Most interior designers are solopreneurs. And, when you’re in charge of your business on your own, you’re required to make decisions every day, every hour, and every minute.
First, there are the many decisions required for each design project you work on. But the trickier decisions are often the business-related ones, such as questions about how to brand your interior design company, how to spend your time each day, and even how to respond to that latest email from a client.
With no proverbial flagpole to run things up, and rarely anyone to delegate decisions to, the decisions can start to feel overwhelming. Decision fatigue is real. Plus, your design business means so much to you personally that the consequences of a certain decision can feel pretty intense.
That’s why a consistent decision-making framework can be so helpful, and why I want to share one with you today. My interior design clients have used this powerful framework to great success throughout the years, and I believe it can have the same results for you.
The Power of Visualization
Visualization is at the foundation of my recommended decision-making framework.
I’ve already mentioned how important I think it is to use the power of visualization to give your interior design clients a clear sense of how their upcoming design will look and feel.
When you present their design, you should have already connected with them enough to know what they really want to get out of the space. That way, you can take them through how they will be able to use it.
Your clients should be able to picture themselves walking into the house at the end of a long day and relaxing in their minimalist living room, or firing up Sunday brunch in a fresh, farmhouse-inspired kitchen.
This visualization is what makes an investment in interior design so compelling. It makes it much easier for clients to say “yes” with enthusiasm.
But as you can probably guess, the effectiveness of this approach isn’t limited to interior design clients. Why not use the power of visualization for your own ends? You should also be saying “yes” with enthusiasm to your own projects, and to other big decisions in your life.
As this Psychology Today article explains, visualization worked for decades for elite athletes, who often picture their upcoming performances in vivid detail before a big game or event. Scientists have found that visualization can affect the brain in significant ways. The article sums it up this way:
“Brain studies now reveal that thoughts produce the same mental instructions as actions. Mental imagery impacts many cognitive processes in the brain: motor control, attention, perception, planning, and memory. So the brain is getting trained for actual performance during visualization.”
It’s time to use the power of visualization to help you make decisions that will help you meet your business goals.
How to Visualize Your Future Success
Think about what you want your firm to look like in five years. Describe what you see as the epitome of success for you and your business. Get specific.
To get started, try asking yourself the following questions:
- What kind of design work do I want to be doing in five years? What do I want to have added to my portfolio?
- What kind of accolades do I want to have earned by then?
- What kind of rates do I expect to be charging per project in five years?
- What would I like my daily routine be like?
- How many hours per day or week do I want to be working, and what will that new schedule allow me to do that I can’t now?
- What type of people will be working with me, and how many?
- What will my office look like? Where will it be located?
- How will my career success have impacted my family life and relationships?
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This isn’t a dreary homework assignment. It should be fun! Allow yourself to be playful as you imagine the possibilities. Don’t hold yourself back. (For more on the importance of dreaming and how to do it right, head over to my full post on the topic: What Would You Dream if Your Dream Was Boundless?)
We don’t give daydreaming enough credit. It can be a powerful tool. As adults, especially in these smartphone-addled days, our minds don’t wander naturally like they used to.
However, as I wrote in my post Why Breaks are Essential for Creatives (Hint: Book a Vacation Now, allowing our minds to go into “diffuse mode” can actually do wonders for our ability to get better work done and focus on what’s important.
It might take stepping away from your normal responsibilities or getting a change of scenery to get a clear picture in your head of what you want for yourself and your business in five years.
But whatever it takes, you need to make it happen. The fact is that if you don’t know what success looks like, you’ll never know if you’ve achieved it.
Once you start to have a clear vision of your version of success, hold it in your mind. When you find yourself agonizing over the pros and cons of a decision you have to make, let this vision be your guiding light. Make decisions in ways that will move your closer to that vision. If something won’t move you closer, it’s probably a good idea to say no.
Finally, visualizing does even more than help you make decisions. It can inspire you to keep moving forward. It can remind you of why you’re doing all this hard work. It can inspire you when you’re feeling discouraged.
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Don’t Do it Alone
Part of what makes decision-making so hard as a solopreneur is feeling so alone with all the decisions. Even a supportive partner, family, or friends can’t really know what it’s like to face the decisions you’re trying to make for your business. Their advice can be helpful, but not as helpful as the insights you get from people who have faced similar issues themselves.
For that reason, surrounding yourself with other inspired and driven designers is a huge advantage, especially if they’re using the same goal-driven decision-making framework that you are.
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Nothing rocks your productivity like great accountability partners. If you’d like to have some, we invite you to consider joining our Mastermind Groups for interior designers.
To learn more about what it takes and whether it could be a fit for you, click here to get more information.