As I have slowly but diligently researched the things one must do when starting their own business, I have discovered that the best part about it is that there is room to mess up when starting small. The whole thing is such a learning process from using a contract with clients to figuring up pricing and trying to decide which products and services will sell best. Also, you must create a name for yourself and continue to market yourself daily. As an artist and designer, you have a chance to create your own niche among other artists.
Creating a Business Plan: Another important aspect of starting a business is to have a Business Plan; to have something mapped out detailing your exact steps to how you will finance this venture whether it's bootstrapping (a common small business startup technique) or getting a small loan. This will also provide you with a step-by-step list that you can literally check off all the way until you reach your first sale. I learned the hard way that I should have created a business plan before taking on ANY clients. Learn from my mistakes, otherwise you may be bringing in business but feel lost in the process as if you are jumping from one thing to the next without a plan for growth. A well-built business plan is essential to establishing your vision and goals for the company.
Business plan example: https://www.sba.gov/writing-business-plan
Marketing yourself: I have learned that you must market yourself continually; posting something new at least every few days through social media, print materials, word of mouth, etc. Also, I have been researching different strategies and incentives to bring in more business and gain a larger clientele such as a discounted referral system and giveaways. Another thing that is really important is to work on every project as if it is the only thing you have going on; to give it your all. If you give each project your best, you will gain a reputation for high quality work which leads to happy customers who then refer you to their friends, which leads to more business and repeatable clientele requests. Also, be sure to focus on how you can help others rather than having the mentality that you are just trying to make money. Even though this is one of the main reasons for starting up a business, you don't want your clients to feel like you are just trying to take their money rather than bring their vision for something to life.
Communication: I have heard it said time and time again that artists and graphic designers are not good at communicating with their clients nor getting back with them in a timely manner. I believe this is one of the most important aspects of running a successful art/design business. Communicating successfully with your clients also puts you a grade above those who don't.
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