Graphic design has never been more important. There have never been as many businesses as there are today. There are over 45,000 brands listed on stock exchanges throughout the globe, and that number is climbing daily.
There are also over 1.5 billion websites currently on the Internet. Over 200 million of them are live and operational. Every one of them needs graphic design services, even if they don’t know it.
If you’ve got a passion for great graphic design, this could be a golden era for you and your creativity. If you’ve been considering starting your own graphic design business without a lot of capital, we’re going to show you how.
How To Start A Graphic Design Business
Every business is different. Every business owner’s path to success is going to look a little different due to this fact. Some time-honored business principles will still put you on the path to success, however.
Think of these steps as more of a guidebook than a map, per se. Use them to get your wheels turning, which will help get you thinking like a graphic designer as well as a business owner.
Identify Your Design Style
Before you even begin, you should start by thinking about what it is you have to offer as a graphic designer. There are already a lot of designers and design firms out there. What is it that you’re hoping to offer, to differentiate you from larger and more established graphic designers?
This should encourage you to start thinking of niches to explore. It’ll also help you to visualize your dream clients, which will come in handy when you begin to implement your business for real.
Examine Your Skillset
You should also start by realistically examining your graphic design abilities. Don’t be afraid to be ruthless – your clients will be! Don’t be ashamed if you find yourself coming up short in a few areas, either.
Say, for instance, you’re proficient with Photoshop. That’s a great place to start! If you’re thinking about going into product design, for example, you might need to brush up on your Illustrator abilities as well.
Research The Marketplace
If you’re going to be competitive in the graphic design industry, you’re going to need to know what’s out there. It will also help you refine your design aesthetic and clarify your distinctive vision and voice.
Graphic design requires understanding contemporary tastes and trends, as well. Design is slightly different from fine art in that you’re helping your clients bring their visions to life. That means having your finger on the pulse of current visual trends.
Build Your Portfolio
Even if you’re intent on making your design business your full-time career, it’s going to take a little while until that’s feasible. A general rule of thumb for business owners and entrepreneurs is you should expect to lose money for at least the first year.
Most businesses in any industry take 2 – 3 years to become profitable. This can be even more extreme in the graphic design industry, which is highly competitive.
While you’re working towards your graphic design business becoming a full-time day job, you should work on expanding your portfolio as much as possible. This lets you show future prospective clients what you’re capable of.
You can take a look at our portfolio here, to get an idea of what we’re talking about.
Finding portfolio building opportunities is also a great way to start building a client base. You’ll likely have to give away work for cheap or free, in the beginning, but that’s true for most small business owners.
Construct A Business Plan
By this stage, you should be thinking like a real business person. You’ve done market research. You understand your industry.
You know you’ve got something unique and valuable to share with the world. Now it’s time to construct a plan to make those visions a reality.
Layout a five-year business plan in as much detail as possible. Calculate your monthly operating expenses and make sure you leave room to grow and expand. You might even start giving yourself a salary as part of your monthly expenses, towards the goal of being a full-time business owner.
Even though graphic design is a creative industry, finance is all about the numbers. You’re going to need to understand your bottom line if you’re going to convince anyone to invest in your business.
Find Your Funding
You’re ready to start building your business in earnest. You’ve got the skills you need to succeed. You understand your industry and your unique place in it.
You might even have a clientele, at this point, if you’ve started tapping into your network and have been building your portfolio.
There are more ways for small-business owners to secure funding than any other time in history. Here are a few options you might consider.
If you want to keep your business DIY and beholden to no one, you might consider going the crowdfunding route. There are numerous great networks for crowdfunding at this point, like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.
One thing to keep in mind is you might be able to only tap your network for funds once. You run the risk of exhausting your friends, family, and colleagues if you ask for handouts to often.
If you’re going to crowdfund your graphic design business, you’ll want to lay out your campaign ahead of time. Make sure to include regular status updates with as much high-quality media as you can muster. This will help keep people interested in your campaign.
Social media is your friend when it comes to crowdfunding your business. You’ve likely got a widespread network of people wishing you well, at this point. Make the most of it.
Small Business Loans
Entrepreneurship is the heart of American capitalism. Small businesses accounted for 61.8% of net new jobs between 1993 and 2016. Small businesses created 1.9 million net jobs in 2015 alone.
Loan providers have every incentive to help small businesses get started if they believe their investment is secure. By this stage, you should have your business plan together as well as some idea of what’s going to help you be successful in the graphic design field.
At this point, it’s up to you to sell yourself! You should also know a thing or two about business finance before applying for a small business loan.
If you’ve not yet registered as an LLC, your graphic design business is going to depend upon your personal credit. Even if your credit’s not the best, however, there’s no need to fear.
There are even loans for people without great credit. There are even loans available for people who are unemployed! You can read more about that over on this page.
Taking the time to develop your creative skills while also furthering your financial understanding gives you all the tools you need for your graphic design business to be successful. The world needs you now more than ever. Here’s to a bright, bold, colorful new world!
Looking For Design In Florida?
If you’re looking for a top-notch graphic design business in Florida, look no further. Direct Movement Group believes in bringing the most cutting-edge design services of all kinds to the Sunshine State.