There are so many good things that can come out of being a Graphic Designer. I’m no veteran, but I’ve been around for a while now and I’m now at the point where I can truly say I love what I do. I can remember learning this all in High School and my teachers always talking about the opportunities and how I could get a good JOB one day doing this.
So I then went to College to learn the technical and marketing side of things, and we were still encouraged to find a good media company to fill in as a Junior Graphic Designer, preferably in New York City.
I’ve always had an entrepenurial sprit, but I knew I had to get some really good on-the-job-training and I got exactly what I needed to boost me to the next level. I then had the knowledge and confidence to start my own Graphic Design Company.
So now, lets talk about YOU. Lets talk about YOU starting YOUR own Graphic Design Business. The very first thing you need to look at is what area do you enjoy the most and where are your strongest skills. Is it photography, illustration, layout design or maybe website design? You can start a lucrative business doing any of these.
I can only speak from personal experience. For the last number of years I have learned a lot along the way and so will you.
Figure Out A Name For Your Business
Coming up with a name is one of the most important things. Many designers use their initials in their company names with the ending in design, graphics, or studios. Figure out what works for you. Make it memorable and also simple. The next thing you’ll want to do is a domain name search. Anyone who is serious about starting a business whether it be a Pet Groomer or a Graphic Artist needs to have a website. You need to secure a domain name even if your not planning on having a website for another year.
Imagine having an established business and then realizing somebody owns the domain name you wanted for the next 5 years. Not Good!!
To get started and register your domain name. I highly recommend using GoDaddy.com =>
For example: If your company name is Joe’s Automotive, then you’ll want to find www.joesautomotive.com. If that is already taken then you might want to consider changing your name. If Joe was set on Joes Automotive then you could perhaps look for a domain name such as joesauto(townname).com.
Register Your Business
Registering your business is actually pretty simple. The first thing you want to make sure of is to do a trademark search by clicking on this link. You don’t want to grow your business brand if it really is in legal conflict with another who is already registered. The next thing would be to get your business certificate. This can be done at your local County Clerk’s office. I would suggest you do a google search in your area and then give them a call. I believe to get your DBA (doing business as) certificate it costs around $50 a year.
Now that you have your business certificate and hopefully you secured a domain name, you need to open up a checking account at your bank. Some banks have free checking account specials and charge you nothing to open up your new checking account, but things are always changing so please contact your bank for more details. The reason you need a checking account is simple……You need to practice business legally. You need to have a check that says your business name on it.
Some people are under the impression that they can ask for cash from their clients. STOP RIGHT THERE….not only is that unprofessional, but it is illegal. Nobody loves to pay taxes, but there are advantages. When you make money in your business, the government will take somewhere around a third of it in taxes. That means if you make $900 in your first year, the government will be taking $300 back in taxes.
As a business owner, your number one Perk is being able to write-off business expenses. Expenses include gas to meetings, office supplies, new software, purchasing of stock images, suits and basically anything that your business is causing you to spend money on. So just like the last example of the $900…….now, if you have $500 in expenses for that year, you subtract $500 from the $900 you made and you’re left with $400. $400 is exactly what the government is going to tax (instead of $900).
So instead of your taxes being $300 for the year, they will go down to $134 for the year. This is a no brainer. It is imperative that you keep good, detailed records of everything. Organize everything in a business billing program such as Quickbooks and a spreadsheet program such as Microsoft Excel. I purchased QuickBooks for Mac and guess what?? I wrote it off…..and so can you.
Don’t EVER use your personal income that you make from your job for your business expenses. WHY…because your money has already been taxed by the government (look at your paycheck) and now your going to buy ink for your printer and GUESS WHAT?? you’re going to pay the tax again at the cash register. You can utilize your business income by making purchases before that income is taxed……and that is Awesome
I would suggest speaking with an accountant if you are thinking of incorporating yourself which is a whole other thing.
With these few things you are ready to move forward in your business and start making money. In later topics I will talk about networking, gaining clients, creating advertisements for yourself and how to properly conduct business with contracts.