Being self-employed has many advantages as your work can be a lot more flexible and you can make many decisions by yourself. Setting up your own design business means calling all the shots on all aspects of your work, from how many clients you want to work with to how you market your services. Whether you are setting up your own digital design agency or you are selling your artwork online through Etsy, there are many important factors that you will need to consider before you take the leap into starting your own business.

Highlighted in this new ‘What Are The Chances?’ quiz, did you know that there is a 25% chance of your start-up business failing within the first year? Many businesses tend to fail each year due to the steep learning curve of managing your own business for the first time. Some of the most common reasons that start-up businesses fail within their first year is because of poor record keeping, lack of planning, and lack of management experience. If you are considering starting your own design business this year, then here are some useful tips that can help you start off.

1. Consider your business plan & what resources you need

A good business plan should contain all the essentials that determine the fate of your business in the next few months or years. It should be done carefully, and you should think about everything you will need to run a successful design business. Think about where you would like the business to be in a year, five years, or ten years. What do you want to achieve? What targets do you want to hit? Ask yourself if you have the right resources to place your business in front of the right target audience. This could be things such as having a functioning website and dedicated social media accounts. If you need to send artwork or designs regularly by post, do you have all the postage supplies that you will need? If you don’t, this is the time to get things ready to prepare for your business launch.

2. Regularly promote your work on social media

Your design business needs to be marketed strategically and consistently in order for your target audience to discover your business and become potential customers. Social media is an effective tool to use as millions of users around the world are active daily on popular platforms. Through a proper social media marketing plan, you will be able to inform potential clients about the existence of your company, promote your products, and interact with your audience online. Consider which social media accounts will be the most beneficial for your design business. If you sell artwork, prints, photography services etc, Instagram can be a great channel to use as it is heavily visual-based and is great for uploading high-quality pictures. However, if you perhaps offer a website design service, then maybe having a LinkedIn account will work better for your business to reach your desired target audience.

3. Perfect your online design portfolio

If you are an avid designer, there is a good chance you have worked on some projects before. To ensure that your future customers know what services and products you offer, it is important that you showcase your skills, experience, level of education, training, and so forth. Having an online portfolio can help you to present past work to your audience and demonstrate what you can offer them if they work with you. If you are an artist, digital designer, or architect, then make sure that you have high-quality photographs of your work available as examples. There are many ways to ensure you have high quality photos on your website such as learning how to use a DSLR camera, using appropriate lighting, and learning proper composition for your photos.

4. Thoroughly consider your price rates for your work & services

Note that you are not the only one with a design business on the internet. Therefore, another important factor to consider in your business plan is your competition. It’s therefore worth analysing what your competitors are doing and how you can improve on your own strategy and services. Luckily, you can come up with competitive prices, packages, bundles, or discounts, that your customers will value. However, you need to be careful since very low prices might limit the chances of generating enough revenue from your design business. It’s also worth taking the time to also consider how many hours of work you might put in, what resources you might need to purchase, and postage and packaging prices, as you will need to take the prices into account in order for you to make a profit.

5. Use content marketing to your advantage

Another great way for you to start your own business is by utilising your website to its full potential and making the most out of content marketing. You can do this by creating highly engaging, relevant content and posting them on your website. If you create valuable content and target relevant keywords, you will be able to get your website to rank higher on Search Engine Results Pages. Writing blog articles on company updates, new products, or how-to guides for your design business can help you create content that your audience would engage with. If you’re wanting to learn about useful ways to write blog content to attract more audience, then you can create a content strategy that includes compelling headlines, pictures, and SEO optimisation, that can help to boost your visibility online and improve your brand awareness. If you are starting your own design business, then the tips we have shared above might be of help. Through consistency and hard work, your business will sure to expand in no time. You can always talk to business strategists or even connect with other designers and entrepreneurs online for helpful advice and assistance on how to become successful with your new design business.

About the Author

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Mirko Humbert

Mirko Humbert is the editor-in-chief and main author of Designer Daily and Typography Daily. He is also a graphic designer and the founder of WP Expert.