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Seeking advice on how to grow a logo/web/graphic design business

As a freelance graphic designer, I've been using a lot of creative marketing strategies to bring me in more than enough design related work month after month to the point where I find myself constantly giving overflow work to fellow designer friends and former work colleagues for years now.

I offer a large range of design related services but my three most common requests are logos, websites and general graphic design (apparel, marketing material, business cards, stationery, etc.).

With that being said, I hardly market my services and only take on enough projects to live comfortably without getting burnt out and overworking myself. However, I believe if I was to market myself more I would be able to find twice as many clients, I just wouldn't be able to take on the additional workload.

Because of this, I've been playing around with the idea of hiring a graphic designer or two as private contractors who I could train and eventually feed work too. Ideally, I'd like to market their services as well and expand from 1 design studio website to 3 design studio websites so I can find more clients and allow them to handle more of the design related projects while I generate leads and talk to clients. Over time each designer will have a list of return and referral clients as I do making the lead generating process somewhat easier as time moves on.

Heres the kicker; A good friend and graphic design colleague of mine who owns a spacious tattoo studio and storefront reached out to me this week and discussed the idea of bringing in "apprentice graphic designers" to work in his tattoo studio with us and help take on the large workload him and I currently have, which will be growing dramatically after I implement more marketing and build out more sites.

The numbers: I usually create around 5-6 logo, graphics, and web design projects a week with the average price being $400-$500 for logos, some marketing material ranging from $250-$800 every now and then (projects completed same day), and the occasional $1200-$1500 WIX or Squarespace based website project (2-3 day job). I plan on having each designer produce around 3 logos a week while occasionally doing websites and general graphic design projects but eventually move up to 5-6 a week once they're more comfortable and at a better work pace. I haven't discussed payscale with my colleague yet but he wants to pay the designers 50%-50%.

What are your thoughts and what would you do?

| 👁 603 | Posted November 24, 2018 | Share on Facebook | Twitter | Google+

| Modified: November 24, 2018 | Author:

3 Comments

anotherbozo 8 months ago

Do not hire just yet. I would suggest test out the waters by contracting the work to other freelancers. There are many great designers out there who really suck at the sales and client part. Whenever you get a project that falls out of your time schedule, subcontract it. The client just knows you, so you must ensure the work is of the same level of quality. You will learn to tackle several challenges this way. Managing subordinates and delegating tasks (even if they are just freelancers). Giving responsibility and trusting someone's work. You will be urged to chime in and tell them what to do, but you have to trust their creative process. This is a very important thing in employee relationships, particularly on the creative side. Whether the business-side is for you or not. You will find yourself doing a lot of client and employee relations this way, and you will learn if you are okay with it. It is okay to feel this isn't for you, and go back to doing it alone. This is why you don't want to hire someone long term. Whether you consistently have enough work to hand off. This is very important. If you don't, your hired employees would be sitting ducks. You do not want this. Sure, it will be cheaper to hire someone on a payroll rather than on freelance basis, but you need to be sure. Either way, you will make more money than you did before. I will also suggest being open to your clients about this. Not for any new ones, but for any previous clients, let them know you are expanding the team and there may be more than one person working on their project now, under your supervision. That's as much detail as you have to give to your long term past clients. If all goes well, for about 3 or 4 months, you can consider getting someone onboard. Alternatively, you could also get someone to manage the client side while you focus purely on the creative side. It does not build a one-to-one relationship with the client (your account management guy does that), but it could result in more efficient business.

PrettyBigGigantic 8 months ago

80-20 rule. 80% of your income comes from 20% of your clients. Fire the rest. It's painful to do but spend more time on your big fish and let them blossom into bigger jobs.

flamingo-tax 8 months ago

Could you up your price? Hypothetically if you were to double your price and lose half your clients, you're still coming out ahead because you're doing half the work for the same amount of money.


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