Friday, March 26, 2010

Design Life Audit

Do you need to do an audit of your design life?

Interior design has become a trendy profession. Students often comment about how much more is involved in interior design than they originally thought. Although it can appear glamorous, it takes hard work and long hours to succeed.

‘Intelligent people are always open to new ideas’ 
Proverbs 18:15

I was amazed when I looked through the list of interior designers in the yellow pages in the major cities of Australia to see how many designers are listed. When I first started out in the 1980’s the lists were much shorter.

To succeed in interior design these days’ designers need to be many things. Besides having creative and organizational skills there are a number of things a designer needs to be and things they can do to stay ahead of the game. More than ever interior designers need to be aware and adaptable.

Designers need
• Creativity
• Organizational abilities
• Technological expertise
• To be a team player
• To have time management skills
• People skills
• Selling skills
• To be adaptable
• To be flexible
And the list goes on……

Work out your niche
It is important to work out your niche in the market place. To do this you need to know your strengths and weakness. Target your business to your strengths. This may appear obvious but sometimes we struggle along trying to fulfill the many roles involved in interior design practice. It pays to do an audit of our design life every few years. Ask the hard questions. Am I enjoying my work? Am I making as much money as I desire? When do I feel a sense of achievement? Am I stressed? How could I improve my work life?

Work out your strengths and weakness by asking questions
1. What do you love about your work?
2. What do you hate about your work?
3. Am I enjoying my work?
4. Am I making as much money as I need/want?
5. What activities give me a sense of achievement?
6. Am I stressed?
7. How can I improve my work life?

Some experts in the field recommend designers specialise. To base your design business to a particular niche that enhances your strengths. It can be based on something you excel at or the most popular need in your area.

Success comes by:
1. Continuing to learn as much as you can
2. Being professional
3. Adapting yourself to different seasons in the market
4. Looking at opportunities to increase your options
For example:
• Solar panel installation
• Help others become green
• Clean technology consultants are in high demand
• Emission Trader

You may be very successful and completely happy with your design life. So you can ignore all of the above. But it is helpful and encouraging to see the number of diverse skills and the abilities we need and often have.

I left the field of design for a number of years. When I came back I did a refresher course and had a close look at my strengths and weakness. Although I am a good organizer and manage my time well my weakness was in the business side of the design business. I hated dealing with money, doing quotes and accounts.

My main strengths were my people skills and creativity. I had also found I loved to encourage others, to teach and write. So I have found my niche I now combine my people skills, training skills and artist skills by tutoring, writing, some consulting and doing the occasional painting. I don’t think I have ever been as happy in my work as I am now.

‘Get all the advice and instruction you can 
and be wise the rest of your life’
Proverbs 19:20

One of my favorite books is the book of proverbs. Every time I read it (which I try to do every day) I find new gems of wisdom to help me along life’s way.

I hope you find or have found your niche and happiness.

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