How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

Numerous people are curious about starting a graphic design business these days. Perhaps you might be one of them. The new decade has widened up the scope of the graphic design industry. Thus, we will have more opportunities to explore than before. All the credit goes to the web developers and engineers who are constantly working hard to bring new trends in the graphic industry. 

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

However, this doesn’t mean that an old approach is obsolete in the graphic industry. The old approach will definitely work but you may need something extra to enjoy a profitable business. 

Though a decade has passed, the graphical design still remains an integral part of branding, communication, and messaging. Only the internet has given a new marketplace to graphic designers. Thus, you have more options to start your own graphic business in the form of a sole entrepreneur or freelancer. Moreover, you can start your own agency or a remote set up of your calling card. A graphic business involves so many variables that you need to pay equal attention to each of them. So, let’s discuss these variables from the perspective of graphic entrepreneurs. 

Golden Advice of Established Entrepreneurs in the Graphic Industry:

Here is what the leaders think of the graphic industry. 

1. Be Prepared for the End

Entrepreneurs think that one must be prepared for the end result after starting their business. Proper planning must be done to reach your business objective without much trouble. The Creative Director for Boldface Design Group, Inc learned the hurdles that came into the way of running his business. 

First, be clear whether you want to start a small, part-time freelance business or an agency to sell graphic designs. Will you have partners or investors for your business? These scenarios are adopted by companies which are structured, managed, and exited with multiple strategies. 

According to Carolyn, some things come to the end in an unexpected way. So, if you have a previous well-structured plan, then you can easily navigate and exit these things. She has drawn all these interferences by starting her firm early in her career. 

In case you know where to end up, then you can define your vision to your team. Hence, your team will easily move towards the end goal. So, use this knowledge to build the base of your business plan and corporate brand. 

2. Maintain the Balance

Balance plays an important role in the graphic design business as it does in your personal lives. Maura McMahon, a graphic design entrepreneur stated how balance relates to your graphic design work. Hence you must remember that email, text, or messaging can’t substitute real life. People prefer to have 93% of non-verbal communication. Thus, a balance must be restored between the human element and technology. 

Furthermore, email and text might not be the most efficient mode of communication. As a graphic designer, you have the freedom to innovate. But, this creativity will occupy only one-third of your business. A functional process is essential for bringing clients and guiding them throughout your project. Make sure to have clearly defined offerings on your website. Your website should be easy to understand and navigate through. Finally, ensure that your customers can find your contact information easily. 

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

Build the email list of your potential clients and carry on a routine follow up. Put some well-defined boundaries in your professional life. You won’t be able to survive in the long run by giving 24*7 access to everyone. Therefore, allocate separate time for yourself, marketing, and project work. Remember that strategic time management has much to do for the success of your business. Develop a system that will work for your business on a daily basis. 

3. Patience and Persistence

Patience is an important element that you need to follow in your graphic business. Aaron Meurer is both the owner and the sole designer at Meurer Graphics. Patience and persistence both are the key secrets for developing his successful design business. His experience taught him to be patient while running his business. 

So, if you offer good quality work and communication on time, then you will have loyal customers for your business. These clients, in turn, will generate other clients through referrals and reviews.  So, don’t get frustrated and give up the work that you are doing. The Internet has brought the entire world at your fingertips. 

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

Social Media is a powerful tool when you get positive testimonials from your clients. At the end of every project, ask your customers to leave reviews. Also, request them to share your projects with their friends and family on social media. Then, you will be surprised to see the number of leads generated. 

4. Hire an Advisor

Get a coach before starting your graphic design business. A business coach can be a big game-changer for a graphic designer. As per the words of Dana Stillman, his coach helped her to organize and grow her graphic design business. You will get several coaches on the internet and within your community as well. 

Moreover, you will develop various skills from these coaching programs. So, you will create a solid work agreement and become profitable in your trade. Coaching can be expensive, but the right coach will be worth the investment that you will make. And, the ultimate result will be a productive business with organization and efficiency. 

5. Look at Things from All Angles

It is not difficult to start a graphic business but making it a success is a challenge. Therefore, be well-rounded to look at things from all angles. Shawn O’Mara, the president of a boutique graphic design studio understood the practical way to go about things. Also, he recommended the following tips to facilitate faster business growth:

  • Get a trusted business partner and build your graphic design client base. 
  • Employ a good accountant so that you can follow the rules of running your business. 
  • Develop a solid business plan and attainable goals for your business. 
  • Clients will trust your brand based on the website that you have developed. 
  • Identify your talents like publication design and utilize it to drive success for your business. 
  • Since your business revenue depends upon the client base, keep low and fair prices. 
  • Build your network with other industries to expand your service offerings. 
  • Learn how to estimate jobs and their end results. 
  • Remember that everyone can be a potential client, so spread your brand recognition through social media. 

How to Start a Graphic Design Business in 2020: Entrepreneurs Share Advice

6. Don’t Burn Through Capital

Be careful about your investment at the time of beginning your design business journey. Start your spending only after having an established client base and regular income. Otherwise, spending money might become counterproductive and affect your business in the long run. Therefore, you will need to invest in email marketing, SEO, advertising, and lead generators. But, all of these investments might not be productive for you. 

Read Also: Optimized Your website

You can even pay for generating leads for your business. But, strategies for other businesses might not work for your graphic business. Therefore, go for the important investments in order to minimize wastage. Graphic designers don’t get walk-ins so, no need to rent an expensive office space. Similarly, run your business from home in order to deduct taxes. Again, co-working spaces can reduce your expenses to a great extent. In short, think from the perspective of a person who requires a graphic designer. 

7. Track Your Time

Time is equivalent to money in the graphics industry. You will incur expenses by working as a freelancer, consultant, or contractor. You might even realize that you have invested in so many activities that your clients can’t be charged for that. Hence you might think of doing supporting work as well. But, such activities won’t be much beneficial for your business. 

It can have drastic effects if you fail to track time. Though ‘Time is money’ is an old cliche, it is quite evident in service-based businesses. Therefore, you must track your time to determine your hourly rate, number of billing hours in a week, and the amount that you must bid on each project. Most of your time must be spent on writing emails, marketing projects, meeting clients, and working on social media. All these are non-billable things as you can’t charge your customers for them. Since they eat up a large part of your day, tracking time is necessary. 

You are likely to underbid projects if you don’t track time properly. So, track practically everything even if you are extremely busy. You will thereby obtain valuable data that will add towards the success of your business. 

8. Correct Positioning

Wondering how to start a graphic design business won’t do much help to you. Since you are starting a business, you need something concrete that will have a value proposition attached to it. The co-founder of CODO design said that you must specialize in developing a steady client base. Positioning is important for cutting through the competition and establishing your graphic business. 

Hence, you need to find answers to the following questions:

  • The type of service
  • Who is your ideal audience 
  • How will you deliver the service

Entrepreneurs fail to succeed as they don’t spend enough time developing their value proposition. Your Unique Value Proposition states the factors in which you are better than your competitors. If you choose a random project, then you will end up with non-profits. Lack of value proposition is good in the short run but won’t facilitate your business growth. Therefore, shift your focus from generalist to specialist. 

Learn about your industry, speak at conferences, and put out content tailored for your audience. Start work and take up more work once you are done. Repeat this cycle so that you can provide real value to everyone. In case your brand becomes popular, then people will wish to work with an expert like you. 

9. Find Mentorship

A mentor is a person who has accomplished a lot of things and stays ahead of the game. Thus, you will get sage advice to achieve all that you want to have for your business. There are numerous ways to manifest mentorship. Therefore, look for a mentor who is 5 to 10 years more experienced than you. It is better to learn from those who have already gone through that phase. Analyze their marketing strategies and activities on social media. 

If you search, then you will find tons of creative and designer groups. In case you want the latest ideas, then collaborate with business owners who have started their graphic business a few years ago. Thus, you will be able to support each other with knowledge and resources for mutual benefits.  

10. Keep Learning

Since learning is infinite, you should never end the learning process. You will never achieve growth by staying in a comfort zone. It is a mistake to think that you know everything. No matter how far you are in your career, always try to learn. Keep learning something new all the time in order to run your business for more than a decade. Be open minded so that you are always willing to learn new things. People who are already successful can reward your business. Finally, you will grow as an individual and your business will expand in the long run. 

Frequently Asked Questions:

  1. How to Start a Website Design Business Online?

There is no predefined way to start your graphic business. There are some few things like proper planning, time tracking, hiring a business coach, etc to run a steady business. Your business journey will be full of ups and downs. Thus, be around with people who are smarter, talented, and better communicators than you. 

Read Also: Website Design in Dubai.


  1. How Can You Begin a Freelance Graphic Design Business?

If you are an aspiring graphic designer, then ensure that you have proper programs and software to support your business. Formal learning is necessary to gain as much knowledge as you can about your business. Identify which freelancing platform you would prefer to join. Don’t stick to a single freelancing site only. Create a website that is appealing in its own way. Analyze your clients and their requirements. Wisely manage your time and create technically perfect graphic designs. 


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