October 20, 2021

3 Alternative Revenue Streams for Interior Designers

3 Alternative Revenue Streams for Interior Designers

3 Alternative Revenue Streams for Interior Designers


You’re only one person –– or one team of people –– and, despite your endless creativity, there are not endless hours in a day. As a designer, you can only bill as many hours as you can work and, when you take a well-deserved break, you have to press pause on new income. There is a limit to the number of active projects and clients you can take on at any one time, and that means there’s a limit on your revenue. 


...or is there?


Not if you expand beyond the standard interior design business model and embrace digital. There are opportunities for you to create a presence online that monetizes your good taste –– even when you’re not actively working one-on-one with a client. Today, we’re sharing three of these alternative revenue streams that allow designers to increase their footprint and optimize profitability, without putting in individual design consulting and styling hours.


1. Create Packaged Flat-Rate Rooms


Not every prospective client that follows you on social media or saves images from your website is ready to invest in an hourly or project-based fee. You charge a well-deserved hourly rate and shouldn’t budge, but you can offer flat-rate options available to those who want a less hands-on, more affordable approach. The best part: this is a do-it-once, sell it endless times project for you.


Here’s how it works. You create flat-rate room or styling collections through SideDoor that align with the look that your clients and followers love. For example, you could have a “Blue and White Bedroom,” “Moody Dining Room,” “Timeless and Neutral Reading Nook,” or “Boho Living Room Finishing Touches.” You create this collection once and you’re not limited to the number of those who buy it –– this can be sold again and again, without you doing any additional work. Then, you continue to monetize this one collection when the user purchases through your SideDoor link and you earn a commission on each item. 


Can we do a callout box? Like a quick, hey, this is SideDoor! It could say: What is SideDoor? It’s a behind-the-scenes platform that allows designers and home influencers to share products directly with clients and make their website and social media shoppable. You create a curated collection with your own personalized link that delivers you commission when a client purchases through that link. Find out more here. (link to FAQ page)


These boards can be advertised and marketed through Pinterest and Instagram and, as Emily Stein, a designer in Pennsylvania, says, “SideDoor is an opportunity to reach a broader market, have multiple income streams, is a way to source for active full design projects, and I can resell the same collections multiple times.”


2. Create a Search-Optimized Blog


You may already have a blog that serves as a portfolio of your favorite projects and before-and-afters, but have you monetized it? Look at your latest post, did it have clickable links to items you featured? If not, you’re missing out on an opportunity to monetize visits to your website.


If you don’t already have a blog, start one today. It’s easy to put one together in Wordpress or Squarespace, and install an SEO plug-in like Yoast. Create an editorial calendar that combines portfolio-style posts with shoppabble round-ups (think “10 Accent Chairs for a Modern Living Room” or “Our Favorite Bold Floral Settees”) and design advice for those looking to make changes in their own home. 


Here’s one way to think about it: if you write a blog post about how to incorporate a trend, like rattan or open shelving, into the home, you’re reaching readers who may not hire an interior designer or stylist –– but they will shop for an item through your SideDoor link, and that’s a commission on a sale that you wouldn’t have made had you not provided advice on your blog.


Additionally, when you optimize your blog on search, you’ll reach followers who will stumble upon you completely organically. Think about what the average consumer is searching for as you’re creating content. We’ll use brass coffee tables as an example. Write about “5 Best Brass Coffee Tables Under $500” and, when they find your blog post, click, and convert on a purchase, you’ll see income. 


3. Offer Styling Consulting

For those prospective clients that are a step above flat-rate collections, but not quite ready for the commitment of full-service design, you can offer one-hour styling consultations. This is a lower stakes, more on-the-go version of your typical design project. You’ll hold a one-off, one-hour, flat-rate Zoom call where you offer your advice on a specific design conundrum. Perhaps it’s styling bookcases, creating a more functional coffee table layout, arranging nightstands, or advising on living room accent pillows choices. 


You walk the client through their options, offer your expertise, and, at the end of the call, share your SideDoor link for any products that were discussed. At the end of the call, if they decide they want a more hands-on, continuous approach, you can refer them to your design services.


Get Started Today


With more people at home watching the latest home makeover show and scrolling endlessly through decor ideas on Instagram, you have an audience opportunity that’s ripe for buying –– but may not be ready yet to hire you for full-service design (or you may not have the bandwidth to take them on!). These three alternative revenue streams allow you to reach more clients, but with little additional time investment.


Ready to get started? Check out this demo of SideDoor and set up an introductory call to learn how you can utilize our to-the-trade shoppable collections and expand your business today.