You’ve dreamed of starting your own business. Maybe you’re a graphic designer who wants to escape the corporate world. Or perhaps you’re an entrepreneur who knows that designing logos and websites for local businesses would be more satisfying than managing their books. Whatever your motivation, it’s never been easier to kickstart a graphic design business on the cheap
With so many opportunities available online, there’s no excuse not to get started. In this post we’ll walk through everything you need to know about launching a successful freelance design career. What tools and skills you’ll need. How much investment is involved. How to build your reputation as an expert in your niche. Where to find clients, and more!
find a niche to kickstart a graphic design business on the cheap
When you’re starting a business and creating your own brand, it is important to find a niche that is not saturated with competition. This will help you stand out among the rest of the crowd and make it easier for people to remember who you are. Here are some tips on how to do this:
- Find something you are passionate about. If you love what you do, it will show in everything that comes out of your company!
- Find a niche that isn’t saturated with competition. Trying to be everything can be overwhelming and hard at times. There will always be someone better than yourself doing something similar. Or even doing exactly what you want to do but better.
invest in the right tools will help to kickstart a graphic design business
You’ll need to invest in the right tools to get started. Here are some things you should buy:
- A good computer
- A good monitor (19-inch or bigger)
- A good camera (DSLR or mirrorless)
- A good microphone (lavalier, headset)
- Video camera and accessories
- Design Software
develop your skills
The key to successful graphic design is developing your skills. There are a number of ways you can hone your craft, including taking classes, reading books and watching tutorials online. If you don’t have the funds for formal training, seek out a mentor or ask for feedback from other designers as often as possible. Using a software like Income Genie dramatically shortens the learning curve.
build a portfolio/practice makes perfect
A portfolio is a must-have for any aspiring graphic designer. It’s the one piece of evidence that you can use to convince clients that you’re the right person to design their next project. The best way to build up your portfolio is by actually putting in work and building real projects from scratch with your own hands. Start small with family members and friends, then move on to more demanding projects like business cards or logos for local businesses.
By taking on practice projects, you’ll be able to test out different elements of design—like color palettes or website layouts. See which ones work best for what type of clientele. This also allows you time to build up an impressive portfolio without spending too much money (or time) on it initially. Once you’ve completed these smaller projects successfully, ask if they’d like anything else designed by yours truly!
become an expert in your niche
Once you’ve defined your niche, the next step is to become an expert in that area. This can be a slow and tedious process, but it’s worth it for the long-term payoff of becoming known as someone who knows what they’re talking about.
The best way to become an expert? Start with research. Read up on your subject matter by reading books, magazines, newspapers and more. But don’t just read them! Take notes on what works well together and why certain pieces were successful or unsuccessful at being effective visual communication pieces. If applicable (as it often is), find out who writes these articles or books and follow them on social media so you know when they have new work published.
For example: If I was going into graphic design as a career path after college graduation, my first steps would include learning everything I could about typography (fonts) and color theory before even touching Photoshop or Illustrator because those two things are fundamental building blocks of every design project I’d take on later down the line.
get social media savvy
Social media is a great way to market your business. If you are serious about your career, you will want to create an account on all relevant social media platforms, including Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram. Once you have created accounts for each platform:
- Post regularly – You should post at least once a day. However, if you post more frequently than this it will help boost your content’s reach and visibility.
- Be consistent – It’s important that the content posted is of high quality as well as interesting enough to keep people coming back for more!
- Use hashtags! Hashtags can help boost engagement with potential clients by making it easier for other users to find relevant content through search engines such as Google or Bing. If someone searches “graphic design” then they’ll probably see yours too!
create a website that showcases your work and services when you want to kickstart a graphic design business on the cheap
Now that you have a portfolio of your work, it’s time to create a website that showcases your talent. You could go with a custom-built site from a web designer, but there are plenty of easy-to-use templates out there for all sorts of skill levels. If you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of web design or coding, I recommend using Squarespace or WordPress as they offer drag and drop tools and managed hosting (which means they take care of the technical stuff).
Once your site is up and running, make sure it’s mobile friendly so people can access it on their phones or tablets when searching online. Also make sure it’s easy to navigate so visitors can easily find what they’re looking for without getting frustrated.
look the part/graphic design business card, email address and phone number
You need to look professional. Make sure your business card, email address and phone number are easy to find. You also need a website and social media accounts.
You should be easy to contact and look the part. You need all of these things for potential clients to use when looking for someone with your skillset.
when you want to kickstart a graphic design business on the cheap, start small and focus on your specialty.
You don’t need to worry about being the best at everything. Start small, stay focused on your specialty, and build up from there. Don’t try to be everything at once. Do what you do best and make that the core of your business.
At the end of the day, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to starting a graphic design company. It takes time, patience and a willingness to learn from other people’s mistakes (and successes). You may have to try several different things before you find something that works for you and your business. Ultimately though, it’s worth it because being self-employed means having freedom over where and when you work—plus it helps ensure good paychecks at the end of each month!