Whether you’re passionate about graphic design or merely interested in the money-making opportunity that this ever-expanding industry provides, there are significant benefits to be gained from starting your own graphic design firm. After all, every website, brand, and product requires someone to create logos, advertising materials, infographics, landing page backgrounds, and so many other services that a well-rounded graphic design firm can provide. From a profitability standpoint, if you’re only operating as a one-man show, you’ll eventually hit personal limits that will put a cap on the overall income potential of the business.
By scaling up into a fully-fledged firm that’s equipped with a variety of professionals specializing in various areas of graphic design, you’ll be able to offer a full range of services and accommodate every client with ease. With that said, here are some tips you can use to improve your chances of launching a successful graphic design firm.
Earn a Degree in Business Administration
Although earning a degree in business administration isn’t a complete requirement for owning and operating a graphic design firm, it can certainly be a helpful step to take along the way. Earning a master’s in business administration (MBA) will give you the knowledge needed to effectively manage any company, so this is a skill set that is definitely worth having for anyone who wants to start a firm of any kind.
The great part about this educational path is that it can be completed 100% online using an internet-based degree program. You can even find universities that are based in your area by searching for “online MBA program” followed by your state or city, such as “online MBA program in Massachusetts.” Looking for a locally based university that also offers online programs might be ideal for someone who is considering completing part of the program on campus.
Assemble a Team of Graphic Designers
As mentioned earlier, in order to really be considered an actual firm, you’re going to need a team of graphic designers to help out with surplus work and tackle projects that involve tasks you’re not experienced with. Fortunately, there’s an abundance of graphic designers out there who are always looking for work, so you should have no trouble finding a few who fit the bill.
Be sure to test the abilities of each person you bring on-board and consider taking a freelancer approach by paying per project or task instead of paying set salaries or hourly wages. Paying by the task will encourage your team members to work harder in order to earn more, rather than facilitating a lazy corporate culture by paying set wages regardless of employee performance.
Sign Up for Accounts on Freelancing Sites and Forums
Once you are confident in your ability to operate the firm and have hired a team of graphic designers to help you handle the workload, it’s time to go full force in landing clients and projects. This will involve creating accounts on major freelancing sites and rigorously applying for open projects and jobs until you get your first few instances of feedback.
Once you’ve gained a good amount of positive ratings and reviews, you’ll find it much easier to get clients. The best approach is to be active on as many platforms as possible. Compile a list of the top freelancing sites and graphic design forums that you’re going to sign up for, then spend a day or two creating your accounts and profiles.
Apply for Jobs and Submit Proposals
Once your profiles are online and you have a team of experienced graphic designers ready to help you tackle any projects, it will be time to go out there and get work. Create custom proposals for every prospective client, but be reasonable about how lengthy and extensive each proposal is.
You don’t want to be spending time creating in-depth proposals for a client who only needs a single logo. Generally, it’s best to keep your project proposals to no more than 1-2 paragraphs unless you’re applying for an extensive project that requires more of a pitch. Sadly, many prospective clients will think that your pitch is a pre-written template if it is too long, and they probably won’t read it all, so avoid overdoing it. Needless to say, it is wise to avoid using fully pre-written pitches.
Offer a Comprehensive Set of Services on Your Website
While the fastest way to get clients, in the beginning, will be to proactively pursue project listings, you’ll need an online headquarters that portrays professionalism and details every graphic design service that your firm has on offer to build a more established brand. Thus, the final step will be putting your designers and developers to work on creating an awesome website that represents the brand well.
Make a list of the services that you’ll be offering and create a dedicated page for each service. That way, you’ll have applicable landing pages already made, which you can direct traffic to within SEO, PPC, and video marketing campaigns. Generally, the more services you offer, the better your chances are of landing new clients within each niche of the graphic design sector.
Graphic Design Can be a Very Profitable Industry
There are typically 4 main pre-conceived notions that people have about the potential outcomes for a graphic design business:
- It could be an ideal endeavour for a hobbyist but not for a full-time career.
- It could be a good side income for a freelancer.
- It could blossom into a thriving company.
- It could fail completely due to the market being “oversaturated.”
All of the outcomes listed above (except for #4) are factual possibilities. If your firm completely fails, it won’t be due to “over-saturation,” “competition,” or any of the other catch-all terms that people use to dismiss their own failures – it will be because you didn’t heed the tips given in this guide. With a bit of hard work, persistence, and the right team, you could realize outcome #3, or at least start out with #1 or #2, and work your way up from there.