Are you starting a design business?

Image: This is how you may have gone about it. Until you realise the order that can work better

How we typically start our design businesses

  1. You’ll create your logo and business name
  2. You’ll then register your business with your government
  3. Then you take on your first few clients
  4. To then be able to show off your work, you’ll create a website and possibly even social media content.
  5. You then realise you should have provided a contract for your clients to agree to, to be able to show their work, get paid and possibly to retain copyright or at least your moral rights to attribution to the work you produce to say you made that work on behalf of your client.
  6. Then you’ll probably realise you should have defined your services better and nailed down your ideal client. Because you’re doing jobs you don’t want to be doing just to make a dollar and you’re working with people or industries you don’t align with.
  7. It then comes to tax time and you realise that draw full of receipts is looking pretty full and you’ve done nothing to manage your accounting in your first year. So you go knocking on the door of the first accountant you can find to help you.
  8. Which then leads to a better understanding of what you need to charge based on what you need to earn to survive on more than ramen noodles and keep the lights on. Allowing you to better plan your financial position and be more confident in charging your value…Wait! Wouldn’t that have helped from the beginning?
Don’t worry, all can be fixed if you don’t get it right.

What is a better approach?

  1. Define your services and ideal client
  2. Register your business
  3. Have a contract in place (get help from a lawyer)
  4. Find a proactive accountant that looks out for your finances (business & personal)
  5. Set your prices based on at least what you need to earn and what you can physically accomplish in a week/month/year
  6. Now you can create your logo
  7. Then start working with clients
  8. This is when you show off your work and services on your website and social media

Why does it matter?

Step One: Your Service and Customers

Step Two: Registering your business

Time to get a lawyer for your contracts?…maybe not this guy though

Step Three: A contract

Step Four: An accountant

Step Five: Your prices

Step Six: Your logo

Step Seven: Working with clients

  1. You are going to be confident in who you are there to help
  2. You’ll know exactly how you can help them
  3. You’ll be as confident in the price you tell your client, as you are about saying the sky is blue
  4. Your confidence in your price also makes for greater trust in your client as they’ll be less likely to try to push your price down
  5. You’ll be able to produce a professional invoice to get you paid
  6. Your contracts will give you peace of mind
  7. You’ll start creating a reputable identity that can be tied into your logo, especially when your clients start to refer your business onto others.

Step Eight: Website and Social Content

  1. Who you are (name, photo, location and bio)
  2. What your main service and extra services are
  3. How you can help (eg. identifying their pain points and outlining how your process can help)
  4. Who you work with (what types of businesses you want to work with)
  5. and your contact information

The key takeaway

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G’day I’m Frank, a brand identity designer from Sydney, Australia

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G'day Frank

G'day Frank

G’day I’m Frank, a brand identity designer from Sydney, Australia

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