How to start a graphic design business? - Part 1

Starting your own graphic design business can be a daunting task. Where to begin?? What services do you want to offer? What tools do I use? How do I find new business and what do I charge? Setting the foundations of your new graphic design business up correctly will make sure you have the ability to grow quickly and efficiently.

Rocketspark’s early foundations were a graphic design business and website builder grew up out of our experience of creating websites for our design clients. You can see on the first version of our business cards we offered all sorts of design services to anyone with a cheque book but you can see now we’ve been able to become much more focussed.

As many of our new website design partners are just at the start of venturing out into their own business we thought it would be helpful to share a little of what we’ve learnt about starting a graphic design business.

What Services can I offer?

Deciding what you want to do can be really difficult and sometimes lots of things can pull you in different directions. Initially, you’ll often take on everything and anything to get new potential clients and also to help pay the bills; it’s a reality of starting in business, but as you get a client base, you can be more specific about the type of businesses you want to work with and also the type of work you want to do.

You may choose to do:

  • Branding/Logos
  • Business Cards
  • Newsletters
  • Illustration
  • Websites (we know a good system you could use!!)
  • Apps (design rather than development)
  • Wedding Stationery
  • And anything else that needs to be printed or displayed.

To be able to offer all these services, you will need to find some great partners to work with who can do a host of things. You may want to find the best:

  • Printers
  • Copywriters
  • Search Engine Optimisation specialists
  • Photographers
  • Videographers
  • Social media experts
  • App developers

We’ve found that you typically get what you pay for when it comes to these service partners. Finding someone that is expert in their area and charges a fair price is a great asset to your business. In our early days we would take on a variety of projects including video animation. While we’re confident in our ability to learn most things we couldn’t charge clients for our learning curve so it was better for our clients and more profitable for us if we worked with expert partners to plug our experience gaps.

Read Part 2 of this 3 part series about what software tools to use in your design business.