Top 15 Ways to Start a Successful Graphic Design Business

By | November 6, 2020
Top 15 Ways to Start a Successful Graphic Design Business
Having a mentor is helpful in your quest to
start a graphic design business.

Top 15 Ways to Start a Successful Graphic Design Business

If you have been working as a graphic designer with an agency or as a freelancer and are now ready to start your own graphic design business, this post helps you with valuable ideas you can apply in starting and succeeding in it.

It shows you a list of important things you need to do to realize your dream of becoming a business owner providing graphic design services.

Top 15 Ways to Start a Successful Graphic Design Business

  1. Attain a formal education
  2. Make research on the business you want to venture into
  3. Give your graphic design business a name
  4. Set a price standard
  5. Create a basic website for your graphic design business
  6. Have a to-do list
  7. Develop a good relationship with your clients
  8. Learn various graphic design software programs
  9. Have a strong portfolio
  10. Have a business plan written out
  11. Get a mentor
  12. Invest in graphic design equipment
  13. Choose a specialty or niche
  14. Start accepting jobs and be punctual with your delivery
  15. Customer service skills.
  1. Attain a formal education

Many tertiary institutions offer design programs that provide students with major or minor graphic design courses.

You can go for an Associate degree in Graphic Designing in other to have background knowledge of the graphic design business.

A Bachelor’s degree is the most typical degree that is recommended for a graphic design career.

Attaining a Bachelor’s degree is not a necessity but it will give you the required training to run a successful graphic design business.

  1. Make research on the business you want to venture into

After gaining the necessary foundation in graphic designing, the next step to take to start your business is to start making enquiries and researches.

You should start thinking strategically about how to start up a graphic design business that is unique enough to beat the competitors out there.

In order to be successful in your graphic design business, you have to think outside the box; go out and make your research, learn from your competitors and use the knowledge you have gathered to write down an achievable business plan.

  1. Give your graphic design business a name

When you get a few clients, you know its time to start laying the foundation for a solid graphic design business.

Of course, there is no better way to lay the foundation than having a name first, the first question that pops in your head is whether to use your own name or create a business name.

The answer is quite easy; it doesn’t really matter, just pick a name you like and really feel comfortable with.

You should think thoroughly before selecting a business name as it is not advisable to change your business identity later on because you don’t like it anymore.

  1. Set a price standard

Before going further in your graphic design business, you should establish a price structure that is suitable for your work.

Usually, anyone starting a graphic design business from the scratch may charge their clients by the hour or project, or by the value of what they deliver.

But as soon as you gain more grounds in the business, you may want to explore other types of pricing models and also review your price standard.

  1. Create a basic website for your graphic design business

The next thing to do after giving your business a name is to build a website. As a beginner, you may not have the fund to develop a website, so you can start by building a basic website.

There are several website builders online which do not require you to have any knowledge of coding before developing a website by yourself.

Examples of basic website builders are Wix (it is a basic website builder with hundreds of beautifully designed templates to choose from) and WordPress (although it’s a bit technical but still no coding is required, it gives more flexibility in the long run.

And since WordPress is one of the most used website builders on the internet, there are several tutorials on how to use it.

  1. Have a to-do list

In order to keep up with all your graphic design works and deadline for submission of your works, it is a great idea to have a to-do list.

This will help you schedule your time, stay on track, and remind you of all the works you have to do and what time they would be submitted.

Try out tools like Trello, Plutio, or Cushion, they can help you manage your projects and tasks, ensuring you give your graphic design clients the best expectations and experience on time.

  1. Develop a good relationship with your clients

Sometimes how you are able to communicate with your clients tells how far your business will go. You need to develop and nurture a good relationship with your clients.

In order to give them a good result, you have to understand their needs and what better way to do that than to communicate with them, ask them to give and tell you what they really expect from you. With the information you get this way from your clients, you will be able to give out your best.

  1. Learn various graphic design software programs

Graphic designers are required to have knowledge of some basic software programs to start up and run a successful business.

You will need to have a powerful computer that can handle heavy and tasking graphics. Basic software programs like In-Design, Adobe Photoshop, and Illustrator are required to create designs and perform image editing for your business.

  1. Have a strong portfolio

Your portfolio is what speaks for your professionalism; your portfolio is used to showcase your best work and also display the different jobs you have worked on.

If you don’t have a robust portfolio to represent your business, you should consider doing some charity work for a nonprofit or small business or local organization.

Through them you will have designs to display in your portfolio to start your graphic design business.

  1. Have a business plan written out

Any graphic designer looking forward to start a business should bear in mind that they will become both a graphic designer and a business owner.

However, when starting out any business establishment you need a plan. You need to manage the business and design work at the same time.

Having a business plan entails working on your gigs and also marketing yourself or networking to find other new clients.

No one is going to hire you if you sit around your computer doing nothing. You have to pay for advertisements or advertise yourself on Instagram or other social media platforms.

You can start freelancing as well.

  1. Get a mentor

If you are starting a graphic design business, you need a mentor or a coach that will teach you the basic ideas behind the business and show you the path to follow to success in the business.

Your mentor can teach you the skills, legal terms, business techniques and strategies that can help you understand how to properly structure your business to meet your goals.

  1. Invest in graphic design equipment

Graphic designing requires equipment to complete projects, no matter how small you think your business is.

You need a powerful computer system, including hardware and software programs to create awesome designs for your clients.

You will also need to have top printers and scanners that can output and input the correct colors without interferences.

  1. Choose a specialty or niche

Graphic designing has a wide range of branches and services to offer to clients. Establishing a specialty and niche helps you to target the market early on.

When starting your business, have a deep thought, research, and carry out survey to determine what you like doing the most.

Do you like web designing, logo designing, or photo editing? As a starter, you need to pick one niche first and master it and make sure that the niche you chose has a large pool of paying clients.

  1. Start accepting jobs and be punctual with your delivery

Punctuality they say is the soul of business. You must have heard this saying somewhere, it is indeed true if you want your business to fail then start by not being punctual and watch it crumble.

You may be a very creative and skilled graphic designer, but once you are not punctual in delivering works to your clients they will never come back again.

It is better to politely decline a client’s work than to take more than you can finish within the promised timeframe.

Always make sure you deliver on time; for a beginner who is trying to establish themselves in the industry, you don’t want bad reviews because they will ruin your reputation before you even get started.

  1. Customer service skills

Good customer service relation and skills is required to succeed in your graphic design business. You need to pay attention to clients’ details about the design you are assigned to carry out, know the purpose of the design and what the client wants to achieve with the design, and then put in your skill and creative power to make the best visual design for them.

You should also develop your listening skills so as to understand every detail of the project you are working on as required by clients and then proffer solutions.


This post provides valuable ideas you can use to start and run a profitable graphic design business.

As you take the necessary step closer to your goal of establishing your business, bear in mind that you need to improve your business skills and also keep yourself updated on the latest trends in the graphic design industry and adjust to it when necessary.