top of page

How to Kickstart a Thriving Career in Freelance Interior Design?

interior designer


Hello! I'm Bermal.


I'm an interior designer, and from the very first day I started working, I dreamed of being able to run my own business every day. There were two main reasons for this. First, not being able to plan my own time. Second, the imbalance between effort and earnings. In short, "working conditions."






The working conditions in the architecture field.


I have always been a person who values rules, disciplined, and planned, but the idea of working 9 - 6 in creative jobs never made sense to me. Design is not something that can just be summoned; it involves pre-work, imagining with closed eyes, and even dreaming about it :) The technical aspect of our work can also be done independent of location.


So why do I go to a specific place at specific hours every day?


In the early years, I couldn't find an answer to this question because I didn't know that there could be another way of working. Later on, leaving my comfort zone and facing financial uncertainty started to seem scary, and for 9 years, I adapted to this system.


freelance freedom

In the last months of 2019, I decided that I could no longer continue as an "employee" and wanted to establish a different routine, so I quit my job. I didn't know how I would do it, but I knew what I wanted.

  • Gain the freedom to work independently of location.

  • Work for yourself even if the income is the same.

  • Plan your own day.

  • Find clients from abroad.

  • Spend time with yourself and loved ones.

  • Take vacations, travel.



Hello Dear Covid19


When I left my job, my spouse had also decided to start a new chapter in his

career, and we were planning to move to another city. The city we were going to was completely unfamiliar to us, but it was very close to our hometown.

I already believed that I would find my clients from my hometown. Since I had a job suitable for working from home, I had planned to only go for client meetings to there and work from home otherwise.


Was life what happened to us while we were making plans? Yes, I had just left my job when we had to stay at home due to the pandemic. When I left my job, I had given myself 3-4 months. During this time, I would rest, plan my business, and make new connections.


Due to the pandemic, I had to change all my plans all of a sudden, and what's worse, I couldn't see what was coming next. I didn't know what I would do after 3-4 months. How long would the quarantine last, would we be able to return to our old lives, how would this situation affect the industry, was it risky to start a new business during this period? I realized that I couldn't deal with these questions at that moment and decided to change my focus. I had to make the most of this period of pause. I attended trainings that I couldn't find time for while working, researched online working models, and decided to organize my portfolio and open a website.


mask



I'm becoming a freelancer but I don't have a portfolio.


I have worked on significant, large projects in interior architecture offices for many years. There were dozens of projects I could include in my portfolio as an employee. However, almost all of them belonged to the companies I worked for, and I wouldn't share them on my own company's website. So, I had to create new projects to put on my website. There were two ways to do this: creating imaginary projects or finding freelance jobs. My priority was finding freelance jobs.

I had known about freelance platforms for years. Honestly, I didn't really believe that a career could be built through these platforms or that there would be continuity in work. Maybe it could be an extra income, and for me, that was enough for now.

working interior designer

Fiverr and Upwork


In October 2020, I joined Fiverr. I didn't know how to use it, but I was aware that there was serious competition. So I had to find something that would make me stand out. I had done two dental clinic projects. Thinking that there wouldn't be much competition in this area, I chose my keywords related to health and added these projects to my profile.

One night, a month later, I received my first message with great excitement. I woke up from my sleep and replied. After a two-hour chat, I got my first job with a dental clinic project in France. When I received a job of unexpected size, I started to believe that working in this way was possible. I could lay the foundations of my business in this way, create some capital, and maybe even make a living this way.

I remember googling "best freelance sites" with excitement.


What I paid attention to while preparing my profile?


There were two things I paid attention to while preparing my profile.

The first is that it should be suitable for the structure of the platform. The working systems of Fiverr and Upwork are very different from each other. While clients find freelancers on Fiverr, freelancers go to the client's ad on Upwork.

When preparing my profile on Fiverr, I focused on highlighting the details and quality of the service I wanted to sell, while on Upwork, I focused on highlighting my competencies and qualifications.

The second is that my profiles should be clear, understandable, and sincere on both platforms.


Communication in my second language


bubble fashion

When I started freelancing a year ago, my English was at a good level. With the support of Google Translate and Grammarly, I had no problem communicating by correspondence.

Speaking face to face, however, was something I was not confident about at all. I was sure I couldn't speak because I had no practice. But I didn't let this hold me back and started meeting with every customer who wanted to meet.

Where I struggled, I sent messages, shared screens, and drew. I somehow managed to express myself. After each meeting, I always wrote down the decisions made and sent them to the customer. If there was any mistake or something missing, we completed it.

After all, no one expects us to speak perfect English. Being able to communicate and do your job well is more important.


Challenges I faced in the freelancing process.


Irregular income.

First of all, it wasn't easy to maintain business continuity and manage this situation without getting stressed. There were many days when I was anxious when I couldn't get a job and thought I couldn't do it. Over time, as I successfully delivered the jobs I received and received good reviews, I started to attract more work. I can say that I no longer have any fear about this. So, when I can't get a job now, I don't stress out and focus on expanding the channels where I can get work.


Working alone

Although I was experienced, it took time to adapt to working alone. Now I didn't have a colleague who could cover for me when I was sick or help me when I couldn't keep up, or a boss, or a computer technician to run to the office when my computer



Advices for Those Wanting Career in Freelance Interior Design


First and foremost, I recommend thoroughly considering if freelancing is truly suitable for you. If possible, you can try freelancing part-time for a while to test the waters.



interior designer freedom travel

If you decide that career in freelance interior design is right for you;


  • Have confidence and be bold.

  • Highlight the aspects that make you unique.

  • Take pride in your work and do it to the best of your ability.

  • Improve your English skills.

  • Don't forget to socialize.Freelancing often means working alone. Join freelace communities. Knowing that there are people who have gone through similar paths, faced similar problems, and learning from their stories is encouraging.



3 views

Comments


bottom of page