How To Become A Self Employed Graphic Designer

With more and more people having access to excellent computer hardware and software, it has never been easier to set up in business as a graphic designer.

If you are considering setting up your own self employed graphic design business, here are some top tips to help you get started.

Make sure you have the capital/equipment

Your most important business asset is likely to be your PC and your graphic design software. Buying a brand new top of the range Mac or PC isn’t necessarily essential though – starting small and upgrading can help you build up your business gradually without a large, initial capital outlay.

Your system is likely to need a decent amount or RAM in order to work with large graphic files and you should have some decent quality software. Many graphic designers use the Adobe Creative Suite although the basic package can be expensive.

Consider starting with a ‘retainer’ client

David Airey, a leading graphic designer based in Northern Ireland, believes that starting out on a self employed basis with a ‘retainer’ client can be key. This is a client for whom you work on a regular basis – perhaps two or three days per week – and who you invoice every month.

He says: “While those three days per week brought in just enough cash to get me by, they allowed plenty of time to work on the build of my website and blog (my main self-promotion tool).”

Marketing yourself

When you set up your own business you should have some ideas of how you will market your business. Do you have existing clients who you can approach for work? Do you know people in related industries that can refer clients to you?

At a very minimum you should have some professional business cards and a good quality website containing examples of your work. You may also want to consider some targeted, local advertising to build up a client base.

Organising your finances

When you set up your own business, looking after your administration and finances may well be one of your biggest challenges.

As a self employed person you will have to consider opening a business bank account and any appropriate insurance for your company.

In addition, you will have to consider your tax affairs. In the UK you are obliged to let HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) know immediately that you become self-employed and you will start paying National Insurance contributions. You will have to keep track of all your business earnings and expenses in order to complete your tax return every year. Many small businesses hire a local accountant to help them look after their tax.

Be positive

When you consider starting your own business you will probably come across people who don’t think it will be the right thing for you. Common concerns include:
• A perceived lack of experience
• Worries about securing a regular income
• Your ability to handle all aspects of running a business
When you are considering self employment it is important to take advice but also important that you don’t let negative people get you down and stop you setting up your business.

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