[dropcap]A[/dropcap]nyone can rent a space, buy some equipment and call themselves a design entrepreneur. The truth is starting a business is a difficult thing to accomplish. Even without the red tape and expenses, statistics show that 90% of startups fail within the first year. Design entrepreneurship is rewarding but full of challenges. One may need a few ‘How-to’ tips along the way.
Make a business plan
When you start out it will be about making ends meet, ultimately you have to make a plan to guide to establishing yourself and achieving business objectives. It will also help you be more organized and make long-term life plans.
Find other ways to make money
Understandably as a startup, you may not make as much money to sustain yourself. In order to concentrate on growing your business and getting clients, you will need to have another way to make ends meet in the meantime.
You will need to master one form of marketing that works for you be it social media, newsletters etc. Because you are just starting out, you can use the visual presentation of your marketing materials as your chance to create a great first impression that lasts.
Have a compelling portfolio
Starting from your internship, take pictures and save all the art you created. It is not enough to simply have been there when a campaign was being put together, you have to take initiative and play key roles in developing concepts, for example offering to create mood boards and adding those to your portfolio.
Be willing to learn
If you get the chance to learn from a more established designer, take it. Read books, take a master class or look up free tutorials on YouTube. In between jobs, find more creative and effective ways to pass the time. Sharpen your skills and learn a few new ones.
Think mutual benefit
Use your network effectively, if you cannot get jobs from them, get jobs with them. Think of ways you can work together combining different services to offer customers more unique services. For example, photographers can partner with fashion designers and both can showcase each other’s work on their platform increasing exposure and increase chances of getting booking and inquiries.
Find your niche
There is a market for any product you can think of if it provides a valuable service. Because art is subjective designers do not need to appeal to the masses in order to sell and have clients. So do not be afraid to tackle niche markets, this will also help you focus your marketing efforts, rather than casting a wide net which is more likely to collide with other wide nets of a similar nature e.g. an interior designer who works exclusively with luxury apartments only or a photographer who only shoots weddings. This doesn’t mean that you don’t pursue all your other ideas, only that you prioritize and focus your efforts on areas you are more knowledgeable in.