In the world of interior design getting published is a highly sought after, dream making moment. It’s the moment where you feel like you’ve finally “arrived.” Like you’re finally somebody. Like it’s your scream it from the rooftops, call everyone you ever knew from high school to share your success, kind of time. And who wouldn’t feel that way? Getting published is a huge accomplishment and one you absolutely should be proud of. You should absolutely buy 15 copies of the magazine, frame it, and display it prominently so you can see it in tough times. But maybe what you should display even more prominently? That first dollar you received.
Clients are More Important than Editors
Well, ok, most likely you never received a dollar from your first client. It either came in the form of a check or credit card, but the idea is the same. You should be more proud of having paying clients, than of getting published.
It’s understandably difficult to get caught up in the glitz and glamour of the shelter magazine world. It is luxurious, it is high society, and it is the dream of a lot of people. And that’s ok. Until it starts to take over your time, attention, and effort to the point where client projects start to suffer.
Invest Your Time & Money In Those Who Pay You
The idea of being famous can be a big pull for anyone. Who doesn’t want a little bit of notoriety? A little bit of recognition? But it’s important to just remember that at the end of the day, those magazines aren’t paying you. They’re not what keeps you profitable. They’re not what keep you going year after year. And frankly, sometimes they don’t even end up bringing you many clients. They get you recognition from your peers, sure. But more clients? Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t. And sometimes the investment that you put in, really would have been better invested somewhere else.
So the next time you’re desperately wondering why your projects are rarely published, or if you can even consider yourself a real designer if you’ve never been published, or if you can ever really be successful if you’ve never been published, remember this. Being published doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically start doubling the size of your projects and your income. And actually, it’s costing you in terms of photographs, time, and effort. Effort and time that could be put towards paying clients. So, it’s really something to mull over before you begin the process each time.
Now, sure, it’s awesome for clients to be able to say, “My designer was published in Elle Decor.” And for you to say, “I was published in Elle Decor.” But, that’s at times your only real benefit. It’s far more beneficial for clients to be able to say, “My designer is incredible. She takes the time to really listen to what we want, understand how we function as a family, and really respects our budget limitations . She’s on time, professional, and incredibly talented. I’ll never work with anyone else.” The first statement about getting published may get that friend to visit your website. The second statement about who you are and how you work, may get you hired.
Clients Gave You Your First Dollar, and They’ll Give You Your Last
So yes, absolutely, if you want to get published, go for it. It is a real honor. And could bring you some new business. Just remember a few things. First, it’s a marketing outlet like anything else. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Second, it is possible to have a successful design firm without constantly being published. Third, isn’t possible to have a successful design firm without constantly having clients.
So be sure you’re not spending too much time, money, and effort running after the editor’s attention. The business can’t survive if editors are saying, “We publish her work because it’s always inspirational and gorgeous.” But clients of those projects are saying, “Sure, the end result is gorgeous. But working with her was an absolute nightmare.”
It’s far more important, and a better return on your investment, to be getting the attention of potential clients. Making sure that their project is on time, on budget, and on track with what they dreamed of, is where the real money is. Clients gave you your first dollar. And at some point will give you your last. So make sure you invest the most money, in those who give you the most money. And your business will succeed year after year.
If you’d like even more ideas on how to provide the kind of client service that gets you higher fees and profits, visit the Services page to find out more!