Are You An Entrepreneur Or Is Interior Design a Hobby?

When you signed up for interior design school, did you have any idea what the real world of interior design really involved?

I know I didn’t.

It never occurred to me that 90% of the job was administrative, detail and project management.  It was a rude awakening for me, and I adapted, but it wasn’t easy.

It took years to get the systems in place and find the shortcuts.  How many systems do you have in place?

If you’re doing this part-time or as a hobby, don’t expect to make more than about $10 – 25,000 per year and that’s if you’re willing to do some work to get clients and learn the basics of running projects.

If you’re serious about building a real business, then you’re an .  I’m not saying you can’t do this as a hobby, but the mindset is entirely different.

This isn’t an easy profession, and it’s even harder today because consumers have higher expectations than ever. They are our competition, and they’re shopping, checking our prices and demanding more service for the money they invest.  Are you prepared to deal with these challenging clients?

How does your business stack up?  We’ve created a Business Assessment for you, and when you score this, you’ll know what you need to work on to improve your business.

Since only 4 out of 100 businesses are still around after ten years, and if you don’t really have business skills, you could be one of the 96 that closes its doors.

I’ve thought a lot about our business and whom we serve best. Our ideal client is an entrepreneur that’s serious about building a business and has a revenue of $250,000 and above for our coaching programs. We do have programs for businesses that haven’t achieved the $250,000 of revenue – please reach out to our help desk and we’ll direct you to the correct programs for your stage of the business.

Why do I set these minimums? Because someone who wants to build a real business understands that it takes investing in your education to be more successful.  I still have a business coach, and I continue to invest in Erin’s and my education.  That’s the only way to stay competitive.

When you budget for education, you should allow between 3 – 5% of your gross revenue for education.  If you’re doing $100,000 per year in gross revenue, your budget should be $3 – 5,000 for education.  That investment should return at least $15 – 25,000 in gross revenue to your business. And of course, you can’t just take the classes, you have to do the work and apply what you learn.

If you’re not achieving the results you want, then something has to change.  It’s important to identify where you have knowledge gaps and then fill them.

Most design schools do a good job of teaching design, but they don’t really explain how to run a profitable business, how to get clients, how to keep them happy and most importantly, how to get them to refer business to you.

You can either learn by trial and error which is extremely expensive, or invest in yourself and find out the shortcuts.  The return on investment should be at least five times what you pay for it, and if so, then it’s a matter of cash out to get cash in.

I personally like shortcuts.  Paying for mentoring and education saves time, money and stress.

Of course we want you to take our classes, but it’s because we want to help you succeed beyond your wildest imagination.  We’ve been in your shoes and we understand your challenges.  However, we may not be right for you, and that’s OK.  Find someone that you trust to teach you.  Just do it!

So … are you an entrepreneur or a hobbyist?


Ready For A Mentor, Advisor And Co-CEO Who Is Passionate About Design, Experienced In Business, And On A Mission To Help You Experience A Quantum Leap?

Gail Doby

Gail, with her team at Pearl Collective, has helped more than 10,000 designers in 76 countries. Many of them have achieved amazing results... doubling, tripling (and more) their revenue and profit... with clarity and confidence. Gail and her team build one-of-a-kind experiences, walking beside Interior Designers to help them create and implement their plans.


  1. Farha Syed on February 7, 2016 at 10:55 pm

    My husband tells me its a hobby more than its a business. He tells me I dont have what it takes to sell my skills and as you mentioned its very competitive. But I am working hard and am determined to see myself sucessful and to fulfill my moms wish and also to prove him wrong -in him thinking its a hobby Lets see who is right on this one. I hope I am. I want to see my work published. Want to make my mom proud.

  2. Gail on February 8, 2016 at 7:13 am

    Hello Farha, What matters is what you think and want. If you do it for other people like your mom, or because you want to prove your husband wrong, will that make you happy? Just make sure you are really motivated to do this for yourself. It is a challenging business that requires a lot of motivation, drive and determination, and that has to come from within or it will be a hollow victory.

  3. Marwa on December 23, 2018 at 3:34 am

    Hi!! My hobby and my dream is became an interior designer.Now i am not studiying this domain at all but in my free time i used to make some décoration with an application and i didn’t find in my country where could i have a diploma and make my dream true and i’ll be so hppy for your replied ❣️

  4. tallbox on June 3, 2023 at 1:30 am

    You clearly put a lot of thought into the real world of interior design and has provided an excellent overview of the profession.

    The importance of having the right mindset and business acumen to be successful, as well as investing in yourself and learning the shortcuts. Although being short but sound advice on budgeting for education and the potential returns that can be achieved is great for newbies!

    This is a very informative and well-written article that provides great insights into the world of interior design for those who are taking the first step, thank you!

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