Many people ask how they can start a design firm without business startup funds. If you can’t afford to start a design business, how can you get into graphic design? One of the best ways is to start small. Starting a career in design doesn’t necessarily mean starting a design “firm,” at least in the traditional sense. You don’t need to start with an office space or employees… your firm, or freelance business, can just be you. While there are some startup costs, a design business can be one with relatively low overhead. If you can’t afford an office space and a staff of 6, chances are you’re not ready to be at that level. Here are a few tips for starting small:
Work from Home
One of the highest expenses for a design firm can be the rent. Working from home, especially from the start, can save a great deal of money. Set up a dedicated office space in your house, if possible, so you can work without distraction. While you most likely won’t be able to hold client meetings at your house, many clients would rather you travel to them anyway, or you can arrange meetings over lunch or at convenient locations. This may not be ideal, but either is spending all your income on rent and additional utilities. For many, a design business can remain in a home without ever moving into an office space.
Don’t Buy Everything at Once
There is plenty of equipment and software to purchase to help in your design work. However, chances are a lot of it isn’t completely necessary from the start. Start with the most crucial design software, which may vary depending on what you do. Often, a lot can be accomplished with one or two major applications, and while you may spend some extra time completing tasks you will save a lot of money. As far as equipment goes, start with the basics… a computer. As time goes on, you can buy that perfect scanner, graphics tablet and other design tools, but only get them when necessary if you are low on funds.
Look for Discounts
For the things you do need to start your business, look for deals. Students can get a discount on most hardware and software. Refurbished or older model computers can often be purchased directly from manufacturers with warranties. They will cost less and often be powerful enough for design work.