If you are one of the countless interior designers still struggling with cash flow, consider sharing your strengths instead of opening up your wallet. Time is definitely money, but if you are not displacing billable hours with gifted ones, then you are actually investing your time in a positive marketing strategy. Though the intention behind giving should never be getting something in return, a little kindness tends to go a long way, which only adds to your good karma cache. You never know who knows whom, and your generosity could eventually pay off with a project referral or new position. Based upon your particular strengths as an interior designer, we’ve created a list identifying simple ways in which you can make the most of to your talents when you want to show someone your appreciation, all the while preserving your sanity and your bank account…
A few guidelines to make this plan workable:
• Be reasonable. Only give services that you can complete in a realistic amount of time. If the recipient is grateful for your expertise, recognizes the value in what you’ve accomplished and wants more help, then he or she will hire you.
• Plan it out. Once you decide whom to give your time to, create a plan that works for your schedule. Plan ahead and dedicate an unambiguous amount of time.
• Set expectations. If you don’t define the task or a specific amount of time to dedicate to it, then you run the risk of resenting the experience. Most important: Make it clear that you are helping to facilitate something, not covering any associated expenses.
The Project Manager | Interior design is all about managing, planning and juggling tasks, vendors, time and budgets. Guide people on where to begin or how to pace the project. Make recommendations regarding:
- Preparing a functional and safe home for an aging family member or a curious toddler.
- When it’s OK to DIY and when hiring a technician is not an option.
- Whether remodeling a commercial or residential space, how to order tasks properly to minimize the risk of damage to newly installed materials and the disruption to the space’s occupants.
The Colorist | Color is king. The wrong color or combination of colors can cause strife, make your home harder to sell, and even be dangerous if it affects depth perception and wayfinding. Make recommendations regarding:
- Material color contrasts that help prevent aging residents from injuring themselves in bathrooms and kitchens.
- Hues that can help transform a bedroom into a healing sanctuary for relieving stress and encouraging sound sleep.
- Light levels and lamp temperatures that prevent color distortion.
The Organizer | So many people seek tranquility through efficient arrangement of their environment, and they often resolve to do so with the start of the New Year or as a consequence of a life milestone. Bring peace of mind to someone by using your expertise to provide advice for streamlining any the following problem areas:
- Clothes closets / drawers
- Kitchen drawers / pantries
- Offices / home offices / desks
- Garages / Attics
- Laundry rooms
The Fixer | Alleviate someone’s pain – either literally or figuratively. They’ll love you for it because they’ll feel better and have something to cross off their to-do list, which is an instant stress reliever. Some ideas include:
- Explain how to create a more ergonomic workspace or kitchen.
- Seek out an appropriate artisan to restore a family heirloom or painting or craft a match for a missing antique drawer pull.
- Recommend a technician to repair a broken light fixture or install a new one.
The Aesthete | If decorating is your forte, then the possibilities are endless. Just a few ideas include:
- Developing a concept for a tablescape for someone’s dinner or office party.
- Sketching up a plan for hanging or re-hanging a single piece of art or an entire grouping.
- Rearranging a space’s existing furniture and accessories for a refreshed look.
The Eco-Minded | As the general public becomes more aware of and concerned with issues of sustainability, use your knowledge to advise on issues such as:
- Where and how to recycle demoed building materials during a remodel.
- Healthy paint selections for those with severe chemical sensitivities.
- Products and tactics for saving energy and money.
The ideas listed above are just a jumping-off point. As we all know from personal experience, interior designers possess a wide range of valuable information that they use to add value to their clients’ and the public’s lives everyday. Each designer has his or her own individual strengths and skill sets depending on education, experience and passions. Bring joy and satisfaction to your own life by making use of on your particular talents to create the perfect gift experience.