You’ve been working in graphic design for many years and have built up strong portfolio of your works. And now you’re trying to elevate yourself beyond limitation by creating your own design firm?
As first time entrepreneur, mostly designers would get confuse of what they should take care first and how they are going to do it.
In design industry, everyone seems to be independent and entrepreneurial. So how do you keep good people and lead them towards a certain goal?
There is no clear path to start a design firm. You need to make decision as fast as possible. And here are some tips and advices I can share to you about how I create my own design firm, uxmarker.
Take a leap of faith
This is the first thing you need to do. Believe in yourself, in your own ability.
Sometimes you need accepting something outside of the boundaries of reason. But before you start to trust yourself, you need to define your goal and motivation. What is the biggest reason that set you in motion. For me, it is not about becoming famous or wealthy, my fuel that keep ignite me up is my desire to change the way something is done, I want to make it better.
Always do something for the right reason. Because you’re not gonna build company that will only last for 1 or 2 year, you need to think long-term and have a clear future plan. Great firms, agencies, and consultancies are valued by their consistency of delivering impact to the business.
Don’t ever rush it
But remember, don’t even rush it if you are not ready. Because rushing into starting a business can turn your sweet dream into worst nightmare you’ve ever had in your life.
Before starting my design firm, I did many freelance projects to polish and enhance my skill in design. I also joined some startups as a UX designer before to gain as many as experience I can get as a novice designer. I met many co-workers who better in skill than me that always push me forward to become a better designer day by day.
I met many young designers who still in college and just out of school looking to start a career, many of them consider to choose going solo or freelancing rather than become a junior designer but something that truly baffled me is when some fresh graduate designers choose to start their own firm without any prior experiences and networks.
For early graduates, there is no cooler way to start a career than following a beautiful mantra “follow your passion”, creating a dependent and entrepreneurial generation who want to be their own boss. But think twice before you start, less than 15% of new businesses survive their first few year, and all of them already have a unique offer for their customers.
So, there is nothing wrong to be more patient and invest your time to learn from experienced experts before you start your own firm.
Be one of a kind
There is no incumbent in design industry. This industry is changing rapidly, tonnes of new design firms established each year, making design business become more saturated and competitive. Always be ready to adapt because there is no such thing as a steady state.
One thing that make your design firm outstanding is your uniqueness that you give to your clients. Check out your competitors and do some researches about their pricing strategy, their clients, their people behind the desk, their marketing strategy, and how they approach their potential clients.
Remember that you’re working in a creative world, you may become the most creative person and famous in this industry, but winning a client is way more difficult than creating a beautiful pixel. You may deliver many promises as you can imagine but take responsibility of your words and actions are much more important than anything. So take responsibility over creativity.
Start to map dan identify your market. Business is wild, no clear path, it’s a jungle. Be precise on a specific segment and aim that. Create strong brand image by delivering value to your clients.
Deal with Objections
Try to respond to these statements.
First, you don’t have enough experience.
Second, you don’t have enough resource.
Last, but the most important one, you’re too expensive.
How will you respond these statements from your potential clients?
Because if you can’t respond to that question for the sake of your design firm, you’ll lose your client. If you don’t land any client, you don’t get money. And you don’t have a firm until you have people knocking at your door, sign a deal, and agree with the terms.
Gain confidence, embrace all the words your clients said then twist their mind with a statement pivot.
My answers are,
We’re new kids in the block, fresh from the oven. And you’re absolutely right that we don’t have any experience in certain field and we’re not yet the expert. Let me remind you what the expert does to you, they’ll tell you what to do. And we’re here not telling you what you are going to do. You tell us what your problems are, and we identify it together. Tell us about your goals, then we will craft you the best digital design just for you. We are here learning and listening about your problem, we’re not gonna dictate you.
So you judge Usain Bolt winning a race just by looking at his shoes? But he train barefooted. We may have a small team but we are self-driven and passionate about what we are doing. We gonna use everything we have, learn as much as possible to solve your problem and achieve your goals.
Yes, we’re expensive. We’re not tuppenny. We bring you personalize design and solution just for you. With this amount of money, you can bug me anytime you want. You can tell me every single piece of your problems. And we’ll always take it as a top priority.