Many designers are eager to learn how to start a design service, but they often get bogged down with all the details of business. This can lead them to give up before they ever make any traction in their design business.
Designing service is a fun and rewarding work. However, in learning how to start a design service you need to get the business details right from the beginning before they ever tank your plans.
In starting any design service there are several things that must be done. Here are some tips on how to get started without getting overwhelmed by too many tasks!
1. Find Your Clients
The first step in learning how to start a design business is to find clients. And the best way I've found is by word-of-mouth referrals from other people and businesses you know.
Clients are the lifeblood of any design business. No clients means no revenue, which in turn means you will fail to make money as a designer.
While this may be obvious, it's important enough that I had to include that you have to focus on finding qualified leads and nurturing their relationship before trying to sell them anything over the phone or online.
2. Online Portfolio & Business Website
If you're going to be working with clients, then it's important that you have a website and an online portfolio so they can easily view your work history and past projects!
While having a beautiful site isn't required for finding design clients, it will make it easier for your audience to learn more about you and what you offer.
3. Set Your Pricing
Pricing your service is one of the most difficult things to learn how to do as a new designer. However, far too many designers don't even bother! They just give their services away for free because they have no idea what's expected in the market.
But learning how to start a design service isn't only about making your first dollar with each client. It's also about learning how to price your service so that you can get more clients who pay for what is fair and expected in the market.
Therefore, it's important that when you're just starting out with design services that you find a good balance between charging enough to make money while also not scaring away potential clients too much!
4. Business Name
If you want to learn how to start a design business that will be profitable long-term, then it's important to know about trademarks and trade names.
These steps aren't required right away but if you do them early on, you'll save yourself a headache later.
Registering your business and trade name with the state will help protect your intellectual property, but it's also important to register for an EIN even if you're not ready for taxes yet!
5. Business License & Permits
This is one of the most common mistakes I see when designers are learning how to start a design service they don't realize that every city or state will have different requirements for you to legally operate your own business! So make sure you do your research and read up on what's required in your area.
6. Packaging & Shipping Your Services
In my experience, most designers don't need to purchase packaging or shipping supplies right away because they're delivering their work digitally at first but I still wanted to include this tip for those of you who are designing physical products!
It will be useful in the future when you're ready to start selling and shipping your products. If you are not delivering these services digitally, you'll need to factor in the cost of packaging and shipping supplies.
7. Sales & Marketing
If you want to use Salesforce and other marketing tools, then this is a great time to get started with that process early on in the business.
I recommend setting up your free Salesforce account to start tracking all of your services and clients. You can also use it for lead generation, pricing tools, and more!
When you're first starting your design business, it's a great idea to pay for a few clients and projects so that you can build up some momentum. Setting aside money from each client will help jump start this process!
8. Business Budget & Accounting Software
There are several free tools out there like Wave, FreshBooks, Quickbooks Online, and more. But if you're willing to invest in an accounting software, then I recommend getting started with Quickbooks.
I highly recommend that your business invests into a web hosting account these days because it's so much easier than managing the services yourself and Google will rank your website higher for organic search results!
Most freelancers will start their design business by working with a friend or family member and this is totally normal!
But make sure you set up your new LLC correctly from day one because it's important that all of your partners and employees know what they're getting into when they work with you.
Designers can easily get overwhelmed when they first start learning how to start their own design service because there are so many steps along the way.
It's important to make sure that your business has the right structure in place before launching a design service because this is what will protect you from any lawsuits or issues down the road!
How to Make it successful?
In order to have a successful design service, you'll need to invest in the right resources from day one! It's not just only about establishing your business correctly but it's also about investing into each client and project that moves through your company.
These are some of the most important things I consider when designing my own brand and building out my design service business.
- High Quality Deliverance
Your Designs are the face of your business. You can have the best sales copy in the world, but if you don't make a design that pops - then you're going to lose out on sales!
Before I launch any new product or service, I always think about how it would reflect my brand and company as a whole.
This is why spending time focusing on your brand and company is so important because it's the foundation you're building your design business upon.
- Better Communication
It's important to communicate with your clients and team members as much as possible. Your business will become a reflection of how you treat those around you, so make sure that this is always in line before moving forward!
Make sure this is always something you're mindful about while moving forward because it will impact how successful you are as a company!
- Customer Loyalty
It's so important to focus on customer loyalty when you're first starting out because it'll help build a stronger foundation for your business.
In my experience, most freelancers will start their design service with a friend or family member and this is totally normal! But make sure that everyone in your company knows what they're getting into before they work with you!
- Meet the Deadlines
This is so important because you don't want to lose out on valuable opportunities. When I'm working with a new client, I like to make sure that they know how long it takes me to develop their course or design service before we officially work together.
It's OK if you're not perfect at this in the beginning that's why you should perfect your process over time! But make sure you're always in a position to meet deadlines and deliverables.
- Consistency is Key
When people think about starting a design service, they usually focus on all of the technical things that are involved rather than focusing on what actually matters to clients.
This is why it's so important to make sure your business has consistency! From colors and fonts down to the way you answer emails - everything should reflect your brand as much as possible.
- Customer Management
Customer management is one of the most important parts of starting a design business. If you're looking for a way to manage your clients, then I recommend using some softwares even if it's only as an email list!
Managing and satisfy your clients can be extremely stressful if you're not careful about how your design business is run. That's why it's so important to make sure that all of the workflows are in place from day one!
- Constant Learning Process
These are some of the most important things to consider when you're learning how to start a design business but don't forget this is an ongoing process!
You'll never stop learning new skills, experimenting with different strategies, and improving your craft so keep that in mind as you grow your own design service.
I hope these tips help jump start your design service business because it can be very overwhelming at first.
But if you invest into each client and project as I mentioned above, then you'll notice that it becomes much easier to run a design business in the future.
Starting a service and thriving in the design is really rewarding but it's not easy. You need to be willing to put in the work and time necessary for your business. Make sure you're always focused on what matters most!
With persistence and perseverance, you'll be able to grow your design service business into the success that you want it to become.