5 Tips for Starting Your Own Virtual Design Business

Are you thinking of starting your own virtual design business? Are you curious whether you could strike out on your own or take an offline business online?

Maybe you’ve moved to a new city where the design options are limited. Maybe you’re a new parent who’s looking for a way to keep your design skills sharp while allowing for flexibility in your schedule. Or, maybe, you’re eager to find ways to expand your client base and portfolio into a niche area.

Grow Your Opportunities with a Virtual Design Business

Whatever your reason, starting your own virtual design business is a great way to grow your client roster and work with amazing people from all over the globe. You’ll meet designers and professionals from all walks of life –– people you may not have had the chance to meet had you not taken your business online!

Plus, you’ll have the obvious perk of setting your own schedule and discovering the flexibility to work from your home office, the local coffee shop, or even from vacation. As a military spouse, I’ve been able to follow my husband without sacrificing my career. Building my design business online has given me the privilege of continuing to work seamlessly while moving across the country and honing in on my strongest design skills so that I can use those talents to help other designers.

But, you’re probably wondering, “How do I even go about starting a virtual design business?!”

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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Chief Architect v. SketchUp

One of my favorite things about working virtually is building a community of designers across the country who are eager to lift one another up as we navigate design and business challenges. That’s why I created my Facebook group, Presentation by Design. It’s a resource and sounding board for us to come together for inspiration, troubleshooting, and support.

A few months ago, my co-administrator, Sarah Durnez, and I went live on Facebook to discuss one of the biggest questions facing designers and rendering artists: What application should I use for rendering? What are the pros and cons of Chief Architect v. SketchUp?

If you haven’t joined Presentation by Design on Facebook, you’ll definitely want to do so to stay on top of future trainings and Q&A sessions. In the meantime, however, I’m going to break down our Facebook Live for you here.

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Tile to Lighting: Elevate Your Bathroom Design

When you’re working with a client, where do bathrooms fall in your ranking of favorite rooms to design?

Do you see bathrooms as a no-nonsense, functional space to check off the list? Or do you look at powder rooms and master baths as an opportunity to try out bold silhouettes and interesting patterns on a smaller scale?

We think the bathroom is a fabulous place to experiment in a functional way. A bathroom is your chance to draw inspiration from the mosaic you saw on your last tropical vacation, flip back through dog-eared magazine pages, and then make those ideas work in a space that bears the brunt of humidity and moisture on a daily basis.

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6 Time-Saving Tricks for Chief Architect Beginners

You’ve decided to introduce Chief Architect renderings into your interior design services and you’re thrilled to offer your clients a virtual snapshot of their finished product.

The benefits of realistic interior renderings are endless. You cut down on the back and forth during the decision making process. You have the ability to sell more when the consumer can visualize what the products will look like in their space. You gain the confidence of your clients when they understand how everything will come together in a fully developed design.

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Working with a Rendering Artist? Here are the 5 Things You Need to Consider.

Working with a 3D rendering artist on your interior design projects is one of the best time-saving and marketing decisions you can make.

Hours you could have spent going back and forth explaining design ideas to clients are cut significantly when you present an accurately rendered version of the final project. Your clients see why they’re splurging on the bold 36” chandelier rather than saving on a budget-friendly flush mount fixture. The seagrass floor mat is an easy sell when it’s shown in place with their white lacquer dining table.

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Finding a Design Community as a Remote Worker

Working for yourself is the dream. But, we need to find community and support within the design world.

Interior designer and small business owner seem to go hand-in-hand. So many of us are out there chasing our career dreams and hustling new business 100% on our own––which is AMAZING. But, it also means that we sometimes struggle to find community.

Yes, we have client meetings, but much of our time is spent working solo. Most days, it’s just us, drawings, and purchase orders hanging out in the office. That’s why building community is crucial to growing as a designer and avoiding burnout. You need a support group to build you up and inspire you.

So, how do you do that as someone who works for themselves? Here are the top ways we’ve found a design community as a small business owner.

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5 Online Platforms I Use Daily as an Interior Designer and Business Owner

As a designer, high-end rendering artist, and small business owner, each day is different. People hear “interior design” and assume we spend our days matching fabrics and mapping out floor plans. But, the reality is, most of our billable hours are spent analyzing and creating technical drafts, drawing up contracts and purchase orders, and managing projects from ideation to invoicing.

Entrepreneurs know that keeping all these balls in the air is no small feat –– and there’s no way I could do it without the help of a few key online tools. These programs are essential in allowing me to manage my projects and stay sane at the same time.

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4 Reasons High-end Rendering Artists May be the Key to Future Design Trends

Look to a rendering artist for a pulse on what’s coming up next in interior design and decor.

When you present your clients with 3D renderings by a fellow high-end designer and artist, they’re thrilled to get a peek into how their final project will look. A board full of memos and images is wonderful for envisioning the feel and emotion of the room, but the realistic perspective lets a client dive in and visualize the finished space.

Your usual process may incorporate commissioning upscale, high-resolution renderings to bring your concepts, specs, and finishes to life. But, have you ever thought about sitting down with your rendering artist to chat about what they’re loving in the interior design industry right now? Have you considered that perhaps he or she may hold the key to identifying future design trends?

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Growing As a Designer: Asking for Help When You Need It

Throughout our lives, we’re introduced to people who can have positive, or sometimes negative, impacts on us. This is especially true for entrepreneurs. On an all too consistent basis we’re putting ourselves out there, sometimes pushing our normal comfort levels of privacy. I’ll be honest, if someone told be a couple years ago I’d have an active blog I may have rolled my eyes and said yeah right. The truth is, it’s takes going out on your own, building your confidence, and learning to trust your value to realize there is a commodity to your words. And so, I’m going to introduce you to someone who’s changed my professional understanding of my business goals, opportunities, and clientele in the little more than the year that I’ve known her. Who is she you may ask and what does she have to do with renderings, design, and quite possibly my even more narrowed specialty of Chief Architect and Home Designer training? My colleague, mentor, and COACH is Nancy Ganzekaufer, Business Coach to Interior Designers….

I’ll be a guest on her weekly Facebook show, ‘Weekend Wine Down’ at 4:30pm in her FB Group ‘The Interior Design Business Forum’ , February 12, 2019. During that show, I’ll be making a BIG announcement that you won’t want to miss, so please join her group and put it on your calendar!

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The Benefits of Hiring an Architecturally Trained Virtual Design Assistant & Rendering Artist

Recently, the market for Virtual Design Assistants (VDA) and Rendering Artists has become more available than ever before. As the world of design is becoming a close knit community, via social media and collaborative dashboards like IVY.co and MyDoma, it can be difficult to weed through all the professional resources. Instagram feeds, Facebook groups, and Google search results all add that extra layer of stress when looking for right the team member. 

So, with all these opportunities, testimonials, and connections how do you know you’re making the right choice?

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An Interior Designer's Guide to Home Designer Pro vs. Chief Architect Interiors

So here’s the big question, one that I counsel Interior Designers on regularly, and I mean 2-3 time per week… minimum. Between Chief Architect and Home Designer which version (of the seven) is right for you and why? Well my immediate response is; what do your projects look like and what do you hope to get out of the software?

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Composition: How it Affects Our Interpretation of Design and Space

Today we have our phones, and their cameras ready, for any memory to be recorded and added to our virtual arsenal in an instant. If you’re anything like me just walking down the street and seeing something I deem beautiful turns me into an aspiring photographer (I actually walked into a street sign in NYC once while admiring the architecture), but the truth is no level of equipment, space, or lighting has as much of an effect on an image as its composition. This also applies to renderings and other forms of art, architecture, and interior design.

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How Chief Architect Will Help You Design and Sell Kitchens...

Are you an Interior Designer or Architect trying to decide if adding renderings, or even making the full transition to a Building Information Modeling (BIM) software is right for you? Today, there are many software options that can provide you all sorts of integrated services and rendering techniques, but which one will work best for you? 

The truth is, it depends on what you want to get out of it.

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