Software & Apps Design Graphic Design Business Ideas and Tips By Eric Miller Writer Eric Miller is a former Lifewire writer, freelance graphic designer, and owner of a web development and graphic design studio established in 1998. our editorial process Twitter Eric Miller Updated November 29, 2018 Hero Images/Getty Images Design Graphic Design Photoshop Animation & Video 3D Design Tweet Share Email 01 of 05 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 email marketing 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. Belonging to professional organizations is another way to spread the word on your business and meet other creatives who you may wish to collaborate with. The Freelancers UnionGraphic Artists GuildAIGA 02 of 05 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. 03 of 05 Set Your Rates Dealing with the money side of design can be tricky, but it must be dealt with nonetheless. Rates have to be set, payment plans set up, and difficult situations dealt with. 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. 04 of 05 Working with Clients Working with and meeting with clients is an extremely important aspect of a graphic design business. You rely on clients for business, and it is therefore important to treat each situation that may arise with care. 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. 05 of 05 Managing Projects Once you have started a graphic design project, there are ways to properly manage your time 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. Staying organized is another way to keep projects running smoothly, and there are many methods and applications to help.