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Design Tools Every Interior Designer Needs

The more your design business grows, the more you get pulled away from the tasks you love to do most. Your time designing diminishes as the time you spend marketing and managing, selling and accounting and all the other tasks associated with running your business increases. When you dreamed about becoming an interior designer, did you realize how much time you would spend on non-design-related items? Items that don’t let you work in your sweet spot?

I know a LOT of designers who get frustrated dealing with the non-design-related activities, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are so many tools and solutions that can help you streamline non-design-related activities so you can get back to doing what you love the most.

I pulled together a list of my Essential Design Tools that help me manage and run my interior design business smoothly and efficiently. Notice I said, “tools.” We all wish it was ONE piece of software, but owners of design businesses need help in so many areas including:

  • Design project accounting/bookkeeping
  • Purchase order management
  • Social media posting
  • Communication to trades, clients, everyone else!
  • Blogging/writing
  • Marketing
  • Shopping/returns

How do we make sure we are working on our favorite things?!

Yes, I know. It is not always possible to do this, but we need to make sure most of our time is spent doing the things we love, not the things we CAN or MUST do. Your precious time should be spent on the things that make you fulfilled and/or make you money.

How do I get things done? Well, guess what? I don’t have another full-time employee. When I had design assistants in my office, I felt like a bad manager. I wasn’t in my office to delegate enough work or follow up on the work I had delegated.

I prefer to spend my work days on job sites, client meetings or working by myself on things I like to do such as writing this blog :), creating new resources and cheat sheets for Return on Interiors or designing spaces.

And the things I don’t like to do—or am not proficient enough to do quickly—I find other tools to support me! Now, some of these tools are software and others are outsourcing services. Yes, managing these tools takes time, but the things I outsource are generally process oriented. This means there is a specific task (or several tasks) with a specific deadline.

Some of the things I outsource are:

  • Interior design bookkeeping
  • Business tax-related items
  • Return on Interiors® branding
  • Website updates
  • Final posting and scheduling of this blog!
  • Scheduling of any schedule-able social media

I think the key to success is working with tools that OTHER designers have had success with! So, here is my Essential Designer Toolkit. Please download this and try one or two to help get your design business moving forward!

Download the Essential Designer Toolkit