What is E-Design and Is It Right For You?

August 25, 2021

Table of Contents

The (Brief) History of E-Design

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 9 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.

What is E-Design?

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.

Discover how you can use Mydoma Studio to save time & impress more clients

Benefits of E-Design

There are a variety of reasons why you could offer e-design. Our top 5 are:

  • E-design will allow you to access a market of clients who may not normally pay for full service projects.
  • E-design projects are typically smaller in scale and are completed faster.
  • E-design is convenient. If you’re balancing a busy life, e-design allows you to work in off hours with clients maximizing your day time.
  • If you want to make passive income, e-design is perfect for that!
  • E-design removes physical barriers and let’s you work with clients & projects anywhere, and not just your local area!

Three Main Types of E-Design Services

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.

  1. Virtual design / decorating project – For a virtual design/ decorating project to be successful you’ll need to have a thorough understanding of your design process for the project scope. We find this service works best if you create a scope of work and build the design process that supports it. Doing this will allow you to set the expectations for the client up front. They need to feel trust that even though you’re not going to be working in person, they will get the value they paid for. Check out this example from Wendy Woloshchuk at Details Interiors and this one from Renee Ruci Interiors.

  2. Online/ virtual consultation – Depending on your comfort zone with video conferencing, this could be the easiest of options to get started today! Essentially you’re creating a consultation that can be purchased, booked, and executed online. It will have a set time, expectations on what the client can ask, and how you’ll provide the feedback. For more information on how to create a virtual consultation you can sell check out this video.

  3. A “room” in a box – This service takes the most amount of up-front planning, but can be well worth the investment because it’s considered to be passive income. Essentially you’re creating a DIY design plan for the client. The client purchases the design, receives links to products, moodboard, decorating guidelines/plans, and renderings. This service typically has no or very little interaction with the client. Typically they are buying your designs, not your time. The goal is they will have enough information to execute on their own. Should they need time of yours they can always pay for extra virtual hours. Here are some examples from Nadia Gordon Designs and Style by Mimi G’s Therapy in a Click Office.

Recommended Tools for E-Design

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. 

 

Project Management/ Client Portal 

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.

 

Invoice Creation & Payment 

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 

Calendar Booking 

Make it super easy for your client to book the appointment. 

Recommended tool(s): Calendly or Acuity

Video Conferencing

This is non-negotiable. You can’t do a virtual meeting without this tool!

Recommended tool(s): Zoom or Google Meet 

Design Boards 

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

Rendering & Floor Plan Software

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 

Contract Sign-Off 

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! 

Discover how you can use Mydoma Studio to save time & impress more clients