How to start a graphic design business: 12 easy steps

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Starting a graphic design business can be an exciting and thrilling adventure, whether you want to work full-time for yourself or just make a little extra cash from an on-the-side design. If you are willing to put in the effort, learning how to start a graphic design business can be pretty fast.

Today, with the free guide below, we will be showing you some steps on how to start a graphic design business. So if you are ready to learn how to start a graphic design business that allows you to do tasks that you love while bringing in a good paycheck, let’s get started!


1.  Consider your Level of Motivation

When it comes to creating your own profitable business, motivation and engagement are essential. So ask yourself: are you highly motivated? Are you committed fully?

If the answer is yes, you have one of the hardest parts finished and dusted already. Many individuals fail to make their business successful because they lack dedication and do not put all their resources and commitment into it.

But if you are dreaming about starting your own graphic design business simply because you have just landed some new customers, think again. That should not be the only justification for dedicating your time and money to a start-up business because it is difficult to start a business. You may fail. And when the going gets rough, you may be tempted to throw in the towel without proper motivation.

There will be times when things will be hard. Clients are switching to your rivals. There will be occasions when you are struggling to find jobs. You are not going to be making huge bucks immediately.

But it will be your encouragement and willingness to excel that will keep you going. And if you are not driven enough, it is not going to take you longer than a few months to fall into doubt. This is all you need to move forward, though, if you are highly self-motivated. If you have a passion for graphic design, this will take your business a long way.

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2.  Understand your Skills

One of the steps involved in how to start a graphic design business is understanding your skills. Graphic design is a very wide industry. There are several paths to be explored. So you need to consider your own skill level if you would like to start your own graphic design business.

You will also need to find out just what your prospective clients want from a graphic designer. There is a possibility that all the resources that are in demand are not yet known to you. Clients typically have the following criteria, according to some of the leading graphic design businesses:

  1. Logo designing
  2. Brand strategy
  3. Brochure designing
  4. Web designing
  5. Typography
  6. Social media designing
  7. Animation
  8. Infographics
  9. Poster designing

The overall demand for graphic design is worth over $15 billion in the United States alone, according to a recent study. On its own, logo design and branding take up about $3 billion of that demand.

So, apart from your passion, you also need to consider the current size and trends of the market. Assess your abilities and determine how, by using and developing those skills, you can improve your profitability.

3.  Develop your Skills in Different Areas 

Are you a logo and web design professional, but you have very little understanding of infographics? Ok, it would be best if you started spending some time researching the market in that case.

There is a dramatic rise in the market for infographics these days. Companies of graphic design are receiving far more infographic orders than they have ever done before. So it would help if you widened your outlook by improving your skills for these various services. The goal of the game is to become a “one-stop solution” for all the things that your customers might ask for, but in a certain field, such as branding, they also have a specialization.

4.  Develop your Mission and Vision

You already know what kind of support you are going to give your customers. You have a strong understanding of the demand for graphic design.  But you can’t just start anywhere. Graphic design is an extremely competitive industry. First of all, you will need to focus on your business mission, vision, and long-term goals.

It will be much easier for you to build your business plan once you have determined your primary goal. Start to think about what you want to accomplish and how you can make it happen. Within the first two years, are you planning to secure at least 10 clients? Then you will need to decide how many individuals you need to reach out to.

Your marketing plan is going to be determined by your goals. In the event that your first attempt does not achieve the desired results, you will need to build not only Plan A, but Plan B, C, and even D. In order to measure your success, it is important to have short and long-term objectives. You should periodically verify your progress and calculate how far you are from where you want to be.

5.  Identify Potential Clients

One of the most significant steps in starting your graphic design company is deciding your target market. You will need to consider hundreds of different categories or segments. Are you planning to provide large and medium multinational corporations or small local businesses with your service?

Or is your clientele going to be young women who are trying to develop their fashion design business?

Second, assess your target market. Then decide whether your current abilities are going to be adequate to fulfill their needs. You can now develop your marketing strategy and business model that best fits your target market.

6.  Run a Competitive Analysis

One thing is certain, and it is not going to be a walk in the park when you begin your own graphic design company. With plenty of genuine competition, graphic design is a cut-throat business. So, you should research the market thoroughly before you start your own graphic design business. Take a peek at how other businesses operate their business in the market.

Pay very close attention to what makes the businesses that are most popular stand out among the rest. This will encourage you to know what you are going to be up against. There are two advantages to exploring the competition—one, so that you can work out how to deliver better services than your rivals. And two, so that you can learn from their mistakes and their stories of success.

There is nothing wrong with implementing good practices that are effective for those in the industry. You should, however, be creative and think beyond the box in order to guarantee your sustainability. Take a close look at what others do and strive to deliver something distinctive. You will be one step ahead of your competitors this way.

7.  Work on Pricing

Be sure to do some market research to find out what the current rate is, as you are well on your way to launching your very own graphic design business. One of the steps involved in how to start a graphic design business includes working on your pricing. Collect comprehensive information on how other businesses in the sector are selling various services.

Then, for your services, follow the best pricing structure. In order to build up your customer base and get your name out there, you may need to come in slightly lower at first. As a start-up, you will need a good strategy for attracting customers.

Try to offer the best deal for them, but make sure you do not get too cheap. You have to show that you are giving them the best deal and something that will bring value to your customers. Always note, for a premium service, many clients would be ready to pay top dollars. So divide the level of service into groups and give consumers what they are willing to pay for.

8.  Keep an Eye on the Legal Aspects

Try to ensure you have a talk with a lawyer when you are starting your graphic design business. Learn all the legal provisions associated with the establishment of a start-up business, such as insurance, business registration, etc. Talk about licenses, legal policies as well as tax provisions in your line of business. There will also be copyright and trademark disputes that you will need to speak to your lawyer about.

It would be best if you were working on your refund policies and privacy, how to manage disputes and other legal issues, depending on the scale of your business. It would be possible for your lawyer to give you a clear overview of all the legal considerations involved.

9.  Look Out for the Right Professionals to Expand your Business

You probably wouldn’t be able to do it all by yourself if you want to develop your business. You will need a helping hand at some point. You can handle 5 or even 10 customers at a time instead of dealing with two or four customers at a time, so keep an open mind about recruiting any experts.

To provide your target market with the best experience, you will need to form your own team of specialists. You will also need more personnel if you are expanding your level of operation. For instance, you might do well with web design and logo, but you have noticed that there is a huge demand for animations.

In expanding your own skills in that field, consider recruiting someone who has the experience to work on animation-related projects.

You might just have to invest in order to nurture your team, but this will contribute to your net profit in the long run. So it would help if you had a strong understanding of the expertise you need to develop your business.

10.  Get a Proper Workspace

The kind of workspace you have for your business depends on your client base and finances. Many famous graphic designers began in their own house. If you are not prepared to spend too much on office space first, you can follow that route. Make sure, however, that your workstation is suitable for doing all the necessary tasks.

It would be best if you were shielded from all interruptions and disturbances. Then, you may want to consider moving to a larger office room to accommodate your employees as your business expands. To maintain professionalism and to increase productivity, it is vital to have the right workspace. Getting a great space would make a good impact on your customers as well.

11.  Get the Right Gear

lucrative subjects

To provide the best service to your customers, you will need a highly optimized operating system, advanced applications, and top-of-the-range software. Although some of the basic graphic design software is available for free, there will be a one-off price or subscription fee for other advanced applications.

Do some thorough research on the equipment you will need to do the job, depending on the type of services you are going to provide. To build your framework, invest generously so that you can give your customers a professional service. In the long run, we can reassure you that this will guarantee a successful return on your investment.

12.  Have an Official Website

Launching an official website is one of the most significant moves in launching your own graphic design business. For your business, this will serve two main purposes. First of all, it will be your contact point so that you can be identified online by your customers. To enquire about quotes and to position their orders, your customers will contact you via your website.

And secondly, with all the work you have done to date, the website will be an online portfolio. Use this channel to highlight the best works and most valuable customers, as this will create confidence in the industry and your credibility. This will allow your prospective clients to have a good understanding of your abilities. So, take some time for your organization to build a well-designed website.

To advertise your website online, employ a reputed SEO company. Make sure your website appears among the top 10 search engine results as people search for a skilled graphic designer online. From all these explanations, we can see how having an official website is important in starting a graphic design business.

13.  Design your Marketing Plan

The heart of every organization is marketing. No matter how successful you are at what you do, if you are unable to meet people who want to make use of those skills, your skills will be useless. But make sure you have a good marketing strategy and carefully implement it. Here you can go for traditional as well as non-conventional marketing methods.

In order to get your name there, you should invest in billboards and brochures. In order to grow awareness among your target group, social media marketing should also be used. Your marketing strategy will rely on the kind of clients that you are prepared to represent.


Always note, preparation and execution for any business venture is the secret to success. You will need to put 100 percent effort into your job at the same time. To survive in the industry, having a good view of the competition and future competitors is important. You will need to concentrate on particular target audiences, too.

Have a very strong online presence through digital marketing, and advertise your official website. To expand your company, be willing to hire professionals. Throughout the mission, be calm, persistent, and patient. Over time, you can eventually see your company begin to expand and have an impact on the market. It is your attitude and outlook that will make a huge difference at the end of the day. Throughout your path, remain optimistic, and you will certainly see success knocking on your door.

Source (s)

How to Start Your Own Graphic Design Business – justcreative

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