I am the CEO of my own Interior Design company, and have 5 years of experience working in this field. I think the major misconception about Interior Designers is that we are opinion-based homemakers. In fact, the schooling process to become an Interior Designer is quite rigorous.
There is a vast amount of knowledge that goes into learning the trade, including being fluent in the understanding of building codes and ADA regulations, as well as operating 3D computer drafting programs such as AutoCad. The term Interior Designer usually refers to someone who has received a 4-year education, whereas a Decorator typically refers to one who has taken on the trade as a career choice with little or no training.
I would rate my happiness with what I do as an 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. I love what I do, but it can be extremely stressful at times when the subcontractors get involved to produce the design and don't perform well or carry out the design intent. I would say having a solid team of professionals to bring the creation to fruition would absolutely bump up my satisfaction to a 9.5.
I chose this job, feeling strongly that it would allow me to encompass all of my passions under one title-Interior Designer - and it has done so. With my clients, my job is to listen, observe, and translate our findings into a visual form that reflects their character. I feel extremely fortunate to have great opportunities to conceptualize environments and then have them built by a team of people. Having a good designer is the gift that keeps on giving, because the process of transforming a space is an enjoyable one also for the clients, and at the end of the project they can enjoy what we’ve created everyday. I think somehow we can all relate to visualizing things and wanting to see them come true, and in this field its what I do. It's a blessing.
There are challenges, however. Challenges come in many different forms, whether a project space has a pre-existing condition with few solutions, or subcontractors aren't performing their duties properly, many interior designers have to also be managers for the various types of situations that come up.
In terms of the fruits of my labor, I must say that some jobs are so simple, I feel like I'm robbing the client by being paid for my time. Other jobs I don't feel compensated enough for everything I went through during the project. However, overall, it balances out and I do well for myself.
I've worked with celebrities, clients from all over the world, young people, old people, almost every kind of person you can think of, and the thread of continuity is that everyone wants express themselves via their environments. Wild personalities and ups and downs are a part of virtually every profession, but when you are in people's homes you have the chance to experience elevated levels of human nature- and this requires a lot of psychological understanding that they just don't teach you in school. Everyday is strange with this job. There are so many contributing factors, and something always goes awry when so many people are involved.
It is crucial to understand the human mind and personalities in order to effectively operate a successful business, you have to know how to receive people and process them accordingly. I've learned that everything in life and business is a sale- whatever you're doing, you are either buying or selling.
Work-life balance is a struggle because I'm so emerged in things I'm passionate about, and I'm very passionate about my career. I've come to find that high stress situations can often come with big rewards at the end. It's key for you to find ways to cope with stress so that you can get the work done well.
The way I relax is by travelling. I try to get away as often as possible to de-stress but mostly to be inspired and revived. So far this year I've taken two weeks off. It's difficult to go away for too long because I need to be present and able to make calls on various projects at any given moment.
When a project is completed and the clients tell me that their space has been transformed and is contributing to their everyday peace of mind, this is when I know that I'm doing what I am supposed to be doing in life.
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