What's Holding You Back From Starting A Graphic Design Business? - RD171

What's holding you back? [sc name="pod_ad"]September 30 will mark four years that I've been releasing episodes of the Resourceful Designer podcast. During the time I’ve received hundreds of emails from people thanking me for what I do. They tell me how much I’ve helped them, inspired them and motivated them.

There's no way for me to express how this makes me feel, knowing that me, a designer, working out of my home office in small-town Ontario, Canada is having such an impact on designers from around the globe. It’s truly humbling, and I cherish every message I receive.

But over time, I’ve noticed a common theme with many of the messages. Web and graphic designers write to me saying that after listening to Resourceful Designer for so long, they've finally started their own design business. I'm happy for them, but I can’t help wonder what was holding these people back from starting sooner? Why did it take them so long of listening to the podcast, in some cases years, before starting their business journey?

Does this describe your situation? Have you started your design business yet?

I understand those people who tell me they’ve lost their job for one reason or another and have decided with my inspiration to start their own graphic or web design business instead of looking for new employment. But what about those who tell me they’ve finally built up the courage to begin working with clients as a side gig while still employed somewhere? These people have a steady income at their current job, so the fear of not being able to support themselves isn’t a factor. What was holding them back? What hesitation was stopping them from trying it sooner?

If you’re in a similar situation, where you haven't started your business yet, why haven’t you?

Don't get me wrong; I’m not encouraging you to quit your current job. I don’t need that responsibility. Yes, some people have told me that I’ve given them the courage to do just that, quit their job and start their own design business. That’s a huge leap, and a lot of things need to be in place before someone does that. However, in most cases, quitting your day job is not required if you want to start a side gig.

Let me ask again. If you are listening to this podcast because of your dream of running your own design business, but you haven’t started one yet, why not? Is it fear? Is it imposter syndrome? What factor is preventing you from moving forward?

Whatever is holding you back, maybe I can help give you one more little nudge.

The 80/20 rule. Have you heard of the 80/20 rule? It states that 20% of your effort will produce 80% of your desired results.

For example,

20% of a sports team’s players will contribute 80% of the goals they score. 20% of an investment portfolio will produce 80% of the profit. 20% of a retail store's client base will purchase 80% of its products. 20% of your design clients will result in 80% of your income. Let's get your design business started Let's use the 80/20 rule to make it easier for you to finally start your design business.

Write down ten things you need to do to start your business.

Of those ten things, I want you to select only two of them. Choose the two that will create the most positive impact toward helping you reach that goal.

Following the 80/20 rule, Those two things, the two most important ones from your list of 10, should bring you 80% of the results you need and bring you closer to having your own design business.

Even if those two things are not enough, they will put you further along the path than you are now.

Small steps, taken regularly, will lead to progress. It’s just like finishing a marathon is accomplished by putting one foot in front of the other. It’s called progress. Every step you take towards entrepreneurship will get you closer to that goal. Break down everything you need to do into small manageable tasks, and you’ll find it easier to get things done.

Maybe this might mean finding your first client. That may be all it takes to get you started.

Remember, you can be a freelancer before you become an entrepreneur.

The pieces will follow. Some people think they need to have everything in place before they can start a design business.

I Can’t start yet; I don’t have a business name. I Can’t start yet; I don’t have a website. I Can’t start yet; I don’t have business cards. I Can’t start yet; I haven’t registered my business. I Can’t start yet; I haven’t figured out invoicing. I Can’t start yet; I don’t have a contract. Etc., etc., etc. Sure, these are all things you will eventually need, but they are not things you need to start your business journey.

All that’s required for you to get started are your skills as a designer and the willingness to find your first client. The rest can follow.

I want you to remember; you define your business; your business doesn’t...
Web design
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