15 Tips For Starting A Successful Graphic Design Business

Want to start your own graphic design business? Here are 15 tips you should know.
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We've interviewed thousands of successful founders at Starter Story and asked what advice they would give to entrepreneurs who are just getting started.

Here's the best advice we discovered for starting a graphic design business:

#1: Mimi Council, founder of Above 8000 Creative:

We chatted with with Mimi, founder of Above 8000 Creative ($6K/month). In our interview, Mimi says:

Set a goal for yourself to email potential clients, start with once a week, then go to a few times a week, then even a few times a day. The more you communicate, the more people find out about you.

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#2: Junaid Ansari, founder of Draftss:

We chatted with with Junaid, founder of Draftss ($7.5K/month). In our interview, Junaid says:

The most effective method we tried for our validation was initiating a conversation with every person who visited our website to understand more about what they were looking for and what would make Draftss an ideal provider for their needs.

Additionally:

Productized services usually have high churn rates. Depending on the type of service you provide. Consider offering an exclusive annual subscription to clients with huge discounts for better lifetime value.

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#3: SumanJung, founder of DesignPac:

We chatted with with SumanJung, founder of DesignPac ($4.2K/month). In our interview, SumanJung says:

I grew up in a non-English speaking country, yet today the majority of my clients are English speaking. I had to practice to get to this point. Sometimes you will stumble, sometimes you will fail, but the important part to remember is to keep getting back up.

Additionally:

Most people fail not because their dream was unachievable or unneeded, but because they fail to detail how they will get there. Be prepared for the unforeseen disasters and be prepared to take them one at a time.

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#4: Peter Kozodoy, founder of Stradeso:

We chatted with with Peter, founder of Stradeso ($500/month). In our interview, Peter says:

Entrepreneurship is 10% about business, 100% about people, and 1,000% about the self.

Additionally:

My #1 tip to entrepreneurs is: get a mentor. It helps to have someone who’s been there and done that be able to tell you.

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#5: Marilyn Wo, founder of MeetAnders:

We chatted with with Marilyn, founder of MeetAnders ($7.32K/month). In our interview, Marilyn says:

Our customer acquisition relied solely on referrals. We had enough referrals coming to keep us busy. But because I was drowning in a sea of day-to-day tasks, that didn’t leave me time to set up a proper lead generation system.

Additionally:

I must say we could have done better to grow faster in the early days, but on the flip side, our slow growth has helped us find a way to bake in fast and quality work into the process.

Further:

Focusing on competition is a waste of time. It’s best to channel your energy and time into knowing your potential customers better and creating your own uniqueness to differentiate yourself from others.

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#6: Abigail Butler, founder of Chirps & Cricket Design Studio:

We chatted with with Abigail, founder of Chirps & Cricket Design Studio ($1.1K/month). In our interview, Abigail says:

After almost four years with the company I began growing restless with a desire to challenge myself creatively and to continue to grow both as an artist and as a person.

Additionally:

Setting goals is paramount in starting a business – it provides direction, sets the stage for the larger picture, focuses you in on what is important/priority, and will motivate you!

Further:

Stay focused on your work and your goals, I’d caution against comparing yourself to others on social media, and above all, BELIEVE in yourself! You got this.

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#7: Scott Tarcy, founder of caddesignhelp.com:

We chatted with with Scott, founder of caddesignhelp.com ($8K/month). In our interview, Scott says:

I worked this as a side hustle for about 6 months before quitting my full-time job and doing this full time. That was probably the hardest I ever worked in my life.

Additionally:

One thing I learned in some of the entrepreneurship books and podcasts I read was that you should try to create multiple streams of income.

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Read the full interview ➜

Want to start a graphic design business?

See our full guide ➜