Understanding how to start a graphic design business will set you up for success in this competitive and exciting industry. After understanding the basics of starting a graphic design company, such as identifying your purpose and actually setting up a business, you can take steps to make your dream a reality.

How Do I Start My Own Graphic Design Company?

Graphics designers work with a range of print and electronic media, utilizing their communication skills, artistic abilities, and computer design proficiency to bring their concepts to life. Many companies have in-house graphic designers, but you can start a small graphic design agency and apply your skills and desire for independence to make a living.

Starting a graphic design company is just like starting any other enterprise. Though skill and knowledge are important, you also need the knowledge and capital to get your business off the ground. Supplement your expertise in graphic design with research into how to start a business and keep it running. With the right mix of skill and perseverance, you can thrive in your own studio without settling for an office job.

To succeed in this venture, keep a few tips in mind:

  • Take as much time as needed to understand the marketplace from the perspective of a business owner.
  • Don't focus on profits alone. You're in the business of applying your skills to create a practical final product for other companies and individuals. Let your expertise and passion shine through, and you can succeed in this industry.
  • Work with a certified public accountant to start your business. Look for someone familiar with small service enterprises who can recommend the structure you need to get things started.
  • Consider leasing an office space. Look for a convenient, quiet location near main highways. Your space should also be pre-wired for high-speed internet. Seek zoning approval if you would rather set up a home office.
  • Know your competitors. Identify any businesses in your area that provide graphic design services. Consider what services they provide, how you could improve on those operations, and what makes your skill set or business philosophy uniquely appealing to customers.
  • Purchase the right software and equipment. You'll need graphic design software and hardware, such as a high-quality color printer, as well as standard office equipment, such as scanners and fax machines, to get started.

Identifying Business Intent and Purpose

A graphic designer produces digital, web, and print designs. Though an individual's interests and skills will influence how they market their own business and what projects they take on, you may also consider your strength in a particular segment of the industry, such as graphic design for websites or for print media.

For example, many modern graphic designers are finding success in the mobile application space. Apps for smartphones, tablets, computers, and smart TVs are more popular than ever before, and the dozens of app startups that are founded every year need good graphic designs.

Setting Up an Actual Business

In general, graphic designers have three options: working in-house for a company to provide regular design services, freelancing as an independent contractor on a project-by-project basis, and starting your own agency.

If you decide to start your own business, look at the information available through resources like the United States Chamber of Commerce and the Small Business Administration. These organizations can help you check that you comply with city ordinances, and you can apply for funding and grants online to start your business.

Marketing and Promoting the Business

Regardless of your skill and passion, you won't succeed if no one knows about your services. To demonstrate your abilities and expertise, put together a portfolio for your company.

Most graphic designers begin working on a portfolio while in school. As you start your career and finish professional projects, it's important that you keep adding to your published collection. If you've completed professional projects in the past and are now starting a business, rely on those contacts to form new connections and find new projects.

Graphic design is a lucrative career. The median pay for graphic designers as of May 2016 is $47,640, and the future has lots in store for these professionals. Especially if you start your own agency, you can look forward to high projected career growth and a steady flow of work as you build your presence in the industry.

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