Back in 2012 I had an idea to sell my design services online.
At the time this was pretty new and there were only a handful of companies offering this service. I used to hear selling services online “would never work”, that “clients want the in-person tactile experience”, or the ever popular “This is only a fad” (Admittedly it wasn’t all that popular and had a bit of convoluted design process in the early days!)
Fast forward 10 years, and the “e-design” fad hasn’t gone anywhere. In reality, it has exploded in growth with the adoption of working online and the accessibility of e-commerce.
Today’s “e-design” has evolved – and is also called virtual design and online design. Unlike in 2012, we now know what e-design is. Let’s take a deeper dive into the intricacies of this service and whether it’s right for you and your business.
In its simplest form, it is the ability or option to work virtually with a client rather than meeting face to face.
With e-design, you collaborate with your client online through the use of video, client portal and phone. Drawings, renderings, photos, contract signing, material selection and invoice payment is completed online, preferably through a client portal.
E-design is also embracing change and using technology to improve the way we run our design businesses as a whole.
There are a variety of reasons why you could offer e-design. Our top 5 are:
E-design is incredibly versatile. There are many different types of “online interior design” services you can offer. If you can dream it up, you can offer it.
To reduce the panic of too many options, below are three main types of e-design services you can get started with today.
In order to fully execute a project online you’ll need some extra tools. It’s unlikely you’ll be able to use one tool for everything. I know, another tool? Another subscription? When you think you’re having subscription overload, try to remember how much extra time and money you spend on gas, car maintenance, your time in traffic, meeting preparation etc.
There just isn’t a one size fits all solution. This is because it can be dangerous to be a jack of all trades and an expert at nothing with software.
Below we’ve listed the parts of the project you’ll need tools & software to automate or perform virtually.
Ideally you’ll need a project management software that has an integrated client portal. This is not 100% necessary but news flash, using email and online storage is the solution of 2012. If your time is money, investment in your efficiency will increase your profitability in the long run.
Recommended tool(s): We (of course 😉) recommend Mydoma Studio. Grab a free trial or book a demo to see it in action.
Remove as much friction as possible. If you’re working online, you must sell and invoice online. Credit Card and bank transfers are your friend.
Recommended tool(s): Mydoma Studio/ Stripe, Quickbooks or Wave Accounting
Make it super easy for your client to book the appointment.
Recommended tool(s): Calendly or Acuity
This is non-negotiable. You can’t do a virtual meeting without this tool!
Recommended tool(s): Zoom or Google Meet
Whether you call it a mood board, sample board, or something else entirely, offering your client a digital visual of the samples and finishes is imperative to selling your design.
Recommended tool(s): Canva, Mydoma Studio or Powerpoint
Whether you’re creating design from scratch or building a DIY design in a box, you’ll need to offer some visual guidance.
Recommended tool(s): Chief Architect, Homestyler or Sketchup
Depending on the scope of the project you may require contract sign off. Again you’re not meeting in person, so offering an online option is non-negotiable.
Recommended tool(s): Doc Hub or Mydoma Studio
E-design services aren’t just a passing fad. Whether you like it or not, it’s here to stay for the time being. E-design might not be for you, and that’s ok! Technology has disrupted the traditional interior design model.
If you’re interested in expanding your services, your customer reach and or trying something new, then e-design might be just what the doctor ordered! If you have any questions on how to start with e-design, need some inspiration or want to pick our brains.
Book a demo with our design team at Mydoma Studio and we’ll be happy to help!
Sarah Daniele is the CEO and co-founder of Mydoma Studio.
Starting off her career as an interior designer, the first version of Mydoma Studio was built to fulfill a personal need.
But after some encouragement from friends and colleagues, Sarah traded in swatches for shoulder pads, taking up the mantle of CEO and building up Mydoma Studio for the interior design industry.
Sarah is passionate about building tools and technology to allow interior designers to grow their businesses.