You’ve been working for a midsized advertising company as head of the graphic design team. Your portfolio includes projects with a variety of clients, such as retail stores, bakeshops, commercial lawn services, accounting firms, and suppliers of medical equipment.
It’s been a satisfying career so far. But you feel like you want some change, and the need to spread your wings far beyond what your current work environment allows you to. You’re looking at the possibility of setting up your graphic design shop. Some members of your team have talked to you about it, and they are willing to bolt out and join you should you decide to push through with it.
The desire is huge, but you’re also cautious. What will it take to run your graphic design shop? Here are some things that you need to consider:
An Overview of the Industry
Communicating information has never gone more visual than in the past two decades or so. As of June 2019, the recorded total revenue of the graphic design industry is $15 billion, with businesses numbering nearly 17,000 across America. The global figure is even more staggering, with 400,555 firms generating revenues worth $46 billion (2018).
If you put up your shop, you’ll be riding a growth wave of 3.5%. That’s a pretty good indicator.
How to Start Your Shop
It starts with a substantial commitment and a clear vision of what you want to do and why you want to do it. There are roads to follow, but pitfalls to avoid as well. Consider the following ideas carefully before diving head-on:
- Skills check. There are many reasons why organizations turn to graphic design experts. It could be for the creation of a new logo to boost branding strategy. It could be to create materials for websites and social media presence. You might need to focus on a specific area first as you try to reel in your initial clients. You can slowly build up as you grow your team and level of expertise.
- Know your audience. If you come from another company providing similar services, then you might have some advantage. Ask for referrals from former colleagues or previous clients. It’s crucial how you will define your graphics based on your expertise. If your primary expertise lies on websites and social media campaigns, then you might carve a niche with small enterprises and start-ups much like yourself as your principal demographic. Note, however, that each cut of the market will have different budget levels. More prominent organizations tend to launch bigger projects, thus more significant income for you.
- Know the market. Know the competition. If you’re pricing is not competitive, you can expect failure to come sooner rather than later. Understand how others in the industry are working. Don’t be greedy and overbook your ledger with more projects, than you can handle properly. It’s good to turn projects down instead of sacrificing your reputation because you can’t deliver on your promise.
- Compile your portfolio and spread the word. Potential clients do their due diligence. They like looking at track records, customer testimonials, and star-ratings. Once you’ve worked with a few clients, make these visible on your digital platforms like on your website and social media.
One crucial thing you will always need to do is to never work without a contract. This is just better and safer for either party. Remember, understanding why you want to put up your shop will help propel you forward with this project.