Handling the Business Side of Design

One aspect of the American Dream is owning your own business. The idea of becoming your own boss, setting your own hours, and pursuing your passion is highly appealing. However, having a love for design doesn’t automatically make you a good business owner. Conversely, lacking an MBA doesn’t preclude you from starting a successful design company.

Consider the following factors if you’re thinking about launching your own small business. Read the full article for more insights.

Education and Training Beyond Design

Having a degree, certificate, or extensive training in design equips you with the skills to create impressive promotional materials across various mediums. Yet, as many have pointed out on David Airey’s blog, formal education often falls short in preparing designers for the business realities they face.

presentation design studio

There’s a clear need for more comprehensive business education, covering areas such as:

  • Diverse subjects like calculus, economics, history, and public speaking.
  • Legal aspects, including contract creation.
  • Insights on starting and managing a design firm.
  • Marketing strategies for client acquisition.
  • Customer service to attract and retain clients.

If you’re currently studying design, consider taking business courses or aiming for a minor or double major in business. For those already in the field:

  • Check out business courses at your local community college.
  • Reach out to your chamber of commerce for seminars that could provide business insights or networking opportunities.

Managing People and Resources

Being your own boss means taking responsibility for others, whether you’re managing a team of one or ten. New entrepreneurs often lack the funds to fill every role individually, yet there are effective strategies to navigate these challenges.

  • Consider hiring freelancers: Many bookkeepers offer their services to multiple businesses on a part-time basis, managing payroll, taxes, and benefits efficiently.
  • Explore outsourcing HR functions: The trend of outsourcing human resources is growing. This approach can be cost-effective, allowing you to pay for services on an as-needed basis without the obligation of full-time salaries or benefits.

Effective Marketing Strategies

In today’s economy, innovative entrepreneurs are discovering cost-effective ways to promote their businesses without the hefty expenses of past advertising strategies. The era of costly media campaigns is over, thanks to the rise of social media, which offers free avenues for company promotion.

Moreover, despite the digital age making us seem less connected physically, traditional networking continues to hold significant value.

Social Media Marketing

Creating Facebook and Twitter profiles is a quick process. However, it’s crucial to invest time in them to maximize their potential. For Facebook, ensure your company’s contact information is complete, including website and X (Twitter) links.

social media marketing

Upload photos of your products and team to add personality. Use status updates and tweets for engaging content like contests, sales, and events. Remember, social media should be informal yet professional. Always double-check your grammar and spelling before posting.

Personal Networking

Personal referrals often outperform traditional advertising methods such as Yellow Pages ads, especially now that consumers are more cautious with their spending and value recommendations. The more people you know, the more your business name circulates.


Engaging in community events and being proactive with networking can lead to your name being recommended by individuals who may not have directly used your services but remember you positively. Supporting local businesses and interacting with community members can foster a vibrant local economy.

Exploring New Ventures

The economic downturn and subsequent rise in layoffs have sparked an entrepreneurial spirit among many. With the instability of corporate jobs, starting your own business may now seem like a more appealing option than entering the workforce under another employer.

This shift highlights an opportunity to take control of your career path and pursue your entrepreneurial dreams.