Emma runs Emma Victoria Interior Design, a South London based Interior Design consultancy.
She prides herself on offering a relaxed and personal interior design service for homes in South London with an extensive portfolio and services ranging from a full service to ‘cheap & chic’.
Hi Emma, how long have you been running your business for?
I’m in my 10th year, established since 2009.
What made you decide to set up on your own?
I wanted total control over my work/life balance, and I wanted to be my own boss and shape my own future.
What were your biggest challenges at the beginning?
Getting people to trust me without a portfolio of work was a big challenge at the start. Also being taken advantage of by people using my services and not getting them to commit financially up front, I quickly learned from this and started to charge people for my initial consultation which could be offset against my services once the work began.
What would you like to tell your past self?
I’d say that mistakes will happen on every project, either yours or someone else’s. Prepare yourself to deal with them, maybe pay for them because your reputation is the most important asset you have. Solve the problem before you present it to the client. Charge extra for clients who you realise from the outset will be extra hard work. Once you are established, never do anything for anyone without getting paid for it. Don’t do favours for friends for free. It took me a long time to realise that if I didn’t value my own time and services, no one else would.
Thank you Emma for your invaluable advice. It sounds like those 10 years in business have really paid off! Emma can be found on various social media but I’m particularly fond of her instagram feed: @emmavictoriaid or you can visit her website at emmavictoria-id.com
If you are just starting out and have been experiencing similar challenges or are already on the other side looking back at your early years in business please contact me or comment below with your experiences as I would be delighted to hear about them and feature them and you in this series.