How To Start Your Own Design Company And Make Some $$

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 =>

For example: If your company name is Joe’s Automotive, then you’ll want to find 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.

Business People Sitting At ComputerSome 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 ๐Ÿ™‚

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.

27 thoughts on “How To Start Your Own Design Company And Make Some $$

      1. hey i just started designing but nw illustrator and photoshop but i could not understand how to create logo ? plz give me some advise

      2. I am from MD, starting freelance designing. So far, I have created politicians advertisements, a number of company logos and private pilots club advertising. I am excited to find your helpful information. I really need to know how to market. I am interested also in photography and would love to shoot family, specifically children’s photos. I am in the process of redesigning my website but have reserved the name. Would love all the help you are able to offer. C.C.

  1. Hi,

    First I wanna thank you, because you are really doing a great job. The way you give tips are really helpful for any one who want to get started in Graphic designing field.

    I have been doing designing from the past 3 years but I never used Illustrator in my life. I have designed logo, flyer and did full campaign of many companies back in my country, you can see my portfolio on the website that I posted. But now I’m here in Canada and I really want to start my own business in Graphic designing field. I’m proficient in up to date Photoshop, Corel Draw, Macromedia free hand, Auto CAD 2D & 3D and 3D Max for rendering. I want to know that is it necessary to know Illustrator for being Graphic Designer?


    1. Yes it is necessary to know Illustrator as a Graphic Designer. I’ve been in the print industry for many years now and the least problematic PDF files are ones that were originally designed in Adobe Illustrator. That’s one reason among many, being able to design in Adobe Illustrator allows you design with vectors and can be used for designing logos to designing websites. Thanks for the input!

  2. or else if there is any online jobs kindly let me know to learn and earn a little, once again thanking you for your informative blog….

  3. I’m a graphic design student at Santa Fe University and it’s my first semester. I have a question about sketching. Do you think it’s necessary to pencil sketch projects out before designing them on your computer, or is that a waste of time? My opinion is that it helps, and sometimes gives me even more inspiration…but I’d like to hear your opinion, Stephen. Thank you!

  4. Hallo,
    I am living in Serbia,I have plan what to do ,but my problem is I have had school about 15 months graphic design . Is it enough for start my own job ??? I can do work on Adobe softvers as Photoshop,Illustrator,In Design and Adobe Acrobat
    I like it very much,and I am intersting to do all things it can be PRINT.
    What you thing can I make my own Design company?
    I learned about Brending,corporate of identity and some another things about Printing.
    Another question is for START what I could do what type of of product,

    I like your site and it is in my favorite,and thank you for you advise about Graphic Deasign.


  5. Hi im living in mumbai India. I Just start the course of Advertising and Graphic Design. I creat some logo of my name. I want to know that what i do for better my work.

  6. My Names are Osileye Olutayo, from Nigeria, I really appropriate your effort for putting this together for people like me, I have being around for a while now….I always work with Coreldraw now my Boss told me to upgrade to adobe ID…Please what is the advantage and disadvantage Using Coreldraw instead of Adobe ID…Thank you How is your Baby Boy ?

  7. Stephen, i think your work holistically is great!
    i am setting up a graphic design business here in holland and i wanted to ask you if you could help me on how to deliver the end product to a client so they can do there thing with it, is it in jpeg?

    best regards

    Elias Joshua

  8. hi, I am from India. I have designed a few logos, book covers, workshop banners, complete package of stationery and brochures along with advertisement posters and flyers for a company in hyderabad, also complete package of stage back drops, standees, id cards, passes, certificates and posters for a college fest in Assam. I now wish to start my own unit and take orders commercially. i have already decided on the name and the services i would be offering (only designing not printing). my next step is to buy my domain name and launch website for which i am in a fix betwen bigrock and godaddy. my query is can you guide with the legal and other important things i need to keep in mind before starting this. and yup, am also a nail artist

  9. I interesting about graphic design, i wish have a company graphic design service , but i don’t know how well how can i start it .
    Adobe illustrator or Corel Draw which program is better for design ?
    Thanks !

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