interior designer is a great example of a successful entrepreneur who took her business to YouTube and then to Netflix.
Start Building a media platform
Just like with a YouTube channel, you can build your own media empire. You can start a blog or a magazine, and use content to attract thousands or even millions of people to visit your website, and offer your services to them. Of course, you can sell advertising for other companies, such as the suppliers that you love to use in your design projects.
The key:the one who owns the audience can always monetize it in multiple ways. Also, if you launch a platform for your industry, you will start positioning yourself as one of the key players in your industry.
You can make money off your platform by selling advertising spots, connecting your platform to an advertising network, selling your affiliate products, or of course, promoting your own products or services.
Productize Signature Offers
Are your services easy to sell and easy to buy? That is the cornerstone of growth for any firm, and depending on what you sell, you need to make it effortless for your customers to choose.
People don’t want to spend time figuring out how your company can help them.
They come to you because you are the expert, so you need to start demonstrating your expertise already at the beginning of your relationship. One of the key strategies at Avenue to diversify your interior design revenue is to help our clients to productize their offers so they become effortless to sell, market, and deliver.
Your designs, the outcomes, and the results for your clients… will most likely always look different. But your process to work with should be the same. That’s why you need to productize your services so they are simple to understand, easy to talk about, easy to buy, and easy to deliver, either by you or your teammates.
Add a subscription service
One of the best ways to increase your profits is to create a subscription service. People use subscription services in all industries, B2B and B2C. This might require you to think a bit outside the box, and it usually doesn’t start with “what can I create” but “for whom”?
In this foundational business development work, you might find out that your ideal client profile is in fact expanding to other demographics.
For example, if you do residential interior design today, maybe your customers today don’t understand the value of you providing a subscription service, but if you expand to working with offices and small businesses, maybe they have a need for a continuous service that your firm can deliver.
Maybe, you offer to come and redecorate their offices every other month, changing the decor and updating their look? Maybe you can add a fresh flower delivery to your office redecoration service and make sure your client’s offices are always as representable as possible. A legal firm with luxury clients would definitely be interested in keeping their spaces looking fabulous at all times…
To summarize – the 17 ways to diversify your interior design income
In conclusion, there are many ways to diversify your interior design income. Whether you are a freelancer, a small business owner, or work for a larger company, there are opportunities to explore.
By expanding your services and marketing yourself in new ways, you can increase your income and better serve your clients. So get creative and start exploring the possibilities!