5 Tips For Starting Out As A Self-Employed Graphic Designer

  • Set Your Prices Correctly
  • Plan For Taxes
  • Invest In The Right Software
  • Don’t Quit Your Day Job Immediately
  • Understand That It’s A Lot Of Hard Work

Starting and successfully running a graphic design business can be something of a challenge. Fortunately, graphic design is a career that lends itself well to freelancing and starting a small business of your own. These five tips will help any entrepreneurial graphic designer start their own business.

1. Set Your Prices Correctly

To successfully start up a business, you need to decide how much to charge for your services. This is easier said than done and one of the most difficult parts of owning a business. If the prices are set too high and you don’t have the experience and quality to back it up, customers won’t be interested. If you undercharge, you are more likely to burn out, work with clients who don’t respect you and will not get paid what the work is worth. There are also different ways of charging, such as by the hour or per project. Research what your competition is charging to help determine what your prices should be.

2. Plan For Taxes

Many new business owners are shocked when they get hit with a tax bill at the end of their first year in business that is more than they expected. Self-employed individuals are subject to the self-employment tax in addition to regular income taxes. The self-employment tax covers Medicare and Social Security payments that are usually taken out of an employee’s paycheck. In addition to this, you are likely going to be required to pay estimated quarterly taxes as well, rather than just once a year as you are used to doing. It is important to know your tax burden when starting up your business so you can budget for tax payments appropriately.

3. Invest In The Right Software

Having the right software at your disposal is integral to running a graphic design business. Typically, you will want to ensure you are subscribed to Adobe’s Creative Suite. This suite contains a number of programs that are necessary for the industry, such as Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign. There are other software that will prove useful, such as an accounting program and non-Adobe graphic design programs.¬†Once you have your software, you need to become intimately familiar with it.

4. Don’t Quit Your Day Job Immediately

Before striking out on your own, it is a good idea to do freelance work and build up a client base first. This way you can be sure the work you are producing is of a quality level that ensures clients want to buy it. It will also give you invaluable experience with working directly with clients that may help you decide if starting this business in graphic design is truly what you want to do. Once your side hustle is earning good money, you can quit your day job and start running your business full-time.

5. Understand That It’s A Lot Of Hard Work

Running a business of any kind is hard work. You will likely have to work long hours, especially at the beginning. Your income will also be dictated by how much work you can pull in. There will be boons and lulls. It is important to talk to your spouse and your family to ensure everyone affected by this change is accepting of your decision. If you play it smart and work hard, your business will have a good chance of succeeding.

In the digital age, starting a business as a graphic designer is easier than ever. With these tips in mind, you will be well on your way to starting up a successful graphic design business.