How I Started A Freelance Graphic Design Business

Founder, Blooform
$2,500
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
product
Blooform
from Remote
started May 2017
$2,500
revenue/mo
1
Founders
0
Employees
4.1M
alexa rank
300
followers
10
followers
social media

Hello! Who are you and what business did you start?

Hi, my name is Marin Domazet and I’m the founder of Blooform - graphic design service that helps companies win more customers through powerful brand development.

Logo design and brand identity is the main thing I do. Creating something that will stick around for a very long time and help others build strong businesses it’s why I do it in the first place. Having just a logo isn’t enough, so I offer stationary and other branding material design as well.

While gaining experience as a graphic designer, I was learning how to become a better businessman as well. I started to value my time, skills and talent much more. I used to deliver very bad work for $5 or $10.

Today, the same ‘’product’’ (but much better) would cost 50 or 100 times more.

how-i-started-a-freelance-graphic-design-business

What's your backstory and how did you come up with the idea?

I’ve started messing around with graphic design software pretty early. It was probably my first week of high school (it wasn’t a design school) when I first opened Photoshop. I got interested more and more without any plan making money with it. A couple of years forward and I found out about those sites (Fiverr, Freelancer, UpWork, etc.) that connect freelancers and potential clients.

With no much experience and knowledge, I was pretty bad as other 95% of members from those sites. Clients usually would expect a bunch of work for investing as little as possible. Also, the site I was on is taking additional 20% of every job. I knew I could make more money just that wasn’t the good path. There are many designers and design studios around the world who charge way little or way too much for small and medium size businesses. There was a lot of room to cover in between, so I started investing in myself.

Browsing through YouTube, different forums and websites, I got so much knowledge about certain parts in design industry and business. One of the best examples is YouTube channel called The Futur. Content created by owner and founder of Blind design studio. You can hear stories from designers with degrees that learning from Internet content can be much faster than going to a design school, and it will cost less.

Learning all this wasn’t enough! You can be the best in whatever you do, but if you don’t know how to sell it then you won’t go far. Business side and sales are interesting as same as graphic design to me. Personally I find it more art than actual logo design. Of course design is a form of art, but it’s also a big problem solving.

The best part of all this was having my own money very early without working for anyone else. Yes, when you have a client you basically work for him, but it’s a different feeling. I felt like I created something from nothing. This is the reason I really admire people who run their own successful businesses.

Describe the process of launching the business.

Launching this kind of service is a bit different than launching a company that is based around one or more products. To start offering graphic design for people and companies doesn’t require a huge budget at all.

Doing logo designs for some big Instagram accounts for free was a good thing. Often I would get a client 10 minutes after big IG account would credit me in their post.

Designing software like Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop don’t need powerful and expensive computer to run. It’s just fine to use old dusty laptop. The one of the main things I had to do is to put my portfolio online. There are some free options like using Instagram and other sites that are made just for that.

how-i-started-a-freelance-graphic-design-business

I knew if I want to attract more serious clients I have to me more serious as well, so I decided to buy a domain and get myself a website. All this isn’t too expensive, but it gives you more professional look. It’s so much different when you can share your personal and custom domain.

One of my biggest clients really like my website and how is for him was to see my work. He didn’t have to spend too much time figuring out how to find ‘’stuff’’ on it. After we talked for a few hours, he decided to hire me for the logo, business card and website design.

how-i-started-a-freelance-graphic-design-business

This doesn’t mean I let go Instagram and other sites where potential clients can find of learn about me. I try to work on my online presence as much as I can. I always say: ‘’Be where your clients are.’’ If people spend so much time on social media, that means you have to do it too.

Since launch, what has worked to attract and retain customers?

Giving free advice and helping others through forum discussions is a big thing. People appreciate this more than anything. You have to give first in order to get back.

All this together helped me realise that more and more people are reaching out even without me offering my service to them directly.

I work on my skills every day. Learning and growing as a designer never stops.

Doing logo designs for some big Instagram accounts for free was a good thing. Exposure in front of 50 or 650 thousand people wasn’t bad at all. Often I would get a client 10 minutes after big IG account would credit me in their post.

Once I get a project to work on from a first time client, I try to do it as good as possible. Delivering more than they asked for is how you make a good first impression. Creating a long time business relationship with people is where you really make money. Returning customers will make your life much easier as you won’t have to spend so much time and money on marketing.

how-i-started-a-freelance-graphic-design-business

How are you doing today and what does the future look like?

I work on my skills every day.

Learning and growing as a designer never stops. I used to work only from project to project. Now I’m trying to expand my service on creating daily content for company social media accounts. One of examples would be this: embed:instagram

Of course it can be more complex work, but even stuff like this will help someone a lot.

It’s always good to have a few or even more clients on a retainer to have more steady income stream.

My long term goal would be working with huge companies like Nike and getting more people on board with me. I aim to hire a few people so I can focus on business side of the design. I’m open to work with local designers as well as 100% remotely. But my ultimate goal is to grow and help others grow.

Through starting the business, have you learned anything particularly helpful or advantageous?

One of the main things I’ve learned through starting and running my service are sale and negotiating with others. I used to think that the better option is to let client state their price first, but that wasn’t the case. By saying my price first (which is always a bit higher than I want), I got so much better deals in the past.

When client lowballs you it’s pretty hard to go up. I did that too many times, but it requires much more time and energy. Also, those clients often tend to be ‘’bad’’ ones, asking for much more than they pay you. Don’t be afraid to lose a client who doesn’t appreciate your talent and time. How can you lose something you’ve never had? Be confident about your price and great projects will come!

What platform/tools do you use for your business?

I like to keep my business as simple as possible without using any unnecessary 3rd party tools or websites. MInimalism is something you get by creating logos for a very long time. Instagram and Linkedin are the most important for me. I think that Linkedin is a great tool to connect with other business people.

Email is on top of everything for my service. Having full conversations written down in one place helped me a lot. If you work on a project a few weeks you can go back and check certain details without calling a client. Also, people sometimes say that we agreed on different terms, so showing them an email from the past can save you a lot of hustle.

What have been the most influential books, podcasts, or other resources?

I always liked watching and reading about other people who grew their businesses from nothing. Zero to One is a pretty good book if you want to get inspired.

Complex Hustle YouTube series are also good content to hear stories from very successful business people.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who want to get started or are just starting out?

Work on your craft everyday and you’ll be good. Once you master something, you will be able to sell it. Don’t be afraid to let go a potential client if he/she thinks you’re charging too much. Be confident about your pricing.

Don’t offer too many services. Specialize in something and add a few more outside of that. If you do everything you won’t be good in anything. People are more likely to hire an expert.

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

I’m not hiring at the moment, but if this changes I’ll make sure this post gets updated.

Where can we go to learn more?

-  
,   Founder of Blooform

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Ask A Question


Javier Renzi
28 days ago

Nice story Marin. I agree with giving value first.

Can you recommend what forums or communities brought you good results?

27 days ago

Hi Javier,

Thank you for reading the post. Yes, giving some value to people is very important.

GraphicDesignForum, GraphicDesignForums, Reddit, Quora...

Javier Renzi
28 days ago

BTW, your site isn't loading for me

27 days ago

Not sure why. It works just fine for my clients and me.

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