Why Do Designers Make Awesome Entrepreneurs?

If you’re a designer, chances are you have a full-time job (and maybe even a freelance position on the side.) For many designers, this is an enjoyable option, complete with benefits and flexibility. For some, however, this situation doesn’t quite gel–maybe due to an employer or the industry itself. For some, a “regular” job doesn’t seem quite fulfilling enough.

If these feelings sound familiar, this might be the right time for you to create a business online.

paulina

A beautiful example of a design portfolio website by Paulina Galimbo.

Online businesses continue to grow in popularity, especially as the digital era provides a favorable environment for virtual startups. The internet has connected the world unlike any other form of media, meaning you potentially have a larger audience than ever before.

Creating a business online has a number of advantages. Here are the aspects we prioritize most:

  1. Online businesses demand little to no start-up expenses. Your virtual “office” needs web hosting and a domain name. (Annnnd that’s pretty much it, actually.)
  2. Your work is flexible in terms of time and location. You’re the one who sets deadlines for projects, and you can adjust your schedule. As your own boss, you can choose to work from home, an office, or even the great outdoors. Similarly, it doesn’t matter if you work in the morning, evening, or night. You run your business, and that’s the only thing that matters.
  3. Your salary depends on you. A corporate job often requires 24/7 work, and if you’re salary, chances are you aren’t paid accordingly. After all, it’s the company management who determines your salary and workload. However, in running online business, your salary depends on your skills and passion. You are the one who generates business and income.  

While we come across a great number of online businesses on a daily basis, designers perhaps have the most advantages in a digital startup.     

Here’s why.

Business Breeds Design

Can you name a sector without the need for design? In a highly competitive market, no company survives without branding. Whether it’s B2B or B2C sector, clients know the first impression matters. The role of design is priceless in making a first impression and telling a company’s story. Potential customers often judge companies by the first few seconds of visual interaction, and as your own boss, you control your company’s selling aesthetic.

Ian Cramer’s website – User Interface Designer and Developer.

Startup for Cheap

While online startups often require less expense, a designer’s ability to work remotely can be especially advantageous. With an internet connection and working laptop, artists can essentially DIY their online “design studio”.

A domain name and web hosting can be as little as $100, meaning you can start your “studio” while working a part-time job. Perhaps the biggest investment in the beginning stages will be your time and passion, doing your best to “wow” any potential clients you may have.

Pick Your Niche

Design work has a variety of niches. Be it fashion, digital, interior, or graphic, design work has a steady clientele that can make use of your services. Those familiar with graphic design know the industry encompasses a number of specialties, like web apps, websites, logos, business cards, icons, and more.

Thus, as a graphic designer, you have the unique option of honing your specialty of choice and targeting a specific demographic. (Basically the dream for creatives who love concepting projects.) If you have a variety of talents but specialize in illustrative art, being your own boss gives you ultimate control of your portfolio. You can offer illustrative art exclusively, if that’s the market you want to master.

henrik

Online design studio by Henrik Larsson.

Work and Play

In the design industry, the line between work and play is blurry; designers essentially generate a portfolio piece each time they complete a project. This provides creatives with the opportunity to find clients with like interests.

Maybe you want to position yourself as an art director, so to do this, you showcase the creative endeavors you’ve spearheaded. By creating the persona you want clients to see, you are building your professional identity one project at a time.

In taking control of the work you do, you are more likely to do projects you love. You have the opportunity to accept clients with big ideas and reject clients with no artistic vision. We’re not saying you’ll never have a bad client, but creative control allows you to be a little choosy when necessary.

Advertise on Social

In the age of content overload, social media platforms provide us with the tools to make (or break) a community of followers and peers. While social media can be risky, this is perhaps the best way to engage with fans. In fact, social media gurus recommend pictures and videos for those looking to boost organic reach. Additionally, visual media is the highest impression generator.

This is good news for designers, who often work exclusively in visual media. Share examples of your work to build a following. You may even go a step further and design trend-heavy work. Posting relevant content or memes from time to time will give your brand personality, allowing you to advertise your art and your interests.

A beautiful example of a design portfolio website by Paulina Galimbo

An example of a design business website by Nicholas Dumais.

Be the Best

In addition to establishing your social media presence, be sure to make the highest quality content possible. (After all, content is king, right?) Every post, business card, invitation, or logo should be a source of pride for you. Remember, any time your work is distributed, you’re networking. Make sure that little piece of your portfolio is noteworthy.

Thinking of giving online business a try? If so, we recommend going for it, especially if you are a business-savvy person. E-commerce requires strong business skills in the same way it requires design expertise. True commitment to business and industry knowledge will make you a successful technopreneur. (A little luck doesn’t hurt, either.)

Got your art ready? How about your calculator? Good. Now, go be your own boss.

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