vinaychibb's blog

Struggling a bit

posted by vinaychibb, Jul 21, 2008 10:21 AM — 6 comments

Being a graphic designer, one uses the part of the brain linked to feeling and creativity. It's more emotion than logic.

I have been rather successful in working a good creative spin on all my work, but am lacking in the administration and business planning side. The result being, I have used up my safety net that was meant for the quiet months.

Now I am thinking of either getting a business loan so I can continue or going back to work. I know the latter being the cop out of choices. I must admit I am scared to fail and am leaning toward the cop out.

My problem has always been fear in all of this. I hope to overcome it. In the meantime. I thought I might air my views and let off a load of weight.

Hope I haven't discouraged anybody else in the same situation. I must say that if you are going to do this, have a good plan and you can dispel any fears. I think I might be too late in this regard.

Anyway, hope you all have a great week now.


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1. posted by jnash, Jul 22, 2008 4:32 AM

I know exactly what you mean. I was doing Sports PR and left to go to Corporate because the pay was way better. Now I am so bored... I started my own side company focusing on Sports PR so that helps some, but I don't know if I wanna go out on my own!

2. posted by juliabee, Jul 22, 2008 1:43 PM

before you go out and get a business loan, i think it would be really usefull for you to upgrade the skills you feel need improving. I'm not sure where you're from, but if youre canadian, there are not-for profit agencies such as the small business center, that can help you with those bookkeeping, and client prospecting skills. If you live anywhere else, i'm sure that there are other angencies and organizations in your area that can help you elaborate a business plan. Lets face it, you need to be able to bring in enough contracts to pay the bills, so examine that, look at numbers, see exactly how much money and how many clients you need to bring in monthly to stay afloat. having targets helps you orient your efforts towards what you need to suceed. If you don't know where you're going, any road can take you there, so figure out exactly where you need to go, and you'll have a better chance of getting back on the right track. Hope this helps you out and good luck.

3. posted by vinaychibb, Jul 29, 2008 10:42 PM

Thank you for your comments.

jnash - My plan is to ultimately be in my own business. I did it and I think I must give it a good go. Corporate work killed my passion for design. I even thought of studying something in the science field. As if I could work in research with 5-10 year outcomes. From design? Sounds too ambitious.

My fire and passion for design was re-ignited when I left corporate. Freelance and client work let my creativity loose. It is the breath that I needed to keep inspired. I will only bury my creeativity if I do choose to go corporate again - so it will be out of desperation only. Even so, I would have to commit to it whole-heartedly. It woudl just be unfair to the employer. Anyway, that's that.

Jules - sounds like good advice. I am currently just working on keeping my bottom line sound. Some contracts are presenting themselves. It's not all lost, so I can get it to work again. I do think I need to improve on the weaknesses. Totally aware of it. Your advice is spot on and helps. I am in South Africa - Canada sounds amazing. Thanks again.


4. posted by simonok, Aug 1, 2008 6:22 PM

I am a web designer and did the same thing, I got sick of working for other people and thought I could do this much better. So I left and had no clients, nothing.

I lasted a year, before I stopped and went back to a full time employee.

I can do the work, i`m just not a salesman or an accountant.

My advice - Make sure you get paid for everything you do, if you give free time to any client they will keep expecting something for nothing.

They won't do something for nothing so why should you.

Now go kick some ass

5. posted by surgio, Aug 2, 2008 4:29 AM

I side with Juliabee's comments. Many states/countries offer free small business services such as counceling and financial programs.

Though the main thing to realize is how a small business works. I've been doing this for a long time and a small business is different from a big business in one main aspect, volume. You are a small business... really small.. you can't expect quantity.. so u need quality. That means being selective about the type of client you bring in. In my case there are two clients that give me my baseline. I'll give you their profiles as well as a few ideas.

Client #1 Her father owns a big contracting company, she opened up a line of cosmetics, I'm designing everything for her. Occasionally it was for her father and at times a company she worked for that sold sheet metal products. Since she was a serious multi tasker I was her go-to guy in a graphics lacking environment.

Client #2 He owns a gym, and nightclub, recently he started to sell exercise equipment.

These two clients have several things in common. They are in authoritative positions in MORE than one company and most, if not all, of their businesses are NOT seasonal.

That being said here's a few other little points
Photographers have shit work that they need done, retouching, though it's boring it will pay the bills.

Get to know your local printing presses and make friends with the people in their production department, some of these companies don't even have designers. Offer a kickback to the guys in production for sending work your way and make sure you do give them their cut. They're better than a sales force.

Offer printing services for small jobs. If you know the people who turn around some business cards offer the cards and the printing as well. A few good jobs and the occasional mistake can be absorbed by the printing companies, they usually have dead space to run a free card or two.

Lastly, here's the gold. Art Galleries meet them and offer them printing. Price high but focus on quality. You can charge them for setting up shots and offer photography services, outsourced to someone else of course. That way the packages you can offer will be no headache at all.

Best of luck.. and remember most small businesses fail before 6 years.. . and 20 percent of your clients yield 80 percent of your income.. treat those clients appropriately or profile to find their long lost twins.

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