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Saturday, January 17, 2009

Graphic Design Business Ideas and Tips

By Eric Miller,

Get the Word Out

When starting or attempting to grow a graphic design business, a key factor is finding clients. Unless you are making a living off of personal ventures, you won’t have an income without them. There are many ways to market your company, from blogging to networking to word-of-mouth. Once you’ve impressed a client with your design skills and business sense, it’s amazing how word can get around, and there are ways to encourage it.

Create a Portfolio

When you make contact with a potential client, often the first thing they will want to see is your portfolio. Your portfolio is an extremely important business tool, as many companies will choose a designer based on their previous work, and how that work is presented. Don’t worry if you don’t have “enough experience” to show in your portfolio… student work or personal projects can impress just as much. There are several options, each with different benefits and varied cost and time commitment.

Set Your Rates

While it may be difficult to figure out hourly and flat rates, there are processes you can follow that make it easier. Remember, unless you feel you can’t land a job otherwise, you don’t need to give a client the project cost at your first meeting. Take some time to decide if you want to charge by the hour or a flat rate, compare the job to previous jobs, and get back to the client with an accurate estimate.

Meeting with Clients
When you hold a client meeting, go in knowing what information you would like to gather. By getting a full understanding of the scope of the project, you can create an outline, an accurate estimate, and ultimately prepare the contract.

Managing Projects
Once you have started a graphic design project, there are ways to properly manage it and stay organized. For starters, keep in constant contact with your client and follow the project schedule so the job is finished on deadline. There are plenty of software packages that will help you, from to-do lists to billing.


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