One thing I noticed last year while hanging out in Facebook groups is that it seems like now more than ever there are more and more new designers every month. People are dabbling into uncharted territory thanks to resources like Canva, adding design to their VA services, and launching their design businesses (and not necessarily in that order).
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, as someone who literally dove in head first into being her own boss nearly 5 years ago, I know that things aren’t always as glamorous as they may seem when it comes to being your own boss in this field.
Because of that, today I wanted to share the top 4 myths about running a design business so you can be better informed before jumping head first into launching your own.
It’s an easy way to make a lot of money
There’s absolutely nothing easy about running your own business. Not only do you wear multiple hats, most of the time you’re not spending your whole entire day doing actual design work. On top of that, the design field seems to be incredibly competitive right now (meaning there are more than enough people willing to do the work for someone). That means there are a lot of options for your potential clients to choose from, thus making it harder for most people to increase their revenue.
How to intentionally make more money
The best way to make more money through your design business is to stand out from the crowd and offer an amazing experience to your clients. Standing out from the hundreds (if not thousands) of other designers may mean narrowing the niche that you work in (fashion bloggers instead of just bloggers), updating your website with strong, unique copy, or thinking outside of the box when it comes to how you market yourself.
Another great place to make more money is to offer an amazing experience to your clients. If you make the process as easy and wonderful as possible for the people you’re working with, they’re definitely going to come back to you when they need more work done. Even better? If they liked working with you enough, they’ll be singing your praises to every person who needs design work.Thinking about starting your own design business? There are 4 things you need to know aren’t true firstClick To Tweet
As long as you have a website people will find you
If you have a website and a social media presence then maybe a few people will stumble upon your site and hire you every now and then, but you’re not necessarily going to be regularly gaining clients. People aren’t searching for “Kory Woodard designer” when they open Google, they’re just typing in “designer” which means about a gazillion more sites show up and then they have you + those gazillion other people to choose from.
How to help people find you
You want to be active online and engaging with people to help them find you and your services when they need you. A great place to start for designers is Twitter and Instagram. Twitter is a great place to have conversations, and Instagram is a great place to share quick sneak peeks at your work.
However, it’s not just about dropping a link to your services and hoping people hire you. You want to be actively building relationships with others (chatting leads to trust, trust leads to them being more likely to hire you). Facebook groups are a great place to respond to questions and work on building those relationships.
The only way to get work is by offering the lowest prices
I’ve heard it said multiple times from people that they usually automatically throw someone out of the running of hiring them if they have the lowest prices in their field. Unfortunately, having the lowest prices doesn’t necessarily work to get you clients, and even when it does, that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be getting the right clients. When you have the lowest prices, it can communicate that you don’t value your time or that you don’t know what you’re doing.
How to not have the lowest prices
It’s not about looking at 100 other sites and making sure you have prices that are competitive with everyone else. When you’re setting your pricing, you want to make sure that you’re taking these things into consideration:
- How much time the project will take you to complete
- Your overall design experience + your experience with that specific kind of project
- What other people charge for that type of project
- How much you actually want to make
When you keep these things in mind, you’re much more likely to set a price point that’s more competitive, will earn you more money in the long run, and won’t scare people away for being too low.
If you’re just getting started, I know that pricing can be a scary thing to think about, but let me tell you that you don’t have to charge nothing just because you have less experience than everyone else. Doing work for free or dirt cheap seems like a fast and easy way to build your portfolio, but it’s only hurting you in the long run. Instead, start with a reasonable price based on your experience and raise it from there.Thinking about launching your own design business? Don't let these 4 things lead you astrayClick To Tweet
Blogging won’t help grow your business
Unless you have a brick and mortar office setup and only work with local clients, then blogging definitely will help your business. It’s one of the easiest ways to make sure you’re staying active online (aside from social media, obviously), which as I mentioned above is important to do. When you’re posting each week, you’re much more likely to make a long-term impression with your readers, which means they’ll be more likely to think of you when they need design work.
How to make it work for you
There are two super simple topics you can write about that can make blogging work to help you grow your business. First, share your process and your work. By showing off recently launched projects (like this one) or sharing a peek at your process with permission from the client (like this), you’re showing off what you can do and your style, which attracts clients.
Secondly, you can share why what you offer is important. For example, if you educate your readers about why having a good brand is so important, then you’re leading them to realize what they need to work with you.
It’s difficult, but not impossible
Let’s be honest, it’s challenging to run your own design business, but it’s definitely not impossible. If you’re really interested in getting started in this field, don’t let these four things hold you back from being successful with your business.