Things to Consider Before Starting Your Own Design Business
Many designers dream of going out on their own, being their own boss, and going after the clients they want to work for. While it may be true that you can achieve all of this, it’s not quite that easy. You have a lot to consider before you actually start your own business. Here are some things to consider before starting your own design business.
Save Your Money
If you currently have a job, you’ll want to save a few months worth of income. This will be helpful, so you’re not worrying about how you’ll pay your bills while you’re building your business. This takes a lot of the pressure off of you in terms of having to make money immediately from day 1.
What Services Will You Offer?
You’ll want to consider your strengths and focus on those as your main money makers. If you know nothing about building a website, it might not be a good idea to offer web design services. Trust me, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you won’t be able to wing it. Also, the services you offer may work well as a bundle, so look at offering different tiers of services to give clients an easy choice to make.
Do You Have Any Current Potential Clients?
If you’ve been doing freelance on the side, you may already have clients you can offer your services to. You may be able to increase your offerings to them, making your business more enticing and making you more money.
How Much Money Do You Need to Make?
You’ll need to assess your monthly bills in order to determine how much money you need to make in order to survive. Honestly, you don’t want to just survive, you want to strive for having an abundance of money for the slow times.
Can You Afford an Office or will You Work From Home?
Depending on your clients, you may be a professional office space in order to hold important meetings. If you go to your clients’ offices, then you may be able to get by with working from home. Make sure you have a dedicated space for your home office, so you can focus solely on work, without distractions.
Do You Know How to Work With Vendors?
If you do print work, you’ll need to negotiate with printers in order to get good rates. The lower the price you pay to get your work printed, the more savings you can pass on to your client and the more profits you can put in your pockets.
You’ll need to Handle Your Own Accounting
You’ll need to keep up with invoices, who’s paying you, who hasn’t, your expenses, and any other accounting or bookkeeping duties. You’ll also have to do this while handling all of your design responsibilities, clients, client meetings, and any other responsibilities you may have.
There are only 2 things you have to do in life. The first one is to eventually die, but the other one is that you have to pay taxes on what you’ve earned. After you work your tail off, pay expenses and pay taxes, you may be surprised as to how little you have left. It might be a good idea to factor in taxes when you are determining how much you need to make in order to survive.
If you’re promoting a new business, you’ll need to advertise, somehow or some way in order to drive traffic to your website or your brick and mortar business. Advertising can mean on Facebook or other social media, Google Adwords, or local directories. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as it is effective and gets your business in front of people who will actually use it.
Do You Have a non-compete clause?
If you currently work in house, do you have a non-compete clause in your contract? If you do, you may not be able to start your own business or work for a competitor for up to a year after leaving your current company. Always be careful what you sign!
Who is Your Competition?
You’ll want to consider who your competition is. You’ll want to take a look at what they’re doing. This isn’t because you’re going to copy them or get into a head to head competition with them. it’s because you’re going to analyze what they’re doing wrong, what they’re not doing at all, and see if you can provide services in areas where they can’t. Maybe your competition doesn’t do social media marketing for clients. That would be a great additional or standalone service that you can offer to help stand out.
What Makes You Unique?
You have to stand out from the competition. Maybe your work is head and shoulders above the competition. Maybe you’ve developed proprietary software that gives you an edge over others. Maybe you work on a more personal basis with clients and you don’t treat them like just another number.
Do You Have The Equipment?
It’s easy when a company provides all of the software and the equipment you need to get the job done. If you bust out on your own, you’ll need to acquire that equipment out of pocket. It’s scary, but you’ll need to be super fast and efficient to hang with established businesses.
You Have to Be a Self Starter
Do you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning? If that’s the case, you might have a tough time owning your own business. You have to have the discipline to get up on time, get to the office, and to get things done quickly and efficiently. If you’re a one man or one woman show, you’re going to have to be motivated more than ever to get things done. There will be a lot of late nights and a lot of time where your nose is to the grindstone.
Are You Good At Meeting Deadlines?
This is no different from an in-house job, except for the fact that you won’t have a boss hovering over your shoulders, reminding you to get things done. Instead, you’ll have to look in the mirror for that. Don’t miss any deadlines, because you’ll instantly get a bad reputation.
Do you still Want to Own Your Own Design Business?
I hope so. This information was not meant to discourage you! This is meant to give you an idea of what you can expect as a design business owner in the design field. You’ll have to work hard to get your business off the ground, just like any other business. Once you do, you can enjoy the perks of being your own boss and setting your own schedule. Do you have any questions about starting your own design business? Feel free to post your questions in the comments section!
Nice summary of the things ive been through on this design business journey.
I am fine art student…majoring in graphic design..After completion of my degree I would like to start an own company…I am worried that there are better designers out therewho can outdo me in the business..I also havd issues with capital and experience…There is also this mentorship thing which i havent been uptp…what would you advice me as a fellow graphic designer??
There will always be someone who is better than you. If you’re young, single and eager to learn, then it is possible to start your own business. However, I wouldn’t do t without at least having an extensive internship with a design company. That way you’ll have hands on experience. Believe me, they don’t teach you everything in school that you need to know to succeed in business. Where are you located?