Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Joan Maclean, Founder of Joanie Mac Interior Design, located in Harrogate, UK.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I run online courses in Interior Design and Interior Styling. These range from a course covering the core elements of interior design aimed at those who are keen to learn more about interiors and then a comprehensive course for those who want to turn their passion for interiors into their full-time profession. A broad range of people study with me, but they all have the desire to create wonderful spaces.

Tell us about yourself

Incredibly it's thirty years since I started my interior design journey - where does the time go?! As part of a graduate intake program with a major national retailer, I soon realized that prescriptive design and color palettes weren't my things as I developed my own approach to style.

Having run away to the world of show business for a decade from film to the West End, Broadway, Edinburgh Fringe, and even the small screen, my love of creating spaces and expressing myself within them couldn't be resisted. UCLA beckoned, and I embraced my interior passion with renewed determination.

I've designed interiors in a wide range of environments, from beach houses in Los Angeles to 1930s fabulousness in Leeds, Spanish hideaways to exclusive Fendi-inspired Canary Wharf apartments. From staging properties to selling to developing luxury serviced apartments and always having my own projects on the go - from general renovations to virtually complete demolition and rebuilds - I love all things interior design.

Sharing my knowledge and expertise to help others create their own stylish homes, to embrace everyone's passion for interiors, whether looking to launch themselves as an Interior Designer, explore color, texture, lighting, layering, and all, or create Instagram-able style in their own home, there is a place for everyone at my table.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

It's only when you face the challenges of running your own business that you really appreciate the accomplishments of established ones. I weathered COVID-19, and it really focused on developing my online courses and making them effective and successful in delivering the right outcomes for my customers.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

The weight of decision-making can be an onerous one, but I have made real progress in reaching out to seek support and advice. It's also been key to recognize that I can't do everything and nor do I have the skillsets to do everything either, so I have been proactive in recruiting the right people to work alongside me. The results speak for themselves as we are about to launch a new course keenly focused on delivering a product that will be fulfilled and indeed exceed our initial outlined plans.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Cashflow can kill any small business, so do be uber-cautious and keep a keen on your bank balance so you don't over-reach yourself.
  2. However brilliant your business idea and plans do, ensure you do plenty of research into your potential competitors and unpick what does or does not work for them.
  3. It's too easy to run onto the next launch or idea - I learned the hard way - stay focused and get your business established before branching out or planning the next launch.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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