Starting any business is not without difficulty and you’ll need a good understanding of the market you intend to enter. Starting a design business is no different. Whether you’re a seasoned professional with years of industry and agency experience under your belt or you’re freshly qualified, starting your own business might be the path you decide to take. How easy is it to start a design business? It’s easier than it has ever been before but standing out from the crowd is going to be a challenge, so be prepared for hard work, long hours and some luck to get your design business started. Let’s look at some things you should remember when you start out.
Know Your Role and Skills and Outsource to Diversify
Understanding where your strongest skills lie and, even more importantly, identifying and realising your weaknesses should be one of the first things you do as a designer. Offering to take on clients or portfolios that are outside of your skillset might net you big valuable contracts, but if you can’t fulfil them you might find yourself coming up short. Because design is such a broad industry with so many different specialisations, from working with brands to develop their strategy to more niche fields like typography or logo design, you’ll want to know exactly what you can deliver on.
If you want to offer more, then strategic partnerships are going to be essential. If you can create beautiful graphics, logos and layouts, but you need help with the user interface and coding to offer web design, partner with an accomplished web designer and outsource what you aren’t constable with.
Investigate Your Competition
Competition is going to determine, to some degree, your chances of success. The world of design can be a competitive one and there are many designers in the market trying to land the big contracts. Understanding who the competition is, what they offer and even what they charge will give you an idea of how to position your own new business. While you’re looking at the competition, spend some time looking at potential clients too, and identify where there are gaps in the market and clients that don’t have their unique needs fulfilled. Spending some money investing in understanding the business of business, like enrolling on an MSC management distance learning programme won’t go amiss either, and since it’s a distance learning course, you can complete it while you’re starting your business.
Don’t Ignore the Gig Economy
The gig economy is a relatively new industry, but it’s somewhere you can build your portfolio, gain experience working for freelance clients and build a client list, as well as spend your downtime earning some money. It might not pay what your regular clients will, but if you’re not busy with any big work or projects, then joining sites like Fiverr and offering your services there will provide an income, particularly in the beginning days of your business.
Have the Right Equipment, Software and Working Area
If you’re just starting out, there’s a reasonably good chance you’re not going to be hiring fancy offices with expensive furniture and huge boardroom tables. You’re likely going to be operating from home or from a shared working environment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be conducive to good and focused work. You’ll want to make sure your desk is big enough and your chair is of good quality with the correct lumbar and neck supports. Ensure your computer and design hardware is good enough and can produce results quickly and make sure you correctly licence and buy all the software you’ll need for your business too. Don’t forget you’ll need to keep a record of income and expenses at the very least, so it’s not just design software you’ll need, but invoicing or accounting software too.
Look After Yourself Too
Don’t forget, in the middle of the night when you’re putting in the hours to try and make a success of your business, that working too hard will eventually have the opposite effect of making you less productive and you’ll start to make mistakes and lose concentration. You should try and set specific hours and not work in the living areas of your home if you’re working from home.
Starting a design business will be incredibly rewarding, particularly when you start to see your work in the world or being used within companies. Take the time to hone not only your craft as a designer, but as a business owner too for the maximum chance of success.