A career in design can be extremely rewarding. With ever-expanding platforms across traditional media and digital only getting more complex and interesting, the demand for great designers with different specializations is always high.
Of course, you can really earn handsomely if you are associated with a reputed
advertising agency or design studio. Alternatively, establishing a successful design
firm of your own can be equally rewarding, if not more.
If you're running an agency or studio but aren’t sure how to get started, read on
for some tricks from my own personal experience. They might help you along the
way of your new venture.
Choose a Niche
You can’t be a ‘Jack of all trades and master of none’ when you’re out trying to practise design and build a reputable firm. Especially not when you’re just starting out. Which Is why it’s so important to choose a niche and ensure you have a strong hold on It to serve your clients’ marketing needs effectively.
Picking an area of design that really speaks to your passion and interest will help your agency flourish and expand more easily. That doesn’t mean you can’t add other services and value-adds along the way, but it's important you master your craft first to get a foothold. After all, you are in the business of ideas.
Work with agencies and design firms to get experience and up your game before setting up your own shop. Working for a large or mid-sized firm will give you the chance to test the waters in other areas of design you may not even have considered specializing in before. Plus, you build a robust peer network for future collaborations.
Explore the horizons a bit before choosing an area to focus on when starting your own firm.
Build Your Team
Building your firm will require a team of trustworthy people, each proficient in their respective fields.
You might not be in a position to hire highly-accomplished designers when you’re just starting out, but you can always hire up-and-coming professionals who have a sound knowledge of their subject and the passion to work hard and grow. Invest In training them so they can hone their skills and learn new ones. The trick is to encourage an agile mindset.
Create a Strong Digital Presence
A strong digital presence is undoubtedly the need of every hour for any business. Your website and social handles are the window to generating leads and showcasing your work not only to potential clients, but also to interested talent.
While it requires a fair bit of investment, the returns are huge. Establish your brand by polishing your website and social media presence to showcase your portfolio, and in turn look impressive to potential clients.
Plan Your Finances
This is one of the most important aspects when trying to establish your own firm. You’ll have several overheads and operating expenses that need to be met month on month, so it’s essential to plan your finances smartly to ensure profit and avoid debt.
The key is to keep your overheads low when starting out. A mistake many design studios make is to lease an impressive-looking office space right away, and that alone can keep your costs high longer than you need them to be. When you're in the driver's seat of your organisation, you decide when you want to do what. Slow and steady brings about the stability.
Understand Your Clients and Cater to Their
Remember, your role straddles the lines of a being a leader and a designer. The service industry is very competitive, and one often finds the agencies that ride the tide are the ones that foster relationships. Which is why it's so important to really listen to your client and be alive to their requirements. Listen attentively, keep them in the loop as you work on their projects and never spread yourself too thin by over-committing.
I hope you will leverage this advice as you get started with your dream business. Whether it’s starting out in the service industry, baking the best cookies in town, or working to be an influencer, discipline and ethics go a long way in shaping your success story.
Wishing you all the best in your endeavours.