This may sound superfluous, but starting your own business should produce a qualitative change for the better in your life.
You get access to affordable advertising, the opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction with your target audience, various poll and survey tools, and other useful assets.
Social media platforms need content.
The benefits of this practice are twofold.
This makes time management and proper utilisation of your productive hours even more critical.
DO have a detailed business plan.
The world around us is changing with each passing second.
Fortunately, third-party help becomes increasingly affordable and comprehensive as time goes by.
The signed written agreements exist to protect both you and your client.
A silver lining in this whole story could be that graphic designers have always shown a strong entrepreneurial initiative – according to recent research, nearly 25% of professionals currently working in the industry are self-employed.
DON’T forget the importance of good portfolio.
Choose a couple of works that do the best job showcasing your skill, versatility and commercial viability, and save the rest for the more inquiring customers.
To put it simply, if you want to develop a strong brand, people need to know they look at your product when they see it.
Let’s see what we can learn from the people that already made a mark on the industry.
Graphic designers need exposure.
According to a recent study, as much as 63% of surveyed would be more willing to hire and buy from authentic brands than competitors that lack that unique brand voice.
DO make your business adaptable.
Your focus should be elsewhere.
Don’t make the mistake of falling into the same traps as the thousands that came before you.
Ideally, it would help if you started with the field of work you feel invested in the most.
Just remember – portfolios don’t need to be excessive.
This opinion has many merits.
DON’T pursue every meaningless project.
Social media platforms and the graphic design industry are currently in a happy, mutually beneficial marriage.
Various business analysts claim that finding a niche is key to small business success.
To do so, they need to be well-written and precise.
Developing these two departments in-house takes too much time and resources.
DO have your own unique visual language.
Your company should have set plans for scaling up, and, if necessary, scaling down (think of outsourcing and subscription-based Cloud services), and you have to be open to working with different types of clients.
Running a business in such an environment requires a great deal of adaptability.
Essentially, the imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern, in which individuals start doubting their accomplishments after achieving a certain degree of success.
Talking full ownership over your own career has never been easy and as inclusive and open to newcomers as it may be – and the graphic design industry is no different in this regard.
Developing a stable and successful business takes months, sometimes even years.
DON’T hesitate to find a mentor or a partner.
Graphic design is an industry that has been thoroughly explored.
Being versatile or good is not enough.
You have to offer your customers a unique value proposition they can’t find anywhere else.
DO hire a third-party legal and accounting help.
This document also serves as an excellent reference point you can use to track your current progress.
Feeling inadequate in the position you’re currently in may leave you insecure about advancing your career and taking more risks.
So, the common industry pitfalls and good practices that make a successful graphic design startup have been explored in great detail by now.
Moreover, yet, the research says that entrepreneurs are far more likely to suffer from various mental disorders than the general population with 30% of them suffering from depression (compared to 15% of GP.) and 29% from ADHD (compared to 5% of GP).
DON’T expect overnight success.
This asset can be acquired in the form of a mentor or partner who will take more active participation in your business.
If this happens to you, do your best to ride it out.
Some consulting companies can even take upon themselves a complete pre-tax season preparation and post-season follow-up work allowing you to shift your efforts to your organisation’s other critical areas.
In this critical period, it is imperative to keep your head fresh and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing.
Making a transition from being a graphic designer to being a business owner can be genuinely jarring.
The first step in achieving this is creating a rock-solid business plan that will cover the topics of funding, developmental goals, future milestones, growth options, and marketing strategies.
Obviously, you have a challenging road ahead of you.
In terms of graphic design, this unique is easiest to achieve through the recognisable visual language of your products.
This job is made considerably harder by common business-related issues like productivity and creative roadblocks.
DON’T underestimate the quality of your work.
Your employees should be able to stay up to date with all industry-relevant software developments.
Making progress without an objective reference point is impossible.
16 Do’s and Don’ts in Graphic Design that Can Save Your Business
DO try to find your niche.
Unfortunately, this phenomenon is very present among creative workers, especially the ones without formal education.
Creating a strong social media presence is, by far, the most convenient way to push your body of work into public consciousness and develop a unique brand voice.
This applies to all aspects of your business.
When choosing between different projects, always go with the ones that ensure the best long-term goals.
Until the point, you establish a recognisable brand, or you produce a stable number of referrals, your portfolio will be your most powerful marketing asset.
DON’T do anything without a written contract.
What’s even more important is to secure funding for at least six months in advance because you will most likely operate at a loss. The more contingencies you set in place, the better.
Lowering the prices and accepting the deals which diminish the value of your efforts will throw you into the vicious cycle of compromises you’ll find very hard to get out of.
Having by your side someone who has already spent some time in the industry, established rich connections and knocked at all big doors can be a tremendous asset.
- General information about you and your client
- Objective and the scope of the project
- Payment terms
- Timetable and deadlines
- Signatures of both parties
- Don’t move forward with any project without this all-important piece of paper.
DO learn how to manage time.
This reference point can be easily obtained through various competitive analyses and market studies.
However, you shouldn’t spread your resources too thin and skip important career-advancing projects, by chasing too many smaller deals at once.
This comes especially true when you’re offered to be compensated by marketing exposure.
Your initial industry experience may as well turn into a full-scale baptism of fire.
The less time you spend working on one project, the faster you’ll be able to move to another.
DON’T fall victim to imposter syndrome.
First, you’ll get a great insight into the latest business-related developments and be able to keep pace with the rest of the industry.
Determine how much profit your business needs to keep going, compare the quality of your work to what the market has to offer, set the prices accordingly and stick to them.
Here are some of the key points a graphic design contract should cover:
Second, you will be able to learn from mistakes made by your direct competitors and get a chance to emulate some of their more successful practices.
Keeping your business busy until it develops a stable, high-paying customer pool is an absolute must.
DO frequent competitive analysis.
Never stop believing in your skills and always move boldly forward.
They do, however, need to be effective.
Partnering with a seasoned professional may come at the price of exclusive ownership and complicate decision making, but it can also take much weight off your shoulders and lend your organisation expertise and credibility.
Don’t make it even worse by pushing yourself to the point of breaking.
The fact that you are just beginning doesn’t necessarily imply that your work is lesser than the one produced by the more experienced competitors.
DON’T forget to take care of yourself.
So, set a time limit to each task, eliminate distractions, use to-do lists, delegate the tasks you are currently unable to perform, and eliminate half work by any means necessary.
Once you establish a firm footing in your own backyard, you can slowly start making plans about branching out.
Still, you will need to shift the focus from the design work and actually make sure that the customers will come knocking at your door.
We hope these few considerations will help you lay solid foundations for your future enterprise.
In creative businesses like graphic design, time is money.
In the world of graphic design, your body of work is your personal ID.
Focusing on a smaller piece of the market can help your organisation to focus its resources, conduct streamlined and efficient marketing campaigns, keep track of much more manageable metrics, and, finally, find a more natural way to stand out from the competition.