A successful design business can develop or maintain a visual style for signage, letterheads, advertisements, sales collateral material, websites, digital content, and other internal or external communication. Logo design, typefaces and typesetting, color and picture selection, and layout are all examples of this.
To develop a new graphic design business or assist with existing projects, a graphics design studio owner may work alone or with multiple people.
Towards the end of this article, you’ll find answers to some of the most frequently asked questions on how to start a graphic design business…
But most importantly, you’ll see the exact system many others have used to build their own internet marketing business to over $40,000 a month in mostly passive income.
Follow These 10 Steps to Launch Your Own Graphic Design Business:
Follow the steps detailed below to ensure that your business is appropriately organized, registered, and legally compliant—a must-read for everyone who wants to start a successful graphic design company.
Step 1: Plan Your Business.
Graphic design entrepreneurs who are successful have a well-thought-out business plan. Use this tool to help you define your own business goals and identify difficulties. Before starting a graphic design firm, there are a few things you should know:
What Are the Startup Costs Of A Graphic Design Business?
Many successful design businesses are started by freelance graphic designers who did not employ any other staff members at their inception. The main business expenses for you will be the purchase of a computer and the design software needed to accomplish the project. You could include Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, and other Adobe design tools in these packages.
Depending on the bundle, you can get Adobe in the cloud for $40/$50 per month. There are additional expenses if you need a website or advertising materials, such as brochures, business cards, etc.
If you have less than $2,000, you may start a business from scratch. Remember that you’ll need enough money to get by until you start bringing in a regular paycheck.
What Are The Ongoing Expenses For A Graphic Design Business?
As a freelance graphic designer, you’ll most likely start out working from home. You may incur ongoing expenses due to the studio’s and employees’ rent, such as taxes and health benefits.
Your monthly graphic design software membership fee could be less than $100. You will also be required to pay freelance designers, photographers, and illustrators.
These charges are added to your bill. On the other hand, vendors may want payment before you spend on your first graphic design clients. Paying a percentage of your project money in advance is a fantastic idea.
Who Is The Target Market?
While some design studios rely on advertising agencies for most of their business, others promote directly to customers.
Many studios cater to both categories of customers. Some studios may target non-profit and business-to-business clients.
Some design studios may specialize in a single field, such as the logo or packaging design.
How Does A Graphic Design Business Make Money?
Depending on the hourly rate, the proprietor of a graphic design firm may charge their clients an hourly cost or a flat price. Ongoing projects may entail a monthly retainer fee. But first, you must find graphic design clients for your new business.
How Much Can You Charge Your Customers?
Set an hourly rate first. You’ll keep track of client relationships and charge an hourly rate for some of them. Clients will feel more confident knowing You will disclose the cost upfront, and you will be able to avoid any disagreements when you invoice. Instead, you might charge a flat rate for each project based on the length of time it will take.
The majority of studio owners and graphic designers charge $75 to $100 per hour. If you have a large number of hours to bill, you won’t be able to reduce your hourly cost by $75. You might be able to acquire a higher rate if the market lets it.
How Much Profit Can A Graphic Design Business Make?
Graphic design studios should have a profit margin of at least 15%, with a recommended rate of at least 50%, according to experts. This is the rate you charge clients, less out-of-pocket charges for doing the project, such as the hourly rate of your staff or the cost of hiring freelancers.
How Can You Make Your Business More Profitable?
Design firm proprietors are known to branch out into other creative endeavors on the side. Jewelry design, art, jewelry, t-shirts, and book jacket design are examples of this. Expansion into other fields, such as web design or photography, is possible. With a copywriter’s help, you can set up your own advertising company.
What Will You Name Your Business?
The name of a company is critical and challenging to choose.
Creating a business under a different name is feasible if you have a sole proprietorship.
The following resources can assist you in deciding on the best business name for you:
- Business records for your state
- Social media platforms
- Federal and state trademark records
- Web domain availability
Protect your domain name before someone else does.
Step 2: Form A Legal Entity.
The most prevalent types of business entities are sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs, and corporations.
An LLC or corporation can shield you from personal liability if your graphic design business targets legal action.
It is likely to form an LLC on your own and merely pay the state filing fees, or you can use the services of an LLC Service provider. There’s a chance you’ll have to pay more.
Step 3: Register For Taxes.
As new business owners, you will need to register with several federal and state tax agencies. An EIN is required to file taxes.
Small Business Taxes
Depending on the type of business you establish, there is a wide range of taxing alternatives accessible. LLCs can be taxed as S corporations, for example.
To help small business owners better understand taxes, we’ve compiled the following resources:
- LLC Taxes
- LLC vs. Corporation
- Sole Proprietorship vs. LLC
- S Corp vs. LLC
- How to Start an S Corp
Step 4: Open A Business Bank Account & Credit Cards.
By opening a separate credit and bank account for your business, you can safeguard your assets.
If you combine your personal and corporate finances, your house, car, and other possessions are at risk. This is directed to as “piercing the corporate veil” in the legal world of business.
You can also receive credit cards by understanding how to establish your company’s credit. You can get better interest rates, more extensive credit lines, and a variety of other options for financing your business by putting the money in the name of your company rather than your own.
Step 5: Set Up Business Accounting.
To get a clear view of your company’s financial health, you must keep track of all of your expenses and income streams. Tax filings will be a breeze if you keep precise and thorough records.
Step 6: Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses.
If you don’t have the required permits and licenses, your firm may be shut down or fined severely.
State & Local Business Licensing Requirements
You may need state-issued permissions and licenses to run a graphic design firm lawfully. You can check out the SBA’s guide to state licenses, permits, and information here.
Depending on the jurisdiction, additional licensing or regulatory requirements may be necessary. You can find permits and licenses issued in your area here.
- Consult the office of the county or city clerk in your area.
- A directory of resources for small businesses maintained by the US Small Business Association will help you locate support in your area.
Service contracts are standard in many industries. The terms, conditions, and fees of a service agreement are spelled forth in the agreement itself.
Before a client may begin a new project with a graphic design firm, they must sign a service agreement. Customers’ expectations are defined, and the agreements minimize their legal risks.
Also included are details on how and when You will make payments, the quality of the service to be provided, and who owns the intellectual property (who will ultimately own the design).
The AIGA Standard Form of Agreement Design Services is an example of this type of service agreement.
Certificate Of Occupancy
A Certificate of Occupancy is often required for enterprises outside of a physical site (CO). A CO checks to ensure that all construction regulations and zoning rules are being followed.
To rent a place:
- The owner is typically responsible for obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).
- Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy (CO) from your landlord is essential before signing a lease.
- It is necessary to obtain another CO if the improvements are extensive. As indicated in your lease agreement, you must first obtain a legal Certificate of Occupancy (CO).
If you are looking to buy or remodel a property:
- Get an official certificate of occupancy from your local government.
- There are numerous building laws and regulations that graphic design businesses must be aware of in their location.
Step 7: Get Business Insurance.
To conduct business legally and safely, you’ll need insurance. In the event of a covered incident, the financial safety of your firm is ensured.
A wide range of insurance policies can cover many enterprises and dangers. General liability insurance can assist you in assessing your company’s exposure to potential liabilities. This is the type of insurance that most small businesses require. It’s a fantastic place to begin.
Workers’ Compensation Insurance is another essential insurance product for businesses. Workers’ compensation insurance is mandated by law in most states.
Step 8: Define Your Brand.
Your company’s brand is its identity. The public’s perception of your company significantly impacts your brand image. You may differentiate yourself from your competitors by building a powerful brand.
How To Promote & Market Graphic Design Businesses
Self-promotion is most effective when you emphasize the caliber of your work. Signage, your website, and even the layout of your recording studio can say a lot about you.
Many aspiring graphic designers begin their careers in advertising before deciding to go it alone and build their studios. Keep electronic copies of your best work to advertise your company if this is your path. When trying to land a new client, you need a website that reflects your personality and serves as your portfolio.
You can work with some advertising and branding firms to secure work that you wouldn’t be able to secure on your own.
These clients may not be able to collaborate with you until your creative reputation improves. An experienced senior graphic designer can open doors to new opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have access to.
Finally, cultivate strong working ties with your clients and watch their professional progress.
A promotion could open you new opportunities while retaining good contacts with your previous company.
Step 9: Create Your Graphic Design Business Website.
As soon as you’ve established your company’s brand and created a logo, you’ll need to build a basic website.
Even though it is a critical first step, building a website scares some people. This was a legitimate issue in 2015, but it has declined significantly in recent years.
Build your website immediately for the following reasons:
- Having a website is a need for any reputable business. Online, it doesn’t matter what type of business you’re in or what industry you work in.
- In no way should you use your social media accounts to take the place of your business website.
- Website builders like GoDaddy’s Website Builder allow you to quickly and easily design your own website.
Step 10: Set Up Your Business Phone System.
Having a separate phone line for work and personal calls helps keep the two worlds separate.
In addition to making your business more efficient, it also increases its credibility and makes it simpler to discover and connect new consumers.
There are some options available to entrepreneurs when it comes to setting up a virtual call center for their businesses.
Is This Business Right For You?
Graphic design studio ownership is an excellent alternative for those who are artistically inclined and have a knack for managing client aesthetics and executing design projects on their own or with the help of a crew or vendor.
To effectively cooperate with clients, you must be able to work both independently and as part of a team. It’s important to be confident in both your business acumen and your artistic expression because your job involves both.
What Is My Top Recommendation For Making Money Online In 2022?
Our review team has come across a program in the real estate industry that is next level!
Although it’s not real estate in the traditional sense, it’s all digital.
With this digital real estate program, you can have the ability to completely walk away from manual labor!
Sound too good to be true?
Of course it does!
But it isn’t…in fact, business owners wish they had this skill!
All you have to do is build and rank a website and forward the jobs off to a business owner in town, you could even email it to them!
This works for literally any service based business, tree service, plumbing, towing, etc.
How Do You Get Paid And How Much?
Simple, after you forward the jobs off to a business owner and he makes some money off of them, you simply ask to make the deal beneficial for each other.
A fair price to charge per lead, depending on the industry is 10-20%…let’s just use the tree service industry for example and go by worst case scenario.
Let’s say you build and rank the site and only 20 jobs a month come in. The average tree service job is anywhere from $500-$2000!
That means at bare minimum you have an asset worth $1000 a month!
See why they call it digital real estate now?
That’s a rent payment.
The great thing is how easy it is to scale. You don’t have to answer the phone…all you have to do is get the phone to ring.
Unlike the passive income ideas I mentioned earlier…
This one actually allows you to collect that without working in a brick and mortar business all day.
Truly passive income!
The training program takes making money online to a whole other level. The owner of the program walks you through how to build and rank a site hand in hand, with the occasional voice over when he is sharing his screen.
You will learn the importance of keywords, website name, how to send call notifications via email, backlinking, etc.
Once the training program is completed you will also have access to a Facebook group where you can ask questions and be in a community with others on the same journey as you.
Digital real estate allows you to have passive income with most of your day being spent OUT of the brick and mortar landscape.
Now, I know you probably have tons of questions… So, check this out to learn more.