Your business, your rules

Marina Mrdjen Petrovic photo crop

Last month Commercial Interior Design hosted a round table along with Middle East Architect magazine, tackling some of the main challenges of setting up your own interior design/architecture firm in the region.

We dived deeply into this subject together with five established designers who made a bold move and ventured out on their own to start an independent practice in Dubai.

There are plenty of “10 steps” articles on this subject, which provide practical advice for start-up businesses, such as creating a business plan, securing the necessary investment and obtaining the right licenses, but we tackled these issues as well.

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However, we also asked the more fundamental question: not how, but why?

Independence was one of the most compelling motivations for designers to set up shop, since running their own practice gives them a greater design freedom, a chance to shape their creative work the way they want and to deal directly with their clients.

“Your business, your rules,” they said.

However, ahead of independence and even money, all of them agreed that a better work-life balance was the key deciding factor.

With targets to reach and deadlines to meet, many corporate professionals find it difficult to fit their jobs into a traditional 9-to-5 day, and end up working long hours. Obviously, and for valid reasons, many of us choose to be employees rather than entrepreneurs. However, bearing in mind the high-pressure design environment of the Middle East, many large companies, if not all, have to deal with employee dissatisfaction and burnout.

This is another topic we will address in the future.

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